Heroes, Villains, and Me: Positives to Get Kids into Comics

“Heroes, Villains, and Me” is a weekly article on Geeky KOOL about the world of comic books and my reaction to it.  “Heroes, Villains, and Me” is not a comic book review article. I will write about current events, speculation and rumors, or my own wacky thoughts about the world of comic books.

Last week, I discussed the numerous issues facing the future of comic books. Attracting the next generation into reading comic books is a huge challenge. This week, I want to discuss what the positive things I am seeing that might just save the future of comic books.  The challenges outweigh the positives but that could change in the future and hopefully will.

1) Geek is KOOL
Geek is KOOL and Geek is Chic (sheek).  A decade ago, the word geek was often used as a derogatory term. Thankfully times do change. Comic Books are often accepted and found to be kool. This opens the door for new people to try the art/literature of comics who would not have in the past. This is a positive to bring in kids, teens, and adults.

Comic book conventions are a big deal. Most conventions have a ton of kids in attendance.  It is difficult to even buy tickets for the San Diego Comic-Con. Comic Conventions has become a place to celebrate a person’s geeky connections and obsessions.

2)  Technology Friendly
Most comic books can now be downloaded (for a price) and read on your smart phone, computer, or tablet.  It is convenient and easy to use.

Most new comic books do cost the same to download (for new comics) and read as purchasing a print version at the comic store. There are advantages reading it electronically: no wear and tear, no storage issues, and they are always available to read online.

Making comics tech friendly is a positive way to attract the younger generation.

3) Comic Book Movies are Big
The Avengers movie just broke the 600 Million Dollars mark for movie tickets in the United States alone. Amazing Spider-Man will open on Tuesday and is expected to do well. Many non-comic book fans are eagerly anticipating the Dark Knight Rises movie later in July.  These comic movies do open doors for kids to become interested in comic books.

4) Comic Book cartoons are Well Done
When I was a kid, the comic book based cartoons were usually lame. I loved some of them in spite of how bad they were.

Cartoons like Avengers Assemble, Young Justice, Green Lantern, and Ultimate Spider-Man are well written and drawn. They often tells stories right from the comic books.

5) Good Comic Books for Children
One of my points last week was “Lack of Age Appropriate Intriguing Comics”.  I still agree with this point.  But there are some good comic books out there that are appropriate for kids while being intriguing.

The series call Marvel Adventures are well written series.  They had several titles including Spider-Man, Fantastic Four, Avengers, and more.  These are child friendly stories and are often retelling classic tales.

DC Comics have their own kid friendly comics.  The Tiny Titans was an intelligent but extremely funny children’s comic.  It has now ended but been replaced with the Superman Family Adventures.  They have a Scooby Doo, Young Justice, and Green Lantern: The Animated Series.

There are other comic book companies with really good comics that are appropriate for all ages and pre-teens.  Some of them are more difficult to find.

6) Libraries are into comic books
The Young Adult section at many libraries have comic books.  Libraries have discovered the attraction of both single issues, bound collections ,and graphic novels. They have super hero comics and non-traditional comics. Some of the comics are classic novels told in the comic book format.

Because libraries have embraced comic books, it exposes some children to comic books and the various styles of comics.

7) Education is catching onto comic books
When I was in elementry school, I brought some comic books to school.  They were taken away by my teacher and told not to bring them back. Comics were viewed in an extremely negative light in education.

This view has changed over the years and many educators are promoting comics. Comic books can be used to promote literacy. Boys are often behind the reading level of girls at the same age. Comics can be an appealing alternative for some boys over reading books.

My friend Chris Wilson has a website devoted to assisting other educators with using comic books.  The Graphic Classroom is helps teachers and librarians select comics that are right for them.

The Graphic Classroom is a resource for teachers and librarians to help them stock high quality, educational-worthy, graphic novels and comics in their classroom or school library. I read and review every graphic novel or comic on this blog and give it a rating as to appropriateness for the classroom.

Comic books have been around for decades. They have evolved and changed over time to meet the needs of the day. The comic industry is down right now. They need to find a way to bring in more kids and youth. I hope they survive for centuries to come.

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