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Inside Good Comics For Kids

Wondercon 2014: Kids Comics at IDW Publishing

On Sunday, IDW Publishing had a panel exclusively for their kids comics line. The panel wasn’t packed, but it was decently attended for a Sunday afternoon. There were both kids and adults attending. The panel was led by Sarah Gaydos, editor from IDW. She was joined by Carlos Guzman, another editor, Derek Fridolfs, writer for Dexter’s Laboratory and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and Rosalind Morehead, from IDW Marketing. Mark Evanier, writer for Rocky and Bullwinkle, joined the panel shortly after it began. Before the panel started, all attendees were given a promo poster, and since it was also Easter, everyone received a My Little Pony mini-comic pack, which made my daughters happy. They were already tearing into them as the panel began.

The panelists started by talking about the new six issue mini-series Super Secret Crisis War, which brings together the Powerpuff Girls, Samurai Jack, Ben 10, Dexter and Ed, Edd, and Eddie to fight against Mojo Jojo, Aku, Vilgax, and Mandark who have formed a “League of Extraordinary Villains.” The series is written by Louise Simonson with art by Derek Charm. Louise had a special recorded message for the attendees as well. Several covers and some interior art were previewed. In addition to the miniseries, there will be five one-shot issues that show the goings on in some of the other worlds not directly involved in the war. The worlds of Johnny Bravo, Grim Adventures of Billy and Mandy, Foster’s Home for Imaginary Friends, Cow and Chicken, and Codename: Kids Next Door will be visited by the invaders and will include a two-page back up story connecting them back to the miniseries.

Next, the next few issues of Samurai Jack, and Powerpuff Girls were previewed. Samurai Jack will be getting its first compilation in May, and issue #8 will be a story told with very little dialogue. The Powerpuff Girls will have the concert for their favorite boy band “3D” interrupted by the Rowdyruff Boys. The new series Dexter’s Laboratory was discussed by writer Fridolfs. The first story will feature the never-ending conflict between brother and sister as shown in the opening credits of the show. The covers and interior art were previewed for its first four issues.

When the panel came to Rocky and Bullwinkle, writer Mark Evanier took over, talking about the history of trying to get a Rocky and Bullwinkle comic started. He also explained the inclusion of Dudley Do-Right, a character that has an emotional history for him. Covers and interior art by Roger Langridge were shown.

For My Little Pony, Rosalind Morehead took over and a preview image of the next story arc was featured, where the ponies would be taken into a “mirror” universe, but without the “Spock goatees.” The image was a mirror or the sides, and there were a lot of differences between some of the ponies, but not with Spike as my both my daughters were quick to point out. The series My Little Pony: Friends Forever was also discussed, how it was a sort of team-up book, putting ponies together such as Fluttershy and Zecora and Rainbow Dash and Trixie for adventures you wouldn’t otherwise see.

Fridolfs also spoke about upcoming stories for the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: New Animated Adventures he had written. Both feature Michelangelo, Fridolf’s favorite turtle, as well as his favorite villain Sprider Bytez, and Mikey finds a sidekick for his own superhero adventures in a malfunctioning Foot Bot.

A new license featured at the panel was Littlest Pet Shop, which will start in May. It has the same target audience as My Little Pony, and comic book stories will try to capture “the energy and excitement of the show.” The other new license featured was Angry Birds, which will debut in June. This series was created by the creators of Angry Birds, Rovio, which is located in Norway. The art and story have already been done, so all IDW has to do is translate them. The first issue of Angry Birds will be celebrated with several variant covers that mash up the birds with several of IDW’s properties such as Star Trek, Ghostbusters, and even Popeye. The Rocky and Bullwinkle cover was my favorite.

The panel then moved on to questions. The kids in the audience highly encouraged to come up and ask questions, and several of them did. Panelists were asked who their favorite turtles and ponies were. There were questions about grade point average and how old you had to be to become an intern, and there were requests for crossovers, such as My Little Pony and Littlest Pet Shop, or My Little Pony and Angry Birds. Fridolfs mentioned he wanted to see a Samurai Jack/Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles crossover. I’d read that. The editors were very welcoming to all the suggestions that were given and left the door open for the possibilities.

One question that my daughters could relate to was asked by a young girl was “Why are the ponies all really girly?” Gaydos answered that they had to stay faithful to the show because the ponies weren’t their property. When asked what she wanted to see more, the girl answered “Action.” She was directed to Ninja Turtles. This was a nice exchange. The fan was given a realistic answer and solution. It’s not perfect, but a good place for her to start.

There were a few questions related to drawing and publishing comics, and again the panelists were very supportive of fans writing and drawing every day and publishing online. Several questions also ended with the request for other older Cartoon Network properties to return such as Sheep in the Big City.

Overall, it was a fun and informative panel. All of the panelists were friendly and open and very encouraging to the younger fans in the audience. The older fans were respectful of the new fans, which was a relief to see after spending so much time on the internet. IDW has some great books coming up that fans for old and new should definitely check out.

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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