Pow! Blam! Zowie! Cartoon couture is clobbering its kiddie competition!

"1990 has been an unbelievable year for licensed products," Henry Scott, vice-president of merchandise for J. C. Penney's Children's Division, has said. He estimates an "unprecedented" 16 to 18 percent of children's sales in the summer were attributed to licensed merchandise, compared to about 12 percent in 1989 and 6 percent in 1988.

And of all licensees, it is animated characters that are the largest seller, a trend which may very well continue with the new "Tiny Toons" collection carried at the store. Hanging alongside ol' reliable Mickey Mouse and still-hot Bart Simpson will be such characters as -- four of the new "Tiny Toons" characters.

The "Toons" collection is based on a new syndicated television show developed by Steven Spielberg, "Tiny Toon Adventures," which premiered in Baltimore last month on Fox 45. The clothes collection appeals to mother and child alike, according to Blaine Wilson, general merchandising manager at the Security Square Mall J. C. Penney, a sentiment which echoes at least one critic's view of the show itself. Newsweek writer Harry Waters calls it "adult fun," saying the series "punctuates its juvenilia with touches of adult drollery."

L The line, available at J. C. Penney, retails from $5 to $30.

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