Darin Batten of All Star Comics and Games in Mishawaka, Indiana saw Timothy Davis' plea for comics for kids (see 'Timothy Davis of Alternate Reality on Comics for Kids'), and Brian Hibbs' response (see 'Brian Hibbs of Comix Experience on Comics for Kids'), and expressed his desire for a Marvel kid's comic:
Quote from Hibbs' comment:
'A 'kid's' version of Spider-Man sounds really great on paper, but what have YOU done to show publishers there is a significant (ie: 'You won't LOSE money') market for this material? And how are you going to convince all of the retailers who don't support the category AT ALL, to jump in?'
Maybe we need a few loss leaders. Now you can't lose if you don't make the effort. Isn't that the whole point of the current Marvel management? Put the axe on the retailer's neck and the retailer's alone. Right now Marvel does absolutely nothing to promote a kids line. I remember hearing/reading a few months ago Marvel's corporate line was to basically 'let Archie do it'.
Yes, DC does 'something' for younger readers in the animated lines. But we need more. We NEED a Marvel title, even just one, maybe two, to springboard younger readers into comics. How many other retailers have a dad come in on a Saturday with his 5 or 6 year old son (or heaven forbid, a daughter!)? The young lad is looking to have a book like daddy's but the father being the responsible soul he is knows that the current offerings from Marvel are just not appropriate for his child. Dad picks up Spider-Man but says to his son 'You can't have this one; this is a big boy's book. You can have this Adventures book.' Next you have the son arguing, as a 5 or 6 year old is wont to do. And all I can think about while this is going on is why doesn't Marvel give me a kid's Spider-Man book. Guaranteed sale right there gentlemen!!
The other corporate giant that is completely missing the boat is Disney. Give me a mouse , dog, or a duck book REGULARLY and I can actually recommend a nice book for 2-5 year olds. And price is an issue. A kids book needs to be cheap. Yep, cheap -- cheap paper and cheap price. A kid is going to tear the book up, draw in it, etc. We don't need glossy paper or covers. They are kids for Pete's sake! However, given Disney's recent track record that won't happen either. Sorry, but movie adaptations at $6.95 for boring movies will not sell a comic. Mouse, dog, and duck books <grin> will!
It is a bottom line issue for all of us. If we cannot attract a new generation of reader we might as well all plan on getting out of this business model in 15 years or less. The publishers need us and we need the publishers. Symbiosis in action. Now if other retailers can't see that is an issue that is their problem. I know where my client base is right now and I have a pretty good feeling of what I could possibly sell to younger readers. I just need to have the product to be able to attempt to sell it. But publishers have to make it for me first.
Steve Geppi's Gemstone Publishing has announced that it will be publishing Disney comics sometime in the near future. We hope to have more news to report on this soon.