[AUTHOR NOTE: I live in the Boston area and needless to say, I’ve been occupied with other things. So we’re skipping Early Panels this week and I’m putting this, meant to run yesterday, in its stead.]
One of the emails we get on a semi-regular basis is the question “Are there any books I can give to my spawn/the spawn of my siblings or coworkers without getting screamed at and possibly arrested?” And it’s a valid question: DC and Marvel may be prominent in pop culture, but most of their publishing is targeted at teenage audiences or older.
So, we gathered together a few steps to help you pick out books appropriate for kids.
Start With Boom! And IDW
The best place to start with kid-friendly comics is with the publishers Boom!, who have an entire label of all-ages comics with their Ka-Boom! line, and IDW. Both have licenses ranging from My Little Pony and Adventure Time to Peanuts and Garfield, and both put out all-ages and kid-focused books on a regular basis.
More importantly, they put out comics adults can stand to read. Ask any parent: A lot of children’s entertainment is condescending cutesy crap. Boom! and IDW invest a lot of money not just in getting the license, but finding award-winners and fan favorites like Roger Langridge and Katie Cook to handle the writing and art chores. Langridge, for example, writes Popeye and is surprisingly faithful to how the character is portrayed in the original strips.
Ask At Your Friendly Local Comic Book Shop
As we’ve said before, it’s literally the job of the guy behind the counter to know what comics are on the stands and who they’re appropriate for. So, ask him: He wants to sell you comics.
Look For Older Books From The ’50s And ’60s
You’ll want to vet these a little bit, especially because they are fifty years old and as a result they can be dated in how they present, well, basically anybody who wasn’t a white guy. Don’t set up a parent to have to explain racism to a five-year-old. It’s mean.
That said, they were written with children in mind at the time, and on top of that, the Comics Code means they were pretty uncontroversial even for the standards of the 1950s. For example, any kid will probably enjoy the utterly goofy ’50s run of Batman comics, and if nothing else, Dick Sprang’s artwork is still pretty great.
Keep An Eye On The Solicitations For Original All-Ages Comics
The bigger publishers put out all-ages stuff on a fairly regular basis, although publishing can be sporadic depending on sales and schedules. Dark Horse just published the adorable one-shot Snow Angel, for example, and Batman: Lil’ Gotham debuted last week.
That’s our tips for parents. Any series you’re a particular fan of, for yourself or for your kids? Let us know in the comments.