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Comic books for younger readers?

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It's been a long time since I've read any comics at all. Stracynski's run on Amazing Spider-Man was the last book I collected. Around the same time I stopped reading Ultimate Spider-Man. I've bought a couple of trade paperbacks since then (All-Star Superman being one of them).

Like many people who grew up reading comics, I'm depressed by what seems to me the overwhelming adult orientation of the comics I'm familiar with. (I hear the same thing from a DC comic-book writer married to a friend of Suz's, who has tried to emphasize kid-friendly material but doesn't get a lot of sympathy from DC editors.)

 

Ultimate Spider-Man, with a young Peter Parker in high school, would seem to have been an ideal format for more youth-friendly storytelling, but the content is intense enough to merit the same "Adults" rating as Amazing and most other titles today.

I've introduced my kids to some of the comics I read growing up, notably John Byrne's run of Fantastic Four, which is readily available in trade paperback. I'd like to give them more, if I knew what to get them.

And just now I've gotten a query on Facebook from a friend looking for kid-friendly comic-book fare ... so I thought I'd put the question to the panel.

Is there anything for kids worth collecting right now? What's worth getting in trade paperback? All suggestions welcome.


“I write because I don’t know what I think until I read what I say.” — Flannery O'Connor

Writing at the new Decent Films | Follow me on Twitter and Facebook

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I'm interested in this, too. My kids are still pretty young, but they love watching superhero cartoons on Netflix, so I'd like to introduce them to "the source" if you will.


"I feel a nostalgia for an age yet to come..."
Opus, Twitter, Facebook

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Oh dear. Opus, you were one of the people I was hoping might be well positioned to answer the question! If you're in the inquirer's seat with me, it doesn't bode well.


“I write because I don’t know what I think until I read what I say.” — Flannery O'Connor

Writing at the new Decent Films | Follow me on Twitter and Facebook

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SDG-Are you familiar with Bone at all?  Also, Herobear and the kid.  Both had nice animated art styles.  Bone was pretty fun and full uof adventure in an original fantasy world.  It has often proven very popular with younger readers.


"You know...not EVERY story has to be interesting." -Gibby

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I'll second the recommendation of BONE for older elementary age kids. Also, Carl Barks' original Donald Duck and Uncle Scrooge comics are pretty inventive and entertaining, even if they have a disturbing obsession with unhealthy captialism and greed.


"A director must live with the fact that his work will be called to judgment by someone who has never seen a film of Murnau's." - François Truffaut

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I got into comics as a kid and have loved younger-geared comics even as an adult. I haven't been in a position to collect anything for a while, but here's what I would recommend:

Tintin. I had the complete set growing up (inherited from my uncle) and they were some of the first books beyond See Spot Run that I read independently.

Asterix. Got into these soon after Tintin.

Bone. Read this as an adult. Excellent, and the newish full-color versions are very well done.

Laika. Historical nonfiction graphic "novel" about the first dog in space.

Boing Boing does some really good graphic novel reviews. A lot of them would not be kid friendly, but most of what they review is quite good and it's pretty apparent what would and wouldn't be appropriate for kids. Briefly skimming through, I see a few that I would look into for children.

 

Also, the ALA has really good list of age-appropriate graphic novels.


Scott -- 2nd Story -- Twitter

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Also, Carl Barks' original Donald Duck and Uncle Scrooge comics are pretty inventive and entertaining, even if they have a disturbing obsession with unhealthy captialism and greed.

Carl Barks' work, which I grew up with, is often superb. Disney comic books are one of the least-known aspects of Disney history, but they're very much worth checking out. I don't think the comics encourage readers to emulate Scrooge's obsession with his fortune; most kids should be able to see through it. Some of the stories are simple adventure yarns and some, especially the shorter ones, are essentially gag reels, but others are shockingly sophisticated considering the medium and the target audience. There are some good post-Barks artists in Disney comics too, though the dreck-to-brilliance ratio is fairly high.

 

Tintin is good too. In some of the stories, especially the early ones, you have to overlook some rather unenlightened attitudes toward other races and cultures, but this becomes forgivable when you read The Blue Lotus.

Edited by Rushmore

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This was mentioned on Twitter but Good Ok Bad has a list of "Great Graphic Novels for Kids".


"I feel a nostalgia for an age yet to come..."
Opus, Twitter, Facebook

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:) I was going to recommend "Bone" and "Tintin" as well, my kids LOVE them. I have let my son read the TPB collections of "The Death of Superman," "World Without a Superman," and "Return of Superman," which are all pretty age-appropriate for a nine-year-old boy (which he was at the time). After that, he read my whole Superman collection, from the Byrne era to when I stopped collecting, which was about 1997. 

 

I am depressed by where comics are today. On the one hand, I appreciate the talent in stories like "Identity Crisis," but the staggering amounts of violence, blood, and gore is too much for me, let alone my kids. And seeing what DC has done with "The New 52" in terms of sexuality has been devastating. An art form, destroyed by the things that brought on The Great Flood. Lord, have mercy.


In case you were wondering, my name is spelled "Denes House," but it's pronounced "Throatwobbler Mangrove."

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I also recommend Bone. It's intense at moments, but not extraordinarily so.

 

I'm a big fan of a short series called "Clockwork Girl" by Sean O'Reilly and Kevin Hanna. Looks like it's being made into a film as well.

 

"Anya's Ghost" by Vera Brosgol is excellent. Probably best for tweens.

And if you're looking at a middle-to-high-school-aged kid, I always recommend Art Spiegelman's Maus books. They are pretty intense and violent, but I first read them when I was 13 and it seemed a great age to do so. Those are incredible books.

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Atomic Robo IS fun.


In case you were wondering, my name is spelled "Denes House," but it's pronounced "Throatwobbler Mangrove."

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