I like what Gary said about kids loving comics like Captain Underpants, Diary of a Wimpy Kid, the stuff they come into contact with - eating it up - but just needing to know more of what's out there. On one hand, it's worrying about The Dandy going down - it's a British tradition - but hopefully this will raise awareness of just how much amazing stuff's out there for kids, and how we can focus on getting more out there.
I've noticed in workshops that kids who don't normally like either or writing and drawing go crazy with excitement pouring stories onto paper when they're allowed to do the stories as comics. It's an exciting medium, and we're proud of it. Here are some of the comics Gary mentioned on the programme, including The Phoenix comic, a new, top-quality weekly, and National Geographic Kids magazine.
About comics that come and go: there are good comics and bad comics, like any sort of reading material. If kids aren't liking one comic, it doesn't mean they don't like comics in general. It could very well mean that the particular publication isn't paying its creators very much, and therefore aren't getting the best in the business, or the good creators are rushing their work just to make enough to pay the rent. And a lot of the time, these publications have just got lucky, and the creators have done their work for the love of it and lived on very little money. But if comics people are paid at least as much as picture book creators, there's a goood chance that more people will be able to afford to make comics for a living, the quality will rise, and we'll have more kids getting excited about reading. Workshops (with creators being paid for them, of course) are a great way to connect kids with comics and I'm glad Gary mentioned doing workshops on the news programme. Here's my Desperate Dan, to add to the mix:
One of my comics heroes is Jamie Smart, who's done wonders with his take on one of The Dandy's most popular characters, Desperate Dan. Jamie's doing comics all over the place, including for The Phoenix comic, and he's posted an impassioned plea on his blog post for people to support The Dandy. Go have a look! Here's one of his covers:
Edit: Ah! And Jamie's just written an article for The Guardian about it! Read it here!
Edit 2: And a blog post from Phoenix Comic frontman and Mo-Bot High creator Neill Cameron, with a tribute Desperate Dan drawing! Have a look!
Edit 3: And Cooey the Pigeon is getting in on the action! That bird likes her comics.
Find out more on the Fleece Station studio website! (Lauren's just posted!)