Digital comics distributor comiXology announced this week a very shrewd move that could result in a measurable expansion of its dominance in the fledging downloadable comics market. Comics4Kids is a new comiXology app that compiles specifically kid-appropriate material from the increasingly vast comiXology library and makes them available to children and parents in one easily identifiable place. Comics4Kids features products from Archie, Image, Dynamite and others, but not, for the moment, DC, Marvel or BOOM! Studios.Given the endless anxiety over the exodus of young children from the comic book medium and/or the lack of age-appropriate comics, comiXology's Comics4Kids is really rather a clever move, especially when it appears that the app is simply a curated version of existing products, which are identified as being for consumers ages 17 and up. It's presumably cheap but effective way to market kid-friendly digital comics directly to children and parents.

"Comics4Kids is specifically designed for a new generation of tech-savvy kids and teens," said David Steinberger, CEO of comiXology. "We have parents writing us all the time that they love our apps, and want to share comics with their kids, but they're afraid they'll pick up one of our mature titles. I couldn't even hand my iPad off to my own young niece so I knew we needed to make an app for the kids who want to explore comics in an environment that makes their parents comfortable."

Comics4Kids presently features 175 comics from 15 publishers, and they are:

* Alterna Comics

* Antarctic Press

* Arcana Comics

* Archie

* Bluewater Comics

* GKids (Secret of Kells)

* Devils Due

* Dynamite

* Eigo Manga

* Image

* Keenspot

* Markosia


* Red 5

* Shadowline

Unfortunately, some of the biggest publishers of children's comics -- DC Comics, Marvel Comics and BOOM! Studios -- are not represented in Comics4Kids. This is no doubt due to some arcane legal matter whose resolution will reveal itself in time. ComiXology told ComicsAlliance that the company "would love to have all content available and is working towards that goal."

Comics4Kids is available now in the iTunes App Store.