Tuesday, March 19, 2013

DC Comics Pushes "Fan Family" Initiative On Website

So maybe sometimes, comic books are for kids after all...

Today was the first time I noticed DC's rather aggressive campaign to grab the kid demo -- at least on their official website.

The initiative "Fan Family" gets its own page on the site, full of printable children's activities, calls for fan art from kids, and, of course, family-friendly merch.

But the "Fan Family" banner has also been seen heading certain posts on their blog, like this one for a Birds of Prey/Fables preview. Does this mean that "Birds of Prey" and Vertigo's "Fables" are both "certified" now as "family friendly titles? Do only some titles get the "Fan Family" logo while others do not? What is the criteria -- the age ratings? And will "Birds of Prey" be following more "family friendly" guidelines along with the switch to writer Christy "Jem and the Holograms" Marx?

In addition, the blog has ran a post entitled "5.2 Reasons to Join the DC Comics Fan Family" , which begins:

"If you’ve visited DCComics.com this week, you’ve likely seen a few posts about how much we appreciate our fans. But today, there's one specific group of fans we’d like to talk to: parents. So, everyone else can get the heck out! Nah, we’re kidding. You can stay. After all, you might one day start a family of your own. Or you may already know some little ones you can “accidently” leave some comics and toys with to help convert, we mean, train, er... groom, nope... cultivate? Yeah, cultivate their love of comics.

And essentially, that’s what the new DC Fan Family Program is all about: sharing the joy of comics and super heroes with your kids—the future generations of comic fans—and giving parents a one-stop source for great all-ages entertainment, products and offers from DC Entertainment."
This new marketing campaign pretty much addresses on the nose criticism towards DC, and mainstream comics in general, about their neglect of the children's market -- a neglect that in the end doesn't cultivate said future consumers "future generations."

I find this all very interesting as it regards several factors I don't have time to elaborate about too much here:

1) The sharp rise in children using tablets and other electronic devices to read books.

2) While some comic book retailers do a great job marketing comics to kids, there are many that do not -- or claim that there is no market for these "children's comics." Subsequently, will DC's future children's-related material be pushed more digitally?

3) The possible connection to the recent flood of DC-related cartoons to Netflix, which will presumably be consumed by children in droves.

4) The recent wild success of licensed children's titles like "Adventure Time" and "My Little Pony."

One also has to wonder if DC is planning some sort of rejuvenated "family-friendly" line of comics to complement this initiative. For example, a number of the "DC Kids" comics showcased on the site are based on animated shows that are either canceled outright or are "sorta canceled." While presumably some of these shows, like "Batman: Brave and the Bold" will get new life via Netflix, there probably needs to be more content created for this category.

That is, unless some of the DCU (and, I guess strangely enough, Vertigo) titles are being "earmarked" for a "Fan Family" audience.

(Remember when superhero comics were just released for any audience? I'm talking like in the Silver and Bronze and Aluminum Foil ages.)