There's been a lot of talk of Kids Comics lately. Between twitter rants, forum topics, podcasts and even big time hollywood magazine interviews, everyone seems to have an idea of what is wrong with comics and why kids aren't reading them. Instead of going on a 35 tweet blast that annoys the heck out of everyone because you have to read it like some sort of Memento tattoo game, I'll post a quick blog about it.
The most popular complaint seems to be that not enough comics are made for kids. I have to disagree with this thought. There may not be a ton of comics made SPECIFICALLY for kids, but I think that a good majority of comics are very close to kid friendly. In fact, I've been drawing comics for Marvel going on 10 years now and every single comic I've drawn can be read by most ages. Of the Spider-Man, Human Torch, Venom, New Warriors, X-Men, Runaways, Monster of Frankenstein, and Oz books, only one of those titles is aimed directly at kids. That's 10 years worth of monthly comics that almost any kid could read, only one being called a "kid comic."
What is a kid comic? Did we grow up on "kid" comics? Who knows? I think we grew up with comics that could be read by anyone. I got started reading comics when Image started. I was 13-14 years old and seeing bodies ripped apart and child molesters getting murdered in the pages of Spawn. Funny thing is, I could buy those at Toys R Us. Was that material meant for kids? Again, i don't know. But I was a kid, I read it, and I loved it. I could name 50 other books that rode that line and at the end of the day, I was reading. I was learning and discovering and learning that i may be able to do something with my "doodling". Some people think that violence in comics isn't what is needed to get kids to get off the X-Box and pick up a comic. I say that those people don't really know what kids are playing on their X-Box. If anything our comics are way too tame for them. We all have grand ideas about how to make the perfect comics for kids. I say they already exist.
What's my point? Well, I don't think it's a matter of what comics are made for kids, but rather the kids... no, the PARENTS not knowing where to get them. Non comic reading parents don't know that comic shops exist. If you live where I live, comic shops barely exist at all. My nephew is 5. For the last 3 years he refused to wear anything that didn't have either Spider-Man or Batman on it. From his shirt to his shoes, he was sporting comic book gear. But my sister didn't know where to get him comic books. For all she knows, Spider-Man was created to be on a shirt, not in a book. Now, I know, that's an extreme case. But it's just an example.
This is a debate that can go on and on. The beauty of having a blog is I can state my opinion, walk away and never have to actually debate anyone...haha. I love blogs. I for one think that there are plenty of books out there for kids, wether their made for them directly or they're safe for them to read. All we can do is make comics and try to get them into the hands of new readers, young and old. A few friends have mentioned GIVE A KID A COMICS DAY and are in the middle of trying to organize that. Some have suggested books to their kids school libraries. These are the things that need to be done. It's easy for us to spread the word on Twitter, Blogs, Forums, etc. but if we want kids to get into reading comics... let's put down the keyboard, sign off of twitter, and show kids where they are.
I will be driving over the local Library later today and donating 50 trade paperbacks. None are kids books, but all can be read by kids. What are you going to do?