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DC Entertainment launches family-friendly website

dc fan family

DC Entertainment has launched the DC Comics Fan Family blog, a family-friendly online hub designed to deliver content for parents to share with their children.

In addition to rundowns of the kids comics released this week and the free titles available on the DC Nation app, the website will include DC-themed activity sheets, craft projects, creator posts, contents and more.

“Our fans are parents too and we want to give families the opportunity to create new memories by sharing the DC Comics experience in a fun and family-friendly environment,” DC Entertainment President Diane Nelson said in a statement. “The DC Comics Fan Family blog is the perfect destination for parents to discover new ways to interact with their favorite Super Heroes – from building a Batman jetpack to cooking a Green Lantern-themed breakfast.”

UPDATE: DC has also partnered with children’s publisher Capstone for a contest asking kids ages 3 to 6 to write about the real hero in their lives. The winner will receive tours of the DC Entertainment offices and Warner Bros. Animation Studios, a collection of DC and Capstone merchandise, and $2,500 donated to the charity of his or her choice.

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Viz Media launches sticky DOT comics kids app

viz-sticky dotContinuing the expansion of its Viz Kids imprint, manga publisher Viz Media this morning launched sticky DOT comics, a free kids’ digital comics app for the Apple iPad and iPad mini.

Developed by Viz Media, the app allows readers to securely browse and download a range of manga and graphic novels, from Pokémon and Mameshiba to Redakai and Voltron Force.

Launch titles include Pokémon Adventures, Pokémon Adventures: Diamond and Pearl/Platinum, Pokémon Black and White, Pokémon: Diamond and Pearl Adventure!, Mameshiba: On the Loose!, Little Miss Sunshine: Here Comics the Sun!, Mr. Strong: Good Thing I Came Along!, Redakai and Voltron Force. Available for download in the United States and Canada, volumes are priced between $2.99 and $3.99. New titles and volumes, along with free previews, will be added frequently.

The debut of sticky DOT comics follows Viz’s recent announcements of new Hello Kitty comics and Pokémon manga, as well as a partnership with iVerse.

Art Baltazar and Franco take Aw Yeah Comics! to Kickstarter

If the cancellation of DC Comics’ Superman Family Adventures has left you a little deflated, take heart: Longtime collaborators Franco Aureliani and Art Baltazar are turning to Kickstarter to launch their Aw Yeah Comics!, an “all-reader friendly” series with contributions from established and new talents alike, including Mark Waid, Brad Meltzer, Chris Roberson and Jason Aaron. The series was originally announced in July.

The comic, which stars Baltazar and Franco’s Action Cat and Adventure Bug, is designed to appeal to children and adults alike: “Our hope is to present a comic book that has just as much to offer a little girl as it does a little boy, and leave absolutely no one out of the fun. Because fun is important. Fun is a good thing for a comic book to have, and we want to add a little bit more of it to what’s out there now.”

Aw Yeah Comics!, which shares its name with the duo’s Skokie, Illinois, store, will debut in April with Chicago Comic & Entertainment Expo. According to the Kickstarter page, work on the first three issues is about 80 percent complete, while issues four through six are at about 60 percent. To help reach their $15,000 goal, they’re offering pledge incentives like an exclusive digital comic, an original mini-painting by Baltazar, a guest appearance by a donor’s own character, and a cover by Franco for a donor’s comic book.

The Kickstarter campaign ends March 7.

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Tyler Kirkham takes The Family Troll to Kickstarter

Artist Tyler Kirkham, known for his work on such titles Green Lantern: New Guardians and Ultimate Fantastic Four, is stepping outside of the superhero arena with The Family Troll, a graphic novel written by his wife Jill Kirkham, and he’s turning to Kickstarter for help.

Loosely based on Tyler and Jill’s own struggles to have a child, the fantasy follows a young couple in a similar situation that consults with a wizard in hopes of obtaining a magical solution to the problem. The wizard agrees, but only if two agree to care for a newly rescued troll while he sets off to gather the ingredients for the potion. They raise the baby over the course of a year, growing close to the young troll, and … well, you can probably guess the rest.

Tyler and Jill have been working on the book for more than a year, in between his regular DC Comics series, but they need $11,200 to publish the 26- to 30-page hardcover (for production costs, printing, shipping, etc.). To help reach that goal, they’re offering Kickstarter incentives like signed copies of the book, full-color prints, stickers, original art and a custom Plush doll of Narg the Troll. The pledge tiers are a little far apart — $25, $50, $100, $200, $1,000, $5,000 and $10,000 — but the campaign is already chugging along at a pretty good clip: Five days in, they’ve brought in $2,987.

Check out art and the introductory video below. The Kickstarter campaign ends Feb. 24.

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Chicago’s Challengers Comics opens all-ages Sidekicks

Sidekicks (from Patch.com)

When Challengers Comics + Conversation opened nearly five years ago in Chicago’s Bucktown neighborhood, owners Patrick Brower and W. Dal Bush expected their clientele would be predominantly men. However, families with young children soon began walking through the door.

“When we first started in March 2008, we were surprised by the number of families that would come in,” Brower told Time Out Chicago. “Over the years, that’s grown, and it seems like a large portion of our regular customers have just started to have kids. They’re just infants, but those comic readers will want their kids to read comics.”

So after a 2010 expansion into an adjacent storefront for a sequential-art gallery didn’t prove as popular as they had hoped, the owners decided to transform the 400-square-foot retail space into Sidekicks, a “comic shop within a comic shop” devoted exclusively to family-friendly fare.

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Comics A.M. | Gene Luen Yang announces two-volume graphic novel

From "Boxers and Saints"

Creators | Gene Luen Yang, creator of American Born Chinese, has revealed his latest project Boxers and Saints, a set of two graphic novels about the Boxer Rebellion in China; one story is about a peasant who joins the Boxers, while the other is about a woman who converts to Catholicism. First Second will publish them as a slipcased set. There’s a 10-page preview as well as an interview at the link. [Wired]

Comics | Jim Rugg notices that his print copy of Hellboy in Hell doesn’t look as good as his friend’s digital copy, and where most of us would have just shrugged and moved on, he takes the time to think about why that is and how careful publishers can ensure that print comics look their best. [Jim Rugg]

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Comics A.M. | DragonCon co-founder again facing molestation charges

Crime

Legal | DragonCon co-founder Ed Kramer, who hasn’t been associated with the show since 2000, has been brought back to the Gwinnett County Jail and booked on child molestation charges that date back to August 2000. The 51-year-old Kramer was released on bond after his initial arrest following accusations that he sexually abused three boys, and has avoided jail and court for more than a decade because of his health problems, although he was under house arrest for a while. He was arrested again in Connecticut in 2011 for violating the conditions of his bond after he was allegedly found alone in a hotel room with a 14-year-old boy. Atlanta Magazine ran a lengthy expose on Kramer last year. [The Atlanta Journal-Constitution]

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Comics A.M. | Turkey lifts ban on thousands of books (and a comic)

Legal

Censorship | At least one comic, alas unnamed, was among the thousands of books removed this week from a Turkish government restricted list. Most of the bans were widely ignored anyway, but Metin Celal Zeynioglu, the head of Turkey’s publishers’ union, pointed out one important effect of lifting them: “Many of the students arrested in demonstrations are kept in prison because they’re carrying banned books. From now on, we won’t be able to use that as an excuse.” [The Australian]

Publishing | Tom Spurgeon’s latest holiday interview is with Shannon Watters, the editor of BOOM! Studios’ children’s comics line, which includes Adventure Time, Bravest Warriors and Peanuts. [The Comics Reporter]

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The Phoenix finally goes digital


This is the first year to start without The Dandy on the shelves of U.K. newsagents since 1937, making it strange times indeed for the kids’ comics market in the British Isles. For most industry-watchers over here, as the decades passed, comics came and went, and all were vulnerable to the specter of sudden cancellation, with little certainty in the field other than there would always be The Beano and The Dandy. Waking up to a world without one or the other in it was once as unthinkable as a night sky without the moon.

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Finalists announced for the 2012 Cybils

The finalists were announced Tuesday  for this year’s Children and Young Adult Bloggers’ Literary Awards, or Cybils. Nominations for the awards are taken from the general public beginning in October, and the Cybils judges make the final choices. Here are the books that made the final cut in the graphic novel category:

Elementary/Middle Grade
Annie Sullivan and the Trials of Helen Keller, by Joseph Lambert
Giants Beware! by Jorge Aguirre and Rafael Rosado
Hilda and the Midnight Giant, by Luke Pearson
Little White Duck: A Childhood in China, by Na Liu and Andrés Vera Martínez
Nathan Hale’s Hazardous Tales: Big Bad Ironclad! by Nathan Hale

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Ultimate Spider-Man cartoon to promote reading using Marvel comics

One of the longtime laments of many fans is that DC Entertainment and Marvel don’t better utilize popular animated series like Young Justice or the late Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes to promote their comic books. Well, that’s about to change.

When Disney XD’s Ultimate Spider-Man returns Jan. 21 for a second season, it will be accompanied by a new series of interstitials designed to encourage kids to read. Hosted by Marvel’s Chief Creative Officer Joe Quesada and Dylan Riley Snyder (“Kickin’ It”), “Marvel Comics Close-Up” will give viewers an inside look at 10 comics, including Ultimate Spider-Man #7, Invincible Iron Man #7, Hulk #3, Thor #364 and Marvel Adventures Spider-Man #16. In addition, free Marvel digital comics will be offered on the Disney XD website.

Ultimate Spider-Man returns Monday, Jan. 21 at 7 p.m. ET/PT with a one-hour premiere that introduces Electro and the Lizard. New episodes follow in the show’s regular time slot, Sundays at 11 a.m. ET/PT.

The Phoenix runs an awesome search for new junior talent

I love this: Neill Cameron is a great proselytizer for comics, regularly holding workshops for kids at any venue that will have him — schools, libraries, conventions, book fairs, shops, anywhere you can swing a Sharpie at a whiteboard.  He’s also a regular contributor to the U.K.’s best kids comic, The Phoenix, and is using his blog to promote its new competition challenging children to create their own comics.

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Comics A.M. | Scottish city to create Bash Street to honor Beano strip

Bash Street Kids

Comics | The Dundee, Scotland, city council has approved a proposal by publisher DC Thomson to name a street in the city’s west end to honor the Bash Street Kids, stars of the long-running comic strip in The Beano. Dundee already has statues honoring comic characters Desperate Dan and Minnie the Minx. [BBC News]

Comics | Laura Sneddon continues the New Statesmen’s week-long series on comics with a look at children’s comics in the U.K., including the digital relaunch of The Dandy, the continuing popularity of The Beano (which sells a respectable 30,000 copies per week) and the new kid on the block, The Phoenix. [New Statesman]

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Comics A.M. | Woman shot following Walking Dead argument

The Walking Dead

Crime | Police say a Willston Park, New York, man shot his girlfriend in the back Monday following an argument about the AMC adaptation of The Walking Dead. Twenty-six-year-old Jared M. Gurman reportedly believed a military mishap could lead to the release of a virus, triggering a zombie apocalypse; Jessica Gelderman, 27, thought the idea was absurd. According to police, the argument escalated and even continued through text messages after Gelderman left the apartment to spend the night at her parents’ house. When Gelderman returned to try to smooth things over with her boyfriend, police allege he was sitting on the stairs with a .22-caliber rifle; a single round pierced her lung and diaphragm and shattered her ribs. Gurman was arrested when he took Gelderman to the hospital. She’s in stable condition with the bullet still in her body. [Newsday]

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Amazon debuts Kindle subcription service for kids — with comics

Amazon.com has launched Kindle FreeTime Unlimited, a subscription service that offers access to thousands of handpicked books, movies, television shows, games and educational apps appropriate for children ages 3 to 8. The online retail giant promises, “Parents don’t have to spend time (and money) guessing what their kids will enjoy, and kids can explore a world of age-appropriate content on their own — no ads, no in-app purchases.”

The service, included as a free trial on every new Kindle Fire, debuts with a library that includes the Disney-released Marvel picture books, Warner Bros. Consumer Products-produced DC Comics apps, Lincoln Peirce’s Big Nate, Bill Amend’s FoxTrot, Mark Tatulli’s Lio, and Graphic Universe’s “Graphic Myths & Legends, Sherlock Holmes and “Manga Math Mysteries” series. Presumably we’ll see more kids’ comics as the rollout continues.

The monthly subscription is $4.99 a month for one child, and $9.99 for up to six (cheaper for Amazon Prime members).


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