Linkfest: New Disney line, Archie gets real

Kate Culkin has an interesting article up about Disneys’ new Kingdom Comics at Publishers Weekly Comics Week. Spearheaded by Ahmet Zappa (Frank’s son) and Christian Beranek, the line will feature 120-page graphic novels, some original, some based on Disney properties.

Beranek cites Pirates of the Caribbean and National Treasure as examples of the tone of their publications, comparing the content to that of a PG-13 movie. He laughingly explained that the “entertainment people” describe Kingdom Comics’ products as “four quadrant,” meaning they will appeal to audiences that are young and old and male and female.

And this was kind of interesting:

Zappa is excited that Kingdom Comics may help turn reluctant readers on to books. As a child, he struggled with learning disabilities. “It was so difficult, the pressure that I put on myself to read a book. But when I discovered comics books and the pictures that help tell the story—that was the trick that allowed me to dive into reading.” He had more access to comics than the average kid. His father was one of the first musicians to advertise his records in Marvel comics, so there were “always vats of them around the house.”

Anything backed by Disney has to be taken seriously. The question is, will it be good? Zappa and Beranek seem to be taking this seriously, and the first two creators they announced were Scott Lobdell, who has done a lot of work on Marvel’s X-Men series, and Steve Niles, who writes for Marvel and DC and whose work includes 30 Days of Night. So it looks like the potential is there for some serious comic-making. I also like the fact that the graphic novels will be self-contained, making them more accessible to newcomers to comics. Newsarama has more, from Zappa and Beranek’s appearance at Wizard World Philly.

In other news…

At Comics Worth Reading, Johanna Draper Carlson notes that the Archie Comics folks have announced they will do another four-part series in their new, “realistic” style in October. Reactions to the first one were mixed, even before it came out, but it spawned one of the oddest incidents in comics blog history, in which the character Betty blogged on the Archie site about how she and Veronica hated the new look—and then both of them started their own blogs (Betty, Veronica). They even mentioned real-life bloggers in their posts. I notice that Betty, like a lot of real-life bloggers, stopped updating once the initial flush of outrage was over, but Veronica is still going strong. In another post, Johanna reviews the latest crop of Archie comics.

Reviews: At Manga Xanadu, GC4K contributor Lori Henderson’s daughter Krissy reviews a cute Tokyopop title, vol. 1 of Kat and Mouse. Julie takes a look at vol. 3 of The Palette of 12 Secret Colors at the Manga Maniac Cafe. John Thomas reviews Mouse Guard: Fall 1152 at Comics Village. James Fleenor enjoys a new all-ages manga from Viz, vol. 1 of Cowa!, at Anime Sentinel. John E. Mitchell reviews one of the Toon Books releases, Otto’s Orange Day, at Shuffleboil.

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