Monday, July 14, 2008

Comic Books for Kids

One of the things I like about Grubbs is it is appropriate for all ages. My kids, 6 & 9, both get a kick out of it and have even helped. My daughter has been my official eraser, and has worked hard and put a lot of care and personal pride into her work. My son has helped with the coloring and has been a big asset, taking on a big job for his age.

While putting together the comic book, my wife looked through it and startled me with some out-loud laughs... and she is no fan of comic books.

I probably learned to read from the comics, and it breaks my heart that there aren't more comics out there for kids... on the newspaper comics pages or in the comics shops. The comic book companies are finally realizing there is a whole new audience out there, and that they need to reach it or else all they'll have is a bunch of 65-year-old comic book fans before too long. And it is the independent comics creators who showed them that it needed to be done, and how to do it.

There are no more turnstile racks in local stores any more, so it's hard to reach kids directly. Yet even the libraries have finally realized that comics are a great way to get kids to read. Parents are out there as well, looking for comics that are appropriate for kids, but having a hard time. So here are some comics that the kids and I have enjoyed.

First up is The Dreamland Chronicles by Scott Sava who, with Herobear's Mike Kunkle, published the Spooner comics. The Dreamland Chronicles has built up quite a following and Scott, besides being a terrific guy, tells a great story and creates a whole new look with his 3-D animation style. You can also read it weekly online.

Another book we have enjoyed is Owly, by Andy Runton. Owly is mostly a wordless comic and great for younger readers. It's just cute as heck.

My son and I really enjoyed the second Gasoline Alley collection, Walt and Skeezix. It collects the third and fourth years of Gasoline Alley comic strips (1923-24) after baby Skeezix was left at bachelor Walt's doorstep. Frank King was one of the best cartoonists ever, and I've never read a classic comic that holds up so well. It's just perfection.

I'm not real enamoured with DC's Tiny Titans, but the kids like it. The stories are as simple and silly as you can get, but the art is fun, with drawing chores by Art Baltazar, who also creates the comic Patrick the Wolf Boy. My son prefers the in-between version, Teen Titans Go!, but it was canceled in May.

Another fun, well-done comic is Power Pack, a sisters and brothers team of superheroes reinvented for Marvel in an anime look. Libraries usually have hardback copies of the limited run, and the series is supposed to start again this year.

You can also check out the link to the right, Kids Love Comics. And of course, you can find lots of old Archie, Richie Rich, Casper and Disney comics on ebay, even though ebay sucks.

And keep your eye out for Grubbs.

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