This one is for the parents of YOUNG comic collectors. Those under the age of 13.
A primer for YOUNG comic fans and their parents.
I first came to comic books at about the first grade. Back in the dark ages of 1962 you did not start reading until then! Of course back in those days the vast majority of comic books were GEARED to children between the ages of 6 and 12. Today it is very different. MOST comics are geared to ages 16-Adult. This change in the demographic means that a bit of care and planning between you and your children is necessary to make sure that the experience of reading comics is as much fun for younger readers as for the old salts!
Here is the good news. Comic book reading and collecting is a GREAT hobby for younger kids.
First and foremost it encourages them to READ. Illiteracy in our country is shockingly high and even among those who do read, a huge number don’t read WELL. Comic books are typically written at a higher level than say, the NEW YORK TIMES. (I was dropping words like “ironic”, “invulnerable”, and “conceivable” in my writing in the first grade. All words I picked up from comics!)
Comics are NOT a substitute for reading novels, history books, short stories etc. On the contrary, they merely whet one’s appetite for reading EVERYTHING. I know many comic readers who were exposed to Sherlock Holmes, The plays of Shakespeare, science, and history who voraciously read the originals.
Comics are also a great playground for the imagination. They can take you from Riverdale to Asgard! There is literally nothing you can imagine that cannot be created on a comic book page. Comics are filled with great stories and art that exercise our creative side in a way that no other media does. I have been reading comics for 45 years and have NEVER been bored with them.
Now here is some more good news. Since there is so much material out there that is geared towards older readers, it is going to be up to YOU as parents to determine which books are age appropriate for your children. Why is this a good thing? Because now YOU have an excuse to read comics too! In fact you may even find that a book that is a bit too adult for your child is just right for you!! Yes, many comics have a “rating” on the cover but I can tell you from experience with my own child that the ratings are very vague. In fact some books marked “mature” like DC’s Vertigo line may actually be more age appropriate for your kid than books marked for “teen” readers. It depends on YOUR sensibilities. So get in there and sample some of the comics your children are reading. I can practically guarantee you’ll have fun doing so while you guide your children to books that are not only age appropriate but will be more enjoyable to them.
Comics are a great hobby and one that YOU can share with your child! There are a lot of ins and outs regarding the care of your child’s comic collection. How to bag and board them, what to collect, collectible values etc. I detail all of this in a guide called Comic Book Collecting from “Aquaman to Zatanna”. It is ABSOLUTELY FREE and I will be happy to send it to any parent who is curious about the basics of comic book collecting for their children. It is geared to the younger collector and based on a lot of trial and error over the years. The team at CBJ will be posting it for download! look for it!!