Oxford University Press will publish six titles in a new early fiction superhero series, Marv, by debut author Alex Falase-Koya, illustrated by Paula Bowles.
Aimed at readers aged five plus, the series will follow the thrilling adventures of a young Black superhero as he discovers the infinite powers of his new superhero identity.
The synopsis reads: "Marvin's life is perfectly ordinary until one day he discovers a mysterious superhero suit hidden in his attic. It is powered by kindness and imagination, and since Marvin has tons of both, the powers of the suit are infinite... Armed with his super suit and robot sidekick, Pixel, Marvin steps into his power as the newest in a long line of superheroes and becomes the unstoppable, invincible, Marv."
The series will celebrate the power of kindness, resilience and courage and is "perfect for emerging and reluctant readers" the publisher said. The first two books Marv and the Mega Robot and Marv and the Attack of the Dinosaurs will be published in February 2022, with four more titles to follow.
Clare Whitston, senior commissioning editor, acquired world rights from Alice Sutherland-Hawes at ASH Literary.
Whitston said: "The Marv books deliver pure superhero wish-fulfilment, with stories powered by real humour and heart. I couldn’t be more delighted to welcome Alex and Paula to our Children’s list at OUP and I can’t wait for kids to get their hands on this MARVellous new series."
Falase-Koya, a winner of Spread the Word’s 2019 London’s Writers Awards, commented: "An important thing to me, when I was a superhero obsessed child, was getting that rare opportunity to see Superheroes that looked like me. I got that watching cartoons like static shock which was about a young Black kid with electric powers who spouted cheesy one-liners as he zapped bad guys. I'm so happy to give others that with Marv. Marv is a superhero, and he looks like us and that’s really cool. He’s one of us."
Bowles added: "It’s a privilege to be illustrating the Marv stories, featuring a Black protagonist who radiates kindness, imagination and courage. It’s so important, not only for Black children to see themselves represented and reflected back at them, but for all children to see that the world is a diverse and amazing place. I hope Marv helps to inspire a new generation!"