Some of my favorite comics, the ones a seek out and treasure most, are published in small batches by individual artists, rather than traditional publishing houses. These kinds of comics are often called mini comics, or more broadly indy comics. Since the Underground Comix movement began in the late sixties, there has been a community of cartoonists focused on creating noncommercial works on the fringes of the publishing world. Their comics tended to avant garde and at times offensive, and in general very grown up.
After years of defending comics as legitimate medium for grown-ups, the indy press has begun to turn its eyes towards comics’ youngest readers. Here are a few of my favorites.
DRAGONS! Comics and Activities for KIDS! was edited by Alec Longstreth, and includes some of my favorite cartoonists from the indy press. In addition to comics, the book includes mazes and puzzles. And the best thing is, this comics was absolutely free!
This summer I picked up Were-Pups, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. It was published by Team Werewolf, a small group of graduates from The Center for Cartoon Studies. Team Werewolf has published five issues of their grown-up anthology, Werewolf, and this special issue just for kids. I have to say, the quality of the cartooning on Cubs was a step above their grown up material.
“Where-Wolf?” by Melissa Mendes, who is a real master at capturing the childhood experience.
“We Like the Moon” by Dakota McFadzean. Keep an eye on Dakota, he’s going places!
Let’s hope this is the beginning of a trend! There’s room in the indy press for comics for all audiences.