'Marvel's Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur' is currently in development.

If this past weekend’s release of Marvel Studios “Black Panther” has taught us anything, it’s that brilliant young girls run the world. Lunella Lafayette, it’s time for you to take center stage!

Marvel TV today revealed that “Marvel’s Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur” (working title) is in development. Based on the hit comic book series, the animated project follows the adventures of nine-year-old super-genius Lunella Lafayette, an African-America girl who teams up with her crimson-colored dinosaur and uses her smarts to save the day. Lunella, A.K.A. Moon Girl, was created by Brandon MontclareAmy Reeder, and Natacha Bustos (and colored by Tamra Bonvillain) in 2015—and the world’s smartest person hasn’t looked back since!

“Marvel’s Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur” is being produced by Marvel Animation and Cinema Gypsy Productions (Laurence Fishburne and Helen Sugland, producers of “black-ish” and “grown-ish”) with visual and animation development services by Titmouse, Inc. The animated project is in consideration for a Disney Channels Worldwide series.

Want to know more about the smartest there is in the Marvel Universe, head over to Marvel Unlimited or stop by your local comic shop and read the source material!  

Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur (2015) #1

Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur (2015) #1

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Tamra Bonvillain balances the Thing and Human Torch with our hero!

Two of Marvel’s most beloved heroes will join up with one of its biggest brains as The Thing and Human Torch form a new team with Lunella Lafayette in MOON GIRL AND DEVIL DINOSAUR #25, coming November 22. The title character recently lost her crimson companion, so the two Fantastic Four members will try to take his spot as Silver Surfer and Galactus pay Earth another visit.

As Lunella joins a new team, the MOON GIRL squad continues to roll ahead at full steam thanks to writer Brandon Montclare, artist Natacha Bustos, and colorist Tamra Bonvillain. We talked with Bonvillain about the challenges offered by the book’s very different new additions, continuing to work with her team, and some in-depth coloring tips and tricks.

Marvel.com: The Thing has such a textured look. Does that offer any specific challenges when coloring his scenes?

Tamra Bonvillain: Not too much. I feel like Natacha’s done most of the heavy lifting giving it that textured look. I do approach it a little differently in that I’ll try to stay within the individual rock bits to give the coloring kind of a faceted look. If we were doing things in a more realistic type style, I’d do more textural stuff, but this seems to work pretty well for the cartoony world in our book.

Marvel.com: Along similar lines, Human Torch must throw off all kinds of light. How is it keeping track of those light sources while coloring?

Tamra Bonvillain: I work in Photoshop and I keep all my rendering layers for different things separate. If there’s different colored lighting in a scene, they each have their own layer for me to manipulate, so I just kind of treat them one at a time. For example, if Human Torch is near stuff, I’ll use the orange light layer I have to light those objects, and use the other layers to light up different bits from other angles. Sometimes the lighting might overlap a little, but that’s okay, because the effects will interact with each other to create the right effect.

Marvel.com: The Silver Surfer will also make an appearance in the book. Are there any special tricks to making him look appropriately shiny?

Tamra Bonvillain: With metallic surfaces, I try to give it more exaggerated contrast. You’ll have dark forms right up against extreme, bright highlights, and since he’s all metallic, I carried that over his body.

Marvel.com: With all of these physically different characters around, how do you make Lunella stand out?

Tamra Bonvillain: When I render, I try to do figures or groupings of objects at one time. So when rendering Lunella, I have her whole figure selected, and the background is another selection, and foreground elements a third. There may be more sections broken down depending on the complexity of the scene. I always do my best to make these things all separate out from one another, and of course, Lunella or who or whatever the central focus is of that panel should stand out the most.

There’s different ways to accomplish that, primarily through value, color, and saturation. Value is lightness and darkness. So, say Lunella is against a light background, you’d want her to appear darker against that. You can contrast colors by picking colors that are more opposite on the color wheel. Say Lunella is against a blue sky; that works because of the warm tones of her skin, and if possible, I can work that into her clothing.

Characters move from scene to scene and that doesn’t always line up that way so conveniently, so you can tweak a figure overall to give it a different color feel to the background while maintaining the consistency of a character’s outfit. Saturation refers to the intensity of the color. If Lunella was against a kind of gray or muted background, you could then amp up the color saturation on her to help stand out, or vice versa. You can use each of these things and in combination to alter contrast further. There are other ways to achieve this, but that’s primarily the factors I’m thinking about in color.

Marvel.com: How has it been working with Team Moon Girl up to this point?

Tamra Bonvillain: Everything has been great! It’s a joy working on Natacha’s line art, and [former writer] Amy [Reeder] and Brandon have always given us fun characters and locations to create. I feel very fortunate that I was given this opportunity from [editor] Mark [Paniccia] when MOON GIRL started a couple years ago. Both he and our other editor, Chris [Robinson], have always been easy to work with, and while I do’’t have as much interaction with [letterer] Travis [Lanham], his lettering is a great fit for the book.

MOON GIRL AND DEVIL DINOSAUR #25 by Brandon Montclare, Natacha Bustos and Tamra Bonvillain gets even more fantastic on November 22.

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Natacha Bustos and Brandon Montclare introduce a unique new character!

Fans of MOON GIRL AND DEVIL DINOSAUR know that Lunella Lafayette has had a crazy ride since hitting the scene as “The Smartest There I”s in the Marvel Universe. Her story will get even wilder soon, as she meets Girl-Moon, who might just be the daughter of a famous Living Planet you may have heard about, in issue #19, due out May 24.

We caught up with artist Natacha Bustos and writer Brandon Montclare about their experience creating this truly unique character.

Marvel.com: Natacha, could you tell us a little about your process designing Girl-Moon’s overall look?

Natacha Bustos: Girl-Moon doesn’t have the typical appearance of a moon. At first glance, she appears directly inspired by that extraordinary Georges Meilies movie “A Trip to the Moon.” But I also needed to give her more details since she orbits a very special planet in the Marvel Universe. So, in addition to the plains and craters characteristics of our moon, I added some alien planet imagery, which was super fun to draw.

Marvel.com: In the artwork we’ve seen, she seems to have very tranquil expressions, and Lunella doesn’t seem particularly intimidated by her. Would you say that’s an accurate description of her personality? How do you go about conveying that visually?

Natacha Bustos: Girl-Moon has the personal qualities typical of a child. I see her as kind of a naive and innocent girl, and sometimes naughty—and I wanted to reflect that visually. We decided that Girl-Moon’s face should look like that of a girl about the same age as Lunella. Sometimes she is smiling, but sometimes not. There’s a mystery behind her complicated family situation, and she feels very scared when Lunella first meets her. Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur will try to figure out how to help her.

Marvel.com: We’ve seen the Kree appear in MOON GIRL AND DEVIL DINOSAUR, but most of Lunella’s story has actually taken place in New York, and specifically around Yancy Street. How did you go about making this very different setting fit visually with the rest of the story?

Natacha Bustos: As the issue opens, Christmas is coming and we find Yancy Street full of ornaments and snowy roads. Then everything changes and we see all those alien visuals, typical of science-fiction. This transition occurs smoothly and naturally because we set this story arc in the winter, giving some of the magic and wonder of the season and providing the opportunity for extraordinary things to happen. I find it very refreshing to see these changes of scenery, and it makes the story very entertaining.

Marvel.com: Would you like to tell us anything else about this upcoming issue?

Natacha Bustos: I’ve always wanted to draw space stories because I am a big fan of the genre. I’ve especially always liked the scenery of space operas like “Flash Gordon” and “Barbarella.” With MOON GIRL AND DEVIL DINOSAUR, I wanted to do something similar, something between reality and the imaginary.

The space suit designs also play into this topic. Lunella’s suit takes inspiration from the aesthetic  of the 70s and may be more or less “standard” if you compare it to the one Devil Dinosaur wears, which by the way is the most hilarious thing I’ve ever drawn!

Marvel.com: Brandon, can you talk about creating Girl-Moon—who could possibly be the mysterious daughter of Ego the Living Planet?

Brandon Montclare: In a funny way, she has a lot in common with Devil Dinosaur. A monstrous giant who can teach Lunella a lot about herself. And a lot like Lunella, I see her as a bit weird. Actually—really, really weird. But as Lunella tries to learn patience, hopefully the two of them can get along!

I also consider Girl-Mon precocious, and sometimes bratty. And she will present Moon Girl with her biggest science challenge yet.

Marvel.com: Lunella wants to take on big challenges right now, despite her age. So having her meet a living planet feels perfect; did that factor into the story for you at all?

Brandon Montclare: Yes! We have to go bigger to keep showing the readers that Lunella Lafayette truly lives up to the title of “The Smartest There Is.” But in a lot of ways, this arc tells a smaller story. After this whirlwind tour of the Marvel Universe that climaxes in issue #18, we’ll focus a lot on Moon Girl—and Devil Dinosaur—and take the time to reflect on how much she has changed since her introduction to the world.

Marvel.com: Girl-Moon seems like someone who could relate to Lunella, both sort of larger than life characters who may feel underestimated in some ways. Do you see any parallels?

Brandon Montclare: Girl-Moon is not subtle. I see her as a mirror of Moon Girl. Again, this encounter will give Lunella a chance to reflect on herself as a maturing hero. But as much as a mirror image is identical, it’s simultaneously the opposite. Plus, sometimes having too much in common with someone else leads to conflict instead of harmony. Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur are opposites who attract; her interaction with Girl-Moon, however, might result in some fireworks.

Get to know Girl-Moon in MOON GIRL AND DEVIL DINOSAUR #19 by Brandon Montclare and Natacha Bustos, coming May 24!

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