Author Dav Pilkey’s new Captain Underpants novel features a bully, but Pilkey says it’s not a book about bullying: “I just wanted to tell a funny story and make kids laugh.” (Karyn Carpenter)

Captain Underpants is back. Let kids everywhere rejoice.

After taking several years off to help care for his sick dad, the Captain’s creator, Dav Pilkey, has returned to the popular character. “Captain Underpants and the Terrifying Return of Tippy Tinkle­trousers” is being published today.

The series focuses on the antics of fourth-graders George Beard and Harold Hutchins, who accidentally turn their mean principal into a superhero.

Pilkey took some time to answer questions from KidsPost’s Tracy Grant. Among the supercool things we found out: His name is pronounced Dave. As a teenager, he was working in Pizza Hut and the name tag machine broke after producing the first three letters of his name. It stuck! Read on to find out why this Captain Underpants ad­ven­ture is unlike any other.

“Captain Underpants and the Terrifying Return of Tippy Tinkletrousers” hits shelves on Tuesday. (Scholastic )

What makes this book different is that it’s a prequel to the other books. Why did you decide to take the characters (and your readers) back in time?

I really wanted to tell the story of how George and Harold met and became friends in kindergarten. I thought it would be fun to see what would happen if the boys got into a jam and DIDN’T have a superhero to help them out of it. What if they could only rely on their brains, their homemade comic books and a bunch of ridiculous pranks?

George and Harold have to deal with a bully in this book. Why did you decide to take on this issue?

George and Harold deal with bullies in all of the Captain Underpants books. This is just the first time that the bullies are other kids (instead of grown-ups). I really wasn’t trying to address the issue of bullying. I just wanted to tell a funny story and make kids laugh.

How do you produce a book? Do you write first? Draw first? Do both together?

I usually do a LOT of thinking and daydreaming first. Once I have the story in my head, I write it down. The illustrations usually come last.

When did you start writing and making comic books?

I started writing comic books when I was in the second grade. That’s when I came up with the idea for Captain Underpants.

What advice do you have for kids who want to write or draw?

Write a lot and draw a lot.

Meet Dav Pilkey

Some of Dav’s favorite things