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Rebecca Jansen
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Posted: 23 June 2022 at 5:39pm | IP Logged | 1 post reply

What is the state of comic books available today for comics accessible and aimed at little kids?

It's a no-brainer that if you don't have comics for kids you won't have as many if any adults reading them later in life. So, how is it really out there? Not being a parent I am probably pretty ignorant past Sonic The Hedgehog, Owly or DC's Super-Hero Girls, and I know just enough to know I probably know little of the whole Scholastic empire. How about Disney? Is it mainly reprints for older fans or are they publishing new work? I know in Europe that's the case, that there is new work (and Tom & Jerry, and Droopy, seem to have kept going strong there while missing in action in their birthplace.

My first loves in comic books were Scamp, Dennis The Menace (Hank Ketcham character), Sad Sack, Little Lulu, Bullwinkle, Wheelie & the Chopper Bunch... we had so many comics for little kids in the '70s! Some were classic reprints (not that I knew then) and many were very imaginative and showed subtlety in character and art.

Do people still give comics as Halloween treats, as part of a Christmas stocking or hamper, make them available to sick kids? I used to be involved in those things but you need something that's not a 'mature' rated Wolverine or Lobo comic for that. I used to put Archie digests in with anonymous 'santa' wish list presents in a local program.

Also, I used to have friends in school that were not allowed to have comics, or only the spire Christian ones. I got in serious trouble a couple times giving those kids anything (Many Ghosts Of Dr. Graves comes to mind). I'd like to think that long shadow of Dr. Wertham is finally gone.

You reap what you sow... so what is the comic book form currently sowing for it's future? All those alternate covers will be totally meaningless and valueless if nobody is around who actually read any of it after all. Thanks in advance for any information!

Edited by Rebecca Jansen on 23 June 2022 at 5:40pm
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James Woodcock
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Posted: 24 June 2022 at 5:52am | IP Logged | 2 post reply

In the UK there is still a massive selection of comics available for kids.
Contents are varied in that they have stories, games, puzzles & a toy & the
range too is varied - usually tied to an IP such as Pokémon, My Little Pony
for example.



Panini also reprint several Marvel issues which are available in WH Smiths



So things have changed, but there are comics for all ages.
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Bill Collins
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Posted: 24 June 2022 at 6:41am | IP Logged | 3 post reply

From my experience with nephews and nieces the comics aimed
at kids nowadays are as James said, but the actual strips
are pretty simplistic, nothing to stretch the children's
outlooks or imaginations. Think most of the money goes into
the attached toy.
We do get the Panini reprint stuff, but there seems to be a
gap between the ages of around 5 to 10, the years that
Marvel reprints snagged my attention and gave me stories
that made me think and improved my vocabulary.
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Pedro Cruz
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Posted: 24 June 2022 at 12:17pm | IP Logged | 4 post reply

There are plenty of comics for kids, they're just not in newstands or in the pamphlet format any longer. They're actual books or "graphic novels" as some like to call them. Captain Underpants, Dog Man, The Bad Guys are some of the examples I can recall and I believe they sell much, much more worldwide than anything Marvel, DC and the rest of the "comic book industry" is currently doing.
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John Byrne
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Posted: 24 June 2022 at 12:26pm | IP Logged | 5 post reply

…pamphlet…

•••

Not sure just when this word slipped into the vernacular, but it’s not the industry term. The format in which comics are traditionally printed is “half-tab”, for half the size of a tabloid.

They’re not “floppies”, either.

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Pedro Cruz
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Posted: 24 June 2022 at 2:26pm | IP Logged | 6 post reply

Thank you for the clarification, JB. 
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James Woodcock
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Posted: 24 June 2022 at 2:44pm | IP Logged | 7 post reply

Pedro does make an excellent point though.
Dog Man sells millions, way, way more than any
Marvel comic.
So the medium/storytelling format is still
accepted. It's something else that has gone
wrong.

I wonder if it could be the story content?
Nah, surely not.
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Rebecca Jansen
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Posted: 24 June 2022 at 4:43pm | IP Logged | 8 post reply

There you, go, I had never heard of Dog Man before! Couldn't not know of Captain Underpants though, that's gotten pretty big. There was an underground Dog Boy comic, I remember first buying a signed copy of one in Eugene, Oregon way back (he had a Doggie Cycle), probably not kid appropriate although it wasn't as naughty as many.

As a kid I 'made' stickers of a kind out of comic cover art so something like many books Panini now produce would have kept me busy. I sort of thought the small paperback, usually kept in-print, collected comics volumes Japan had could become a major format, and I think we are seeing that here. No rareness or condition fixation involved. A form of reading with a heavy visual element inherent... what's not to like?

I was just (re-)reading one of those late '60s-early '70s books about the history of comic strips and books ('Comix') and it describes the invention of the earliest modern U.S. comic books (Funnies On Parade/Century Of Comics/Famous Funnies) as coming about when someone saw you could take a large four color sheet at tabloid size and fold it in half and come up with a 32 paged item (36 with a cover, or 64 + cover for the 68 paged comics that was the first standard going into WWII when they started to get slimmer and have ads). Now it might be quite a trial just to find somewhere that uses cheap newsprint and basic four color presses so of course the formats were bound to change.

The thin English newsstand comics I saw in the '70s had a lot of B&W and two colour interiors for older kids while the four colours for younger general readers were more like our American newspaper funnies sections... Beano, Dandy, Whizzer & Chips... they all had very short half to one page complete items to maybe five or even six pages if you were really lucky continuing stories. The monthly U.S. comics definitely had the superior format to the weekly or fortnightly.

I think people need to be reminded that at one time The Fantastic Four and Spider-Man were successful because they were new and different... you don't necessarily keep just re-doing them, that's not being new and different... you actually need the new and the different given a chance like they were back in 1961 and 1962. Keep the best of the old but also make room for the next thing for another generation to have 'their' comics.
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Stéphane Garrelie
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Posted: 24 June 2022 at 5:18pm | IP Logged | 9 post reply

"half-tab"

Well, i learned something today. Thank you JB.
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Michael Roberts
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Posted: 24 June 2022 at 6:49pm | IP Logged | 10 post reply

I wonder if it could be the story content?  
Nah, surely not.

———

Kids want content written for them. Not what their parents like nor what their parents liked as a kid. Marvel and DC’s best-selling graphic novels in the bookstore channel last year? A Scholastic Miles Morales book, a YA coming-of-age book about Beast Boy, and a YA romance book about Beast Boy and Raven. 

Have you seen the Bat-Family manhwa? 46+ million views, 1 million subscribers. A ton more eyeballs than any individual DC comic is getting and probably more than a lot of them are getting collectively. It’s a slice-of-life family comedy? I don’t really get the appeal, but that’s OK, because I am an old. 

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Rebecca Jansen
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Posted: 25 June 2022 at 12:02am | IP Logged | 11 post reply

But... do they only want characters created thirty (Squirrel Girl is now that old) to eighty years ago however differently revamped? Or new characters with old names? Won't they get to have their own generation of entirely new superheroes/characters?
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Wallace Sellars
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Posted: 25 June 2022 at 3:45am | IP Logged | 12 post reply

Kids love the AMULET and BONE books, and quite a few of them read manga (with which I am unfamiliar). Female students seem to enjoy anything Raina Telgemeier produces, with SISTERS and SMILE being standouts. I plan to introduce G-MAN and USAGI YOJIMBO comics to some young scholars this upcoming school year.
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