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What are Some Good Comic Books for Children?

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  • Written By: Tricia Ellis-Christensen
  • Edited By: O. Wallace
  • Images By: Mara Zemgaliete, Manchester City Library, Alphaspirit
  • Last Modified Date: 21 August 2016
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Comic books come in many forms and many are completely inappropriate for children. Manga, the Japanese form of comic book drawing and creation, may have some child friendly comic books, but a vast majority of these works are geared toward teens, or even strictly for adults. This is certainly true of American comic books too. The fact that something has illustrations doesn’t imply content is G, PG, or even PG-13 rated. The standard of thinking of comic books as innocent diversions for children begins with their originally being marketed for kids. This standard has changed, and needs to be considered when choosing comics for kids, or even letting them read the comics in the newspaper.

Having considered this caution, there are still many excellent comic books for children, some of them new, and many of them collections of classic cartoons. If you really want to keep content clean, consider buying collections of Peanuts strips by Charles Schulz. These still continue to be relevant, funny and it’s hard to resist loving characters like Snoopy and Woodstock, or feeling drawn in by the conflicts of the unluckiest boy in the world, Charlie Brown.

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Another comic strip that is now no longer running is the wonderful Calvin and Hobbes by Bill Watterson. Young boys, and their parents may especially enjoy this strip, involving the adventures of the boy’s boy, Calvin, and his stuffed (though to Calvin, live) tiger. Additionally Watterson’s work is excellent for beginning to intermediate readers, since it introduces plenty of hard vocabulary words, and like the Peanuts series, launches kids into some fairly educated references to the world of science, literature and philosophy.

Both boys and girls may adore Garfield which is also available in book form in collections of strips, and still runs in many newspapers’ comic sections. The fat cat with his love of food and laziness in general usually doesn’t fail to delight, and is very child friendly. A newer series to consider is the Eisner Award winning graphic novels based on the charming owl named Owly. Parents and critics alike praise Andy Runton’s work especially because it is so kid friendly.

As kids progress into pre-teen years, they may really enjoy comic books that deal with classic superheroes. Spider-Man, the Justice League, and Superman do contain mild violence but still remain popular and relatively innocent in content. Don’t forget the Classics Illustrated series for children, popular in the 1950s, which created comic book renderings of classic literature and fairytales. These may be a little harder to find, though on a small scale, some companies are beginning to republish the Classics Illustrated line, and if you look on sites like EBay or in used bookstores you may be able to find a few for kids who are devoted to comic books.

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anon170754
Post 7

I agree 200 percent on Welcome to Beeky Airlines by Seth Campos. I have seen a preview copy of his new book Real Bears Eat Takeout, coming out in May, and it is more clean, kid-friendly humor (not dumb) that I, as a parent, don't have to worry about. Quite honestly, I don't know why more people don't know about this comic strip. It is so funny.

anon164633
Post 6

Welcome to Beeky Airlines by Seth Campos (a 15-year-old) is a great one! G-rated and very funny. No off-humor, and kids read this book over and over for hours. Seth has a new book in this comic strip series coming out this spring.

watson42
Post 5

@panda2006, I also really enjoy Owly. he really does have an appeal for any age group, and for boys as well as girls.

panda2006
Post 4

One excellent comic book character not mentioned here, but certainly suitable for all ages, is Owly, drawn and written by Andy Runton.

Owly is a small cartoon owl who has a best friend that is a worm, though he has adventures with all sorts of other animals in the forest. There is no real script, but instead the stories are primarily told through facial expressions, symbols, and sound effects; this adds a real all-ages feel to the plots. You can find Owly compilation books online or in bookstores, as well as some Owly comic books at comic book stores.

elizabeth23
Post 3

The comic series Calvin and Hobbes can be just as relevant to girls as it is to boys. In many ways, Calvin symbolizes childhood in general, and imagination, more so than boyhood in particular. He is only about six years old, though he seems older, and never progresses to actual romantic feelings for the girl in the strip, or to even realizing the differences between boys and girls very much.

anon19057
Post 1

Just a quick FYI - comics were not originally for kids, necessarily. Much like the original Bugs Bunny cartoons and other animated items, comics were originally for adults in the earliest days. In fact, it wasn't until the 60's and 70's, when people started complaining about them, that comics in general took on a kid-friendlier tone (Dell's licenses and the Archie books notwithstanding). The books of the 20's, 30's and 40's were largely geared toward horror, crime and romance prior to the start of the Golden Age in 1938 (which in my opinion, didn't really kick in until the mid-to-late 40's). Characters like Batman might be darker today than they were in the 60's, 70's or 80's, but back in the late 30's, in his first appearance, Batman carried a gun and was rather violent.

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