Whatever one's views on Jamie's style it can't be denied that his artwork is distinctive and one can admire the fact that he's done things his own way instead of ghosting the styles of the past. Over the past several months Jamie has, in the words of Tony Stark of Iron Man fame, been "putting a team together". The work of that team of comic creators old and new is now about to appear in a brand new digital humour title, - Moose Kid Comics, packed with all new characters, - and it's free!
Intrigued? As comic fans I hope you will be. Here's the press release:
BRAND NEW MOOSE KID COMICS DIGITAL TITLE LAUNCHES!
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 www.moosekidcomics.com – 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.”
The result is Moose Kid Comics and it’s available now as a digital comic, worldwide, via www.moosekidcomics.com.
“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 Rachel 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.”
The full list of comic creators involved in Moose Kid Comics issue 1:
Neill Cameron, Abby Ryder, Tom Plant, Andreas Schuster, Jess Bradley, Sarah McIntyre, Mark Stafford, Gary Northfield, William Tallman, Aaron Alexovich, James Downing, Aaron Blecha, Steve Tillotson, Hamish Steele, Chris Garbutt, Dan Gaynor, Rick Eades, Mike Pearse, Viviane Schwarz, Laura Howell, Alan Martin, Warwick Johnson-Cadwell, Lindsey Lea, Stephen Waller, Samantha Davies, Alan Ryan, Afonso Ferreira, Rachael Smith, Nigel Auchterlounie, Andrew Waugh, Joe List, Tom Paterson, Rikke Asbjorn, Roger Langridge, Vincent Woodcock, Will Kirkby, Wilbur Dawbarn, David Leach, Jamie Smart.
Sounds good, looks bright and lively! Many of us working in the comics industry wish there were more humour titles out there so I have to respect Jamie for making the effort to try and improve things. Let's hope that Moose Kid Comics can build from this digital one-off issue and attract the success it deserves.