How to Properly Introduce (Today's) Kids to Comic Books

A theory of mine:

If you want to introduce kids (especially today's kids) to comics, you should treat it like what level of a school subject you start with (say, History 101, then 102, etc.). From there, as their tastes develop, you can introduce them to the more sophisticated books as they go on. I call it "graphic literature nurturing". For example:

1. At age 7-10, start with something like Marvel's Super Hero Squad comic, DC's Tiny Titans or those Cartoon Network Action Pack comics. They're not exactly dumbed-down, but they're decent enought that parents won't object.

2. When they get older, around 11-14, hand them Marvel Adventures, DC's Young Justice adaptation or similar books, and reprints of older material (like, say, something along the lines of Marvel Essentials/DC's Showcase Presents, or any of the colorized reprints), along with handbook/bio comics like DC's Who's Who or Marvel's Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe, or even their Index series, just to give them any more information should they need it.

3. From age 15-18, that's when you give them the stuff that is moderately violent, but not too serious.

4. From 18 and up, THAT'S when you let them read the "scarier" stuff.

Sounds reasonable to you?

*Update December 4th, 2011*

I've decided to change a couple of things in regards to some of the comments here. So, from this point on, #1 will be ages 5-7, #2's will be ages 7-14, but #3 and 4 will be the same.

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Posted by katanalauncher

I say make them more wildly available, in places like fast food resturant and Video game stores.

Also make all digital version available online as soon and even before the printed copy is out.

Kids also love free stuff, so give them some obsolete storyline to get them hooked.

Both company should do more events,activities and contest at public schools, giving kids free comics.

Posted by ithinkitwasyou

@Darkmount1: I completely agree.

Posted by BlackArmor

when there six hand them watchmen....thats what i did to my nephew

Posted by I'maDC/ImageGuy!

Meh, I'll give them Grimm Fairy Tales.

Posted by Cafeterialoca

Tell that to the kids who have God of War and GTA.

Posted by CurbsideProphet

I would hate it if my comic life was scripted like that. We just read them freely, and we turned out perfectly fine.

Posted by jubilee042

@Cafeterialoca said:

Tell that to the kids who have God of War and GTA.

this

Posted by Avenging-X-Bolt

i'll keep this in mind

Edited by Lyrad

My son is four in January. He knows a freakily amount or Marvel information already. I never meant to force comics on to him, he's just seen me reading and copied me. He can now name and do an impersonation of around 40 different heroes and villains. He can explain back stories of the likes of Thor, Spidey, Iron Man. He will only accept Marvel toys and colouring books as gifts. He won't play with any toy unless it is Marvel. I'm hoping it just a phase. Obviously for him to grow up reading comics like me makes me happy, but I don't want him to miss out on other kids toys and cartoons just because he's trying to copy me. I've recently been trying to ween him off Marvel for a bit. Ha! How bad does that sound. Bless him. Oh and for all the explaining I have tried, he will not accept that Loki is a bad guy. Loki is his favourite. He knows he has done bad things, but he says if Odin shouts, Loki will be good. Hahah!

Posted by spaceboy

What i read when I was a kid:
1).preschool (learning to read) Batman Adventures 
2)7-9: Spider-Man(Kraven's last hunt, Maximum Carnage, Clone Saga,) Batman (Knightfall, Contagnion, Legacy)  JLA, Punisher
3) 10 and older: Spawn, Dark Knight Retuns etc. 
 
But I love your concerned mom approach ;)

Posted by daredevil21134

Give them Red Hood and the Outlaws...hahaha

Posted by Billy Batson

nah, give them Vertigo straight away.
BB

Posted by Dracade102

When I'm babysitting my little cousins, I just tell them random stories about the characters they find interest in and they got lured into the franchise and they love it... I don't bother going with the more subtle stories like from Super Hero Squad or whatever to work my way up from there... If they're going to be interested in comics, it might as well be willingly and not through forced propaganda-like plotting...

Posted by The_Tree

I'd let my future kids read whatever non-M comic they want, then when they're 13, I'd let them read any title.

Posted by RedOwl_1

Well... u put it hard, today's children (unless the ones I know and where I live) HATE, HATE, REALLY HATE reading with pictures or not they hate it they're too f*****g lazy, they just wait of the movie, if they didn't have read the pack of cookies to know of what flavor are they they didn't do that.

But I think is according to them likes and personalities I wouldn't read Punisher, I don't like that kind of things like somebody couldn't like Tiny Titans (one of my favorites)

@Cafeterialoca said:

Tell that to the kids who have God of War and GTA.

Good point don't think that a guy who plays that where I live are people of 11-18 (yeah we aren't good at videogames laws of sell) don't think they want to read things like Young Justice's comics (the adaption of the Tv series)

@spaceboy said:

What i read when I was a kid: 1).preschool (learning to read) Batman Adventures 2)7-9: Spider-Man(Kraven's last hunt, Maximum Carnage, Clone Saga,) Batman (Knightfall, Contagnion, Legacy) JLA, Punisher 3) 10 and older: Spawn, Dark Knight Retuns etc. But I love your concerned mom approach ;)

That sounds better

@daredevil21134 said:

Give them Red Hood and the Outlaws...hahaha

Good that one, LMAO, I was thinking about my lil' cousin's face if he see that #:O (he has 7 and is pretty kiddish),

Posted by Darkmount1

I respect what each of you has contributed, and I give kudos to those who liked my idea as is. But in light of what some of you said, maybe I'll adjust it a little. What I'm trying to do here is come up with a method for segueing the kids of today's generation who are sucked in repeatedly by bad television, bad movies, and video games meant for older audiences. It's also intended as a way to cultivate their knowledge of the medium, so if they decide to see a movie about a comic (and have drifted from comics for some time), they'll still have an inkling of an understanding. I'm not trying to propagate, I'm trying to do the one thing most giant comic companies tend not to--figure out if kids still want to read comics. And yes, in each of these stages, they still have the freedom to choose what kinds of comics they want to read, be it superhero, fantasy, sci-fi, wild west (that's what it's called, not western), etc. If I can help a kid understand the medium a little more, maybe they'll have an audience for a title like, say, Scare Tactics.

Edited by lykopis

@Darkmount1 said:

I respect what each of you has contributed, and I give kudos to those who liked my idea as is. But in light of what some of you said, maybe I'll adjust it a little. What I'm trying to do here is come up with a method for segueing the kids of today's generation who are sucked in repeatedly by bad television, bad movies, and video games meant for older audiences. It's also intended as a way to cultivate their knowledge of the medium, so if they decide to see a movie about a comic (and have drifted from comics for some time), they'll still have an inkling of an understanding. I'm not trying to propagate, I'm trying to do the one thing most giant comic companies tend not to--figure out if kids still want to read comics. And yes, in each of these stages, they still have the freedom to choose what kinds of comics they want to read, be it superhero, fantasy, sci-fi, wild west (that's what it's called, not western), etc. If I can help a kid understand the medium a little more, maybe they'll have an audience for a title like, say, Scare Tactics.

I completely agree with you and I enjoyed your ideas of a list of introductions. Running parallel to that, going through boxes of a trusted adult's collection adds a certain magic to the experience as well. So, if anything, its that little bit of wonder that you get as a kid when you enter the world of comics that kind of grabs you, and like you said, at each of those stages, they can branch off into other kinds of comics which adds to the adventure.

For what its worth - I've donated comics to a younger family member's class and its been a hit. That's another way to introduce it as well. :)

Posted by Jnr6Lil

All your ideas won't make them interested in comic books, they'll be interested in superhero movies and tv but not the actual comics, Everyone knows who Superman is but how many know the difference between DC & Marvel

Posted by charlespdk

@Darkmount1:

The problem is just how comics are marketed now. I'm 24. When I was kid (7-12), comics were still the primary medium. It was the 90's comic boom and the shit was everywhere. I would read the new releases at the grocery store while my mom shopped. Wal-Mart and even our grocery store had these plastic wrapped three packs which introduced to a lot more characters I wouldn't have previously known about. So many clones! I actually began a comic book trading card collection then because apparently they make trading cards for any shit that's popular. There some video games and the cartoon shows (X-Men and Spider-Man primarily), but even those still followed the comic book story lines fairly close. But, the primary consumption was still comic books. After X-Men and Spider-Man movies it became about everything but. Toys and merchandise direct kids toward movies and TV shows, not comics like a previous post said. Honestly, the best way to introduce your kid is to just wait until they're in the 'sci-fi/fantasy' age (7-9) and introduce them to back issues. If they don't like those, they won't like anything.

Posted by Jnr6Lil

@charlespdk said:

@Darkmount1:

The problem is just how comics are marketed now. I'm 24. When I was kid (7-12), comics were still the primary medium. It was the 90's comic boom and the shit was everywhere. I would read the new releases at the grocery store while my mom shopped. Wal-Mart and even our grocery store had these plastic wrapped three packs which introduced to a lot more characters I wouldn't have previously known about. So many clones! I actually began a comic book trading card collection then because apparently they make trading cards for any shit that's popular. There some video games and the cartoon shows (X-Men and Spider-Man primarily), but even those still followed the comic book story lines fairly close. But, the primary consumption was still comic books. After X-Men and Spider-Man movies it became about everything but. Toys and merchandise direct kids toward movies and TV shows, not comics like a previous post said. Honestly, the best way to introduce your kid is to just wait until they're in the 'sci-fi/fantasy' age (7-9) and introduce them to back issues. If they don't like those, they won't like anything.

Posted by newxfactor

I'm in 2 and in one month I'll be in 3!! Yayyyyyy!! :D

Posted by PikminMania

As a kid who is only 13, I can seriously say this is the worst idea I've heard of in a while.

I sort of did a test with my cabin friends in the camp I went to. There were about 10 kids who all knew about Batman and stuff, but didn't read comics.

The first thing I showed them that immediately got them hooked to the comics I had, Old Man Logan. After this, my friends wanted more stuff like it, so I handed them Deadpool.

My best friend seemed like the only one who never really bothered reading the comic, he just enjoyed OML for its awesome action. So I got him interested by telling a summary of The Killing Joke.

As you can see, kids do not want to read stuff their age. They want to rad stuff with action, blood, story, and comedy.

Posted by CODYSF

I will let them start with a nice comic of the new 52.

Posted by Owie

I agree with your basic system, but would adjust the ages down by a fair amount. My kids are 7 and 4. They've been picking out their own comics since each was about 3. So I would start with Tiny Titans, age 3, avoid Super Hero Squad because it's so snarky and caustic, start Marvel Adventures and Batman: Brave and the Bold and Muppets and Pixar comics around 3-4, start old Marvel/DC (1960s-70s) around 5. The 7 year old has devoured all the handbooks. They actually really like the old stuff a lot. They ask for stories and could listen for ages as I explain the details of the multiple Robins and Batgirls, etc. Maybe when they're around 9 they can start freely going through my longboxes and also buying "real" contemporary comics. This seems to be more or less the plan with most of the other comic-reading dads I know.

The thing is, for those who think this kind of scripting is too rigid, is that "normal" comics now aren't the same as "normal" comics when we (or I, anyway) were growing up. A standard 80s comic was more or less G to PG; most standard 2011 comics are way beyond that, not really so much with violence but tons of sexual innuendo. Which for an older kid is fine, but not a 7 year old.

@Darkmount1 said:

A theory of mine:

If you want to introduce kids (especially today's kids) to comics, you should treat it like what level of a school subject you start with (say, History 101, then 102, etc.). From there, as their tastes develop, you can introduce them to the more sophisticated books as they go on. I call it "graphic literature nurturing". For example:

1. At age 7-10, start with something like Marvel's Super Hero Squad comic, DC's Tiny Titans or those Cartoon Network Action Pack comics. They're not exactly dumbed-down, but they're decent enought that parents won't object.

2. When they get older, around 11-14, hand them Marvel Adventures, DC's Young Justice adaptation or similar books, and reprints of older material (like, say, something along the lines of Marvel Essentials/DC's Showcase Presents, or any of the colorized reprints), along with handbook/bio comics like DC's Who's Who or Marvel's Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe, or even their Index series, just to give them any more information should they need it.

3. From age 15-18, that's when you give them the stuff that is moderately violent, but not too serious.

4. From 18 and up, THAT'S when you let them read the "scarier" stuff.

Sounds reasonable to you?

Posted by Jnr6Lil

@PikminMania said:

As a kid who is only 13, I can seriously say this is the worst idea I've heard of in a while.

I sort of did a test with my cabin friends in the camp I went to. There were about 10 kids who all knew about Batman and stuff, but didn't read comics.

The first thing I showed them that immediately got them hooked to the comics I had, Old Man Logan. After this, my friends wanted more stuff like it, so I handed them Deadpool.

My best friend seemed like the only one who never really bothered reading the comic, he just enjoyed OML for its awesome action. So I got him interested by telling a summary of The Killing Joke.

As you can see, kids do not want to read stuff their age. They want to rad stuff with action, blood, story, and comedy.

Posted by MrDirector786

@BlackArmor said:

when there six hand them watchmen....thats what i did to my nephew

lol

Posted by JediXMan

Yeah, I agree with that. I'd say 15-18 is when you give them DC (deeper and darker stories). 18+ would be Vertigo and the like.

Moderator
Posted by Jnr6Lil

@JediXMan said:

Yeah, I agree with that. I'd say 15-18 is when you give them DC (deeper and darker stories). 18+ would be Vertigo and the like.
Edited by cyberninja

For starters introduce them to Archie Comic from a young age.

Posted by rogue_mar1e

Tiny Titans! :3

Posted by longbowhunter

Yes make them accessible. I started buying comics at crocery stores when I was a kid. My son bought Green Lantern: Rebirth in trade at a school book fair.

Posted by Jnr6Lil

Use the YG TV Series.

Posted by Darkmount1

Here's making comic shops accessible DONE RIGHT:

http://www.eosun.com/news/2011/nov/09/making-comics-epic/

Posted by Darkmount1
Posted by venomyak

dude if i tried to give any of 7-10 year olds i know a super hero squad book they would probably throw it across the room then yank the marvel adventures out of my hand

Posted by Darkmount1

@venomyak:

Okay, okay, I'll make adjustments to the age ranges. Sorry.

Posted by WarMachineMarkV

" OK Billy here is the deal, you read every issue of Uncanny X-Men from #1-500 this week...and I'll show you where they have the nekkid pictures of the girls on the internet"

SOLVED

Posted by TheOptimist

I think the progressive development makes some sense, but as noted some of the age ranges need adjustment. Also, I have mixed feelings, because of mixed opportunities for exposure. The first note I have is that from an educational standpoint, restricted by law and social dictate, most of these suggestions would have to be dispelled. So the furthest I could probably rationally get was giving them a highly all-ages approved title like Marvel Adventures or the like and then casually dropping the names of characters and titles, while suggesting kids make their way to the local comic shop for further advice. However, past that restriction, I buy the notion of what kids are really into and what they can really handle. While I'm not saying that we should toss sex and violence at youngsters, if they are someone under your wing or guardianship, if you feel comfortable with their moral and social development, an early exposure to Watchmen, Old Man Logan, The Killing Joke or any of the other suggestions here is certainly okay to me. There has been a long standing tradition of "secrets under the mattress" (yeesh, tried to make it sound better, but I guess the whole thing can't be de-creeped) and I remember I got Watchmen when I was much younger than the "State advised age". While guidelines are in place to restrict the educational system the meet the needs of more conservative parents, if they're under your independent purview... throw it at them however you choose.

In a separate notion, there really does need to be an expansion of material that can be appropriately integrated with school curriculum, a much wider all-ages line that could widely benefit both students and instructors.The number of titles that can make it into a public school library without either restriciton or censorship is absurdly low and almost never includes titles of student interest, like Batman or Wolverine.

Posted by Jnr6Lil

I just think you can't use TV Shows as a medium to get someone into comics because 9 times out of 10 they'll be more attracted to the snow than comic.

Posted by yeyikeo13

Really? I started off Deadpool, Wolverine, and X-Men comics as a kid. Obviously there are certain comics that should and shouldn't be show to kids, ones that would be better for them or ones that wouldn't. But look at anything being displayed in the media right now, kids aren't censored. If they like the comics, characters, story, and can grasp the concepts in the story, then they should be able to read them. Seriously, once they're 10 or 11, they should just be able to start reading what they want to read.

Posted by Darkmount1

@yeyikeo13: I get it, a lot of people have reminded me of this, I upped the ages on my scale. I'm not trying to make it restrictive.

Posted by yeyikeo13

Understandable! Obviously it's good to have some common sense and guidelines regarding what kids are reading

Posted by Darkmount1

@yeyikeo13: Exactly! It's like that common scold: "Act your age." That's what I was implying in my earlier version of this theory. Apparently it's not the case with those who responded earlier.

Posted by Superguy0009e

i think nowadays, we need more universally good comics, a comic you could pass to anyone and it is enjoyable

i heard that the new Ult. Spid series is like that, but we need more universal comics

Posted by Darkmount1

@Superguy0009e: THAT'S the term I was looking for, UNIVERSAL COMICS!! You hit the mark on that one, thanks!! That's what we need to appeal the more mainstream companies for--universal comics!

Posted by Superguy0009e

@Darkmount1: np, but yea, just try to find comics anyone can read

when i was a kid, my mom picked up ultimate spiderman for me, i was confused as hell, but that was because i came in during the deadpool saga

Posted by Darkmount1

@Superguy0009e:

Exactly! Writing for the trade killed any chance of kids of today being able to get into comics. Just today, I found a copy of A-Next #1 from 1998, and it has all the requirements for a kid to get into reading: team origin, plausible villain, and it was all done in one, plus it wasn't uber-violent and gory.

Posted by Superguy0009e

@Darkmount1: one series that is actually pretty good for everyone is Justice League International, really great for kids and adults

Posted by Darkmount1

@Superguy0009e: It does look promising, that I'll give. It's the closest thing I see to a traditional team book without all the ultra-violence, gore and such that's been plaguing the medium for years.

Posted by ReVamp

Step number 3 should be 15-18: Let them read the "scarier" stuff

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