Diamond, the distributor that supplies comics and graphic novels to comics shops, has set up a website called kidscomics.com—gee, I wish we had nabbed that URL!—that provides a wealth of information on, well, kids’ comics.
The site features information of new and upcoming releases (most new comics are released on Wednesdays) as well as short previews of a selection of comics and links to the publishers’ websites for those who want to know more. There are links to online games from the publishers as well, a listing of upcoming comics-related events, and a locator tool for finding kid-friendly comics shops.
This site complements Diamond Bookshelf, a monthly newsletter that focuses on comics for kids and teens. Bookshelf has a rich lineup of reviews, interviews, reading lists, and other articles, and if you are reading this blog, you should be reading Bookshelf as well. The kidscomic.com is more of a catalog site, with book information but no other articles, and it focuses more tightly on children’s comics rather than teen titles. If you’re looking to find out which Disney comics Boom! Studios is putting out this week, or which of the many Spider-Man titles is kid-friendly, this is the place for you.
The kidscomics.com site also features a store locator. Comics stores are not well known outside the fan community and can be a bit intimidating to non-aficionados. The traditional comics store is as much a labor of love as a business, and they tend to be tucked away in out-of-the-way spots, so you may not even know if you have one in your town. Some comics stores can be intimidating to new customers—the stereotype is that they are dark, messy, and filled with pinup art, but there are plenty of clean, well-lit, family-friendly stores. But where?
The kidscomics.com website makes it easy to find stores that Diamond has labeled “kid-friendly,” but be warned that the “kid-friendly” designation is based solely on what they order; it’s not like Diamond sends inspectors to look the place over, so it’s a good idea to check out a store before bringing younger children. Some stores have prominent displays of horror comics, statues of scantily clad women, and other merchandise that a child might find intimidating. On the other hand a truly kid-friendly store will have a separate area for children’s comics that is well away from the more adult stuff.