- Posted by Johanna on May 4, 2006 at 9:15 pm
- Category: Indy Comic Reviews
In preparation for the day, I’ve been reading the giveaways. I need to be familiar with what supposedly kid-friendly title uses a bad word or how much violence may make parents uncomfortable or what to recommend to which type of audience. My thoughts follow.
First up, the Gold titles. These books feature the characters most recognizable to the general public, and most of them are kid-friendly as a result. Take Archie, for example. Last year several older readers responded well to the characters, mentioning how they’d read them when they were younger. I’m a little uncertain about emphasizing that age so prominently, though, with the “65th Anniversary Bash” title, and with so few girl-targeted books, it would have been nice if Betty, Veronica, or Sabrina were more obviously featured.
The story uses the possibility of Archie’s family moving out of Riverdale to wander through a variety of situations and characters, including cameos by Sabrina, Josie and the Pussycats, the Little Archie kids, Bingo Wilkin, and more. The newer characters, like Brigitte and Ginger, make token appearances, but then, that’s all they usually do. (Shame, because they give the stories a fresh feel, since they have less history and more potential.) It’s rather like a sitcom “clip show” that focuses on guest appearances.
I love the Bongo cover — it’s a gag that works whether or not you know the characters, with an additional tie-in to the day for those who recognize the Comic Book Guy. The Simpsons comics are perenially popular, and this title should be no different. The stories inside include one where Comic Book Guy gets amnesia and thus a life, another with Homer as Pie-Man, and a Marvel superhero parody. I wonder if they’re targeting the stereotypical comic shop crowd?
I somehow missed getting an early copy of the Dark Horse Star Wars/Conan book or the Image sampler, but I’ve already heard griping about both. The Conan cover is a little violent for some, while the Image book has a swear word on the first page. More significantly, it apparently doesn’t provide either complete stories or information on where to get the continuations.
After complaints that a reprint of Justice League Unlimited didn’t demonstrate the full range of DC titles, the company added a second book, a reprint of Superman/Batman #1. Shame that they couldn’t pick a good read or a timely title for their more mature offering — or, for that matter, a Vertigo or WildStorm title with lots of potential to sell collections — but character recognition outweights such considerations.
Devil’s Due’s GI Joe Sigma 6 is exactly what it looks like, a techno-military adventure without much imagination, and so is IDW’s Transformers. Like Image, IDW decided against satisfying potential new readers, with a few pages from four different titles. They did Image one better, though, since each section ends with “continued in (title name)” with an on-sale date.
I know I’m way overdue, but this is the first time I can remember reading a Donald Duck comic all the way through, and it was terrific. All kinds of humor for all ages, and all funny, with three complete stories that felt packed. What a wonderful surprise.
Unlike its closest competitor, Marvel brings out a new story with X-Men/Runaways. Sadly, it’s less than half the book and illustrated by a rather stylized artist, Skottie Young. None of the characters look right to me, and it doesn’t match the approach of the regular series they’re trying to promote. Fun seeing the kids get the better of the established characters, though.
The rest of the issue consists of a Franklin Richards short, an Avengers Adventures preview that quits as soon as it introduces the characters, and a bunch of text pages summarizing Ultimate Spider-Man (boring!).
Saving my favorite for last, Tokyopop collects three lengthy samples of upcoming OEL all-ages books. Kat & Mouse features a girl detective at private school, which provides a number of hooks — this could easily be promoted to fans of Harry Potter, Nancy Drew, or even the OC, if they wanted a younger version. It’s got terrific writing and art, touching family drama, an intriguing mystery, and plenty of interesting suspects.
Also included are chapters from Mail Order Ninja, a comedy about a boy who receives the title character to help him with bullies, and Sea Princess Azuri, a Little Mermaid-like fairy tale featuring a whale girl in an arranged marriage.