Tuesday, March 10, 2009

An Update About Kidjutsu

It's always good to see a comic site with a business plan gaining an audience, passing milestones, and approaching the day when it reaches its operating goals.

Brian Leung's Kidjutsu: Comics for Kids is all about webcomics for kids, turning a profit, and paying contributors royalties for their work. I've mentioned them before, but a recent check-in with Brian confirms that things are progressing on all fronts.

The good new is that there is still room for more creators, and now is probably a good time to introduce yourself to Brian and share your work if you have material that is appropriate. It's not about bland, Sesame Street comics at all -- check the site. Our own title Scratchin Post is participating. Most of that comic's mail is from insightful, literate, witty adult professionals, yet Brian saw aspects that made him approach us.

When I was a kid, comics for the youngest readers took up a third of the rack at the grocery. Many were so good I bought them eagerly, and some remain worth studying for their technique.

Scratchin Post is not written to be a kid comic, though like our other work it avoids harsh language and sex. The fact that it's right at home on Kidjutsu might convince some people to take a closer look at their own archives. Brian is a friendly guy, and he'll tell you if something isn't right without making you feel rebuffed. Working with him has been a collaboration we thoroughly enjoy.

Had we not gotten a few letters from younger readers approving of Scratchin Post, we might have brushed past Brian's inquiry without thinking we had a shot. Instead, we were welcomed. It's a different feeling, knowing someone smart and energetic is working hard to succeed and to pull you along with them.

This column seems to attract a good share of smart, connected readers, and even if Kidjutsu is not for your work, think about your friends, and consider hooking them up.

Also think about your younger relatives: the one who is always drawing, or plowing through your sketch book. Ask them to take a look at the site, and if they have useful comments I'm sure Brian would be interested. If they become enthusiastic, they will probably tell their friends without your coaching, but a suggestion never hurts. If you know a librarian, tell them about the site, especially children's librarians.

For us, quality of the work comes first, money second. Many readers feel the same way, and we share an interest in seeing the market expand and helping kids enjoy comics the way we did at a young age. Youth was a rich comic genre before specialty shops sent non-super hero titles reeling. Kidjutsu is bringing it back. A tremendous amount of time and energy has been invested in this project, and I think it benefits us all to find our own ways to publicize it, support it, and participate.

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