Comic Books For Kids
Recently, I was speaking with a friend of mine about the San Diego Comic-Con. She wanted to know if Comic-Con was an appropriate place to bring her daughter, who has a growing interest in characters such as Spider-Man, Wonder Woman, and Batman. This was an interesting question, and it got me thinking about another question that I believe a lot of parents, and people in general, have about comic books. Are they appropriate for children?
Anyone that follows the ‘goings on’ of the comic book industry knows that this question of comics and kids has been an issue for a lot of creators for a while now, such as Robert Kirkman, author of the Walking Dead (probably not OK for kids), Invincible (OK for kids), and many other very popular titles. Kirkman has said on many occasions that he believes there should be more of an effort on the comic industry’s part to release more ‘All-Ages’ comics, which are comics that people of all ages can enjoy.
For so long the industry has been stigmatized by the general public as being nothing more than trash filled with scantily clad women, gore, and violence that only middle-aged nerds enjoy, which is strange considering the medium’s previous stigma of being only for children. Things are bad enough for the medium, what with children finding their entertainment from video games and the World Wide Web, as well as rising cover prices and tough to penetrate continuity. It does not need parents who forbid their children from reading comics because of their content on top of everything else.
In my opinion, the landscape of the industry is more diverse now than it ever was before. Yes, there are titles that are for mature viewers, but there are plenty of comics that are perfectly fine for kids to read. Though they seem pretty obvious, I have come up with the 3 best things that you parents can do to help you decide what is appropriate for your children in the world of comics:
- Like the film industry, every publisher in the comic book industry has their own rating system. For example, Marvel’s current system includes 5 levels: All Ages, A, T+ Teens and Up, Parental Advisory, and MAX: Explicit Content. These ratings appear on the comics cover (sometimes back cover) and allows a parent to determine which Marvel comic is appropriate for their child based on their age. Like I said before, every publisher in America has a similar ratings system that makes parents’ decision-making incredibly easy when it comes to content within comics.
- Reading reviews for comics is invaluable. If parents feel that a rating for a comic vague, then try doing further research. There are countless sites on the web that have reviews of comics released throughout the year. These reviews should give parents an idea of what is going on in an average issue of Amazing Spider-Man, Batman, or any other comics your child might be interested in.
- Try reading comics your child is interested in before giving it to them. This is the absolute best way to determine if comics are acceptable reading material for your child. You don’t necessarily have to shell out the cash for the book, either. Simply going to a comic book store, or a bookstore that still carries comics, and browsing through some comics should be more than enough for you to make the right decision. But the biggest perk of this option is that it could potentially make you just as interested in comics as your child. You could enjoy reading comics together!
My biggest fear, one that is, as I said, shared by others within the comic book industry, is that the medium will eventually die without more younger people becoming interested and reading. However, in this day and age, many parents are regulating their children’s entertainment, and that’s fine. I believe I have given any parent three fool-proof ways to successfully protect their child while also nurturing their interest in comics.