LEONIA, N.J.– Leonia author Michael Rex went down the list of potential characters as he prepared to write a graphic novel centered on a third-grader.
The result was a three-book series – published in 2012 – about Fangbone, "this young boy who comes from Skullbania which is very primitive," Rex said.
"He has to go to school but still live his barbarian life," Rex said. "He solves his problems with a sword.\"
The original novel, "Fangbone: Third Grade Barbarian," was turned into an animated television series.
Rex considered a vampire, a zombie, samurai, or pirate but stopped when he came across barbarian.
"I hit the word and I laughed and I picked that. It really sort of rolled from there," he said."I wanted to do something that was part of an established genre, so I could take the tropes and see how they would play out in a third grade classroom."
Rex has written mostly children’s books since 1995. He's a father of two: Declan, 11, and Gavin, 10.
Neither boy was in third grade when Rex wrote his novel, though.
"My then-editor Tim Travaglini and I settled on third grade because of the reading level," Rex said. "We decided fifth grade was too old and first grade was too young.
"We had five different discussions."
A producer from Toronto-based Radical Sheep Productions read the books and bought the rights.
“We took the concept and ran with it," Rex said.
Work on a pilot episode began in 2013. Production started in November 2014.
Rex, 48, received an executive producer credit.
Two new characters – the evil Venomous Drool and a wizard named Twinkie-stick – were added to the show, which was sold to Disney XD and airs in both Canada and the U.S.
There are currently 25 episodes, each containing two 11-minute stories.
“Adventure, fantasy and comedy are essential when creating programs for our audience and Fangbone! has all of these elements in spades,” DHX Television Director of Original Programming Michael Goldsmith said.