- Posted by Johanna on December 2, 2009 at 9:57 am
- Category: LinkBlogging
Christopher Butcher posted, a week or so ago, a wonderful piece about the myth of all ages, as he called it. It seems that some comic retailers had been bemoaning how there weren’t any comics for kids any more, when what they really meant was “they don’t make superhero comics like the ones I read when I was young”, and he called them on it.
Some retailers take time out to decry mainstream superhero comics as being too violent and over-the-top for young readers, and anything actually aimed at children as being “too kiddy”, meaning that it’s for the youngest kids while ignoring grown-ups who might want to introduce their kids to the material in the first place. …
[T]his whole kerfuffle isn’t about “comics for kids” or “all ages material” or any of that. If a mom brought her daughter into the store and wanted the comics she read as kids, which might be Archies, Romances, etc., we’d have no trouble grabbing something appropriate off of the stands. Archie still publishes, there are dozens of new romance manga out every month. There are lots and lots of books and comics coming out for kids, all the time, even if you live in the bible belt. This is about certain readers, and certain retailers, wanting to introduce very specific comics to young kids. …
But the only time I’ve ever encountered someone who wants to buy their kid a comic exactly like they read as a kid? Die-hard superhero fans. It’s that defensiveness again, not only are superhero comics awesome and modern mythology and whatever, but they’re the only comics that they want their kid reading. I’ve seen some pretty appalling behaviour too, parents outright refusing to buy a young reader something they’re actually interested in (Simpsons, Disney, NARUTO) …
They will accept no substitutions, and most importantly they need it to be CANON. That’s right, even if the Superhero comics meet every other criteria, they can’t take place in their own “universe” or be the “for kids” version (even if it’s for “all ages”), it has to be part of the 616 or DCU continuity or else it isn’t “real”.
There’s a whole lot more at the post, and you should read it, because Chris really knows what he’s talking about. He’s also posted a follow up.
Something that benefited me as a woman who read superhero comics is that I never thought of most fans as just like me. I knew from the start that my tastes were different and so I was always a proponent of the ideas that 1) more diversity would be good and 2) having different tastes from mine was ok. But a lot of these guys running stores never had to face that, because the fandom they knew mostly was white nerdy guys like them. So them confusing “comics for kids” with “comics for young me” is kind of understandable, if a big shame, because that insular worldview is not a good thing for their stores in the long run.
Anyway, I don’t have much else to add, except that you should read Chris’ posts. If you are looking for comics that kids may be interested in, here are a bunch I recommend, in no particular order:
- The Baby-Sitters Club
- Knights of the Lunch Table
- Lunch Lady
- Kat & Mouse
- Frankie Pickle and the Closet of Doom
- Amelia Rules!
- The Simpsons
- Magic Trixie
- Salt Water Taffy
- Little Lulu
- Boom! Pixar and Muppet books
Plus, there are Archie, manga, and yes, superhero titles (look for Marvel Adventures or Johnny DC branded issues) that are suitable and interesting for kids.