ACCESS ALL AGES: May 2013

Another month in the books, a busy one for both me personally, as well as the comic book industry. Free Comic Book Day was everything that was hoped for, and I hope it drove lots of traffic into the comic book shops. There are a lot of series coming out in the coming months that I am looking forward to and I really appreciate the diversity in the new titles. The quality of many of the top books is very consistent, and I think it’s that consistency that helps them maintain their sales. It’s the same kind of consistency that is going to allow new readers to brave the world of comics, and not get frightened off. The all-ages books are great to get younger readers reading, but readers need to be able to graduate to different comics that are also of a consistent quality so they won’t have the desire to drop out when a new creator takes over.

batseat02The News

More than 50 different comics released on FCBD, many all-ages titles There isn’t much news this month, because everyone was busy reading free comics. I could do a separate column on the Free Comic Book Day titles as there was so many that interested me, but like everyone else, I’m too busy reading them.

KidsEmbrace has released a Batman car seat –  A Batman car seat is such a cool idea I’m surprised nobody thought of it earlier. If my son still used this type of car seat I would be very tempted. I’m thinking of buying it just to have Batman driving around in the car with me.

The Sales

Top 5

1. My Little Pony Friendship Is Magic #6 (IDW) – 65 – 33,903
2. Batman Lil Gotham #1 (DC) – 78 – 27,591
3. My Little Pony Micro Series #3 (IDW) – 91 – 23,338
4. Adventure Time #15 (kaboom!) – 97 – 21,682
5. Adventure Time Fionna & Cake #4 (kaboom!) – 104 – 20,760

Not much change overall other than the addition of Dustin Nguyen’s brilliant Batman Lil Gotham series, finally seeing daylight in print form. Overall sales are down a bit from last month, but My Little Pony remains strong, outselling mainstream books from Marvel and DC which is truly impressive. There is little variation in totals from month to month which is fantastic as it speaks to the quality and consistency of these titles.

The Gateway

ku-xlargeThe Green Team: Teen Trillionaires #1 (DC) I am a noted fan of Art Baltazar and Franco, but that usually involves their art as well. This book is a little different because they are just writing it, but that is alright as their art style probably wouldn’t fit this book anyway. The first issue is primarily a setup book, and it was a little less funny than I expected. It seems to be a leading towards the Green Team being a new and different style of super-hero book, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. While it isn’t what I expected, it is still very engaging, and a great starting off point for both the series and new readers. I am looking forward to issue two and seeing more of where the title is going.

The Story

I want to note a couple of quick observations about Free Comic Book Day before I tell a quick story. My son and I drove past our local comic store (Alpha Comics, familiar to many regulars of this site), and was pleased to see a lineup out the door. We had a couple things to do before going to the comic store, so it was interesting to note that despite the fact that there was no lineup when we arrived about an hour later, the store was still jam packed with customers. While my son was choosing his free comic books, I overheard some grandparents who had brought their grandson to FCBD. What I was impressed with was both that they knew about it, and were willing to brave the crowds to bring their grandson.

Regular listeners of the We Talk Comics podcast (of which I am a co-host – shameless plug time) know that we like to talk about the comic Tiger Lawyer by the talented Ryan Ferrier. During the Calgary Expo, we kept bringing up the fact that it was a TIGER, who was also a LAWYER! Ryan was at the Free Comic Book Day at Alpha, live-tweeting the event (with another great guy, Ben Rankel – follow them both on twitter). When we were in line to buy the comics we had picked up besides the FCBD titles, my son asked me if a Lion could also be a lawyer. It was completely out of the blue and unprompted, but a great moment nonetheless (also great that I could make the suggestion to Ryan immediately).

The Reviews

regular-show-1-cover-b1. Regular Show #1 (kaboom!) Another property title, much like Adventure Time for Boom! Again, like Adventure Time, a very odd mixture of characters and scenarios, but really funny. I haven’t seen the show, but if the comic maintains this level of quality, I would definitely recommend it. I also loved the fact that it isn’t a one-off story, which hopefully keeps people coming back for more.

2. FCBD – The Tick (New England Comics) Spoon! The Tick is back in a brand new story, and the best part is that it’s free! While not the quality of the Ben Edlund stories, the Tick and Arthur are still great characters. This book has some fun moments, and made me want to go back and read my Tick collection again which I would have to call a success. I hope it makes others want to go and find some Tick for themselves.

3. FCBD – Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (IDW) I am really enjoying the new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles series, it is a great blend of styles, with lots of humor, action, and a great continuing storyline. The comic doesn’t hit quite the same mark as the animated series, but it’s still a good story. I hope that once the regular series launches, it will become more like an extension of the show and maintain an ongoing storyline rather than just having one-off stories within the series continuity.

4. FCBD – Molly Danger/Princeless (Action Lab) I have talked about Princeless before, and this story fits nicely in with what has been published. A cute story for sure, but the real find in this book is Molly Danger. The Molly Danger side is a quick tease of what to expect from the character when the regular series launches. The story was tons of fun, and it looks like a winner.

5. FCBD – Scratch 9 (Hermes Press) A superhero cat with the ability to summon any of its nine lives. The concept alone is a winner, and this re-print of the first issue is good fun with nice art to go along with it. While it’s nice to get new stories, sometimes it’s important to get readers started with the first issue to whet their appetites.

There were a lot of families at the comic store on May 4th. I liked the fact that while they were all there to grab the free comics, they were also allowing their children to buy other comics as well. Though there is no guarantee that these kids will continue to read the comics on a monthly basis, at least this is giving them a starting point. I applaud all the retailers who shell out their money to buy the FCBD books, and hope that days like this continue to promote comic books and drive new customers into their stores.

It’s interesting to see the volume of new all-ages series that are coming up in the next few months. Obviously the more the merrier, but I think that publishers aren’t looking at it from a volume perspective, I think they see the success of My Little Pony and Batman Lil Gotham and realize that with quality titles, not only can you get good sales, but you can get great sales. It’s an exciting time to be in the world of comics, and all-ages is becoming as good a place to be as any in this industry.

Before I get back to reading more free comics, I just want to mention Chris Giarusso and his excellent series G-Man. Volume 3 just wrapped up, and even though I haven’t finished reading it yet, I want to comment on how much fun the book is, and how much I appreciate his art. If you haven’t tried any of Chris G’s work before, I urge you to take a look for it. Thanks for reading, and until next time, keep collecting!

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