The new Kid on the comics block
An intrepid team of comic creators have just launched Moose Kid Comics – a free, brand new digital comic that aims to be a showcase for talent and stories they feel will help make both British and international children’s comics great again.
Moose Kid Comics – available from here – is a glorious 36-page, free to read, digital children’s comic featuring nearly 40 of the best comic creators working today, from well-established heroes to newer talents from the indie and web scenes.
The showcase, which the team hope will attract the attention of a partner publisher, includes Young Tank Girl, an all-ages incarnation of the world-famous comic character.
Each creator is contributing their own entirely original characters exclusively for the comic.
The title is the brainchild of top comic creator Jamie Smart, best known for his work on mainstream comics such as The Beano, Dandy and The Phoenix, who has long decried the parlous state of British comics. Together with the team he quickly gathered, he aims to restore some vitality to the genre made famous by weekly British comics like The Beano, Whizzer and Chips and Oink!, whilst combining it all with the modern sensibilities of Adventure Time and Moshi Monsters.
“We created Moose Kid Comics for several reasons,” Jamie explains. “Firstly, to entertain comic readers and win new audiences. Secondly, to show how fantastic a children’s comic can be when artists come together and create the content themselves.
“Finally, we also wanted to continue the discussion about how we make children’s comics great again.”
The creative team are well aware that in the UK, mainstream children’s comics have been struggling over the years, especially ones featuring original content.
“The Phoenix and The Beano are the only commercially available weekly titles still producing entirely original characters, but they are competing against big-name licensed titles based on TV shows or merchandising,” Jamie explains. “We wanted to join in, and help change things. We wanted to remind both children and adults alike how fantastical and imaginative comics can be, to find new audiences, and to help raise children’s comics back into the public consciousness.”
In early 2013 Jamie put out a call for artists to join the Moose Kid Comics project. To his astonishment, over 400 artists responded.
“Alongside this, I had a small wish list of artists I wanted to approach,” he reveals, “artists I’d admired since childhood or who I thought had the perfect style for our comic. I wanted all the artists to join in with brand new characters: modern ones, ridiculous ones, ideas strong enough to compete against the big name licensed titles.”
“I’m incredibly proud of what we’ve achieved and who is involved,” Jamie enthuses. ”We have exclusive comics from artists like Tom Paterson, Mike Pearce and David Leach, heroes to anyone who grew up reading comics in the UK. And there’s Gary Northfield, Laura Howell, Mark Stafford, Roger Langridge, to name but a few, mixed in amongst newer artists like Rachael Smith, Tom Plant and Will Kirkby.
“And, of course, we’re very excited to be showcasing a real exclusive – Young Tank Girl, by Alan Martin and Warwick Johnson-Cadwell themselves!
While Moose Kid Comics is an enormous project in itself, the creative team behind it are hoping that its success will lead to greater things.
“Moose Kids Comics is a statement,” says Jamie. “It’s a declaration of what we can do. It’s concrete proof of the high quality entertainment we can create, and the heart and passion of all the talented artists who want to help change children’s comics for the better.
“We’re hoping to open up the discussion about how we can keep doing this. We’re looking for publishers who can see the potential, and help us reignite children’s comics. We’d even love to find funding so we can print up a whole bundle of copies, and release it for free on a massive scale, through charities and schools, into hospitals and across the world, everywhere children (and adults) could do with a smile.“
While this special free edition of Moose Kid Comics is a single issue for now, a one-off, whatever happens, the enthusiastic creative team are keen to find a way to make future issues, and keep this conversation going.
“Children deserve high-quality, original entertainment,” says Jamie, “and we think we can create some rather wonderful new characters for them to believe in.”
Moose Kid Comics Issue 1 is available to download from their website now.