Friday, October 12, 2007

Kono: the martial arts magazine for kids

Yesterday when I strolled through Sports Authority, heading toward the rack of baseball gloves, I paused at their magazine rack and saw a magazine called Kono, with Batman kicking "butt" on the cover. (The animated Batman, wit implausibly chunky arms, chest and legs.)

This is issue 4 of a magazine that is presumably aimed at kids age 6 - 12, and I have to confess I was unimpressed with it. There were a lot of anime-style illustrations, and just one or two photos of real people... not the type of thing to make a kid feel that they have a "role model" to follow.

To me, if I were a kid, I'd want to see ids my own age, dressed in karateuniforms, doing karate or whatever martial art in a dojo. To me the stuff in this mag is just pretend, like a comic book, and doesn't apply to the real world of a child.

Being a completionist, I present the contents of this issue:

1. Inner cover: ad for stikfasgames, plastic figurines looking like samuraiu warriors, doing some fighting, one with sai, the other with a sword in one hand anda a naginata in the other. (A naginata is a two-handed weapon, traditionally used by a female samurai.) www.stikfasgames.com

2. Table of contents:
The four departments: Your world, Dynamo Bodies, Superheroes, and Yoyodo

3. Full page ad for the Martial Arts channel, geaturing a black adult martial artsist and a white adult female doing Tai-Ci. www.macexperience.com

4. The Kono team: Brief bios of the contributors to the issue. Illustrated faces, with each a a character from Batman. Of 6 individuals, 2 are women, HK Kim, editor-in-chief, and Laura Franklin, senior designer.

5. Editor's Letter: With a top illustration featuring trick-or-treating kids: 3 kids, 2 girls, one as blond cat, one as a green faced witch, a ghost of indeterminate sex, and behind them all an adult, a woman dressed as a superhero.

6. Kono mailbag: Featuring one letter, and then half a page of contest winners

7. Full page ad: "If pressure's pushing you to get high and get into things you're not really into...maybe it's time to push back. abovetheinfluence.com The illustration doesn't really catch the eye, but as an adult I know it's an anti-drug message. I wonder if kids age 6-12 will get the message.

8. Your world: Must see TV. Dates for certain tv programs.

9. Random information: Fun facts and features: 4 info boxes. According to the top box, in 2006 the most popular Halloween costume was a princess costume. Second most popular was a pirate's costume.

10. Check it out: All the things you need to experience in October. Full page of 16 thumbnail photos. An ad for KidNation, a reality TV series feauring kids. Also a review of The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass-DS, and www.scratch.mit.edu - a site to create your own animation, and www.thinkquest.org, a site for a teacher and six kids to create their own educational website.

11. Get pinned: A full page of photos of pins to collect.,.none of those shown had a martial arts theme, interestingly.

12. Get to Know: An NBA Mascot. I assume this is the mascont of the Phoenix suns...it's a guy in a gorilla suit, but wearing a basketball on fire tshirt. The page itself makes no mention of what team he's a mascot for!!! And then of course there's the fact that he's an NBA mascot...what's he doing in a martial arts magazine...

13. What's it like to develop animated characters? : Two page article. Again, all drawings, no photos. 2/3rds of the page spread is an illustration, presumably of and by the guy in question, and then there's a single column of text. His name is Brett Jubinville, he's 25, and apparently he works on the Batman cartoon. He makes between $50,000 - $100,000 a year, which parents of artistic kids might like to know!

14. Look what they did: Brought martial arts to the masses: 2 page article - 1 full page photo of 4 guys in street clothes, with hands in pockets, one column of text of who they are: the Sideswipe Performance Team. [Why are they not in an "action shot", doing their routine??

15. Legends and History: the art of the fighting dance: An article on Capoeira, a martial art from Brazil. Again, no photos, just drawings. 3 page artile, 2 total columns of text.

16. Cool stuff: Mimobot memories: Two page spread on something for parents to buy kids, with absolutely nothing to do with the martial arts.

More to come

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