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Kids Love Comic Conventions, Too

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The sense of awe and wonder ignited by the new, imaginative and cool stirs something in all of us. That passionate feeling is like nothing else we can experience in this life. All-Ages comic books light that passion in kids both young and old, if given half a chance…

Every comic convention has some huge earth-shattering news that comes off the convention floor, right? Well the news on Wizard World Austin is this:

Kids love comics and comic conventions!

This past weekend hordes of comic fans rolled over the Austin Convention Center in a wave of speculative fiction craving flesh. Seeing all the passionate fans, awesome creators and neat activities was a nice "Welcome to Austin" for me. This was the third Wizard Convention I'd done and I was glad to say it was much more like the first Wizard World LA show I attended, back when they were still doing it in Long Beach. That was one of my favorite cons of all time, but the next WWLA I attended, the first in LA, being one of my least favorite. I'm glad to say the Austin show had a lot more of the fun I'd experienced in Long Beach way back when.

While the show had no lack of things that really aren't quite so "all-ages appropriate" Wizard did make a great effort to promote their Kids Day on Sunday. Parents who brought their kids in on Sunday were able to help the little, burgeoning comic fans go on a scavenger hunt of sorts where they had to take a little Passport around to a variety of all-ages creators and have us stamp it for them. Once they had all their pages stamped, they were able to go claim their prize kit.

If you're a convention promoter and you're reading this, you should -at bare minimum - do something just like this for your next show. In a perfect world, you'd find a way to "one-up" the folks at Wizard, because you know they'll one-up themselves next year.

Now, I know many people out there still cling to that silly notion that kids don't like comics, but after I stamped what seemed like several hundred passports for kids dressed up as Spidey, Batman, Iron Man, Superman, Super Girl, Catwoman, Bumblebee and a variety of other comic heroes and villains, I can easily assure you that kids love comics in Austin, Texas.

And, best of all, their families were enjoying comics with them.

Dads helping their daughters discover Lions, Tigers and Bears, moms helping their sons check out Cars, Grandparents helping grandchildren get stamps from people like Alan J. Porter, Veronica Fish, Jeff Balke and Peter Mayhew. All-in-all, it was plain for anyone to see that families were having a blast at the show.

As with most cons I do, a slew of parents came up to my table and looked shocked and excited to discover comic books and graphic novels they could share with the little people in their lives (I'm not positive, but I think at least one parent was referring to elves, not kids, but who knows…) I also had several teachers and folks involved with local libraries and elementary schools stop by and ask about doing comic programs for students. Best of all, I had one girl tell me "everyone in my school loves your books!"

All this evidence makes an open and shut case on whether or not kids love comics. The Verdict: they don't like them, they love them.

That brings us to the flip side of the table, though (no pun intended). It was painfully obvious to see from most of the faces that these parents and kids expected to have a hard time finding anything that was all-ages friendly. While a few offered up heartfelt gratitude that books like Owly, Mouse Guard and Amulet were now available, far more lamented the fact that there still wasn't nearly enough product out there that fit the mold of quality all-ages comics.

So, once again the call goes out to creators and publishers: make more all-ages comics! The demand is out there, but the supply is lacking.

The two biggest requests I got all weekend, over and over: make more "Lions, Tigers and Bears comics" and "Make more all-ages properties for comics." Thankfully, I was able to assure everyone who asked those questions that I'm doing both.

In the grand scheme of "I wish I could do anything" dreaming, I'd create a comic publishing version of Pixar, rife with great all-ages titles from the best all-ages creators, including great merchandise, awesome interactive websites, apps, games and more. Alas, I'm just one guy struggling to support my family doing something I love. But, even if that God-sized dream never comes true, it doesn't mean it can't. And if it did come true, I can almost guarantee it would succeed.

Where there's a will…

All-Ages Pick of the Week:

My pick of the week actually hit stores last week, but it's never too late for great new all-ages comics. This time out, it's Buzzboy: Sidekicks RULE!

Buzzboy has been around for a bit, so it's always great to know there's a new Buzzboy book on the shelves.

From Diamond's blurb on the book:

Buzzboy: Sidekicks Rule!, the complete mini-series featuring Buzzboy in his early days as a sidekick, years before he becomes the world saving hero as an adult. When the Earth's greatest adult heroes disappear, Buzzboy and his other sidekick buddies save the world and make it fun for readers of all ages to enjoy their adventures.

Make sure to get your hands on a copy, then get some little hands on a copy, too!

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Mike Bullock is an international award winning all-ages comic creator and author. His all-ages work includes LIONS, TIGERS AND BEARS, TIMOTHY AND THE TRANSGALACTIC TOWEL, SECRETS OF THE SEASONS and several others. Bullock is also the most prolific PHANTOM writer in American comic book history.

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