Why Don’t Kids Read Superhero Comics?

Because there aren’t enough of them for a key age group, says KC in his latest Westfield column. Feel free to discuss here or there — while there are plenty of great comics for kids from such publishers as Scholastic, should there be more superhero comics readable by 10-15-year-old boys and girls?

10 Responses to “Why Don’t Kids Read Superhero Comics?”

  1. Russell Lissau Says:

    After skimming it to make sure it was appropriate, I gave the new Supergirl #1 to my 9-year-old daughter, an advanced reader and comics buff. She handed it back, saying the “T for Teens” rating on the front meant it was not for her. That said A LOT to me as a parent. So I looked at the covers of all the other nuDC #1s… and none I saw were rated “younger” than T for Teen.

  2. jfire Says:

    My local comics shop does a nice job putting a rack especially for young readers down low, at the very front of the store.

    The New 52 Initiative doesn’t seem young reader friendly at all. Some books seem ok for middle school age, but not much younger. But some I’ve skimmed are very graphically violent, or, in the case of the Catwoman comic everyone was talking about last week, inappropriately sexual. Inappropriate as in lame-brained and dinosaur-like, not “mature.”

    Why don’t young kids buy superhero comics, though? Two reasons: 1. There are few produced for them. 2. They don’t see them.

    Only existing readers go to comic book shops. Parents who don’t read comics don’t go in there. I started reading comics because they were in the grocery and drug store and I could look at them while my parents were shopping. And they had cool covers that made you want to see more.

    In my generation, people discovered comics because they were around. Everywhere. You didn’t need to go looking for them. But that’s the case now.

    I remember a conversation with some friends several years ago. They wanted to gets some comics for their son.

    They knew I liked comics and that my son read them. They used to read comics as kids, too (everyone did). But they had no idea where to find them.

    They said “Where do you get them? They aren’t at the drug store. They aren’t at the grocery store. We can’t find them anywhere.”

  3. Johanna Says:

    Totally agree. When KC and I were talking about his plans for his column, he was asking me about how I started reading comics. I browsed them while my parents were shopping, same as you, and because the characters — Superman and Wonder Woman, mostly — were already known to me.

  4. James Schee Says:

    Just to play devil’s advocate here. Are we sure as older readers what kids would be interested in these days? I see KC mention Harry Potter and I can’t help but think of the Twilight books as well, and there were all kinds of things in those that when I was a kid I don’t think my parents would have approved of me reading.

    Heck in the Harry Potter books alone, nearly 1/3 of the cast of supporting cast is dead by the end of the series. Pretty graphic descriptions of sex in the later Twilight books and those both are huge for the 10-15 year old readers.

    Kids are just so much smarter and mature these days then I know I was at their age. I marvel at my little two and a half year old niece playing my IPad knowing exactly how to start it, and what ap Angry Birds is and how to play it.

    I don’t want to be seen as defending the DC books, there are a lot of things that I don’t think should be in them. Yet I don’t know if that means what I think is appropriate is what kids would or wouldn’t like. Honestly I don’t know many superhero comics I’d recommend to kids these days, especially from Big 2. Yet I don’t know many I’d recommend to adults either.

    I got into comics from the cool G.I Joe commercials that had an animated short about the latest comic issue, and always ended on a cliffhanger that you had to buy the issue to see. I was able to find them at a local grocery store in the local 80s. I read mostly Marvel back then as Batman was that lameo from the TV show and Superman was confusing.

  5. Johanna Says:

    Good point, but there’s always been a difference between what’s allowed in books and what’s considered ok in visual media. It’s one thing to read that a character died and another to see an on-panel decapitation. At least, imo.

  6. Anthony Says:

    Agree that the DCNU thing isn’t new reader friendly *or* kid-friendly. Writing up my remarks on “Red Hood and the Outlaws” yesterday for my blog, I thought it was beyond bizarre that they rated it as “T” (appropriate for 12/13 and up per DC’s ratings), despite how Starfire is written. (None of DC’s comics are rated anything less than “T”, save the Johnny DC’s all-ages rating…)

    My answers for the question: comics aren’t easily available anywhere “normal” people shop (Wal-Mart, drugstores, supermarkets); comics have been eclipsed by TV, video games, DVDs, and movies in many ways (kids can play video games and pretend to *be* Batman, then watch any of his myriad of movies and cartoons on Cartoon Network/DVD/etc.); the material is age-inappropriate; the books cost too much for what one gets; the lengthy wait between installments of a multi-multi-part storyline (when, unlike when I was a kid, today’s kids can pop in a DVD/flip on Cartoon Network or Disney XD and get Batman or Spider-Man anytime); and even if they’re interested in reading/comics, there’s plenty of other more-appealing material they could read (manga, etc.).

    In short, getting kids (or adults, even) to pay $3-$4 for “part 1″ of a multi-part storyline involving characters they can get cheaper/easily in another medium, for a 10-minute read involving the Joker lynching Gotham City’s NAACP chapter/raping an entire sorority/etc. (or whatever shock-value, sadistic, emotionally-stunted snuff film-like junk DC’s writers and editors have come up with *this* time for him or any of their other characters to do) *might* be a slightly tough sell…

  7. Anthony Says:

    I forgot to add this:

    About kids turned off by cartoonish versions of superheroes, Marvel’s “Marvel Adventures” line of books (save a few stories) are done in a non-cartoonish/realistically drawn manner, while still being kid-friendly stories.

  8. James Schee Says:

    I would like to think decapitation or even face being pulled off would be too. Yet then I look at video games -remember when Mortal Kombat made headlines for allowing players to kill, now thats considered so tame they had a DC tie in game.- movies. Heck even TV shows which used to be safe 7 pm shows, have things like talk of premature ejaculation on Big Bang Theory.

    I have a friend who is in her early 20s and on her Facebook page she makes very frank sex jokes. Her dad posted saying that’s not very nice basically and she told him ” that’s how we talk now dad it’s not like when you were a kid. ”

    Idont know if it’s good or not but I am becoming aware of feeling like a fuddy duddy at times.

  9. Hooper Triplett Says:

    Price aside, there isn’t a superhero title I can give to my 11 yo daughter. None. All are too graphic with violence with hyper-sexualized female characters.

  10. William George Says:

    Superhero comics are made by middle aged geek males for other middle aged geek males. Nothing will change until the creators do. That means Starfire will be a cock-hungry wank fantasy for a long time.

    Personally, I think nothing will change until the market crashes for good so everyone can start over.




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