ACCESS ALL AGES: February 2013

Another month is in the books, not the greatest month for the all-ages set, with the final issue of Young Justice hitting the stores and middling sales figures, but with some fantastic news from the Kickstarter front. I think that Kickstarter is a great avenue for comic types to explore, and also a great way for us, as parents to support projects that we would let our children enjoy. It’s not good enough to say that the quality of most all-ages books isn’t very good; therefore I am not going to buy any of them. Take a stand for what you want out of the genre, find it, and support it. There are a lot of comics from the big 2 coming out featuring younger characters; hopefully they give these titles a fun run, without going too adult on us.

The News

GREENTEAM_MOVEMENTArt Baltazar & Franco launch ‘The Green Team’ for DC – Telling the adventures of an extremely rich collection of boys who use their money to fight crime. Fresh off their stint on the excellent Superman Family Adventures, Art and Franco bring an old idea to the new DC. High action and humor are expected to be the themes of this title, and given the pedigree, I am looking forward to this companion piece to DC’s The Movement.

DC launching continuity free digital book: All-New Adventures of Superman  Similar to DC’s Legends of the Dark Knight, though not an actual all-ages book. Taking Superman stories out of continuity can make for a great introductory piece for the character. Provided the Orson Scott Card scandal doesn’t derail the quality of the series, then it should be an interesting addition to our comic reading.

AdventureTime_12_preview_Page_01The Sales

Top 5

1. Adventure Time #12 (kaboom!) – 97 – 20,407
2. Bravest Warriors #4 (kaboom!) – 180 – 9,451
3. Sonic the Hedgehog #244 (Archie) – 187 – 8,716
4. Superman Family Adventures #9 (DC) – 210 – 7,357
5. Young Justice #24 (DC) – 212 – 7,155

The sales from BOOM!s Adventure Time universe still seem to be holding strong. Not too much fluctuation overall in the numbers from one month to the next. As I alluded to in my introduction, it was an average month for all-ages titles, with nothing jumping out as a book that outsold the typical numbers. This time DC has a couple of books in the top 5, with still nothing from Marvel. A very big differential between the top 2 books certainly hints at the large skew of popularity vs consistency.

The Gateway

Nova_1_Cover_VariantYoung (1)Nova #1 (Marvel) : Nova is a strong introduction to a character that has existed for quite a while in the Marvel Universe. This is a new Nova, not the Richard Rider character that I grew up with, but it seems pretty kid friendly as of issue one. The art is good, the story is fun, and it also acts as an introduction to the Guardians of the Galaxy. Given the ties, not only to the Guardians comic book, but potentially the movie as well, then Nova can be a fantastic gateway book.

The Story

I do much of my reading nowadays on my tablet. I find reading comics digitally to be so much easier for me. Often I will be reading a comic while my son is playing in the same room. When he gets tired of playing, and wants to see what I am doing he will jump up beside me and ask questions, so I occasionally have to be careful to monitor what I am reading when he is around. The vast majority of super-hero merchandise that exists for children is based around the iconic costumes of the characters, and this is what my son recognizes. When I am reading a comic book that features an updated costume of one of these characters, he sometimes has a hard time connecting on why the character looks different than he is used to. This will (more often than not), force me into a geek moment of trying to explain the history of Batman to a 4-year old. Running down the plot of the current storyline for my son is often a challenge in itself, but the entire history? Simply put, it’s an exercise in futility. At these points I usually offer to let him play some Angry Birds on the tablet. It seems to be a good compromise.

The Reviews

  1. 6081077-professor-frink-fantastic-science-fictions-1Frink #1 (Bongo) Anyone who has ever watched the Simpson’s, knows the Professor Frink character (by Glavin). While I’m sure there are many opinions about the current quality of this long running show, the level of consistency of the comics is admirable. I like the fact that this is starting off a series of one-shots on some of the smaller characters in the Simpson’s universe. There are a few stories in this one, and it is worth the money for a fan.
  2. Scooby-Doo Where Are You? #30 (DC) I love the Scooby-Doo character, and am a huge fan of the original series. I am also very impressed with the Mystery Inc. series that is currently running. I would prefer that this series was based more around the current cartoon and advancing that storyline rather than simply telling one-off tales of the gang. The stories are fun, the art is competent, but there is nothing to hook a reader. This is simply buy, read, forget, and that is a real shame given the property.
  3. Batman Li’l Gotham #6 (DC) One of the cream of the crop for all-ages titles. Fantastic art, great storylines that give fun insight into the current characters in the Batman universe make this an excellent gateway book as well. The passion behind the book is obvious; the only problem is that you’re not going to find it in a store currently, as it is a digital first offering from DC. I’m sure they will eventually print a trade, and when they do, I’m there.
  4. Mega Man #22 (Archie) This is a cute book, the manga style art works well for bringing the video game characters to the page. The problem is that the words overshadow the art, this book is in need of someone to explain the ‘show it, don’t say it’ rule. It seems like a fun book that could win over some readers, but if I were younger, I don’t know that I would be willing to commit the time to reading this series.
  5. GlobWorld #0, #1 (Action Lab) This is an older series, but I bring it up primarily because both issues are currently free on Comixology. Another series of the ‘cute’ variety, with characters that have some potential to grow outside of the comic book world. Lots of lessons to be learned in these issues, with a primary focus on bullying. Not the best, but if you want a cute, free read when you are looking on Comixology, give it a shot.

I talked about what Kickstarter could do for the all-ages market earlier, and the reason I brought it up, was Art Baltazar and Franco’s ‘Aw Yeah Comics’. This Kickstarter campaign funded the day it was put up, and currently sits at almost $40,000 (of a $15,000 goal). This speaks volumes to me about the desire for quality all-ages content, and I hope it spurs to action more creators with these kinds of stories in their heads. I am excited about this series, and can’t wait to get my pledge reward.

Though it has nothing to do with this column, I will happily mention that Harrison Ford is returning for Star Wars episode VII, which makes the young geek in me very happy. Despite my son’s love of Star Wars, he hasn’t latched on to the specific actors like I have.

Before I go, I want to say that there are many ways to support comics and the all-ages community, whether it is your local comic book store, Kickstarter, or Comixology. Quality titles do exist, and the interest is there, so give something new a chance. Thanks for reading, and until next time, keep collecting!

Brett is a co-host of We Talk Comics and can be found on twitter at @brett_wetalk. To email Brett, click here.


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