Comics for Kids: Disney Moves to Boom!, Henson to Archaia

Gemstone let go of the Disney comic license in the U.S. — leading to questions like “how can any company not succeed with the most popular characters ever?” — but not to worry. Boom! Studios will be releasing Disney comics beginning in September. The format will be the same as their other kids’ comics — 24 pages for $2.99.

Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck stories should make great companions for the existing Pixar and Muppet Disney licenses, already published to great success by Boom! The stories this time around are more in keeping with the Muppet Robin Hood miniseries — Disney characters in other genres. The first two titles will feature the characters as superheroes, in a long story called Ultraheroes, and in a fantasy series, Wizards of Mickey.

Meanwhile, although Boom! is publishing Muppet comics, Archaia has announced that they are teaming with The Jim Henson Company to “publish comic books and graphic novels based on popular Henson titles as well as new co-branded original properties.” While specifics will be announced at the San Diego Comic-Con, Henson properties mentioned include Fraggle Rock, The Dark Crystal, Labyrinth, Mirrormask, and The Storyteller. I wonder if this means Tokyopop has given up on their Return to Labyrinth manga series?

32 Responses to “Comics for Kids: Disney Moves to Boom!, Henson to Archaia”

  1. Reeve Says:

    I found your first sentence to be rather shocking, to say the least, as i hadn’t heard anything about that. There’s a notice on Gemstone’s website saying that their EC and Disney comics lines were still up in the air, but if Boom! has taken over Walt Disney’s Comics and Stories, I guess the transition is official.

    24 pages per WDC&S issue sounds rather skimpy, though.

  2. Kelson Says:

    I hope Tokyopop hasn’t given up on Return to Labyrinth. I finally read the 3 volumes that are out so far, and it was surprisingly good…and they were 3 parts of a 4-part story.

    OTOH, maybe the current team will finish their story at Archaia.

    Mirrormask stuff sounds cool. I’d definitely like to see more of that world.

  3. Johanna Says:

    Reeve, I think the 24-page format is a little short, but it makes a better package for the everyday customer than an $8 specialty-shop-only comic.

    Kelson, there have been separate comic/manga licenses before (Star Trek, for example), so who knows? Getting news out of Tokyopop as to which series are actually continuing when has become rather difficult.

  4. Reeve Says:

    Suppose I can’t argue with that; Gemstone’s Disney publications were very niche. Still, IIRC, previous WDC&S iterations (the Dell and Gladstone ones, at least) always had a minimum of 32 pages per issue.

  5. Johanna Says:

    Yeah, that’s more a change in the comic market in general these days.

  6. Rob McMonigal Says:

    One can only hope Tokyopop lost the Return to the Labyrinth license. That was awful!

  7. Jake Forbes Says:

    Sorry, Rob! Return to Labyrinth is still going forward with its fourth and final volume.

  8. Jake Forbes Says:

    I’m very sorry that I responded to Rob snarkily when it was Kelson I should have thanked. There’s a followup post on confirming that RtL is still on track.

    At the end of the day, perhaps the biggest effect Tokyopop’s OEL initiative will have on the world is that “comics” and “manga” adaptations are now considered two separate licenses.

  9. Tommy Raiko Says:

    “…leading to questions like “how can any company not succeed with the most popular characters ever?”…”

    Just to a be a bit provocative and devil’s-advocate-y: are Disney characters really all *that* popular, especially as potential comic books?

    Obviously, Disney characters–especially the classic Mickey and Donald and Goofy etc.–are among the most recognizable characters in the world, but does the fact that folks are aware of them necessarily translate to “oh, I want to read comic books about them!”

    Not to suggest that there aren’t plenty of kids (and adults) who love Disney characters, who watch the DVDs repeatedly; who dress up like Cinderella and Ariel; who get character autographs at Dinsey theme parts; and so on, and so on. But still, all that affection for the characters doesn’t necessarily mean that there’s a huge self-evident demand for comic books (or, indeed, other narrative-based stuff) based on those characters, does it?

    Again, especially concerning the classic Disney characters–the corporate icons of Mickey and the gang–I think that sometimes those characters’ popularity is…over-estimated…among certain audiences, especially kids.

    Like I said, just devils-advoacting. I must be in a punchy mood today…

  10. Bill D. Says:

    I hope Archaia gives the Fraggle Rock book to Katie Cook to draw! As recently evidenced on her blog, she’d be the perfect choice!

  11. Johanna Says:

    Tommy, that’s a good point — someone might love a character (whether Batman or Pocahontas) and yet not want to read stories about them.

  12. Frank Says:

    I just hope and pray that BOOM! doesn’t do the multiple cover thing that they seem to love. I HATE multiple covers. Kids end-up buying the same issue twice and getting confused. “It has a different cover – why is the inside the same?”

    It’s market manipulation – and gouging. Hate it.

    That said – I am extremely happy they are coming to bat and taking over these books. I wish them great success and will support their efforts by adding these books to my pull-list.

  13. kit Says:

    Katie Cook drawing a Fraggle book would be the best!

  14. Johanna Says:

    You mean this Katie Cook? That’s neat!

  15. John Asperger Says:

    Please allow me to point out that I am SURE that the new Boom! Disneys will be 24-page comics_with 22 or so pages of story , and only 2 pages of house ads and promotional material , rather than the 8-12 pages of such material that many other ” independent ” ( Not Marvel , D , or Archie . ) fill out 32-page comic books with , with the general universiality of the 22-pages of comics material in standard funnybooks , and the fact that most companies other than the three I’ve named above both
    (1) Don’t interrupt their stories with ads .
    (2) Really don’t (can’t ) GET outside paid advertisment .
    Really , this leads to things like Moonstone and IDW titles have literally 8-12 pages of promotional stuff after the story material is over , it’s a little ridiculous-looking to ” outsiders ” I suppose , and it certainly might be seen as a waste of paper !
    Sp , ” save the planet ” a little AND , presumably , help keep the price down , at least , to the now-standard $2.99 for while…What’s not to like ?:-)

  16. John Asperger Says:

    …Besides which , I seem to recall that my one ish of the commerical CARS comic book ( I has what I believe was #1 in its FCBD version . ) follows this ” 22/24 ” pattern…

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    […] The Muppet Show Comic 1-3. Wow! what a stroke of brilliance getting Roger Langridge to both WRITE and DRAW this funny funnybook. Langridge’s style shows through even on a licensed book. Langridige coulda taken the easy way out and drew the Muppets on model, but he made them fit the medium and made puppets into living breathing comic book charcters. This is a lot harder that it sounds, dudes.  I really love this book. I heard Boom! is gonna be doing all of  Disney’s comics as well. Can’t wait for that. Heck, I’… […]

  18. dave roman Says:

    Katie Cook WOULD be great for the Fraggle comics!!!

  19. Mel Caylo Says:

    Thanks for recommending Katie Cook as a possible artist for FRAGGLE ROCK. We’ll certainly consider her when we start auditioning illustrators.


    Mel Caylo

  20. JGilliland_art Says:

    You can’t go wrong with Katie. She’s the hardest working Artist I’ve ever seen. She has muppets in the blood. A Fraggle Rock comic with her style and wit would be a stellar success. My professional recommendation included.

    -John Gilliland

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  23. Mockingbird Says:

    How can the Muppet comic be called a success? Its June sales rank was at #211 according to the latest sales list put out by Diamond! 211 out of the top 300! That’s bottom-of-the-barrel pitiful. I think Boom’s putting out a lot of spin and hype.

  24. Johanna Says:

    The Muppet Show book is a great read and a critical success. Saleswise, it has gone into multiple printings, suggesting increased demand. The Diamond figures are kind of irrelevant for a project like this, since their market is firmly a superhero audience, and many of the outlets they track are not kid-friendly. For a project like this, aiming at all ages, mass market/ bookstore/ newsstand sales are more relevant, and I’m not aware of a reliable source for those until we start looking at the collections.

    Sounds like you’re not enjoying Boom’s Muppet books. What’s behind that?

  25. Mockingbird Says:

    The art is awful, for one.

  26. Johanna Says:

    No, no, it’s not. It’s very skilled and accomplished. I like that the characters don’t look like cuddly stuffed animals.

  27. Lee Says:

    Boom’s Disney comics will have the 50/50 covers. A marketing ploy that leaves collectors with the choice of shelling out twice the price per issue or having an incomplete collection or, sadly, ending one’s collection of that series. Financially supporting a company with those tactics is so repulsive to me I am left with having to choose the latter.

  28. Johanna Says:

    If you’re concerned about seeing all the covers, I’d bet that they’ll all be included in the collected edition, so you can always just wait and buy the book. That’ll get you all the material at a cheaper price.

  29. Lee Says:

    Thank you , Johanna, I appreciate your suggestion.

  30. Johanna Says:

    You’re welcome. And I sympathize with you — I’m not a big fan of alternate covers either. Unfortunately, they work. They cause increased orders in the direct market as retailers and customers support them. Even though I think they stem from people being stupid and greedy.

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