It’s a common complaint among comics fans: Way, way too many people think comic books are only for kids.
And even in this modern day, it’s a valid complaint. I’ve had way too many conversations with both rabid fans of junk culture and highly educated people who quite frankly should know better about comic books and their relative worth as an art form, people who bought a ticket to The Dark Knight Rises and yet still think of comics entirely in terms of POW! and ZAP! It’s annoying.
At the same time, though, I have to admit, my upcoming marriage and discussions of parenthood leave me wondering… Just how the hell am I going to explain comics to my kids, let alone find books for them to read? What am I going to do, hand a six year old a few issues of Deadpool? Maybe read them some Prophet as beddy-bye? Yeah, I don’t think so.
But an odd sea change has been happening right under our noses: Smaller publishers, especially Boom! and IDW, are getting into kids’ comics, and in a big way.
Part of this is that license holders are seeing the value in comics more than ever these days. Jim Davis quietly broke his embargo on Garfield appearing outside newspapers and collections with Boom!’s new book. Boom! has also been publishing new Peanuts comic books, and also has a line of Adventure Time comics that are often really funny.
IDW, meanwhile, has been working with Hasbro, which will culminate in a Brony attack on comic book shops this December with My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic #1, and has also been bringing Popeye back to comics with a surprisingly faithful book that pays tribute to the original strips, courtesy Roger Landridge, who also does the award-winning Snarked!
The key thing, though, is that I’ve sampled these books and, without exception, they’re actually good. Shocking as it sounds, the guiding principle in both companies seems to be adults will be reading these things, so they should be aimed at all ages in the most genuine sense. In short, they’re putting out good comics.
And, really, as long as the comics are good, parent or no parent I’m not complaining.