Adults just don't get it

Kid humor for kids, by a kid
“When is snot not funny to second graders?” —Bob Collins,father of aspiring cartoonist JJ Collins

Kids seem to have their own sense of humor. We might not all get what’s so funny, but, hey, they don’t understand most of our adult quirks either. Honing in on that special kind of youth comedy, Ophir Elementary second-grader Joey “JJ” Collins creates a comic just for kids, and is currently developing a Big Sky-centric character known as Manny the Moose.

     JJ’s first comic prototype was Diper Man, misspelled on purpose for humor’s sake and inspired by the popular cartoon character Captain Underpants. He and his father Bob came up with the idea about a year ago when they moved from Austin, Texas to Big Sky.

     Bob recalls how he and JJ brainstormed about Diper Man’s comic world. 

     “Is Diper Man a super hero, is he not? What would his super power be?” asked Bob. 

     As the father-son duo toyed with the character, they decided Diper Man would teach kids lessons. One of the first story lines was focused on the letter L. L wanted to skip to the front of the alphabet, knocking off A. The lesson of L’s ambition? Bob explained, “No, you don’t belong there, you belong in the middle. And actually, where you are is right where you should be.’” 

     There was also talk of having Diper Man throw dirty diapers at the bad guys, and Bottle Baby was a potential sidekick. 

Bob soon realized his son should take the lead. 

     “We thought, wouldn’t it be great to have a comic that’s for kids, by a kid?” Bob wondered aloud. “You know, with their thought process? A lot of the times I’m reading it, and not really getting it, but who knows? Maybe they are?” 

     Bob mentioned that cartoons and comics are all made by adults, with adult humor: “We wanted to flip that. Instead of it being an adult concept that goes over the kids’ heads, why don’t we have it be a kid concept that maybe the parents don’t get?”

     Another comic prototype of JJ’s was Jack and the Beansnot, focusing on kids not wiping their nose or using tissue, spreading germs. It asks kids to “Not be a beansnot.” 

"And when is snot not funny to second graders?” Bob asked with a grin. JJ’s latest character is Manny the Moose, whose hijinks in Big Sky are played out via a comic strip.

     JJ said he’s always been into drawing: “It’s the best. My mom told me one night, she can figure out, without reading, what’s going on in my drawings.” 

     As JJ continues developing characters and comic strips, he’s looking to ultimately write a book. 

     “I just want to have him experience and try new things, that’s the secret of life,” Bob said of the comic creative process. “I told him, ‘80 percent of success is just doing things,’ so just go do it.”

     Watch for more published adventures of Manny the Moose in the Lookout.

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Lone Peak Lookout

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