This year's New York Comic-Con may have been the biggest ever, but children's comics were a smaller presence. There were no industry panels on children's comics, as there have been in previous years, and only a handful of panels and new-product announcements.
The biggest announcement was a Disney/Marvel crossover: the elves of the upcoming Disney animated Christmas special Prep & Landing will be featured breaking into the Avengers' headquarters to lay the groundwork for Santa's visit in an eight-page story that will run in Avengers #19, Super-Heroes #20, and Spider-Man #20, all of which go on sale in November. Disney/Marvel Kids also announced plans to develop an iPad/iPhone/iPod app for the Amazing Spider-Man origins picture book, according to publicist Hallie Patterson, who was handing out materials at a busy Disney/Marvel Kids booth. Patterson said the app would feature Stan Lee, the inimitable co-creator of Spider-Man and so many other Marvel superheroes, doing the narration and that more Marvel Kids origin pictures were on the way in 2012, including The Unstoppable Wolverine. On the show floor, the Disney booth was bustling and the giveaways included a booklet describing Marvel's Origin Stories and picture books for young readers, with an exclusive poster inside.
As in previous years, Archie Comics had a large booth on the exhibit floor and a panel that attracted such a big crowd the fire marshal had to limit the crowd. (Attendees were promised a swag bag with over $100 worth of product, including the Archie Marries graphic novel, which may have contributed to the popularity of the panel.) The panel itself highlighted the upcoming Archie Meets Kiss comic, the ongoing Life with Archie series, the adventures of Kevin Keller, Sabrina and Little Archie animated series, and the recently announced return of Archie’s Red Circle superhero characters. There was one announcement of a romantic nature: In the regular Archie continuity, Archie and Valerie from Josie and the Pussycats will be rekindling their romance.
Oni Press announced that it will be republishing Ted Naifeh’s Courtney Crumrin graphic novels in a new, full-color edition to celebrate the publisher’s 15th anniversary. The series will start with Courtney Crumrin and the Night Things in April. Their panel also featured two new children’s graphic novels that are due out in the next two weeks: Power Lunch by J. Torres and Dean Trippe, and Sketch Monsters by Vinny Navarette and Josh Williamson. Power Lunch is about a boy who gains superpowers from the foods he eats—carrots enable him to see through walls, for instance—while Sketch Monsters is about a girl whose doodles about her moods come to life and run amok.
1821 comics announced its Stan Lee’s Kids Universe imprint, which will publish children’s comics and tie-in games. Titles include Monsters vs. Kittens, Reggie the Veggie Crocodile, and The Fuzz Posse, a comic about mischievous police dogs. Some of the comics are being developed in association with Viper Comics.
The manga publisher Viz Media announced a number of new non-manga titles in its VizKids line. All are continuations of series that have already been announced: Two new Mameshiba books, Mameshiba! We Could Be Heroes and The Best Friends Ever, a new Mister Men and Little Miss book featuring Mister Strong, and a new volume in their Voltron Force series, which ties in with the animated cartoon on Nicktoons. VizKids editor Traci Todd also showed off a Mameshiba picture book, Winter, which includes stickers so the user can create a picture of the Mameshiba characters playing in the snow. An autumn-themed book is planned for next year.
First Second, Oni Press, Papercutz, and Archaia all had booths on the exhibit floor and hosted signings by children's book creators, including Matt Loux (Salt Water Taffy), Chris Schweizer (Crogan Adventures), Dave Roman (Astronaut Academy), and Jim McCann and Janet Lee (The Dapper Men). The children’s comics collective Comic Book Diner had its usual large table, featuring creators Rich Faber and John Gallagher (Roboy Red, Buzzboy), Jamar Nicholas (Fist, Stick, Knife, Gun), and Thom Zahler (Love and Capes). The Comic Book Diner guys are also working together to (it’s a Kickstarter project) release three new books at once: Gallagher’s Buzzboy: Sidekicks Rule!, Faber and Gallagher’s Roboy Red: Nuts & Bolts and Nicholas’s Leon: Protector of the Playground. The trio of kids cartoonists already to a podcast together and will be marketing the three books together when they’re all released in the fall.
The comics literacy organization Reading with Pictures also had a booth in the small press area and featured signings by Raina Telgemeier (Smile) and Chris Eliopoulos (Yo Gabba Gabba).
Two publishers with prominent children’s lines, Ape Entertainment and BOOM! Studios, were absent from the exhibit floor, but Ape announced during the show that it is in negotiations with Sesame Workshop to create a series of Sesame Street comic books. Former Disney animator and Muppet Show comics artist Amy Mebberson, who is currently one of the illustrator of Ape’s Strawberry Shortcake comics, was in the Artists Alley and said that she would be working on the new line.
Other children’s creators in the Artists Alley included Chris Giarrusso (G-Man), Art Baltazar (Tiny Titans), Laura Lee Gulledge (Page by Paige), and Jim Zubkavich, whose Skullkickers is going to be the basis for a Munchkin game next year.[Additional reporting by Calvin Reid]