Sunday, April 01, 2012
Sweet idea for a comic
An ex-sweet manufacturer from Leicester says he's hit upon the perfect selling point for a new children's comic, - a comic that can not only be read, but eaten! A recent issue of the trade magazine Retail News revealed how Robin Gregory is putting £250,000 behind the launch of the monthly comic which is entitled Om-Nom-Nom!
Mr.Gregory claims that he's hit upon a formula to print comic strips onto a form of flavoured rice paper using food colouring. "I always loved comics as a boy" said Mr Gregory, "but I've noticed that the ones I read have all gone now. Children today head straight for the sweet counter in shops, so why not have a sweet flavoured comic?" Retailers are being encouraged to stock the edible comic alongside other confectionery in order to capitalise on the target audience.
The material in Om-Nom-Nom is brand new and stars a character called Eddie Bull. "Eddie is a friendly bull living on Funny Farm who is often teased by his nemesis Noisy Rooster, but Eddie always wins in the end. It's a Tom and Jerry for today's 6 to 10 year olds" said Mr Gregory. There will also be puzzles such as mazes and spot the difference but the Eddie Bull and Noisy Rooster story is what the comic is mainly about.
The bizarre format isn't without its restrictions. "We can't really do full colour yet" said the entrepreneur, "so we're limiting it to colours relating to the flavour of the comic. Issue one is raspberry and banana flavour so we're using magenta colour on yellow rice paper. Issue two is Apple Mango so it'll be green on amber." The comic will of course not be held together by staples. "That's something I was adamant about from day one," said Mr Gregory. "I'm expecting some opposition to this idea as it is, without some child forgetting to remove the staples before eating his comic. Due to the frail nature of the format each page will be separate and not bound at the spine."
Is Robin Gregory worried about the concerns of parents and healthy eating groups over the sugar content of the comic? "The ingredients are all on the back cover and we're open and honest about what goes into each issue" he replied, "We've tried to cut down on the sugar as much as possible, and there is 10% real fruit in the flavourings. We're hoping that the reader will savour the stories and the treat, and eat it over the course of the month rather than all in one go. Kids are going to eat sweets anyway. At least this way they'll broaden their reading abilities at the same time. You can't say that about a bag of pick n mix."
Om-Nom-Nom No.1 comes with a free gift, - a pair of 'Suck 'em and See Sunglasses'. Gregory explains: "It's a liquorice frame with thick lenses like large wine gums. The reader can pop out the lenses, suck them to a slither, pop them back in the frame and they'll act as a great pair of play sunglasses". The comic and gift will be packaged in a polybag to project the foodstuff while it's on the shelf. The barcode will be printed on the polybag to ensure it scans properly.
Om-Nom-Nom No.1 is published by Robin Gregory's new company Roosterbull Confectionery and is out today in newsagents and supermarkets across the UK, with a special launch price of £1 for 16 pages (normal price £1.99). At present there are no plans for a digital edition. "It would defeat the whole purpose of the exercise to go digital at this point in time" said Mr Gregory, "but who knows what technology is around the corner?"