Archive for the ‘Kids’ Comics’ Category

Will O’ the Wisp – Tom Hammock & Megan Hutchinson

Will O’ the Wisp is the tale of Aurora Grimeon, a recently-orphaned girl sent to live in a swamp. It’s a Southern Gothic occult mystery, and a fine one.

Will 'O the Wisp

Aurora’s parents die suddenly. They made pasta sauce with poisonous mushrooms, and the narrative takes a Roald Dahl-ish relish in this piece of high grotesque adult folly. After being callously handed through a similarly gleeful macabre sketch of child protection services, Aurora is packed off to Ossuary Isle to live with her grandfather Silver in a swamp thick with gravestones and Hoodoo folklore.

If you’re not hooked already, I’m worried about you.

Read On…

Podcast Episode 6 – Kids’ Comics

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As any number of hacks will tell you, comics aren’t just for kids anymore. But have things gone too far the other way? What are the good kids’ comics? And who better to talk about that than three people who are not and do not have children? No one, that’s who. Read On…

Cartozia Tales: A Great Kids Comic

As I was just recently bemoaning the state of kids’ comics, it would be remiss of me not to draw your eye to this Kickstarter for Cartozia Tales, a new compendium comic featuring a raft of new artists and writers, as well as guest indie superstars like Dylan Horrocks and James Kochalka each month.

Each artist has a section of the map of Cartozia to cover, and Editor Isaac Cates rotates artists through each section month by moth like a sort of comics exquisite corpse, with artists continuing previous stories or starting new ones. In this way the world gets filled out; built as its written from a set of shared stories. There are also activities skewed at kids, like map drawing and paper dolls. My copy came with a luchador sticker on the envelope. This pleased me more than perhaps it should.

As with any anthology, some things will be more to your taste than others. I particularly enjoyed Shawn Cheng’s, as well as Lucy Bellwood’s and Dylan Horrocks’ (a neat little tale about a girl and a robot that will almost certainly appeal to Studio Ghibli fans).

Cartozia Cloud Herders

Shawn Cheng’s Cloud Herder characters

If you want comics for your kids’, to read something all-ages, or just to be introduced to a bunch of great artists each month for not too much cash, consider investing. The Kickstarter should guarantee the first ten issues, and it will be interesting for kids and adults alike to see how this world gets built. There are some samples up at the Cartozia Tales site if you need convincing.

Comics for Kids

Somewhere between the well-worn “comics are for kids” trope and the strident call and response of “Watchmen!”, “Dark Knight Returns!” and “They’ve got boobs and swearing now!” an important fact seems to have slipped, namely that comics really don’t seem to be for children any longer – and not in the way anyone would have hoped. For a lot of the time they’ve existed comics have largely been aimed at children. But the medium has matured and broadened, and it’s important to remember that it’s exactly that – a medium. And just like any other medium, it should be able to support as broad a range of ‘stuff’ as possible. Booker Prize nominees surely don’t feel threatened by the contents of the children’s book section of their local store, similarly comics fans should learn to appreciate that a broader range of titles is a sign of a thriving industry, not a threat to what they want to read.

I digress. As the market has become more mature (older, not necessarily wiser), the bigger publishers have moved away from the all-ages fare they previously published, and started producing books that target the 25 – 35 age group that pays their bills. I was dimly aware of this, but I was reminded starkly when two friends independently asked for recommendations for comics for kids and, despite being a fairly voracious reader of comics (as was one of those asking), I struggled to come up with suggestions. There are good titles out there, but they definitely seem marginalised at the moment. Licensed comics have done OK – Boom! Studios had a broad range of Disney and Pixar titles before Marvel was bought by Disney, and The Simpsons comics have always sold steadily, but there’s definitely room on the shelves for more kid-friendly fare. After all – children are our future. We need them to grow up and pay taxes to fix our hideous future diseases, as well as buying comics to make sure we have a thriving selection of comics to read when we’re in Hideous Future Disease Hospital.

Read On…