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Good Comics For Kids
Inside Good Comics For Kids

Wondercon 2017: IDW’s Hey Kids! (of All Ages) Comics Panel

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Editor’s note: GC4K writer Lori Henderson attended this year’s WonderCon, which took place on March 31-April 2 in Anaheim, California. This week we will publish several writeups of the panels she attended there, which featured editors and comics creators from different publishers discussing their work.

Sunday at Wondercon is Kids Day and is always filled with panels designed for them. And every year, IDW Publishing hosts a panel for kids, featuring all of their all-ages titles. This year was no different, as a full panel (an achievement for a Sunday morning) talked about IDW’s new and existing titles as well as taking questions from kids in the audience.

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Sarah Gaydos, Group Editor at IDW, led this year’s panel. Joining her were David Mariotte, assistant editor on new title Hanazuki; Kim Dwinell, writer and artist and creator of Surfiside Girls; Eric Esquivel, writer of Yokai Watch; Jake Goldman and Haley Mancini, co-writers of the Powerpuff Girls TV Show and comic; and Bobby Curnow, editor of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Adventures as well as Batman/Turtles Adventures.

IDW 4The panel jumped right in with a discussion of the new titles coming out from IDW in the coming year. Their close relationship with toy company Hasbro landed them the rights to do a comic series based on a new property, Hanazuki, a series of web shorts that airs on Youtube. It follows a girl named Hanazuki, which means “Moon Flower,” as she learns to work with the Hemkas, one-emotion, rabbit-like creatures, so that together they can defend the Moon from an approaching darkness.

In the World of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, the trade paperback for their crossover with Batman (from the Batman: The Animated Series continuity) was announced for release in June. Also announced for a June release was a new miniseries for the Amazing Adventures title, Robotanimals. Baxter Stockman is back, and wants to become the new “big bad,” and turning the Mutanimals into robots as his first step.

Jem and the Holograms was a hit for IDW, and even through the main series is over, it hasn’t been forgotten. Continuing its themes of sisterhood and transformation, the six-issue crossover event, Jem Infinite, sends the girls from both Jem and the Holograms and the Misfits to alternate worlds, asking the question, “What if Synergy got out into the world?”

IDW 7Their Top Shelf imprint announced two new graphic novels for middle grade readers aged 8-12. Surfside Girls by Kim Dwinell, is a story about two best friends who work together to solve a mystery that involves the ocean, ghosts, and cute guys. A Southern California native, Dwinell created Surfside Girls as a love letter to her home turf. This is her first graphic novel, and she said she enjoyed the graphic novel format because it allowed her to linger on a scene. The second middle-grade graphic novel is Chris Sheridan’s sci-fi action/humor title Spacebat and the Fugitives. Both books were published over the summer.

The panel then shifted to the subject of licensed comics and the announcement of a three-issue series based on Yokai Watch, a video game, manga, and TV series from Japan. Other featured series included the new Duck Avenger series in their Disney line and Michael Recycle, based on a children’s illustrated series about a boy superhero who uses the power of teamwork to save the environment.

IDW 6The Power Puff Girls returned with a three-issue miniseries, “The Time Tie.” Mojo Jojo sends the girls to different time periods—Wild West, the Age of Pirates, and Edwardian times. In May, IDW partnered with Funko to create one-shots based on the licensed toy series. Strawberry Shortcake, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, the X-Files, Ghostbusters, and Judge Dredd all got the Funko treatment with stories appropriate for all ages to read. The discussion also highlighted two My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic spin-offs: Legends of Magic, which looks at the history of Equestria and how the past influenced the ponies seen today; and My Little Pony: The Movie Prequel, featuring the new characters that were created for the movie and how they got to where they are when the movie begins.

IDW 8Then the floor was opened for questions, but only from kids in the audience—and they had a LOT to ask!

Q: Could ponies created by fans be used in the comics?
A: No, it’s a complicated legal rights issue and not allowed.

Q: How do the writers on the panel get rid of writer’s block?
A: They walk around and do fun stuff. They let their minds wander. They try to write the worst story ever, or they will call a friend, talk to the cat, just try and talk the problem out.

Q: How do the writers get inspired?
A: For licensed comics, they watch the show and talk to others about it. They also try collaborative storytelling like role playing games such as Dungeons and Dragons. They just try to get things down on the page.

IDW 9Q: Why was Batman paired with the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles instead of Superman?
A: Batman came up first.

Q: Who were their favorite ponies?
A: Sarah Gaydos liked Applejack. David Mariotte was a fan of Twilight Sparkle. Kim Dwinell liked Pinkie Pie as did Eric Esquivel. Jake Goldman and Haley Mancini were both Applejack fans, and Bobby Curnow liked Fluttershy. The questioner’s favorite pony was Rainbow Dash.

Q: Should you start with the story or art first?
A: Start with story idea, then draw the characters and describe them.

Q: Why do they make kids comics?
A: They get to write fun things, and have more freedom. They just like to read the story and art.

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Lori Henderson About Lori Henderson

Lori Henderson is a mother of two teenage daughters and an avid reader. She blogs about manga at her personal blog Manga Xanadu as well as contributing and editing for Manga Village. She blogs about all things fandom (mainly Doctor Who) at her other personal blog Fangirl Xanadu. She's been at it so for over 5 years now and counting!

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