All Ages

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Round up!

Catching up on some of the important kids-related comics stories from the past month or so while I was on hiatus. When it rains it pours...

Marvel publishes a second Mary Jane mini-series
I was pretty hard on the first issue of the first Mary Jane series. I just couldn't see how it would really appeal to kids as a fun tween girl comic with one foot firmly planted in fanboy territory. It seems on the second shot, McKeever knows that Marvel has no idea how to push this to its intended market and has pretty much accepted it. It's a shame, McKeever can write teens and would probably do well with a project aimed at high tweens or even YA work with a publisher who knew where to place his work.

Josie and the Pussycats follows Sabrina with a manga make-over
This was a no brainer. Josie and the Pussycats are so manga-esque in the first place in their fun pop star glory, plus the cat costumes just work like a charm. Digests are an excellent plan here and I'm hoping if they're successful Sabrina will follow suit.

Franklin Richards back-up stories in the new Power Pack mini-series
Again, Marvel tries to fit a square peg into a round hole, this time emulating two popular children's entertainment themes -- the boy and his robot AND the boy genius. I'm curious to see how these back-up stories read. The artwork here and on the main Power Pack feature look very young, like Kindergarten/Grade 1 young. I'm already sensing a likely disconnect between the artwork and the stories.

Marvel teams up with 7-11s with new comic deal
Message board posters are hailing this as the best marketing idea Marvel has had in years. It's always seemed kind of obvious, hasn't it? However, didn't they try this already with the launch of the Ultimate line in a magazine format? Aren't comics already available in 7-11s? I know I've seen them in stores here in Canada. It seems like Marvel's big push here is the promise of exclusive product created for this market, except that no one knows what that product is -- format, price point and content. With an announcement as big as this, one would think that there would be a few more concrete details -- seems a bit like smoke and mirrors.

Exclusive Fantastic Four comic book hits 6000 schools nationwide
The school market is a tough nut to crack -- I know this working in it so I commend Marvel for sealing this deal. The book sounds promising too -- created with input from educators and ties into lesson plans covering reading, writing, science and math. Two issues may arise here -- how will parents feel about a comic book used to promote Marvel's upcoming movie and if they manage to dodge that bullet, there's also the possibility that kids might not even like the Fantastic Four. Coming off the heels of the Incredibles might hurt this property.

Krypto, Superman's Best Friend comes to Cartoon Network
It's Batman and Superman but as pets! Another no brainer. Expect this to get a MAJOR push for the 5 to 7 age group . The classic look to the character design here totally works.

Nickelodeon Magazine publishes the Best of Nick Comics Special
I haven't had a chance to really read through this, but it looks really great. And seeing Dave Cooper drawing SpongeBob is just such a treat for me. With this and the all-comics issue of Disney Adventures out there, comics are definitely becoming less niche and more recognized as a popular and appealing way of telling stories to kids.

Hyperion/Disney plans to publish a new line of graphic novel biographies
Librarians will be all over this and it's good to see that Hyperion is doing their research to use quality creators like Jason Lutes, James Sturm and Nick Bertozzi. The downside of this is that this still indicates to me that a lot of mainstream publishers are afraid to go headlong into the category with original fiction graphic novels. Starting with something safe like adaptations or biographies or even nonfiction is smart but definitely erring on the safe side.

Wow. Long post. And there I thought I was going to be short and sweet.


  • I always wondered about the 7-11s, too. They seem to be in all the ones I go to (again, obviously, also in Canada).

    I'd love to see a Shonen Jump/Shojo Beat-style package from Marvel. Kids like comics and kids like superheroes, but kids ain't gonna like $3+ (Cdn) for 28 pages, and the digests really only work in the bookstores.

    When I lived in France in the 70s they had this sort of reprint digest. Some X-Men, some Fantastic Four, Spider-Man, Marvel Team-Up... I read those things about a hundred times each.

    It would be nice if it was continuity-lite, all ages appropriate, but baby steps...

    By Anonymous Jon M, at 11:19 AM  

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