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Overthought Bubble #13: Think of the Children

Written by Gavin D. on Tuesday, January 26 2016 and posted in Columns

Overthought Bubble #13: Think of the Children

Comics hurts itself when it's not building a new generation of readers.

Comics may be experiencing some of its most creative work with the rising power of creator owned titles. These books generally have better artwork, story, and characters than books based on intellectual properties thanks to their less restrictive environments. These titles also see less censorship in content and language, allowing them to truly actualize as their creators' original vision. This method of releasing a story has given us some great books, such as Saga, Sex Criminals, The Walking Dead, Y: The Last Man, and Injection to name a few.

I have a deep respect for all of these books, but under no circumstance would I give them to my 8 year old brother. You see, I tend to enjoy Thanksgiving with my family and hope to be invited back this year, but these books would not be acceptable in the eyes of my mother - or myself for that matter. The creators are making books for adults, and that's great. Comics are both entertainment and an art form, but they have the innate ability to appeal to children.

If you have ever handed a comic book to a child you likely know this, and if you have ever sought a comic book appropriate for a child you know that options are limited. Most stores don't order many all ages books, and those that do generally order the all-ages Marvel or DC titles which sometimes feel sketchy, such as the all-ages Guardians of the Galaxy which is just an adapted version of the Disney XD cartoon.

The comics industry is not interested in creating all-ages titles. The sentiment was even verbalized by the great Didio when he said "We don't publish comics for kids. We publish comics for 45-year-olds. If you want to do comics for kids, you can do Scooby-Doo." It is both a stupid and inaccurate statement. Lumberjanes is a great counterpoint. The book has won an Eisner, won a Harvey, received a film deal, and is one of BOOM's top selling titles. The series, which is all ages, has also received much critical acclaim thanks to simply being great book. However beyond Lumberjanes and the few Big Two options the only ongoing titles I can immediately think of are Adventure Time, How-Toons, Invader Zim, and The Only Living Boy, a book self-published by David Gallaher and Steve Ellis. That's not a lot of options for the kids, especially when you compare it to the total number of titles released.

The comics market is prime to grow thanks to the annual blockbusters, but it is doing itself no favors. It would cost Disney Channel five seconds of airtime to advertise a decent all ages book and, based on industry averages, only about $3,000 to make this book. Same for Warner Brothers and DC. The profit is there for the taking, but the industry's current publications seem intent excluding young readers.


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About the Author - Gavin D.

Gavin Dillinger exists in a constant state of restlessness as he runs between two jobs and spends every spare moment writing articles or scripts. He has also perfected the art of being simultaneously dead tired and jacked on coffee, and is the best-selling author of When is the Right Age to Tell Your Highway It's Adopted. Gavin graduated Cum Laude from MTSU and should probably get a real job. You can follow him on Twitter or see a random thought on tumblr once every three five months.

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