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Viewing: Blog Posts Tagged with: Kids comics, Most Recent at Top [Help]
Results 1 - 25 of 140
1. Interview: Marc Tyler Nobleman on Bill Finger and the Secret Origins of Batman

Photo by Kendall Whitehouse

For years, comics’ professionals have been hiding a well-kept Batman secret. Batman has been listed as being created by Bob Kane for decades, but the secret creator of the other half of Batman has been in hiding, signing bad deals and contracts, and being lost to the general public. Despite the immense popularity of Batman, only a fraction of people that enjoy the character have any clue as to who created the hero. Bob Kane has been listed as the sole creator of Batman in almost every piece of media that fans have devoured since his initial appearance in May 1939. Marc Tyler Nobleman has led a crusade to make it known that Batman was created by both Bob Kane and Bill Finger. He did so via a meticulously researched all-ages illustrated book entitled Bill the Boy Wonder: The Secret Co-Creator of Batman. We caught up with Nobleman for an interview on the secret origins of the creation of Batman.

How do you think Bill Finger would react to the resurgence of different media finally coming together and seeing his contributions to Batman?

Humbly and gratefully.

What do you find interesting about the men and women who have created various superheroes?

With respect to the three I have written about (Jerry Siegel, Joe Shuster, Bill Finger), I find it especially interesting is how these young men were building modern myths from unassuming apartments and (at least in Finger’s case) seemingly without a sense of their cultural significance. Finger’s creative influence could not be more disproportionate to the recognition he got for it in his lifetime. In other words, staggering influence, almost no credit for it.Bill the Boy Wonder - cover sketches 1 (six total)

Is there any information on Finger’s exact contribution to some of the other DC heroes and villains such as Green Lantern (Alan Scott) and Wildcat?

He wrote the first stories to feature both.

Have you studied the reactions of younger fans when they read the book? What are their reactions like?

Because I have the privilege of speaking in schools around the world (including Tanzania, Chile, and the United Arab Emirates), I regularly experience the reactions of fans both young and young-at-heart. It has been immensely gratifying to see how impassioned kids can be over what they perceive as an injustice to Bill Finger. Here’s one of my favorite projects in response to the book – kids pretending to be Bill’s only child Fred and writing a letter as Fred to Bob Kane: http://noblemania.blogspot.com/2013/11/letters-from-bill-fingers-son-to-bob.html. There are some profound thoughts in there.

Did you find any conflicting reports on the research of Finger based on a ‘he-said, she-said’ basis?

Other than the absurd amount of Batman aspects Kane originally took credit for but later attributed to Finger, no.

How did the collaboration with industry veteran Ty Templeton come about?

Having been a longtime fan, I emailed him to ask if he’d be interested. He said yes with more than a passing knowledge of Finger’s tragic career, and I loved that he was already passionate about the subject. My publisher (obviously) also liked Ty, so we were on.

Bill the Boy Wonder - title treatment - black on yellow Have there been any talks about adapting this story into a different medium?

Yes, daily – in my head. And quite often after I speak, someone in the audience will say “This HAS to be a movie.” I have had a few talks with film people. So far nothing has gotten past the exploratory phase but I am confident one day it will. I just hope I am involved!

Aside from the obvious accreditation being taken away from Finger, are you satisfied with the nature of comic books nowadays being more creator-driven among fans of the industry?

On one level yes, but I continue to hear stories of contemporary creators who have felt exploited by comics’ publishers. Certainly the Internet and the explosion of proactive fandom have done much good in the way of acknowledging the talent no matter what the publishers do or don’t do.

For more information, take a look at Marc’s blogBill the Boy Wonder: The Secret Co-Creator of Batman is on sale now. Kendall Whitehouse shot the featured photograph seen at the top of the page.

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2. SDCC: Ron Marz tackles a Skylanders Ongoing at IDW

by Alexander Jones

Skylanders00-cvr-5fa17The acclaimed writer Ron Marz is tackling the popular video game franchise known as Skylanders in comic book form. The comic was announced this morning from IDW on their site under the San Diego Comic-Con exclusive content. The first installment into the series known as the Skylanders #0 will be available at the show. Marz was also involved in the Skylanders SWAP Force comic from IDW. Joining him on the new series are artists David Baldeon and Mike Bowden. The new title starts in October, and is going to be an ongoing monthly series. The author stated that in the first Issue of the series, every single character from the franchise will be present. He also teased multiple protagonists in the book.

More as the story develops.

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3. SDCC 2014: Lion Forge gets into print with IDW and kids comics with Care Bears

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St. Louis based Lion Forge Comics has been around for a couple of years with a lot of ambitious plans, some well known licenses and a line of here-to-fore digital comics. But recently they announced they are getting into print, with IDW picking up their Air Wolf and Knight Rider comics. They’ll also publish a print version of a comic inspired by MMA fighter Quentin “Rampage”Jackson called Rampage Jackson: Street Soldier. That should be PLENTY wacky. More Lion Forge titles are impending from IDW, possibly including such classic licensed fear as Miami Vice, and Punky Bewster.

Lion Forge also announced a deal with AG Properties, the likening division of American Greetings, to put out three kids comics as part of the Roar kids line: Care Bears, Madballs and the Disney XD animated series, Packages from Planet X.
 
“Our library has grown immensely in the past year bringing a unique selection of comic books to readers of all ages,” said David Steward II, CEO, Lion Forge. “Bringing the lovable characters from Care Bears with the humor and action from Madballs and Packages from Planet X to our collection further diversifies our offerings while teaching and interacting with our younger fans in new, creative ways.”
 
Lion Forge will have a booth (#1903) and a panel with Jackson, writers Joelle Sellner, David Gorden and Brandon Easton, and Yaya Han and wrestler Chavo Guerrero. IN other words, just a typical panel at San Diego.

Lion Forge – Saturday (July 26th) 11:00 AM – Noon Room 29A

Lion Forge Comics Presents: Knight Rider vs. Airwolf, Rampage Jackson and debuts new projects with Yaya Han and Chavo Guerrero, Jr.

Panel Description
Lion Forge returns to SDCC! Senior Editor Shannon Eric Denton (Lion Forge) is joined by the next generation of creators; Joelle Sellner, David Gorden, and Eisner Nominee Brandon Easton to discuss their projects – Airwolf vs Knight Rider! Andre “The Giant” original creations Quinton “Rampage” Jackson: Street Soldier, and more!!! With Special Guests; Hero of Cosplay’s Yaya Han, MMA Champion Rampage Quinton “Rampage” Jackson and WWE & Impact Wrestling Champion Chavo Guerrero, you never know what surprises will be in store when you enter The Lion Forge so be sure to stop by!! #LionForge Moderated by Miami Vice writer Jonathan London 

0 Comments on SDCC 2014: Lion Forge gets into print with IDW and kids comics with Care Bears as of 7/22/2014 9:53:00 AM
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4. Preview: Jeffrey Brown Incredible Change-Bots Two Point Something Something

Thanks to the success of his TWO Star Wars series—”Goodnight Darth Vader” has been on the bestseller list for weeks, and his Jedi Academy is a hit series for Scholastic—Jeffrey Brown has become one of the most successful contemporary cartoonists. But before he hit with Star Wars, he was making kids and adults laugh with his Incredible Change-Bots series which parodies, with the same gentle, loving humor, a certain transforming car franchise. TWo small books have come out but here’s a …third, or so. It’s called Incredible Change-Bots Two Point Something Something is a big 224 pages of both previously published and rarely seen material, including short stories, gallery art show pieces, game and toy designs, artwork created for fan club members, interviews with almost every Change-Bot, and more.

And here’s a preview!

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1 Comments on Preview: Jeffrey Brown Incredible Change-Bots Two Point Something Something, last added: 6/25/2014
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5. Interview: Kids Read Comics Enters its Sixth Year

By Dave Carter

This coming weekend (June 21-22, 2014) will mark the sixth annual Kids Read Comics Festival. KRC brings together kids (and their families) and cartoonists for two days of comic-centered fun, combining a tradition comics convention with hand-on workshops and other activities.

Last week via email I interviewed one of the KRC founders, teaching artist/cartoonist Jerzy Drozd, about the history of KRC and how the festival has evolved over the years. I had intended to work with Jerzy’s responses to craft a narrative, but his responses were so well-constructed that they really form a narrative on their own. So I present them here with minimal editing.

krc_program_sidebar(Disclaimer: While I am not directly involved with KRC proper, I am one of the organizers of a KRC pre-conference for cartoonists, librarians and educators that runs the day before the main KRC festival.)

——

What is the ‘secret origin’ of Kids Read Comics? When, where and why did it start? Why did you and your colleagues feel there was a need for a convention/festival/show focused on kids?

The four organizers (Dan Mishkin, Dan Merritt, Edith Donnel, and myself), all followed our own vectors into making what became the Kids Read Comics celebration, and all I can share is the story of how I became involved.

In 2006 I met Dan Mishkin at Heroes Con. During our conversation he handed me a flier with information about Alex Simmons Kids Comic Con, one of the first (if not THE first) comics convention with the explicit intent to serve kids and families. On the flier Dan expressed an interest in starting something similar for the kids of Michigan. At that time I agreed it was a great idea, though I had no idea how I could help. I was making comics for kids, but I had nothing to offer such an event outside of being an exhibitor.

A year later I found myself working as a teaching artist for organizations like ArtServe Michigan’s Literacy Arts Comic Book Project, The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, and local schools and libraries. When I saw the difference in how kids engage with comics when they participate in the medium, I realized how I might be able to help Dan realize his “comics convention for kids.” Rather than simply exhibit at such a show, I could help advocate for my medium by creating workshops and experiences that get kids really excited about making and reading comics.

It was during these visits to schools and libraries that I met Edith Donnel, Teen Librarian at the Chelsea District Library. After leading a well-attended 6-week comics workshop at her library, Edith expressed an interest in creating some more substantial comics events for kids. I told her about Dan Mishkin’s idea, and she suggested holding the “comics convention for kids” at her library.

Though the Chelsea District Library was well-versed in leading big events (CDL’s Summer Reading kickoff gets the whole town to turn out), we still felt we needed some help in crafting a unique comics event. Dan Mishkin and I both thought of the terrific duo Dan and Katie Merrit of Green Brain Comics, whose Free Comic Book Day festivities are practically a one-day comics convention/advocacy event. We were very glad when they agreed to join us as founding organizers.

From the beginning we realized that a “convention for kids” had to feel different than most comics cons. Of course we would place our focus on showcasing creators whose works are aimed at younger audiences. At traditional comic cons, however, the interactions between creator and fan are mostly in the way of autographs, photo opportunities, panel q&a, and maybe sketch purchases. These can be very rich interactions, but having seen how kids engage with comics when making comics we believed that KRC could do something more.

You don’t have to compel a kid to draw. They’re eager to interact and participate with the things they love. What’s more, by participating in the medium, they better appreciate and enjoy the experience of the medium. In other words, by encouraging writing and drawing, we would help kids become better and more active comics readers. The question we asked ourselves was: How might a convention interaction change if, instead of simply meeting their favorite author, we provided them with the opportunity to draw along side of their favorite author?

(For adult readers, just imagine going to a comic con and instead of simply getting Jack Kirby to autograph your issue of Fantastic Four, you get to sit down and take a free comics class led by him.)

These powerful interactions have led to kids exhibiting their work at Kids Read Comics. At KRC 2010, guest Ryan Estrada met a 7-year-old girl who showed him her series of comic strips along with character designs, relationship charts, and copious notes on where her story was going. She asked Ryan “what does it take to be a professional?” Ryan is a pretty sharp guy, so he had the presence of mind to respond “You already are. What separates you and me is that I’m behind the table. Get in touch with the KRC folks and se about tabling next year.” That young girl did get in touch with us and was a guest at KRC 2011. She’s also a guest at this year’s show. (You can listen to a recording of Ryan telling the story at http://audioboo.fm/boos/140782-best-story-ever )

Once we reframed the notion of a comics convention for kids, we realized that we had the opportunity to do something unique. Kids Read Comics is about promoting great comics for kids. But it’s equally about getting kids to love making comics, thereby making them more active readers of comics. As Dan Mishkin likes to say, “we’re in the business of changing lives.”

When was the first KRC? How has it evolved?

Over the years we’ve experimented with different venues and formats for KRC. Our first show in 2009 was held at the Chelsea District Library, which featured an indoor Artist Alley with many of our hands-on workshops and programs happening both indoors and outdoors. In 2010 we moved to the Dearborn Public Library, which had an impressive amount of space for workshops and demonstrations. We took an “outdoor festival” approach with KRC 2011, returning to the Chelsea District Library. The events at our 2011 show happened all over Downtown Chelsea; we held our interactive Quick Draw events in front of many of the local businesses who also participated in our town-wide scavenger hunt (in which kids were invited to find KRC trading cards containing clues to find the next event location). The Artist Alley was also split between two different locations in Chelsea, which presented an interesting challenge in setting up events to guide the attendees to the artists’ locations.

In 2012, however, we came to roost at the Ann Arbor District Library. We continue our experiments with different venues and programs, but instead of bouncing between towns, we operate within Ann Arbor. This year KRC programs will happen at the Ann Arbor District Library, 826 Michigan, and the Ann Arbor Art Center.

How many people attend KRC?

It’s difficult to give solid numbers because attendance is free with no registration required. Our first year we estimated around 700 attendees, and we had between 1,000-1,500 at our 2013 event.

The most encouraging thing for me is how the show seems to attract a lot families who aren’t necessarily “die-hard” comic book fans. There’s a large investment required in becoming the kind of fan who travels and pays registration fees to meet an actor from a sci-fi TV show or see a panel of creators talk about what’s next for the DC Universe. Because KRC is a free show with a large emphasis on participating in making comics, we’re providing a low-risk way for the general public to explore their curiosity about the medium. What I mean by “low risk” is that you don’t have to hold a doctorate in a fandom’s headcanon in order to participate. Programs like Mark Mariano’s Doodle! Scribble! Draw! get cartoonists and attendees working together to create a visual narrative that only requires imagination and the courage to share one’s work. We’re grateful that KRC attracts engaging, outgoing cartoonists who sincerely want to get people to fall in love with comics. They’re the most important element in attracting the kind of audience you’ll find at KRC.

KRC is free to attend and there is no charge for artists and writers to table. How can you all afford to put on the show?

Since the beginning KRC has relied on the support of forward-thinking libraries like the Chelsea District Library, the Dearborn Public Library, and the Ann Arbor District Library. We also fund our events through grants like the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs and the National Endowment for the Arts, donations from local businesses, and fundraising at conventions and Free Comic Book Day at Green Brain Comics. Another big component in making KRC happen is partnerships with similarly-spirited organizations like the University of Michigan, the Ann Arbor Book Festival, 826 Michigan, and the Ann Arbor Art Center. We four founders gather the cartoonists and put on the show, but it is our partners who provide the venues and resources to make the show possible.

One of the many reasons KRC landed and roosted at the Ann Arbor District Library is the incredible support and resources they provide us. I’m going to interpret the word “afford” to refer to time as well as money, and time is a big one for us, as none of the KRC founders make a dime off of this event. We donate our time to put on the show, and we all have day jobs, so efficiency becomes very, very important. I cannot overstate just how terrific the staff is at AADL. They’re the most competent, committed, and enthusiastic group of people you’re likely to meet, and without their help we just simply couldn’t do any of the really exciting things you’ll find at KRC.

If a creator is interested in participating in KRC, what steps should they take?

The primary qualifications we’re looking for in KRC guests are having a kid-friendly comic, an engaging presence, and a desire to share one’s joy in making comics through a demonstration or workshop. An important distinction between KRC and many other comics shows is that our principal focus is on advocacy. This isn’t a show for the timid or misanthropic!

Disclaimers out of the way, we hold open applications for tables around February of every year. You can follow the KRC Twitter account (http://twitter.com/krcomics) or the KRC Facebook Page (https://www.facebook.com/kidsreadcomics) for updates. As with most shows, space is limited, but we do our best to fit in nearly everyone who applies.

What have you learned from organizing KRC about comics as a medium?

Anyone who has been around the comics industry for the last 20 years will recall plenty of dire predictions about the “inevitable fall” of comics. In working with committed partners outside of the comics industry, like libraries, universities, literacy advocacy organizations, as well as outgoing, enthusiastic cartoonists, I’ve gained more confidence that comics will be enjoyed by readers for a long time.

————

Details on this year’s Kids Read Comics Festival can be found on the KRC Website at http://mlatcomics.com/krc/ . You may also wish to view this promotional video on YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jtUjjmWQ0NI

Jerzy Drozd is a teaching cartoonist and illustrator. His latest work, with Dan Mishkin and Ernie Colón, is The Warren Commission Report: A Graphic Investigation into the Kennedy Assassination; it will be released in September by Abrams ComicArts.

1 Comments on Interview: Kids Read Comics Enters its Sixth Year, last added: 6/18/2014
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6. Nominees and voting announced for 2014 Kids Comic Awards

201405221344.jpgVoting is now open for the second annual Kids Comics Awards, which will be presented June 22nd, during the Kids Read Comics festival in Ann Arbor, Michigan. The awards are sponsored by Kids’ Comics Revolution!, a podcast dedicated to spotlighting the expanding worlds of kids’ comics and kid lit. Voting is open to kids and can take place via the
online ballot at http://comicsaregreat.com/kcrawards14, or a paper ballot available at the Kids Can Read show OR even printing out the downloadable PDF and mailing it to
Kids’ Comics Revolution,
P.O. Box 1763
Ann Arbor, MI 48106

Nominees for this year’s awards were selected by a council of educators and retailers including Eti Berland, Elisa Gall, Patrick Gall, Laura Given, Sharon Iverson, Calum Johnston, Jennifer Vincent, Colby Sharp, John Schumacher, Maria Selke, Adam Shaffer, Mary Ann Scheuer, Jessica Stork Gilcoes, and Matthew Winner.

And the nominees are:

Favorite Graphic Novel (Adventure):
Delilah Dirk and the Turkish Lieutenant by Tony Cliff (First Second)
G-Man: Coming Home by Chris Giarrusso (Image)
The Silver Six by AJ Lieberman & Darren Rawlings (Graphix)
Monster on the Hill by Rob Harrel (Top Shelf)
Mouse Guard: The Black Axe by David Petersen (Archaia)

Favorite Graphic Novel (Humor):
Extreme Babymouse by Jennifer and Matthew Holm (Random House)
Lunch Lady and the Video Game Villain by Jarrett J. Krosoczka (Knopf)
Misadventures of Salem Hyde: Spelling Trouble by Frank Cammuso (Amulet Books)
Odd Duck by Cecil Castellucci and Sara Varon (First Second)
Stone Rabbit #8 Robot Frenzy by Erik Craddock (Random House)

Favorite Graphic Novel (Non-Fiction/Myth):
Bluffton by Matt Phelan (Candlewick)
Hazardous Tales: Donner Dinner Party by Nathan Hale (Abrams)
Fairy Tale Comics by Various (First Second)
Poseidon: Earth Shaker by George O’Connor (First Second)
Primates by Jim Ottaviani and Maris Wicks (First Second)

Favorite Comic/Novel Hybrid:
Captain Underpants and the Revolting Revenge of the Radioactive Robo Boxers by Dav Pilkey (Scholastic)
Dork Diaries: Tales of a Not-So-Happy Heartbreaker by Rachel Renee Russell (Aladdin)
Flora and Ulysses: The Illuminated Adventures by Kate DiCamillo and K.G. Campbell (Candlewick)
Star Wars: Jedi Academy by Jeffery Brown (Scholastic)
Vordak the Incomprehensible: Time Travel Trouble by Scott Seegert and John Martin (Egmont)

Favorite Comic Book Series (Licensed/Franchise):
Adventure Time (Boom)
Avatar: The Last Airbender: The Search (Dark Horse)
Batman ‘66 (DC Comics)
My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic (IDW)
Sonic Universe (Archie)

Favorite Comic Book Series (Original/Creator Owned):
Aw, Yeah Comics! By Art Balthazar and Fraco (Aw, Yeah)
Bodie Troll by Jay Fosgitt (Red 5)
Herobear and the Kid by Mike Kunkel (Boom)
Skyward by Jeremy Dale (Action Lab)
Super Dinosaur by Robert Kirkman and Jason Howard (Image)

Favorite Cartoonist/Author:
Faith Erin Hicks
Jennifer and Matthew Holm
Jeff Kinney
Jeff Smith
Kazu Kibuishi

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Favorite Webcomic:
Cucumber Quest by Gigi D.G. (cucumber.gigidigi.com)
Gronk by Katie Cook (gronkcomic.com)
Princess at Midnight by Andi Watson (pmmidnight.blogspot.com)
Saturday Morning Webcartoons by Various (saturdaymorningwebcartoons.com)
Yeti 4 Hire by Jeff Crowther (yeti4hire.com)

Cutest Comic Character:
Babymouse (Babymouse)
Beandog & Nugget (Beandog & Nugget)
Chi (Chi’s Sweet Home)
Little Sister (The Big Wet Balloon)
Ulysses the Squirrel (Flora & Ulysses)

Best Hair in Comics:
Aphrodite (Olympians series)
Bodie Troll
Delilah Dirk
Johnny Boo
Salem Hyde

Grossest thing in Comics:
Cannibalism (Hazardous Tale: Donner Dinner Party)
Fregley chewing him with his belly button (Diary of Wimpy Kid: Hard Luck)
Pool full of fish (Mermin: Out of Water)

4 Comments on Nominees and voting announced for 2014 Kids Comic Awards, last added: 5/22/2014
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7. Wimpy Kid #9 takes the Heffleys on the road this November

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It’s that time! Time for the #1 graphic novel of the year to be announced!

Abrams Books Amulet imprint has just revealed that the ninth Wimpy Kid book will arrive on November 4, and a teaser image suggests a road trip is in the offing for the fractious Heffley clan.

“I’m taking the Heffleys out of their home environment and sending them out on the road,” said million selling author Jeff Kinney. “Writing about an epic family road trip has really got my creative juices flowing, and I think this could be the funniest book yet.”

The last Wimpy Kid book, Hard Luck, released in November ’13, has sold more than 3 million copies and was the number one selling book in the US last year.

Whether you call it a graphic novel, a hybrid, one of the most successful book series of all times, or Al, Wimpy Kid #9 will probably sell another three million copies.

1 Comments on Wimpy Kid #9 takes the Heffleys on the road this November, last added: 3/21/2014
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8. The Beat Podcasts! – Heidi interviews Jeff Smith!

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Straight from the offices of Publishers Weekly, it’s More to Come! Your podcast source of comics news and discussion starring The Beat’s own Heidi MacDonald.

In a More To Come interview special episode,  Heidi talks with acclaimed indie comics creator Jeff Smith about his Eisner-winning kids’ fantasy epic Bone, his adult sci-fi tale RASL, the advantages and difficulties of being your own publisher, his new Paleolithic webcomic Tuki Save The Humans and much, much more on this episode of Publishers Weekly’s graphic novel podcast. in this podcast from PW Comics World.

 

Now tune in Fridays at our new, new time for our regularly scheduled podcast!

Stream this episode and catch up with our previous podcasts through the Publishers Weekly website or subscribe to More To Come on iTunes

1 Comments on The Beat Podcasts! – Heidi interviews Jeff Smith!, last added: 9/13/2013
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9. Pre Order Astronaut Academy and get a sketch

201304031142 Pre Order Astronaut Academy and get a sketch
Call this the easy peasy version of a Kickstarter reward: Preorder a copy of Dave Roman’s Astronaut Academy Re-Entry from bookstore WORD! and you’ll get a free sketch.

From now till May 9th, I will sign, personalize, and draw in every copy (of either book 1 or 2) ordered through WORD, you’ll get a free bookmark, andyou’ll be entered into WORD’s exclusive contest. One lucky person will win an Astronaut Academy style portrait of themselves (or whoever the book is a gift for), hanging out with the character of their choice!


Astronaut Academy Re-Entry is the second volume in the series about kids learning to be spacefarers. It’s a lighthearted romp with some fun soap opera elements, manga-infused in appeal but not necessarily art style.

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10. DC Comics launches a blog for families

THIS IS DCCFF DC Comics launches a blog for families
Sharing your favorite superheroes with your kids is one of the most reward parts of the fan experience, and DC has just launched a Fan Family mini site to promote their family friendly offerings.

This new family-friendly site is designed to deliver the best of the celebrated Super Heroes like Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman with a slew of fun, family-oriented content for parents to share with their kids.

The DC Comics Fan Family blog will serve as an online hub for all DC Entertainment family-friendly news and information, and offer readers a variety of content including DC Comics-themed activity sheets, DIY craft projects, guest blog posts featuring DC Comics talent, the chance for fans to see their own artwork featured with a variety of creative submission contests, and much more!


They’ve also announced contest with Capstone Publishing for 3-6th graders to write about the real life superheroes they know. Winners get a trip for four to the DC Entertainment Offices n Burbank and a VIP tour of the WB Animation Studio, and lots of Capstone and DC merchandise.

In case the name Capstone doesn’t ring a bell, they’re a children’s book publisher with heavy distribution into the educational an dlibrary marktes. They’ve been doing DC based chapter books for years, like this line of Super Pets books.

While people complain about Marvel and DC not doing enough to reach younger readers, they both have pretty robust licensing programs in the kids areas, as this reminds us. As I’ve mentioned before, both publishers have a problem with appearing kid-oriented alienating their core audiences. Licensed books for the kids are a good way around this.

5 Comments on DC Comics launches a blog for families, last added: 3/8/2013
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11. Kick-Watcher: Michael Moreci on MINI COMICS INCLUDED

One of the ways many people stumbled onto their first comic was through the promotional comics that used to come bundled in with action figures. You know the ones – you buy a He-Man figure, and in the box comes a comic which shows him in action, fighting against all the other characters who coincidentally also have action figures available too.

Well, if you do remember those comics, then here’s a kickstarter for youMichael Moreci, Steve Seeley, and Tim Seeley’s MINI COMICS INCLUDED.

Mini Comics Included will be a set of six mini-comics, which replicate the sort of comics which used to come packaged in with action figures and board games. Each drawn by a different artist, with Moreci and the Seeleys writing all six issues. And if you pledge towards the project, you can get your hands not just on the comics – but also on action figures which have been custom made to go along with the comics.

I spoke to Michael Moreci about the project, and how it came into existence.

mci2 Kick Watcher: Michael Moreci on MINI COMICS INCLUDED

Steve:  Mini Comics Included are based on the comics that used to be enclosed in the box whenever you bought toys like He-Man action figures, or Transformers. What are your memories from those mini-comics?

Michael: I have such amazing memories of Christmas morning, unwrapping presents with my older brother and revealing glorious He-Man action figures. We were into other stuff as well—I was especially a fan of the Super Powers figures—but He-Man was the alpha and omega of my childhood. Rick, my brother, and I would play with these figures all day long, making up stories, designing our own cartoon ideas, and acting them out. We’d cut up comics and paste new panels together that made little sense, but the stories were ours.

As a matter of fact, I really think that’s the beginnings of my love of storytelling in general, the ability—and encouragement from my parents—to make stuff up on my own. To wonder, to imagine. I read so many comics—mainly the minis that accompanied He-Man figures—and watched so many cartoons that the structure of stories got ingrained in me at a young age.

Specifically, with the comics, I was always hooked by the curiosity “what’s next?!” factor. Because, let’s face it, a lot of those comics were simply rad catalogues. Their whole purpose was to show off the next villain or weapon or whatever. Like, He-Man would suddenly bust out this underwater gear and, as an adult I’m like “where the hell did that come from? Dude’s  wearing a loincloth and nothing else…” But as a kid, my mind was immediately set to “must have!” mode. Luckily, my mom worked at a toy store, so I had a hook up.

The comics were cool because, yeah, they were sometimes promo pieces, but they were also simple stories. They were just cool stories that enhanced the experience of being a He-Man fan, or a comic fan.

Steve: Why recreate that style of comic, in particular?

Michael: A lot of the discussions the three of us have regarding comics—and a lot of people have about comics—is the lack of fun, just pure, raw, fun. Guys like Kirby, Mantlo, Toth, you name it, were all exceedingly enthusiastic and had these wild imaginations. And that doesn’t exist all that much anymore. We’re too serious of an industry, like we won’t be regarded enough if we allowed our work to do all those wonderful things comics are capable of doing.

Getting back on point – Steve, Tim , and I have all had this itch to do something that harkens back to this particular comic/cartoon/toy era that we love so much and influenced us so heavily. And we wanted to do it right—nothing watered down, nothing compromised. We want to take readers back to a time when comics were something to enjoy, pure and simple. You read them because you were like “oh my God, who is this new character?! Is he good? Bad? What does this mean?!” But, again, so much of comics, right now, is set in its ways. Stories have to be told in a certain way, for a certain audience, in a certain format. We’re breaking all those rules because, one, we want to do something fun and original and totally unique; and two, we absolutely know people want this. These are the comics we love, but they’re also the comics people want.

Steve: You’ve worked with Steve Seeley frequently, with the current Hoax Hunters series at Image being one of the most high profile works. How did you all come together on this project in particular, and realise it was something you wanted to try and make a reality?

Michael: Steve and I, and Tim, share a similar affinity for this era of nerd culture, that late 70s early 80s cartoon, comic, toy, etc.  I mean, we’re three 30s-ish geeks, how could we not?

It’s not just that, though. We’re also creators who like to think outside the box, creatively and professionally. And doing a Kickstarter has been on our minds for awhile, but we wanted to do it right. Meaning, we wanted their to be a reason we were doing a Kickstarter, not just some cash grab to make good on our names. That’s lame.

So, one night we were drinking—as we are wont to do—and kicking around ideas. We had something there, like we were scratching the surface. We knew we wanted it to be inspired by those comics and toys we loved, but that wasn’t quite enough. It still didn’t have that “okay, but why?” factor. And Tim hit it: Mini comics. Everything took off from there, making them a certain size, getting the toy designers on board, even the weird incentives. Because, truly, this isn’t something we could do anywhere else. Not like this. That’s is what makes it a perfect project for Kickstarter—we’re not just giving away art or head sketches or whatever. We’re all in on this the mini comics theme, and the drive is a ton of fun because of that.

Steve: How has the process of working with the Seeleys been? Both on Hoax Hunters, and now with Mini Comics Included.

Michael: Tim and Steve are like brothers to me. We work really well together because we share both common interests and common values. We’re workers, we’re that prototypical Midwestern no-frills get-the-job-done type professionals. We love what we do, but the cornerstone of how we operate is grounded in dedication to the work.

Yet, as similar as we are, we’re also very different. We each bring something different to the table and, out of that, we refine the best possible product. That’s how Hoax Hunters is—Steve and I often have different sensibilities and have to find a middle ground; the process of doing so makes us really understand where we’re coming from on a story level, and the book is better for it.

mci3 Kick Watcher: Michael Moreci on MINI COMICS INCLUDED

Steve: So, to the comics in particular – how did you decide which characters to use for these stories? Did you have some of the characters in mind already, or did you create them just for this project?

Michael: For the most part, yes. These were kind of pet projects that we knew, to some degree, would not thrive in the Direct Market system. This was an opportunity for us to cast off those shackles and say, “okay, we’re doing these stories right here, right now.” Steve and I have been chipping away at Prime-8s, and we had done an Omega Family short for Double Feature Comics awhile back. Tim had done a Colt Noble one-shot with Image awhile ago as well. His other two ideas are just exercises in weird and crazy stuff that Tim digs. So, beware.

The main requirement, though, was to align the stories with the spirit of the project. This isn’t one big excuse for a vanity press—some stories didn’t make the cut. We were looking for a specific type of playfulness. For instance, Literary Commandos is a G.I. Joe riff; Prime-8s is kind of He-Man meets Ninja Turtles; Colt Noble has He-Man written all over it. The feel of the book matters. Without that, it doesn’t matter what size it is or what toy you may have purchased; the story, and art, has to function. Speaking of, the artists on these titles are incredible. Paul Tucker, Brent Schoonover, Sean Dove, Clint Hiliniski are all absolutely killing on these books, and we selected them because they’re such perfect, perfect fits.

Steve: How long are each of the issues?

Michael: Sixteen total pages for each comic.

Steve: Are there any characters you’re particularly fond of? I couldn’t help but notice there is a frog cyborg, and I immediately need to know everything about this character, please.

Michael: Ha, well, that’s actually a frog totoro, though easily mistaken as a cyborg. He’s the leader of the hyper-evolutionaries who make havoc for the Omegas. That’s all Paul Tucker—his design sensibility and playfulness are out of this world. Watch that name, he’s going places.

Hmmm… favorites. Well, Dracula Man (from Superbeasts) is one of the most ridiculous things I’ve heard in a while. I love the Prime-8s villains, Dogtastrophe (you know, a play CATastrphe, get it?) and the K-G-Bee. And what’s not to love about a four-armed gorilla named Fourilla? There’s Marksman Twain, that’s a good one. Kikintha Balls…oh, and Daxxis from Omega Family. Love that Woolly Mammoth…thing.

Steve: BUT! Has it been difficult to create characters who can match up to the might of The Street Sharks?

Michael: Where would democracy be without them? And Battletoads?

In terms of raw power, I’d need to wrap up Travis Bickle with Driver with a mutated dinosaur to enter the arena. Those were some badass sharks.

mci1 Kick Watcher: Michael Moreci on MINI COMICS INCLUDED

Steve: How tongue in cheek will the comics be? Looking back now, we’re aware that the comics were a way to try and sell more toys to kids – are you going to play with that, at all, or are you playing things straight? Is it tempting to try a more satirical approach with the stories, and wink at the readers?

Michael: We sort of play with the stories. As mentioned above, we’re totally aware that these comics were often promo pieces, and that’s that. But one thing we absolutely did not want to do was get ironic with this. Nobody enjoys nostalgia for nostalgia’s sake. So we had to walk a fine of embracing the  idea too much and making it a sell aware wink at the tradition. I think the balance we have is a good one. We embrace it and honor what we’re working with, but make it our own as well, in a very loving way. Again, we want to recapture that feel of the time, and the best way to do so, we think, is to make it somewhat contemporary but retain the best sensibilities

Steve: How do you see the project moving on, if this Kickstarter is successful? Could we see a second wave in the future?

Michael: Oh boy…that’s like asking a woman who’s crowning if she’s thinking of having another kid. Okay, maybe not QUITE like that, but I’ve already had nightmares about the launch, and I’m writing this before actually doing so. I’m so thrilled about the project, but it’s also going to be a massive undertaking, from start to finish. I would love to do six more titles and make this a thing, and I think Steve and Tim would also. Right now, I’d say I’m hopeful. After all, we still haven’t told the story of the Blasteroids!

Many thanks to Michael for his time. So, one last mention – you can find Mini Comics Included on Kickstarter here. You can also find Michael on Twitter here!

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12. Must read: Jesse Post’s Kids’ Comics Pep Talk

Speaking of ComicsPRO, here’s a link I found in the coverage: a slideshow put together by Papercutz marketing director Jesse post on the power and potential of kids’ comics. The slideshow is embedded above but he does a walk-through on his blog and although Papercutz-centric material is there, it’s really big on stats and charts and studies. For instance:

Children’s publishing is astonishingly digital-proof. The commonly accepted average digital/print split for adult trade publishing is 50/50, and leaning more towards digital every day. In children’s trade publishing, it’s 10/90! I’ve seen major best-selling children’s books move 1% of their print sales in digital. A Papercutz book that achieves 3% of its print sales in digital is a significant bump.


This does back up studies that I’ve seen—but I’ve also had the proud parent of a 1-year-old girl show me a video (on his iPhone) of her using an iPad with complete facility. Although a super-race of digital-only Eloi kids is probably on its way, it won’t be here for a while—too many of today’s parents were raised on books, and until that preference cycles out completely, it won’t be gone.

But it does back up something I’ve been feeling over the last few months…there’s going to be a “third wave” of comics used for educational purposes. There’s a small, dedicated core of comics people who want this to happen, but although small in number, they are no smaller than the ones who drove other comics retailing and marketing revolutions. And this time, we have a lot of teachers and librarians on our side. It may not be an obvious step for comics, the art form, but if it comes through it could provide even more stability.

A lot is happening.
201302270159 Must read: Jesse Posts Kids Comics Pep Talk

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13. IDW and Cartoon Network team up for Powerpuff Girls, Johnny Bravo, Ben 10 etc.

The people at IDW are no slackards. After taking a look at the sales of their My Little Pony comics -- their best selling comics EVER -- and the current 90s cartoon nostalgia trend, they've pacted with Cartoon Network to bring out a bunch of old favorites—and current hits —in comics form, in a deal announced at last week's ComicsPRO meeting in Atlanta. Titles include The Powerpuff Girls, Ben 10, Dexter's Laboratory, Samurai Jack, Johnny Bravo and Generator Rex.

9 Comments on IDW and Cartoon Network team up for Powerpuff Girls, Johnny Bravo, Ben 10 etc., last added: 2/26/2013
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14. Three graphic novels win Cybil Awards

The winners of the CYBIL Awards were announced last week—Children’s and Young Adult Bloggers’ Literary Awards -- recognizing books that librarians and kids love. The winners are:

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15. Telegemeier announces Smile follow-up, Sisters

While cartoonist Raina Telgemeier has been revealing a few details of her next graphic novel on her tour for Drama, Publishers Weekly made it official: her next book will be a companion of sorts to the autobiographical Smile. Called Sisters it deals with “the inner workings of [Telgemeier’s] family,” specifically, her relationship with her young sister, which as you can see from the above artwork posted on her blog, wasn't always smooth sailing.

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16. Bookscan: Kids’ comics and The Walking Dead ruled bookstore sales in 2012

It's my FAVORITE day of the year, when Brian Hibbs posts the year-end sales from bookstores via the Bookscan chart. Now we know these numbers are significantly low, but as I always say, they present a metric. The huge take away? Well, we all knew The Waking Dead was a juggernaut,—sales in this franchise would have made it the #3 publisher all by itself—but after that it's kids comics all the way, led by the maybe-comics of Dork Diaries, but following by Big Nate, Ninjago, Ursula Vernon's Dragonbreath, Drama and so on.

16 Comments on Bookscan: Kids’ comics and The Walking Dead ruled bookstore sales in 2012, last added: 2/19/2013
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17. Interview and Exclusive Preview: Peyo’s BENNY BREAKIRON with Jim Salicrup of Papercutz

TweetFollowing a multi-volume and ongoing celebrated run of bringing Peyo’s original SMURFS comics to English-speaking reader, all ages comics publisher Papercutz is poised to release the first volume of another Peyo classic, BENNY BREAKIRON on May 7th, 2013. Papercutz, headed by former Marvel editor and all round comics ambassador Jim Salicrup, has been kind enough [...]

5 Comments on Interview and Exclusive Preview: Peyo’s BENNY BREAKIRON with Jim Salicrup of Papercutz, last added: 2/13/2013
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18. Dave Stewart will color Craig Thompson’s SPACE DUMPLINS

Tweet As you may recall, Craig Thompson’s followup to the long brewing Habibi will be a kids comic, called Space Dumplins, which will be published by Scholastic, arrival date unknown. (What was it we were just saying about space comics?) On his blog, Thompson just announced that Dave Stewart will be doing the coloring: The [...]

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19. Michel Gagne’s Zed coming from Image

ZED A Cosmic Tale FrontCover 400wtd Michel Gagnes Zed coming from Image
Michel Gagné is an Award-winning (Annie and BAFTA) animator, but he’s also known for his charming comics work in the FLIGHT anthologies as well as the fantasy comic The Saga of Rex. Over the year’s he’s also been working on an all-ages tale called ZED, the story of a young alien on the run from a galactic villain. Now a collection of the 10 issues published from 2001 to 2010 is coming out from Image in next month. You can see more of ZED at Gagné’s website.

“I fell in love with comics at an early age, and recall wanting to be a comic artist as one of my first childhood dreams”, said Gagné. “I later became interested in animation and special effects and pursued a career in that field. Despite this new passion, I never wavered in my love of comics and ultimately couldn’t shake the festering desire to create my own series. In early 2001, after finishing up a demanding job as Head of Special Effects at Warner Brothers Feature Animation, I took time off to make that dream come true. This is how ZED was born.”

Doing a comic series after hours, single-handedly, proved to be a more difficult task than Gagné first anticipated. “I planned to tell my tale over a period of ten issues and felt pretty confident, at the time, that I could have the whole thing wrapped up and published within a couple of years,” said Gagné. “Little did I know that it would take me eleven years to finally bring the series to fruition. ZED is, first and foremost, a labor of love which I created at my own pace. The comic series became a way for me to build my graphic novel.”

ZED reflects Gagné’s deep love for golden age science fiction and oddball cartooning. It is influenced by his favorite books and movies, as well as political news, rock concerts and things he has experienced and witnessed throughout his life. With the series wrapped up, Gagné combined all ten issues into a single graphic novel that reads as one uninterrupted story. Because of the time span it took to get the series done, Gagné felt that the writing and art style needed a second pass to make them more consistent.

“The disparity from one issue to the next was less visible when separated into individual comic books, but all strung together in graphic novel form, the inconsistencies became painfully obvious”, said Gagné. “When putting the final book together, I didn’t treat it as a straight reprint book. I spend several months reworking the art and writing to make it more cohesive. I consider ZED: A Cosmic Tale published by Image Comics to be the definitive version of the story.”

 

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20. Preview: Who is AC? by Hope Larson and Tintin Pantoja

With 2013 barreling along, it's time to start looking at some of books that are going to make it a notable year, and here's one that has flown mostly under the radar until now: Who is AC? by Hope Larson with art by Tintin Pantoja, to be published by Atheneum on April 16th. It's Larson's first original GN since Mercury, she she describes it thusly:

5 Comments on Preview: Who is AC? by Hope Larson and Tintin Pantoja, last added: 2/1/2013
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21. Cuteness and More Review: CHU’S DAY by Neil Gaiman and Adam Rex

TweetOkay, it’s not a comic. But it is a lavishly illustrated and pleasingly offbeat childrens’ book by the great comics and prose writer Neil Gaiman (his latest longer work is THE GRAVEYARD BOOK) and the best-selling picture book artist Adam Rex (FRANKENSTEIN MAKES A SANDWICH). Last spring at MoCCA Fest, the Children’s Literature panel spent [...]

4 Comments on Cuteness and More Review: CHU’S DAY by Neil Gaiman and Adam Rex, last added: 1/25/2013
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22. Boom launches THE REGULAR SHOW

Close on the heel of the Adventure Time comic empire, Boom is striking again with a comics adaptation of The Regular Show, J.G. Quintel's Cartoon Network hit about Mordecai and Rigby, a blue jay and raccoon trying to make their way in a crazy world. K.C. Green writes and Alison Strejlau draws.

1 Comments on Boom launches THE REGULAR SHOW, last added: 1/29/2013
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23. Review: Emily (and the) Strange(rs) #1

TweetIf we can trust editor Rachel Edidin (and who wants to live in a world where we can’t?) then Emily Strange is a pretty big deal. And indeed, looking at the history of the character, something pretty fascinating has been going on here. Originally created by Rob Reger as a mascot for his clothing company, [...]

1 Comments on Review: Emily (and the) Strange(rs) #1, last added: 2/4/2013
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24. Stan Lee is back on the scene and bringing joy to the children with his new kids comics line

Although Stan The Man Lee has been missing a few appearances of late—we're told due to the flu—he was well enough to appear at an event this weekend to mark the launch of his Stan Lee Kids Universe Line of comics. This is not only welcome proof that The Man is still alive and kicking, but a super rare coming to fruition of one of the Many Pacts of Stan Lee.

3 Comments on Stan Lee is back on the scene and bringing joy to the children with his new kids comics line, last added: 2/5/2013
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25. Aw Yeah Comics! Hits Kickstarter Target Within Hours

TweetAfter the cancellation of Superman Family Adventures, the creative team of Art Baltazar & Franco haven’t wasted any time in moving onto their next project. And what a move! After putting a Kickstarter up for their new ‘AW YEAH COMICS!’ series, which was to last six issues, it took only a few hours for them to [...]

15 Comments on Aw Yeah Comics! Hits Kickstarter Target Within Hours, last added: 2/6/2013
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