Growing up as a kid there were two things that preoccupied a lot of my time. One was reading comics, and the other was watching cartoons. There were so many good shows on TV, that it was sometimes hard for my parents to pull me and my brother away from the screen to do something other than wasting away on the couch transfixed by animation. It is my firm belief that today’s cartoons aren’t as iconic as those from the nineties (Darkwing Duck, Ducktales, Tale Spin, Rescue Rangers, Batman the Animated Series, X-Men the Animated Series, Justice League the Animated Series to name a few) but that’s just my opinion. However, on the other hand, there are definitely a few hidden gems out there today. Some of them have been brought to my attention recently, specifically for their tie to comics.
It is not a “new” thing for cartoon properties to make the jump over to comic books, but for me (at least) I have noticed a lot more of it lately. Publisher BOOM! Studios has specifically made a licensing agreement with Cartoon Network to turn their properties into comics. This agreement is very cool because it gives the publisher the ability to bring over viewers from the cartoons into their books (and vice versa). This is a perfect example of two companies working together to capitalize on what they both do best in order to maximize exposure to kids. This is great because, as I just stated, their cross platforming gives kids a reason to read comics. And the industry could always use MORE kids reading comics. As much as people would like to believe, middle aged men and women can’t sustain the industry forever!
Two of Cartoon Network’s most iconic current properties are probably Adventure Time and Regular Show. Both of these properties have pretty large followings and viewer ratings as well. Adventure Time specifically made the jump to comics before Regular Show, and has even garnered a few awards for how close it resembles the show. Its success has been so great that it has spawned an ongoing, as well as multiple miniseries. Having personally watched the Regular Show cartoon and read some of the comics, that book also very closely holds the same feel and tone of the show. It is a fun book that could easily serve as a blueprint for future show episodes…which brings me to my next point. When done right, keeping the look and tone of the cartoon in mind, comics can become perfect tie-ins to this form of media. They really do go hand in hand.
BOOM! Studios is obviously not the only publisher that deals with licensed cartoon properties, but they do seem to be setting the bar with child friendly material these days. Their acquisition of Archaia also gave them access to other properties that they had at their disposal. It’s nice to see a publisher like BOOM! taking such a positive stance on all ages books. And, if you look at their upcoming slate of books they seem to be expanding their Cartoon Network properties at a nice pace.
In the end, cross licensing can quickly get out of control, but in the case of cartoons and comics it seems to be a match made in heaven. BOOM! Studios is doing a great job of this, and other publishers should definitely follow their example. They always say there’s a book out there for everyone, and if more and more cartoons make the jump to comics, then I look forward to seeing more kids discovering how great the medium can be. Until next time.