Jann Jones is Dan Didio right-hand man… errr, woman at DC Comics and the wearer of many hats there. The Pullbox was lucky enough to get a few minutes with her to follow up on the interview we did last year dealing with DC’s new kid’s line which is leading the industry in pre-teen readers.
Eric and Greg talked with Jann Jones.
E: So Jann, last year we got to talk to you about the upcoming DC line of titles for the under 12 crowd
E: I know my kids love them at home. From DC’s end, you know sort from the sales end, do you see a future in this?
J: Absolutely, the books are doing fantastic; Tiny Titans is holding very respectable numbers for a kid’s book. It’s a little hard, working with the DCU in the other part of my job and I see the main stream numbers you might be like, oh man, but when you compare the numbers to other kid’s books, they really are holding strong and I am so proud of that. It shows that we are selling 50% above what some our previous kid’s books were selling and those numbers are consistent, Tiny Titans is going onto issue #6 and the numbers are solid. And it shows that there is a place for this and that this is important. I think the collected edition, when we get that out, will have a huge impact; it will be something that can go into libraries and schools. And it will be nice that parents will have something, a bound copy for the kids to read. I have been sitting with art and Franco today (The Tiny Titans creative team) and literally parents are bringing up copies and they are just beaten
E: Well, the kids love the books and they read them over and over
J: Yes they do
E: Comics are just not necessarily designed to be read twenty five times in a day
J: Yes and I have had parents come up and tell me they are bedtime stories and they reading them and re-reading them, I had parents come and tell me they have caught their kids with flashlights at night… and I’m like, great I’m going to be responsible for a whole generation of kids with bad eyesight
G: That’s kind of where I see that heading, I know at the high school I work at, I worked on a grant with the Hero Foundry and they donated quite a few books to the library and I know they donated Tiny Titans and some other kid-oriented stuff and it goes out all the time because now we have teachers coming and saying I want to take this home for my kids and it’s constant, it’s like a private lending library, it’s all graphic novels based reading, it’s all very cool
J: It really is, I think it really shows that there is a market and a need for this. I also think retailers are figuring out how to order these books, because a lot of them were ordering this as if it were a regular kid’s book and getting caught short. There have been a lot of cases of Tiny Titans selling out completely, and the retailers are finally learning to adjust their numbers… and our numbers are growing, not losing at all, you know customers every months and even gaining some every month and that’s phenomenal!
G: Well, that’s what’s so big is that there wasn’t anything out there for young kids or new readers and this is really when you need to get those kids, those readers into the market, is when they are young
G: I remember when I was young and reading comics and I was the target audience, it doesn’t seem like there are so many of those books anymore
J: Well, they are others besides the DC books, there is Owly and there are some great all ages books out there, I love Mail Order Ninja by Josh Elder, it’s Fantastic. And you know Art and Franco were doing Patrick, the Wolf Boy before Tiny Titans… you know it definitely was there, but I think what we are seeing now is that when the big 2 (DC and Marvel) are investing in it , people are realizing the importance of it. There are a lot of books out there from both companies that are a lot of fun.
E: So, you have Tiny Titans, the new Super Friends book, what else is on the horizon?
J: Billy Batson actually comes out July 2nd, you know it’ so beautiful, I looked at it and I just got goose bumps… it was so fun to see the enthusiasm from the creative team, I think this is going to be a book that catches people off guard, and once people read it, Shazam works so well for this type of story-telling, it really is taking a lot of Jeff Smith did and is honoring that and following that
E: Jeff’s book was another big hit around my house, so what team is attached to the Billy Batson book?
J: It’s all Mike Kunkel, he drawing, writing and coloring it
E: That’s a lot!
J: It is a lot, but it was really funny and you know we were doing the credits for the first issue, and I didn’t have any imagination at the time and was thinking we would just say Everything – Mike Kunkel. And that just seemed so cold, so we worked on it and actually Dan (Didio) came up with “words, pictures and heart by Mike Kunkul” and it couldn’t be more true
G: There you go
J: And Dan couldn’t be more supportive of the Kid’s line, he fights every day just to make sure this line is done right, he really believes in it
G: Dan is always so fan-driven.
J: It’s so true, it’s so hard because unless you come to a con, your only exposure to Dan is in written interviews and transcripts of some of the panels, and what doesn’t always translate is his sense of humor from those live venues… he is just such a great support of the kid’s line and the entire line in general
E: Let’s go to the next age category, the pre-teen books that are out, perhaps the ones that are more cartoon driven, Teen Titans Go!, your Legion book, how are those doing?
J: They are doing okay, you know it’s really hard, Teen Titans is ending
J: It was sad for me, because I loved the books J. Torres and the creative team did such a great job. We only have a certain number of publishing opportunities and with the show leaving we took a chance on Tiny Titans and got such a great response. Legion is also something we are trying to figure out, because they are not making any new episodes and we are trying to see if with that opening there is something else we could do with those characters or with a new kid’s idea from the main stream DCU and that’s where Supergirl: Cosmic Adventures in the Eighth Grade comes in… as one books goes away we have room for another one. So, on one hand it’s sad because I do really like those books but on the other hand it’s exciting to see what else is coming new
E: Is there any truth to a new The Brave and the Bold series
J: Well, we haven’t announced it yet, but there is definitely truth to it, we are looking at how to support the new WB cartoon, the art looks fantastic and we think there is a lot of opportunity there.
E: Well, thank you for time
J: It’s great seeing you guys again