Monday, March 28, 2005

Reviews: Real Kids Comics

Disney Adventures Comic Zone Winter 2005
$3.95 Disney Publishing Worldwide

Nick Mag Presents: The Best of Nickelodeon Magazine Special All-Comics Issue Spring 2005
$4.95 Viacom International, Inc.

Kids and comics. They go together like peanut butter and jelly, peanut butter and chocolate, peanut butter and marshmallow; well, you get the idea. But it seems that kids just don't read comics these days. Or do they?

According to Disney & Nickelodeon, kids love the comics that show up in their magazines, Disney Adventures and Nickelodeon Magazine; and to prove it, they've both released special all-comics editions.

Both collection are remarkably similar in many aspects, featuring comics based on their various media properties and throwing in a few original comics creations as well. Disney Adventures is mostly Disney-related properties like Mickey Mouse, W.I.T.C.H., Lilo & Stitch, Kim Possible, The Incredibles, Pirates of the Caribbean, and Aladdin. Nickelodean features SpongeBob SquarePants, Jimmy Neutron, Hey Arnold!, Rugrats, and As Told by Ginger, but they also have a number of non-Nick properties represented as well.

Both magazines also surprise on occasion, including work by comic creators usually associated with indy comics; Nickelodeon has a "Patty Cake" story from Scott Roberts, a how-to-create-your-own-comics feature from Scott McCloud, a couple of comics from Craig Thompson, "Amanda & Her Panda" by Andi Watson, and "Fiona of the Felines" from Terry LaBan. Disney throws in a couple of Mickey & Goofy comics from Glenn McCoy, "Gorilla Gorilla" from Art Baltazar, and an absolutely hysterical two-page comic from Matt Feazell.

Of the two, the Nickelodeon fares better as a whole, due to its greater amount of non-Nick content. Disney Adventures is longer (100 pages vs. 60) and less expensive, though digest-sized and printed on cheaper paper (Nickelodeon Magazine is regular magazine-sized). Disney is all original material, while Nickelodeon is all reprints. Both contain a good deal of advertising, mostly for video games and corporate media properties.

If you have a six- to ten-year-old in your life that you'd like to get into comics, both of these magazines would be an excellent start. (And if you're a grown-up-comics fan, you may want to take a look at the Nickelodeon Magazine for yourself!) Disney has announced their intentions to make their all-comics Comic Zone editions a quarterly affair; I'm not sure what the intentions of the Nickelodeon folks are, but this current edition should be available on newsstands and in grocery aisles until mid-April.

(Read more about the Disney Adventures Comic Zone in this Newsarama article, and The Best of Nickelodeon Magazine Special All-Comics Issue in Dave Roman's press release, available many places online, including here.)

Ratings: Disney Adventures Comic Zone: 3 (of 5); Nickelodeon Magazine Special All-Comics Issue: 3.5 (of 5)

(a review copy of the Nickelodeon Magazine Special All-Comics Issue was provided by the publisher)

No comments: