Monday, September 25, 2006

Kids Aren't Stupid

I just read a great post on Newsarama.com that discusses all-age/kids comic books. They're doing a series on all-ages comics, and I think this was the second one, featuring Tony Millionaire, writer of Sock Monkey The Inches Incident, which will have it's first issue hit shelves on Wednesday.

One of the main points I got out of this article is that kid's don't need simple, dumed-down comic books. Sure, there are times where parts might be over the head of very young children, but that happens in animated "G" rated movies all of the time--there are parts the kids all giggle at, and then parts where all of the adults in the audience laugh. When we were kids, we read stuff that probably wouldn't be considered "all age" by today's standards: Judy Blume, MAD Magazine, Tom Sawyer... you get the idea.

Ideally, there should be a strong selection of comics that could be considered good for ALL ages, not just for kids. In the Newsarama.com post they list some, including Little Lulu, Archie, Tintin, and Bone. All of which we carry, by the way, and Sock Monkey too. Owly and Gon are also great examples - in fact those even transcend language barriers since they are told in graphic form only, without words. Just last week we got in two books that I thought were GREAT all ages books: Royally Enchanted Cartoon Tales--a hard cover that was fairly thick and only $15 with some great Disney comics that would appeal to girls, and Disney Comics Classics Collection with beautiful reprints of Disney classics Bambi, Dumbo, Peter Pan, and Alice in Wonderland.

I had a man come in just last week, looking for a comic book for his nephew. He was standing in front of the new comics racks. I asked him the age, and he replied 10. I pointed out a couple on the new rack that I thought would be OK, and then recommended he follow me to the kid's section for some more suggestions. He turned to look at me, a bit of shock on his face, saying, "there are different comics for adults?" Clearly he hadn't shopped for comics since he was a kid himself, when comics were sold in spinner racks at the local 5 & Dime, and told me as much. It's true, there are different comics that aren't really appropriate for kids, and some that are most definately not appropriate for kids. What has happened is that back when we were kids comics were sold out of those affore mentioned spinner racks, and we bought them, creating generations of comic book fans. Then they were taken out of those main-stream shopping areas and moved into the direct market-specialty stores that sold comic books, causing generations where there were much fewer comic book fans. As the generations who grew up on spinner rack comics grew up, so did comic books, so that there are comics written to a more adult audience. Not wanting to loose the oportunity to have future generations read comics, some publishers continue to publish comics that are also appropriate for children.

Many comic book stores don't carry much, if any, kid appropriate comics. For many, Mickey Mouse and Archie are all they have, for others they don't see it worth their time. At my store, Neptune Comics, we have a huge section of the store dedicated to all-age comics and graphic novels. It's just inside the door, making it easy for parents and kids to find it and browse. And even more difficult to find are comics with a strong appeal for young girls. You wouldn't believe how many copies of My Little Pony and Barbie cinemanga books we sell!! It's hard for us to keep them in stock because there just isn't much out there that appeals to very young girl readers, at least not based on just the cover alone. If someone was smart and talented they'd make a comic book that was all-age and had covers that had a strong appeal for young girls, early readers...it's a market that's almost untapped.

1 comment:

Scott said...

It's not that kids are stupid. It's that people are stupid and as you know kids are people. So if someone is a 'stupid' person they will pretty much be 'stupid' their whole life, whether they are kid or adult.