What do you get when you cross Calvin and Hobbes’ innocent, reflective, and intricate humor with preschool versions of the Justice League?
You get the Little League webcomic.
Little League is a fanstrip made by Yale Stewart that reimagines iconic DC comics characters as kids who must learn how to use their powers in order to deal with playground bullies, strict gym teachers, and each other.
It may be a bit of a disservice to both Stewart and Bill Watterson to compare their works with each other, since both artists have their own art style and are leaning on different concepts, but Watterson’s Calvin and Hobbes is the closest comparison to Little League’s ability to tackle mature topics without resorting to adult humor, as most comic strips these days are wont to do.
Yale Stewart’s ability to mix childlike humor with a sensitivity to serious issues makes for an interesting comic strip, and of course, there’s also the fact that the characters being based on an existing franchise gives Stewart a rich trove of ideas to mine – take for example, this series of strips that deal with new acquaintances, acceptance, and prejudice without coming off as offensive, all the while wrapped in in-jokes that make fun of the dynamics between The Martian Manhunter, Hal Jordan, and the Batman (fans will note that the adult versions of the characters would have acted the same).
There’s more strips available at Yale Stewart’s tumblr page, if you want to dig a little deeper into the series. There’s something else I want to sort out about the Little League comic: Legalities.
As it stands right now, Yale Stewart is not making any money out of the comic, which is a shame because he deserves several bags of money thrown in his general direction, since Little League is tons better than most successful/syndicated comics in the industry. The trouble is not from lack of support, but rather, Yale can’t make anything off of the strip even if he wants to. He doesn’t own the characters. And even in the comic’s current “free” state, he is already on shaky legal ground. DC/Warner Bros can easily send him a CDO if they think it will be worth their time.
But here’s the solution to Stewart’s predicament: he will be able to continue the series without any fear of legal prosecution, if DC Comics were to pick up the strip. Stewart is planning to pitch the series to the powers that be but nobody wants to go to a war unarmed, and right now he is unarmed, with only 266 notes on his tumbler page. It’s a good number but it’s not impressive enough to be used as a leverage when he pitches his strip.
Here’s what you could do: make the comic go viral. Reblog it, tweet it, share it on facebook. Anything, as long as it points back to his original tumbler page. If the comic drums up enough support, Stewart may eventually get the attention of people who are in the position to pick the strip up.
Little League’s Tumblr Page: http://littleleaguecomic.tumblr.com