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Thursday, 10 May 2012

Comics for kids

I am often asked for recommendations for comics for children and teenagers.  I am asked so often, I thought I'd do a couple of posts rounding up all the books I usually point people towards.  So, this post will focus on comics on children, (say up to about age 11 or 12) and a second post will focus on comics for teenagers (aged 12 or 13 and upwards).

I would ask that if you are buying comics for kids, do check them out for yourself first.  I don't have kids, and my recommendations are based on what I would have read as a child and teen, but now kids seem to read more mature stuff than I ever had access too.  So, please consider the reading level and maturity of the kids and teens concerned when you are buying books for them and maybe check out the teens reading list as well (coming in a few days).

To start, all books tagged with our All Ages label can be found here.  Please note that we are in the middle of an improvement to the blog's label system so the All Ages label is being replaced by Age: children.  Please check both.
Also be aware that we have not reviewed all the appropriate comics out there, so here comes a list of the ones already reviewed, and a few others that we haven't managed to do yet:

Spider-man loves Mary-Jane - this is a series written for kids, focusing on Mary-Jane and Peter Parker (Spider-Man) as teenagers in high school.  It's very well thought of.
Power Pack - Reprints of the original 1980s run and more modern versions are available on Amazon.  this is about a group of kids, aged between 4 and 13, who were granted powers by alien horses.  I read these when they first came out as a 7 year old and I adored them.  The 1980s run is one of my most favourite comic series ever.  The new series I'm not so keen on, but that's because of precious childhood memories and not liking change!
Teen Titans Year One - the first year of one of the first incarnation of DC's Teen Titan's (teenaged superheroes)
Spider-Man Fairy Tales, Marvel Fairy Tales and X-Men Fairy Tales - Classic fairy tales and legends from around the world, retold using Marvel characters.
Superman/Shazam: First Thunder - the first meeting of these 2 iconic DC characters.  Warning - it starts off all happy and fun and the ending is incredibly sad and at odds with the rest of the book.  Not suitable for young children.
Supergirl Cosmic Adventures in the 8th Grade and Batman: The Brave & the Bold - Both written and drawn by Landry Q Walker and Eric Jones, these are perfect for kids aged around 7 to 9.  And pretty perfect for adults too.  I will buy Supergirl Cosmic Adventures for my neice as soon as she's old enough.  If not before.
Wednesday Comics -  This oversized expensive book collected a series of 12 weekly newspaper sized comics DC produced a few summer's back.  A few of the stories in here would be suitable for kids, such as the Supergirl strip, the Wonder Woman strip and possibly the Teen Titans one.
DC Showcase and Marvel Essential - these reprint old comics from the 1950s to the 1970s in thick, telephone book sized editions.  The art is black and white, but you do get about 500 pages of comic for only about £12.  It's cheap, and these comics were written for children so you are guaranteed to get something that's suitable.  I'm a fan of Green Arrow volume 1, Batgirl  and JLA volume 4.
DC Nation is the arm of DC that does books specifically for children.  Of these titles, I recommend Tiny Titans, Superman Family Adventures (for younger kids) and Young Justice (for maybe 8 or 9yr olds and up).
Similarly, Marvel has a Marvel Kids arm offering comics and games for children. 

Not superheroes
Princeless - not your average Princess.  Adrienne isn't about to wait for anyone to save her, instead she takes life into her own hands, befriends her dragonguard and sets out to save her sisters.  My comic of the year.  A must buy for anyone wanting to provide positive role models to young girls.
Peanuts - Charlie Brown, Snoopy and the gang.
Calvin & Hobbes - a disobedient kid named Calvin and his adventures with his stuffed tiger, named Hobbes.
Garfield minus Garfield, and indeed, the actual Garfield books too.
Courtney Crumrin and the Night Things - Courtney's parents move the family to a creepy old house filled with Night Things and magic...
The Muppet Show Comic Book - those lovable muppets in 4 colour format.
Jingle Belle - This is about Santa's daughter, a mischievous elf girl.
Star Wars - Dark Horse publish the Star Wars comics and from what I can tell of the samples I've read, some of these at least would be suitable for kids.
Archaia gave a good sampler out as part of Free Comic Book Day this year, and from this, I thought Mouse Guard, Cow Boy and Cursed Pirate Girl would be good for young 'uns.

The Princess - about a transgender girl names Sarah, aged about 8 or 9, and her daily life, dealing with school, being transgender and her family.  If your kid is trans, or thinks they may want to transition, or wants to know about transitioning, this comic is a really good place for them to start.  Sarah is a great role model and a lot of the issues are dealt with simply and with clarity.

Azumanga Daioh and Yotsuba&! - Both written by the same guy, these are also some of my favourite comics.

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