So I realize this post comes a bit late in the day, but unfortunately we are not all so lucky to actually make money off of our websites and need to work on far more boring things that don’t relate to comics.
But I digress.
This week we will be dedicating the site to coverage of all all-ages comics. To be perfectly honest, it’s my thinly veiled last minute attempt to try and get you to buy comics and graphic books for your kids for Christmas/Hanukkah/their late December birthday/whatever. But thinly veiled or not, it’s seriously a great idea.
Anyone who has spoken to me outside of the Internet will know that getting more kids to read comics is something I’m very passionate about. Possibly to the point of being annoying. I wrote my senior thesis in undergrad on the readership issue in mainstream comics (specifically superhero comics) and how if we don’t get more young readers into the medium, there’s a chance it will take a significant hit. Even if it is the “age of the nerd” or whatever people are calling it now. I posited then, as I do now, that it is up to independent creators and publishers outside of Marvel and DC to revitalize the industry by creating great books for all ages. Now I know that DC just attempted their own swing at this with the New 52, and as admirable as it was, there are still books in that line I certainly wouldn’t let any of my nieces and nephews read. I believe that great children’s comics, superhero or not (for example, I think Tiny Titans is brilliant), can be told without having to fall back on the tropes that so define the comic book industry.
In our education system, kids are pushed so hard today to read that they are being ushered from picture books to novels with almost no transitional materials. True most early reader chapter books do have pictures, but they are usually generic and supplementary rather than integral. We start our children as readers with words AND pictures, and as soon as they are just beginning to really draw details out of the art and associate the two together, we take the pictures away and tell them it’s childish to read books with pictures. If you are reading this site, then obviously you, as I, disagree. I believe that young readers can learn so much from a story told in words and pictures that is more complex than “see spot run.” And I believe that by supporting this misguided pop culture belief that reading comic books is somehow less impressive, less difficult or less important than reading a novel, we are preventing kids from learning about all the joys that a well done graphic story can bring.
Just as for years adults fought the stereotype that comics aren’t just for kids, we now need to support the idea that comics aren’t just for adults. They aren’t just superheroes. They aren’t just violence and good versus evil. They are for everyone and can tell every kind of story. This week we are dedicated to featuring that.
We have already featured some great all-ages comics on the site and if you ARE looking for a last-minute gift (or, honestly, even if you’re not), please check some of them out. I will list them at the bottom of the post.
Be that family member who gives books for Christmas. Sure, in the moment you might not be the coolest relative, but in the long run, you are giving them a gift they won’t forget. I’m totally that aunt and I can assure you that while my nephew might not remember the Star Wars gun he got last year (and thank God for that it was super annoying) he still reads all the books I’ve ever gotten for him. And yes, they’ve all been graphic books.
Also, I’m always looking for more all-ages books to read, give and review. So please feel free to tell me what your favorites are either here in the comments or by emailing me at beth[at]spandexless[dot]com. I’d love to talk with you about them.
Thanks for reading and please keep coming back all week for some all-ages comic book goodness!
Previous (specifically) Children’s & YA Titles Featured on Spandexless:
FDR and The New Deal For Beginners
That Monkey Tune
The Books of Craigmore Creations
American Born Chinese