We were privileged to speak to the stars and producers of the new comic book, Purple and Nine, about their project, about gender equality, and about toys for kids.
Interviewer: Let’s get right into the interview. First tell us who you are and how you came to make a comic book about yourselves.
Nine: Purple and I are just two regular kids. We’re best friends, and we’re in Mr. McPhail’s 5th grade class.
Purple: We started to write our own comic book because we were bored with all the stuff we were allowed to read. Our parents don’t let us play or read anything that’s violent, which leaves out 90% of media. The other stuff we found was pretty boring. Princesses dressing in frilly clothing. Girls fighting over who gets the boys. Games where you gather celebrity points and money. That stuff was getting old. And we’re only 10 years old.
Nine: Our lives, on the other hand, are super interesting. Purple and I are explorers and inventors! We love to invent things to help our friends, meet new people around the world, and discover inventions that other people made, and find new ways to use them.
Interviewer: Amazing. So tell our readers about some of the interesting things you’ve been up to.
Nine: We love to build things on the 3D printer. We built a spy drone, so that we could find out what is going on with our friends. Not like bad spying, but we had a friend who kept coming to school without her lunch. We were worried she might be sick. Or too poor to afford lunch. So we built a drone to find out more.
Purple: Solving problems for your friends is serious business. It’s crucial to avoid mis-diagnosing the problem. Like we did with Pyjama Boy. He kept trying to explain the problem to us, but we were so busy inventing new solutions for the wrong problem, we weren’t paying attention.
Nine: That’s because inventing things is the fun part.
Interviewer: Since you’re children, I would guess that having fun is the most important part of everything you do.
Purple: Not really. The important part is finding a solution to your problem. That almost always takes a lot longer than you think. We wanted other kids to know that it’s important to keep working on a project once you start. When you’re in school, at the science lab, you usually only have to try the experiment once to get the right answer. But in real life, you get it wrong lots of times before you get it right.
Nine: We also wanted kids to see that science and technology allow you to solve almost any problem in the world. The world has so many problems, like poverty and global warming. In our comics, you can see how we helped people who are poor to light their homes without damaging the environment. We want kids to know that technology isn’t just for geeks. It’s for anyone who really cares about helping their friends. Sometimes it’s just about inventing a better chocolate chip cookie. Not that that could really happen, because Purple’s Mom makes the best chocolate chip cookies in the world.
Interviewer: So you two must be very popular in your school because you are busy helping your friends.
Nine: I’m not sure what you mean.
Purple: Sorry, Nine is not highly socially acclimated.
Nine: Oh. You mean she is asking us about who we hang out with?
Purple: Yes, that’s what she’s asking.
Nine: Grownups ask weird questions. Of course we love everybody and everybody loves us. Isn’t that how it is with everybody? Why do grownups ask weird questions?
Interviewer: So what toys and games do you like? What about books and comics?
Nine: Mostly we build our own. When you have a robotics lab and a 3D printer, like we have in Purple’s room, you can make much cooler stuff than you can find in the stores. Most of that stuff has one purpose, like you are supposed to build a specific item. We sometimes get those building sets but then build whatever we want from them.
Purple: We like problem-solving, but we don’t need games for that. There are enough problems in the world. Just in my house, I can find broken things to fix. We are never bored enough to need games.
Nine: I think it’s easier to say what we don’t like. We don’t like dolls that have a lot of clothes you are supposed to enjoy changing or faces you are supposed to make up. We don’t like most of the comic books we read. We only really liked 2 comics we read. One was the one with Courtney Crumrin. The other one was Angry Little Girls. Those ones were funny. We don’t know why so few comic books have jokes. We put a lot of jokes in ours.
Purple: My least favorite had a family in a car trip. I won’t name the name because I don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings. The worst part of that book was that the sisters in the story hated each other. I was pretty upset when I finished. Why do people write a book about hating your family? It was even worse in some ways than those violent books. At least the violence is against some weirdo monster you’ll never meet in real life.
Nine: The bottom line is that when you are a big media producer like us, you need to think about how your book will affect the people who read it. If you show people hurting one another or trying real hard to look perfect, it makes people think that’s the way it should be. Most people are good and want to help. They just don’t always get the education that you are supposed to help people instead of compete. We need to show media images that educate kids that by working together, you get better results than if you try to be the best. What’s the point of being the best if it’s still only half as good as you could be as a team?
Purple: Now you know why Nine is my best friend, even if she isn’t always attuned to social cues.
Interviewer: Thank you for your time. It’s been a pleasure speaking to you.