Temple alumnus releases graphic novel inspired by his son’s storytelling

Doogie Horner embraced a childlike drawing style in “The Adventures of Invisible Boy.”

“The Adventures of Invisible Boy”, a graphic novel by Temple alumnus Doogie Horner, is now available nationwide. | COURTESY / DOOGIE HORNER

Doogie Horner is constantly on the move and always looking toward the future — so much so that he doesn’t remember the year he graduated from Temple with a graphic design degree.

“People can never believe that I don’t remember when I graduated,” said Horner, a writer, artist and comedian. 

The most recent avenue of Horner’s often-changing career ventures, a children’s graphic novel called “The Adventures of Invisible Boy,” hit bookstore shelves earlier this year. 

“I am so thrilled this wacky story and hilarious yet relatable characters are finally out in the world,” wrote Susan Kochan, senior executive editor of Putnam Books for Young Readers, in an email to The Temple News. “Every time I read ‘The Adventures of Invisible Boy’ during the process — and that’s many, many times — I found more layers of nuance in the humor and Stan and Gene’s emotions and kids are going to love it.”

The story, which debuted Jan. 30, follows its fictional main character Stanley, who becomes invisible on his first day at a new school after a science fair mishap. After initially enjoying his power, Stanley realizes the invisibility potion is wreaking havoc on his town, so he decides to use his invisibility for good and confront the potion’s inventor.

The graphic novel combines humor, adventure and themes of responsibility, and Horner has received positive feedback from parents and children since its release, he said.

“People are receiving it the way I wanted them to, so that’s good too, and kids have said that they liked it, which is really nice because kids are honest,” Horner said. 

Horner has always been filled with a love for books and initially designed covers, illustrated books and pursued publishing. After focusing on graphic design in college, he expanded into various professional paths, like illustration, writing, stand-up comedy and now, comic book creation. 

He even reached the semi-finals with a stand-up comedy act on season five of America’s Got Talent in 2010, where he was ultimately defeated by a Dutch harmonica player. 

“The Adventures of Invisible Boy” is Horner’s first venture into the world of graphic novels. 

During the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, Horner discovered freedom and flexibility in comic book creation with help from his young son, who would come up with story ideas for Horner to draw. 

Playful creations helped Horner realize he didn’t need to meet a certain skill level, like the intricate artistry of his childhood favorite comic book series “Adventures of Spider-Man,” to start producing his own work.

“We started drawing comic books together, [Horner’s son] was drawing them and I was drawing them, but then sometimes also, he would tell me stories and I would try to draw them while he was telling them, and so I was drawing really fast,” Horner said. “I was drawing in a childlike style and I realized, ‘Oh, this is a lot more fun.’” 

Horner shook the idea of creating perfect illustrations with dramatic detail. Instead, the same playful style he used with his son became the basis for his illustrations in “The Adventures of Invisible Boy.” 

His formal creation journey started with drafting a 20 to 30-page summary outline with key events and some dialogue or scene and character descriptions for Stanley’s story, inspired by some of the adventures Horner and his son created. 

Once Horner was satisfied with the outline, he estimated the number of pages each part would require and planned out the layout in terms of image and panel counts per page. 

Using a red pen, he marked the estimated page breaks to ensure they aligned with his desired page count. Horner then started sketching the book by hand on printer paper.

“Then, when the book is done, it’s a binder full of these sketchy pages in clear page sleeves in the binder and then I take those sketches and I scan those into the computer and then I ink it digitally and then I color it digitally,” Horner said. 

Once Horner’s editors finished with the novel, it was ready to stock at bookstores and libraries across the nation for young readers to pick up. 

Now, the story is set to expand into a series with at least two more books on the way.

“Right now, I’m finishing up book two, I’m working on doing the colors, and then three is already outlined,” Horner said. “So right now we have three planned, but there might be more.”
“The Adventures of Invisible Boy” is currently available to purchase physically and digitally.

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