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As Kevin reported back in March, Andrews McMeel — the company that publishes the collections of popular newspaper comic strips like The Far Side, Calvin and Hobbes, Cul de Sac, Baby Blues, Get Fuzzy, Dilbert, and Pearls Before Swine – also has new editions coming for Fox Trot, Lio, and Big Nate that are specially tailored to appeal to children. To do that, the publisher has created a new imprint: AMP!
Building on that previous announcement, AMP! has now revealed the official titles of those books and released the cover art. The books, they say, “are designed to bridge the gap between today’s mostly older-skewing comic book content and the demand from kids for comic books that are age appropriate. A boy genius, bickering siblings, and a comic book reading scientist – along with zombie bunnies, a robot maid, and a mischievous iguana – will have kids anticipating new offerings from AMP! season after season.”
It’s a cool idea, because while I don’t know that I’d keep my child away from any of the normal collections of those strips, certainly not every storyline of Foxtrot is going to appeal to him as much as the ones focusing on Jason and Quincy the iguana. Collecting just the strips that kids will most appreciate is pretty great.
The line launches next month with Lincoln Peirce’s Big Nate Makes the Grade and continues in October with another Big Nate collection (all color, Sunday strips) as well as Bill Amend’s AAAA! A Foxtrot Assortment for Young Readers and Mark Tatulli’s Lio: There’s a Monster in My Socks. There are already plans for Pearls Before Swine and other series to follow.
Andrews McMeel Publishing, a corporate sibling of Universal Uclick, in August will launch AMP! Comics for Kids, a line of paperback graphic novels aimed at middle-school readers, Publishers Weekly reports. The initial lineup will feature Lincoln Peirce’s Big Nate #4 and Big Nate Sunday Treasury, Bill Amend’s FoxTrot and Mark Tatulli’s Lio #1 and #2.
The publisher already releases collections of such Universal Uclick comic strips as FoxTrot, Lio, Garfield and Cul de Sac. Kirsty Melville, president of the AMP division, told PW the initial kids’ line will include both original material and adaptations of previously published work.
She also credited the success of the Big Nate collections — there are more than four million copies in print — for spurring the launch of AMP. The popular strip centers on a rebellious sixth-grader and his classmates and teachers.
“Big Nate set us on the path that we could do comics for kids,” Melville said. “We’re trying to build a list that will go on for years. We’re reaching out to our comics artists community, some of whom have never created just for kids before.”
Welcome to Food or Comics?, where every week we talk about what comics we’d buy at our local comic shop based on certain spending limits — $15 and $30 — as well as what we’d get if we had extra money or a gift card to spend on a splurge item.
If I had $15, I’d grab the latest Lio collection, Zombies Need Love Too. Cartoonist Mark Tatulli has one of the better newspaper comic strips going these days.
If I had $30, I’d nab what is clearly the book of the week, NonNonBa, the latest book from Shigeru Mizuki, author of Onward Toward Our Noble Deaths. NonNonBa aims more toward Mizuki’s traditional milieu of Japanese folklore and yokai monsters, though this book is more autobiographical in nature in that it deals with his relationship with his grandmother and how she instilled in him an interest in the spirit world. I’ve been anxiously awaiting this release.
My splurge for the week would likely be one of two books from First Second: Either Baby’s in Black, Arne Bellstorf’s fictionalized tale of the sadly doomed Beatle, Stuart Sutcliffe, or Mastering Comics, Jessica Abel and Matt Madden’s follow-up to their previous how-to textbook, Drawing Words, Writing Pictures.