DC’s For Kids

Two new all-ages comics arrived this week from DC Comics.

Superman Family Adventures is for those who loved the awesome and entertaining Tiny Titans comic, by Art Baltazar and Franco. Sadly, that series has ended, but happily, the same creative team are now giving us this monthly series focused on The Last Son of Krypton and his various S shield wearing heroes. Like Tiny Titans, it features in-jokes for the grown up fanboy but is also accessible enough for the young fanboy-to-be. The simple, cartoony and colourful visual style is a treat, as is the crude yet appealing lettering. Superman and Supergirl are sporting their  New 52 costumes, and Superboy and Krypto show up too when Lex Luthor sends three robots to destroy Metropolis. Perry, Jimmy and Lois (and Clark) show up as well. It’s a simple, yet great story, with Lex’s pride being his undoing as he accidentally gets the powers of Krypto rather than Superman. There’s also a fan art page, a maze and a few pages advertising the characters of Young Justice, including new members Beast Boy, and Blue Beetle! It’s great to see comics like this and it’s great to see that there’s an audience for it.

DC Nation Super Spectacular is a 64 page, full colour magazine that’s based on the new block of programming that features short animated features, claymation and behind the scenes segments all about DC Comics. Like the series above, it’s another good idea to familiarise, and hopefully hook, new readers. The three comics in these pages are all reprints, but at least they’re new ones, showing Young Justice fighting Psycho Pirate, a Green Lantern story by Baltazar and Franco in a style that more closely resembles the new GL cartoon, and a Teen Titans story in which Beast Boy reveals his origin around a campfire. They’re all fine stories and introductions to the characters though.

Also included is a GL poster, a 2 pager on the Aardman Animation claymation DC Nation shorts, a find the words puzzle, a few pages on the goodies and baddies of the GL toon, plus one on Plastic Man and his villains, another 2 pager on the Super Best Friends Forever (Batgirl, Supergirl and Wonder Girl), and that’s about it. It’s not exactly filled with enough content to keep the kids busy all afternoon, but it does get me curious about DC Nation, and I hope it gets shown here in Australia, as there’s enough fun shorts for everyone, and a focus on minor characters like Plastic Man, and Animal Man. I hope future issues of this mag will see original comics though, but overall this is a good entry point into the wider DC pantheon.

Gestalt’s The Deep Wins Aurealis Award

Massive congrats to Gestalt, Tom Taylor and James Brouwer as The Deep: Here Be Dragons won the Aurealis Award for best OGN, and very well deserved, I say. This is the second time running Gestalt have won, and it’s a testament to the grand and diverse work they’re doing. Needless to say, if you haven’t got a copy of The Deep, rectify that pronto! It’s an enchanting all-ages book.

Aurealis Awards announce Australia’s best graphic novel(s) of 2011 

Gestalt Publishing’s The Deep: Here Be Dragons declared Australia’s best graphic novel, in a tie with Hidden from Black Pepper Press.

The Deep: Here Be Dragons has been heralded Australia’s best Graphic Novel during the weekend’s Aurealis Awards ceremony held in Sydney, tying with Hidden from Black Pepper Press.

A finalist in both Best Childrens Book (Illustrated) and Graphic Novel categories, Gestalt Publishing’s winning title is written byTom Taylor and illustrated by James Brouwer.

The Aurealis Awards, Australia’s premier awards for genre fiction, are for works of speculative fiction written by an Australian citizen, or permanent resident, and published for the first time between 1 January 2011 and 31 December 2011.

Over 700 entries were received this year, a record number, indicating both the strength of the speculative fiction genre in Australia.

Three of Gestalt’s graphic novels were finalists in the Best Graphic Novel category this year – Torn by Andrew Constant, Nicola Scott and Joh James, The Eldritch Kid: Whisky & Hate by Christian Read and Michael Maier, and The Deep: Here be Dragons by Tom Taylor and James Brouwer.

Last year, Gestalt’s Justin Randall won the Best Graphic Novel category for Changing Ways Book 1.

Tom Taylor is one of only a handful of Australian-based comic book professionals to be regularly working in the enormous US comics market. His Star Wars and superhero comics sell tens of thousands of copies every month in the US but it is his work with Gestalt of which he’s most proud.

His award-winning book, The Deep: Here Be Dragons, illustrated by Brisbane-based artist James Brouwer, tells the adventures of the Nekton family – A multiethnic family of daring Aquanauts who live on a submarine.

“I hope all book stores stock these truly stunning books,” says Taylor. “Gestalt Publishing are doing things I always wanted to see in Australian publishing, They are engaging and championing local talent, and publishing some wonderful stories. However, what’s perhaps the most exciting, is the commitment to quality they are showing.”

“With so many people in the publishing industry looking to cut margins, Gestalt are bucking this trend.  Every book they publish is beautifully produced, it’s one of the reasons I’m so happy The Deep has been published through Gestalt. When I showed these books to editors at San Diego Comic Con last year, they couldn’t believe their eyes. Many commented that they were of a far better quality than anything they could possibly hope to produce and this is a testament to what Wolfgang (Bylsma) and Skye (Ogden) are doing with this company. With so many turning to digital, with a society that is turning more and more to disposable media, these guys are creating something permanent. They are producing books that are so gorgeous, you want to pick them up, hold them, and keep them forever. ”

The Aurealis Awards presentation ceremony was held on the evening of Saturday 12 May 2012 at the Independent Theatre in North Sydney.

Fact File
The Deep: Here Be Dragons received the Aurealis award for Best Graphic Novel
Gestalt received four nominations in this year’s Aurealis Awards
Gestalt wins Best Graphic Novel Aurealis Award two years in a row
Gestalt Publishing endeavours to encourage and inspire emerging and established comic creators
For more information on Gestalt go to www.gestaltcomics.com

Adventure Time Comics at BOOM! Studios

Being a pop culture hound that I am, I’ve been aware of kooky, new cartoon series Adventure Time for a while now, but only actually watched it a few days ago when I stumbled upon it on TV. It’s like a crazy mash-up of Ren and Stimpy and Monty Python. Now, the fun is coming to comics, though since it’s coming from their all-ages imprint, I assume any of the more…subversive elements will be erased. Check out any random Adventure Time clips on YouTube and you’ll see what I mean. 

WHAT TIME IS IT?!

IT’S ADVENTURE TIME!

NEW ONGOING MONTHLY COMIC SERIES LAUNCHES THIS FEBRUARY

FROM BOOM! STUDIOS AND CARTOON NETWORK ENTERPRISES WITH RELEASE OF ADVENTURE TIME #1!

Cartoon Network’s smash hit animated comedy series Adventure Time is coming to BOOM! Studios’ all-ages imprint KaBOOM! in an ongoing monthly comic book series featuring all-new original stories! Hold on to your swords! Adventure Time #1 ships this February!

The highly-anticipated first issue from the monthly series features a story written by Ryan North, author of the smash-hit webcomic Dinosaur Comics, and drawn by Shelli Paroline, the artist of ICE AGE: ICED IN and MUPPET SNOW WHITE.

“It’s quite exciting to bring this series to comics. My wife and I are huge fans and sing Marceline’s ‘Daddy, why’d you eat my fries?’ song around the house all the time,” BOOM! Studios Founder and Chief Executive Officer Ross Richie said. “Pendleton Ward has created a brilliantly original voice in this show and it’s a true ‘All Ages’ property that appeals both to kids and also has a substantial amount of adult fans. Watch for the waving snail!

“It was like a bomb dropped in the office when we announced Adventure Time,” says BOOM! Studios Editor-in-Chief Matt Gagnon. “Everyone at BOOM! was just as excited as any fan. Adventure Time is such a classic story at its heart- a boy and his dog on different adventures – but the genius of the show allows us to take a simple concept and get really creative with the presentation. Everyone we’ve worked with is a huge fan of the show and creator Pen Ward has been instrumental in bringing this comic book to life. ”

The ADVENTURE TIME comic series will follow Finn the Human, Jake the Dog, Princess Bubblegum and the other inhabitants of the Land of Ooo as they explore many varied adventures. Since its debut on Cartoon Network, Adventure Time has become a runaway hit, with explosive growth in ratings, huge critical and fan acclaim, a major presence at fan conventions and more, it’s clear fandom is obsessed and 2012 is the Year of Adventure Time! Don’t miss out on this new phenomenon—this first issue is sure to get snapped up! You can pre-order the books at your local comic shop. Don’t know where it is? Go to http://www.comicshoplocator.com Or you can stop by BOOM! Studios (www.boom-studios.com)and pre-order issue #1 or a subscription today!

ADVENTURE TIME #1 is written by Ryan North with art by Shelli Paroline and Braden Lamb. This title ships with three covers in a 75/25 split by Chris Houghton and Jeffrey Brown in a 1-in-10 incentive by Chris Houghton, a 1-in-20 incentive by Jeffrey Brown, and a 1-in-30 Chris Houghton Wraparound Cover. This title ships in February, featuring a price point of $3.99 with a Diamond Code of DEC110939.

Additional information about future books in the Adventure Time comic series from KaBOOM! will be available in the coming months.

 

Ape May Create Sesame Street Comics

Well this is certainly the first press release I’ve seen in which a publisher purports to be “in negotiations” for a licence. Jim Henson’s work is being done in comics thanks to Archaia, BOOM! and now Marvel are doing Pixar and Muppets stuff, and Ape recently produced Shrek comics, so it was only a matter of time before Seasme Street finally came to print. Here’s the official lowdown.

 APE ENTERTAINMENT HOPES TO SET UP SHOP ON SESAME STREET


Ape Entertainment and Sesame Workshop in Negotiations to Create Educational Comics for Young Readers

Ape Entertainment announced today that it is currently negotiating with Sesame Workshop for the right to produce a series of comic books featuring the cast of the beloved children’s show Sesame Street.  Ape Entertainment hopes to work with Sesame Workshop to create a series of comic books that will be both educational and entertaining for young readers.  Subject to successful negotiations, the comics will be produced in full color and available in printed editions as well as in digital editions that will be available through the Sesame Street store on Apple’s iTunes in 2012.

“We are incredibly excited about our current negotiations with Sesame Workshop and the possibility of being able to bring their expertise in educating and entertaining children to comics,” said Ape Entertainment COO Brent E. Erwin. He went on to say, “I love the idea of creating educational comics that will both teach and entertain children. And the possibility of getting to work with Elmo, Big Bird, Cookie Monster and Grover, well…that’s just a dream come true.”

Sesame Workshop is a nonprofit educational organization with the mission of making a meaningful difference in the lives of children worldwide by addressing their critical developmental needs.  Sesame Workshop has been producing Sesame Street for over forty years.

Ape Entertainment intends to continue its mission to grow the comics industry by increasing awareness about comics among a new generation of readers.  Ape Entertainment hopes young readers and their parents will discover the exciting world of comics and start visiting a local comic book shop.

For more information, please visit www.apecomics.com or www.sesameworkshop.org

Atomic Robo For Everyone

Red 5’s flagship character Atomic Robo is currently in it’s sixth volume, the second issue of which is due out this month. On the official Robo blog, writer Brian Clevinger shares an encouraging letter from a mother about her son. Here it is:

My 6 year old son, Bobby Jr., just got done readingAtomic Robo: Ghost of Station X (part 1). Tomorrow he is taking it to school to read it to his first grade class.

He is the most advanced reader the school has ever had (he is reading at a 5th grade level now). I started reading comics to him since he was 3, and now we both can’t get enough. Every year he goes as a comic book superhero for Halloween. And everyday he builds robots with LEGO.

It is because of the hard work of his teachers and I, and his extreme love of comic books that he has excelled. It is because of writers and artists like yourselves that we both want to read. The wanting makes all the difference.

Thank you Red 5 for making reading fun for my son. I am really grateful that we saw your booth at the Dallas Comic-Con earlier this year. Now we make sure to pick up any Red 5 issues we can find. Thank you again.

-A very proud mom.

Great stuff. Check out Brian’s response, and pics of Bobby reading the issue to class at the blog here, and grab any issue of Atomic Robo for some good, funny, all-ages entertainment.

        

Snarked #0 Review

Roger Langridge has garnered many fans with his accessible work on Thor: The Mighty Avenger and BOOM!’s Muppet Show. Working with the latter publisher’s Kaboom! imprint, New Zealander Langridge again shows what comics can, and should, be – easy on the eyes, easy to understand and most importantly – fun.

There’s an insightful interview with the writer/artist about this new monthly series here, in which he reveals how he’s inspired by the kind of lunacy seen in Monty Python and The Goon Show. Using Lewis Carroll’s The Walrus and The Carpenter characters from the 1871 Alice in Wonderland sequel, Through The Looking Glass, and giving them the spotlight certainly is an unusual premise for an ongoing series, but this has great dialogue, zany adventures and a general sense of playfulness on every page.

Wilburforce J. Walrus is arrogant, ignorant of the needs of others and quite full of himself, but Langridge makes him a likeable lead. With his trustworthy and dim offsider, McDunk (The Carpenter, obviously) in tow, the pair head off to the King’s castle, upon learning that he’s just left for a 3 month journey. Pretending to be Princess Scarlett’s ballet teachers, they dance their way in and then form another lie by claiming to be looking for the dreaded creatures known as snarks within the royal walls. While Scarlett, and the baby Prince Rusty follow Walrus and his wild claims of the snarks, he seizes the moment and steals food.

As it’s a #0 issue, it acts like a primer, with fewer story pages ( only 8 ) and more back up pages, including character sketches, a 2 page excerpt from Scarlett’s diary (oddly enough, recounting the events that we’ve just read), The Hunting of the Snark, and the original Walrus and The Carpenter poems by Carroll, plus puzzles and games. It’s only $1, so is a bargain for an entertaining tale that both adults and kids can read, and if it introduces more people to the works of Lewis Carroll, even better.

The art is loose, but not sketchy and the setting, the character designs, body language and timing all add to the comedic charm. The only nitpicks I have are that, in Scarlett’s diary she mentions that her father has been on his voyage for, “three months, twelve days,” and The Walrus and The Carpenter visited her on the same day. However when we see The Walrus reading the newspaper in the main story, it states that the king has just left for an expected three month voyage, so either the newspaper is wrong and he left 3 months ago with another 3 months left, or Scarlett doesn’t know how to use a calendar. Yes, nitpciky, but noticeable. The other odd moment is when The Walrus, while in the castle, notices a golden statue of the king and becomes greedily transfixed by it. On the next page, both he and McDunk are being chased out by soldiers. The implication of course is that The Walrus tries to steal it, but if there was an extra panel of him attempting to stuff the statue into his bag while being watched by angry guards, the transition between panels would work better.

Snarked #0 is released in August and can (and should be) be ordered now, and the series kicks off with the #1 issue in October.

Free Comic Book Day Tomorrow

As if it wasn’t obvious from the podcast post below, it’s the 1oth annual Free Comic Book Day tomorrow – a perfect time to bring a friend or comics newbies to your LCS (local comic shop) to see what freebies are on offer. Bleeding Cool has a handy post on some of the LCSs around the world that are taking part this year, including signings from various creators.

This week, Quality Comics in my hometown of Perth, Western Australia was featured  in a local community newspaper about the event, and Comic Zone, and Empire Toys in Perth will also be taking part, and they all happen to be on Hay Street. How convenient! Make sure to drop by.