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NUM-INOUS COMICS PT. 2

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Friday, August 15, 2008

FEEDING THE KIDDIES

The following was a response I made to a topic on THE BEAT re: the return of kiddie comics.

The problem with saying that the Big Two should re-orient to kids is that any attempt to do so is going to be a terrific loss leader for several years, and even then the kids' comics won't become profitable unless they (a) put themselves in a format economically feasible for kids, and (b) manage to come up with original characters capable of competing with all the popular manga/anime characters, many of whom have had a "leg-up" in the form of dubbed cartoons seen by the kid-audiences on TV.

Are there any preteen-friendly, American-made characters out there that are as prominent as ARCHIE, the Turtles and SONIC? Those are the only ones I can recall.

For that matter, did any of the Big Two's original "manga-format" books score big in sales? I've yet to see any big movement there.

The format thing as I see it would also have to be on two fronts: floppies would have to be on cheaper paper to make it possible to sell them to kids. The big companies would still lose on individual sales but might make enough in volume long enough to nurture one or two appealing characters, whose adventures could then reach bookstores in the Tokyopop-TPB format. But that's assuming one can come up with characters with mass appeal for kids. Star Comics, the last attempt by one of the Big Two to create a kids' line, isn't terribly well remembered these days.

But let's leave behind the idea of quickly graduating beyond the hardcore 20s-30s audience. That's not going to change any time soon. The majority of mainstream books will still be written for that audience, and the "artcomics" movement will continue to exist in a codependent relationship with the mainstream, world without end.

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