I think we can all agree that people soliciting outside of supermarkets are annoying. Be it Girl Scouts, high school football players selling candy or the voter ballot goons. I'm a registered voter and I don't like being bothered by them, so it surprised me when yesterday I was approached by a young man selling something different. Usually I would have brushed past him like the lady walking in front of me, but she was so rude I decided to at least give the kid the time of day and hear his pitch. Much to my surprise he was selling his comic book, not his collection, but his very own self made comic book. And not for some worthy cause bull either. This kid had it down too. He told me he was looking for 3 to 5 dollars for it which was smart since comics fall in that general price range any ways and then he used the best line ever, "or whatever you think it's worth." How can you undervalue his work at that point? Since I love comics and there was no way I was going to let this brave soul walk away empty handed I offered him a buck for his book (I don't carry cash, we're a debit society... at least until Bank of America starts charging that is) which he accepted and I walked away with the very first issue of Coldboy.
Upon reading it I really wanted to believe that this kid did it all himself, but I have a feeling that his loving parents (the same ones letting him stand outside of a supermarket selling comics) helped him at least with the story and layouts. For kid he did a pretty decent job of telling a story and doing breakdowns that actually were pretty good. I'm not saying he's dropping out of school to join Marvel, but over time he could develop to be a heck of an artist. The story of Coldboy is basically about a kid that finds an asteroid or "space rock" and it changes him into Coldboy after he says the planet is "so cold." Of course he says this after his parents force him outside to play and he gets beat up. If I wanted to psychoanalysis this kid I could easily go no a tangent, but I'm not.
Really the reason I'm even posting this is to highlight the innocent nature of his storytelling. This comic is written by a kid that's clearly into superpowers and getting lost in the idea of overcoming the feeling of powerlessness. Here's the thing, people will always say that comics are for kids and even publishers say that they want to get kid readers, but I don't think any of them speak to a kid like this. Do you think Bendis' new Ultimate Spider-Man is going to tackle issues like getting picked on when you're forced to play outside? No, he's probably going to deal with the fact that he's a minority and not the first Spider-Man.
My point is, that comics today have no idea what kids want to read. I used to know plenty of people that would pick up Marvel's Marvel Adventure line of books because they loved the stories, so I read a few and they still weren't for young kids. In fact the audience that would be old enough to understand them would probably just pick up the normal version of the book. Comics used to sell in the millions because they were about over-coming weakness and feeling empowered. That was a really common theme back when comics were starting and that's when kids read them by the millions. Maybe Marvel and DC should take a look at that formula again and actually put out some comics for children. Until then you can enjoy Coldboy and if you're interested in the issue or future issue then email the creator and his family at JoshuaComics@gmail.com.
At the end of the book there's a letter to the reader thanking them for support and encouraging them not to give up on their dreams and I have to say... its a compelling argument. After all, I've always wanted to make a comic and here this young man has and he's sold an issue... not many others can say that can they. Maybe we can all learn from Joshua and stop waiting for companies to make books we like and actually go out and make the books we like regardless of quality and quantity. Maybe then we can usher in the new golden age of comics.