Sesame Workshop has licensed Ape Entertainment and its Kidzoic imprint to produce original print and digital comic books for young readers featuring the Sesame Street characters. Four-color print comics in standard and digest sizes will be available in comic bookstores, through Diamond Distribution, while digital comics will be available initially through Apple’s App Store and eventually through Android distribution channels. Both formats also will be for sale on Ape’s Web site.

“We’ve been fans of Sesame Street since our childhood,” says Brent Erwin, Ape Entertainment’s COO. “We’ve always loved it. So it was the nostalgia factor, and the early learning aspect, that appealed to us.”

Ape’s mission is to introduce kids to comic books and get them into comic book shops, in the hopes of creating lifelong fans. “We want to build this young reader brand and get kids interested in reading comics, so we can help sustain the business,” Erwin says. This is the company’s youngest-skewing license to date; others include Kung Fu Panda, Madagascar, and additional properties from Dreamworks Animation; Richie Rich and Casper the Friendly Ghost from Classic Media; and Strawberry Shortcake from Cookie Jar Entertainment.

Ape recently announced it would be publishing a second volume of Strawberry Shortcake, due to strong demand for its initial four-book miniseries. “We’ve tapped into a part of the market that’s underserved, the young female,” Erwin reports. “They’ve never had a comic book just for them, and they want it.”