There are many complaints in the North American comic book industry about the lack of product offerings for younger readers. Mostly, many pundits complain about the fact that what was once a product for kids – super hero comic books – are now tailored specifically for adult collectors. Evidence, the pundits like to point out is that large publishers such as DC and Marvel Comics have to publish youth-orientated versions of their regular comic books to appeal to children.
There is another way. I don’t believe that packaging the same contents and toning it down for a younger audience is the way to go. Parents must like that, but children, as I recall when I was one, are not so easily fooled.
Touring through the aisles of creators and comic book publishers, I have found several publishers who offer material for children without the feel that the stories and themes were toned down to please hypothetical censors. One such comic book series is
CryptoZooey, created by Steve Troop and published Alien Porkshop Publishing.
CryptoZooey is about Zooey, a young girl who learns that her parents are world renowned cryptozoologists. Cryptozoologists are explorers who specialize in finding legendary animals in nature, such as Bigfoot, the Loch Ness Monster and talking monkeys.
CryptoZooey is inspired by the death of Australian zoologist Steve Irwin, who died after being stung by a stingray, in 2006.
In the first issue, which released on July 18, 2008, Zooey’s grandmother dies and the various creatures that the grandmother looked after come to meet Zooey for the first time. Learning more about her missing parents, Zooey and the creatures set on a quest to look for them, wherever they are.
Troop’s visual style is exuberant and channels a lot of the energy found in the Calvin and Hobbes comic strip. In fact, one might think that they are cousins!
CryptoZooey is set to be published four times a year and is available in an oversized format. Currently,
CryptoZooey can only be purchased through www.cryptozooey.com . There is no word on whether the series will be distributed through Diamond Comics, another comic book distributor or as a Web comic.