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31 Days of Comics – Comic For Kids

Our pal Seth Hahne, of GoodOKBad fame, came up with this 31 Days of Comics challenge, one of those things where each day of the month you’re given a different category that you then make a choice of a comic to fill that category. I figured it would be a fun bit to do, so here we are! Click here to see each of the categories so far!

We continue with Day 28, which is a Comic For Kids

Read on for my pick and then you can share yours!

Really, this SHOULD be Jeff Smith’s Bone. I already did Carl Barks’ Uncle Scrooge for a comic that I’d recommend to anyone (i.e. a great all-ages comic) and Bone was the next best choice for THAT one, so now that I’m at a comic specifically for kids, I should go with Bone here. Bone is great.

However, I dunno, I think everyone already knows Bone is awesome. So let me mix things up a bit!

So I will go with Ted Naifeh’s Courtney Crumrin.

The story is about a young girl who goes to live with her oblivious money and status-obssessed parents in the mansion of their uncle (whose great-uncle he is is up to debate – he might even be Courtney’s Great-Great-Great-Great Uncle!).

As you can see, the mansion has a great deal of spooky stuff going on.

Courtney has trouble making friends in school…

When running away from the bullies, her dumb friend follows her and GETS EATEN BY A GOBLIN!!!

Yeah, this is definitely a lot darker than you might expect. And that’s what I like about this comic, that it is FOR kids but it doesn’t talk down to kids. Kids don’t need to be coddled and Naifeh knows that. I really appreciate it.

Courtney eventually discovers that her Uncle is a great magician, and she swiped a few spells to get revenge on the goblin…

The series is quite well-told, with nice artwork and a strong sense of character-building with Courtney. Check out this sequence from a later issue…

Good stuff – telling a fantastical story but having real life issues be the heart of the tale. Well done by Naifeh.

Oni has collected the whole run so far in trades.

40 Comments

Pretty much all of them. As Stan Lee was fond of saying, Marvel comics didn’t look down on kids, they brought kids into adulthood. Extreme nudity and violence don’t create monsters; I, like all my friends, poured over Penthouses in the woods, we all liked gory horror movies, and none of us became serial killers. Well, except for Jimmy, but for the sake of his family, we won’t mention him further.

At any rate, Gary Arlington, and me, and countless others thrived on the questionable taste and sleazery of EC and Mad and it improved us. It opened the world, it improved our vocabulary, it made us voracious readers. Bondage Fairies will not twist any kid’s melon irreparably. Jeffery Dahmer did not become a killer because he read comics, the Walton family did not become monsters because they read comics, Stalin did not slaughter millions of innocents because of comics. All is permissible. Give kids the benefit of the doubt, trust in their moral intelligence. It worked for me, it worked for you, it will work for them.

Lost Girls.

No?

Courtney Crumrin’s a good pick. The most frightening thing in the book is that she has no nose….

I love Little Lulu by Stanley and Tripp.

There are plenty of others (and I believe I like Seth’s pick on this one, iirc), and what’s great is that while you won’t see them much in the comics store, some of the “mainstream” book publishers publish some great stuff and you can find it in the kids section at your local library. Even if that means, like in my case, a tall, bearded, creepy lookin’ dude is squatting down to look at the little tiny shelves so he can see Hereville or the Babysitters Club GNs or Frank Cammuso’s Knights of the Lunch Table.

“Mommy, that Bigfoot guy is scaring me! And he won’t let me read Uncle Scrooge!”

Maus. Best read when you’re 10 or 11 and have little to no idea what the Holocaust was.

Popeye Classics, currently being published by IDW. It’s a great series.

John Stanley’s run on “Nancy”, when he introduced Oona Goosepimple and her family to the Nancyverse.

Nobody can touch Bushmiller. Nobody.

Practically ANYTHING from the Bronze Age from Marvel, DC, and Red Circle.

Worked for me!

There are so many great comics out there for kids that it’s almost as if comics might be for kids again. I have a whole (and growing) list of great comics/graphic novels for kids on my site. There’s just so much to choose from now. But over the past few months, I’ve noticed a certain kind of gravitation toward one book over and again.

It may be that I only know girls or it may be that Ben Hatke’s book is just awesome (both are pretty much true), but it seems that everyone loves Zita the Spacegirl and wants more. Really, it’s hard to go wrong. It’s a fun, inventive, and creative world and the sense of adventure is spot on and Zita’s just a great little character. I highly recommend if you have little ones or if you want to take in a guileless adventure story with a lot of heart.

(The finale to the trilogy is coming in a few months.)

There are almost no comics for kids nowadays. Most of the comics that are done in a “childish style” are clearly meant for and bought by grown men and not so grown men rather than kids.

As far as stuff that was actually for kids, 60s Archie was arguably the greatest comic of all time AFAIC. But I’m tempted to say that was really more for teenagers than kids (and I am assuming we’re talking about preteens here). The Carl Barks and/or Don Rosa runs on Donald Duck/Uncle Scrooge is probably a better answer. Although I think the ultimate comic for kids might have been Four Color. TONS of variety (probably the most for any series ever since they were basically glorified one-shots) and most definitely “for kids” in nature but also usually pretty entertaining.

Tiny Titans and that Supergirl in 8th grade mini….

Adventure Time! One of the best kids comics on the stands today. Ryan North has been doing an amazing job on this one.

Asterix!

If I have to choose a volume then Asterix and the Roman Agent – or Obelix and Co – or The Mansions of the Gods.

The answer is Tintin, yet again!

‘For kids’ is always a slightly difficult label. I don’t diagree with mrclam that almost any comic is suitable ‘for kids’ – but I think for really young (i.e. pre-literate) children it’s necessary to pick out examples of comics that can be understood without having to read the words, or that are easy for an adult to explain to their children when reading together (I say this as a parent of four year olds who like looking at books and comics but don’t have the patience to sit through a complete panel-by-panel reading!) Even Owly, which is entirely wordless, requires a surprising amount of talking through.

Does Maurice Sendak count as comics? He’s tought to beat as an all-ages master. I also recommend Edward Gorey, if you’re willing to take a chance on exposing children to some scary ideas.

Courtney Crumrin is an excellent pic, BeeCee. Along with Courtney, Naifeh’s Gloomcookie is another great comics for kids as well. It’s nice that you highlighted a great comic. The most recently recoloring of the series in the hardbacks is a great gift for any horror/goth fan.

As for my pick…easy: Carl Barks or Don Rosa Uncle Scrooge comics. They’re the closest thing to perfection in 22 pages.

Tales of the Bizarro World: I had to explain a few of the references, but my son (at ages 6 & 7) loved the backward logic, wordplay, and general silliness. His 2 favorite parts were the Bizarro dictionary (“walnut: idiot what stares at walls”) and the song in the blue monsters story.

I read Bone to my kid, to our mutual delight, so that springs to mind.

Having grown up on Bronze Age Marvel, I agree with that choice, too (Claremont comics did wonders for my vocabulary, as I recall). Although probably silver age Marvel is better still, as Stan Lee is both entertaining and sophisticated in such a way as to make for an enriching reading experience (especially Spidey!).

I’ve read Bone, Akiko, Beanworld, Tintin and Cartoon History of the Universe to my kids and all were big hits. (Well, we never get past the part of CHOTU where humans appear, but that’s just because my older son is a big dinosaur/early mammal fan…)

So hard to pick just one in any of these categories. I’ll combine several books into one “speciies” for this. The original Duck Dynasty worked back when I was a kid. Walt Disney Comics and Stories / Uncle Scrooge / Donald Duck / Junior Woodchucks. Loved that money bin. And it is something I pass on to my nieces and nephews today via the various Barks reprints.

As runner ups, the nieces and nephews and kids also love Mouse Guard, Bone and Usagi Yojimbo (and so do I and the various parents).

Thor: Mighty Avenger.

All-ages and the best Thor book in at least 7 years. Maybe the best since Simonson. I dunno, my Thor collection between 382 and the Fraction run is patchy.

Ditto on Bone and Barks.

I should have typed this and been thinking of it ever since for the All Ages category.

Jimmy Gownley’s Amelia Rules!, is such a great series. Nice clean art, the story is actually funny and every trade is super easy to jump on.

This was a Free Comic Book Day a few years ago and I happen to pick it up and immediately bought the first three trades.

One day, when I have children, I intend to read them Kirby’s FF as bedtime stories.

I think the whole not-talking-down-to-them thing is the key. Even when I was a kid (well, older kid, like 9 or 10), I hated things that talked down to me. I couldn’t articulate it at the time, but I would watch or read or hear things and just know something was off.

And I definitely agree with Alex Frith: I’ve loved Edward Gorey’s work since childhood (granted, I’ve been obsessed with monsters and scary stuff my whole life), and now have his “Doubtful Guest” tattooed on my arm. It’s my only tattoo that is pretty much always visible, and I’m totally cool with that.

Not gonna argue with Courtney Crumrin, but nobody mentioned the Batman Adventures?

Superman’s Pal Jimmy Olsen

You can’t go wrong with Uncle Scrooge.

Little Archie, anyone? Much more fun than the teen-age years.

Crockett Johnson’s Barnaby. I’m so happy that’s finally back in print.

I don’t have kids but I just read Paul Pope’s Battling Boy and that seems like something that the young people would like. That or Bone. Of all the comics I’ve given to my young nieces and nephews, Bone is the one that went over the best.

That girl. Has. No. Nose.

At first I just thought it was artistic styling, but then I saw that every other character clearly has a nose and she doesn’t. What…the…heck.

Anyway, it’s been said before, but Tiny Titans. I started my daughter on it a few months before she turned 2 and loved it ever since. She even got some sketches from Baltazar and Franco at Baltimore Comicon last year and loved the experience.

Someone commented that there are no comics for kids; I don’t believe this when numerous publishers strive to make all-ages comics. Some publishers are releasing comics based on various cartoons (e.g. Scooby-Doo, Looney Tunes, Marvel’s Ultimate Spider-Man and Avengers Assemble, and IDW’s My Little Pony, Powerpuff Girls, Samurai Jack, etc.). With the growth of trade paperbacks, I’d recommend trades of the 60s-70s DC/Marvel comics to kids as well. Some may think this material is dated, but from another perspective, this material may provide good stories with the INNOENCE may think today’s superhero comics lack. After all, didn’t our comic-loving parents, grandparents, etc. fall in love with comics on the same material?

Supergirl: Cosmic Adventures in the 8th Grade is great. My girls (aged from 7-11) absolutely loved it.

They also like reading Adventures-era Legion of Super-Heroes.

I recommend anything from the Mega Man series from Archie if you’re looking for a comic for kids. If you are looking for a specific volume, you could probably start at game over, but it’s best volume has been “Spiritus Ex Machina.” The best part about this story is that the series doesnt talk down to its audience, it talks up to it. In this issue, it deals with the morality of creating artificial life (in a series starring a robot)! And the actual argument presents both sides, and in a way that any generation can enjoy. You don’t need to be a fan of the Blue Bomber’s video games to enjoy the series, but it you are, all the better. Which is especially great, considering Capcom’s treatment of the character over the last 5 years.

Best all ages superhero comic being published today.

DC’s “Scooby Doo”, the first series……Stopped collecting it around #30 or so, but had to have the #50 issue because of all the old Hanna Barbera characters they resurrected….

http://dc.wikia.com/wiki/Scooby-Doo_Vol_1_50

Scooby Doo was also great because it FINALLY gave Joe Station the comic he was destined to draw……

I read my son Lee/Kirby FF’s at bedtime, and he was mostly entertained, although I had to skip some of Sue’s whimpering and Reed’s abuse of her. That sexism may be a historical fact but nothing I want him exposed to.

I might try reading him Power Pack.

Tiny Titans is pretty great. Also Roger Langridge’s Muppets material.

Courtney Crumrin is a great choice. Would love to see a CGI movie someday. Also waiting for a CGI Uncle Scrooge/Beagle Boys movie.
My choice for this one is the Fred Toole/Al Wiseman run of Dennis the Menace. The very first comic I ever read was Dennis the Menace Pocket Full of Fun 10 (1971). Not only was it classic Wiseman Dennis, it was also a Christmas issue! Even at 46, I still enjoy these comics and a couple years ago completed a collection of Dennis comics from the first Standard issue (1953) to the last Marvel issue (1982). Very tough series to complete.

Sugar and Spike. DC should have more of them available than the one archive edition that’s out.

And yes, the huge amount of Silver/Bronze Age material is a rich mine to draw on.

That last Batman Adventures series written by Dan Slott. Great book all around and good for all ages. DC seriously screwed up by cancelling it after less than 20 issues in favor of putting out a vastly inferior book based on “The Batman” cartoon. God, I miss the Dini/Timm DC verse!!! In comics and in cartoons. Far better than any of the animated projects since (even those done by Bruce Timm).

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