There were three big goals for Taran Killam when he was 12: star on Saturday Night Live, marry a girl in a superhero movie and write a comic book.
He officially makes it three-for-three this week: The SNL cast member and husband of The Avengers' Cobie Smulders releases on Wednesday the first issue of his debut IDW series The Illegitimates, co-written by his friend Marc Andreyko (Batwoman) and illustrated by Kevin Sharpe.
It seems like something that could be a comedy sketch but Killam plays it mostly straight: James Bond-ian superspy Jack Steele has unknowingly fathered kids all over the world while on missions, and when he dies in the line of duty, his bosses round up five of the grownup children and turn them into a covert team to save the globe from a villainous Eastern European concrete magnate.
"Almost every Bond movie ends with him bedding a hottie, and yet you never see the repercussions of that," says Killam, 31, a lifelong fan of the superspy genre and also the team aspect of the X-Men. "Just the theory of ratios kinda led me to thinking he couldn't always have gotten away scot-free."
And with decades of missions, a spy like Steele would have met a variety of partners for intimate rendezvous, from allies to femme fatales, Andreyko adds. "There is the 'Oops, we did it in the submarine as we were being chased by Nazis' (situation) and 'Oh, I'm not gonna take my birth-control pill tonight because I want a child with this guy.' "
Family drama meets an A-Team-style group of disparate components with the young spies, including a West Texas expert marksman (who was actually designed to look like Killam), a Japanese gearhead, a South African operative and ex-con, a cage-fighting ladies' man from Spain and a genius British intern.
According to Andreyko, each has a distinct personality to balance the cinematic action and spy-movie tropes with character development.
One of the themes Killam is exploring with the kids is "what it's like to not only be a team but be a team that you have for life, whether you like it or not," says the comedian, who is one of five children in his family.
Killam's been developing the idea for seven years, and is serious about being a proper comic writer, Andreyko reports. "It's not like some of these Hollywood guys who come into comics and just put their name on something.
"There's no carpetbagging - he just wants this to be the best comic it can be."
The Bond films Killam has watched over the years have always shown the secret agent as a physical being. "It was fight or fornicate," he says. The original Sean Connery movies reflected the times with free-wheeling sexual mores, and Killam wants to do the same with The Illegitimates in dealing with the emotional ramifications of that yesteryear mind-set with children who never knew their father.
Plus, the world's a smaller place and more of a melting pot of races and cultures than in the time of Dr. No and Thunderball.
"I love the idea that five kids from five different places in the world have this common bond," Killam says. "Pun intended."