Monday, August 14, 2006

Kids Comics?

Finally managed to get into a comics shop proper this weekend, and discovered something disturbing, though not terribly surprising.

My girlfriend tagged along, and was making some purchases for herself, and decided she wanted to pick something up for her 6 year old niece. Her niece is starting to read, and we like to encourage that kind of thing.

We both started looking around the shop. I had just read some items on the CGS board about "gateway" comics... and remembered that it wasn't always superheroes for me. There was a period where I read a lot of Harvey and Archie comics as I got up to speed on the whole reading thing. It made sense to me... the non-genre stuff is more accessible to kids, especially girls. In my mind, I thought the Harvey stuff would be the most accessible: Richie Rich, Caspar, Lil' Devil...

All we could find, really, were some Teen Titans Go digests and some fairly expensive Disney properties... I thought the Scrooge stuff would be the best (natch) but the price point seemed a bit high. I asked the shop owner if they had any thing else appropriate for a 6 year old girl... I specifically asked if they had any Harvey.

I was told that Harvey hadn't been in publication for 30 to 40 years (which contradicts my memory of buying them in the early 80's, in some form, digest I think). They might have some back issues, but I imagine they'd be priced as collector's items. We were then shown the aforementioned Teen Titans Go and Disney items. Also some Justice League Unlimited and Marvel Adventures. The store employee told us, basically, that if they've seen the cartoon, they might be interested in the comic. We ended up walking away with an issue of Scooby Doo I found in the independents(?) section (Next to an issue of BPRD).

So, the message of the day is: If you're looking to get your kids into reading via comics, best soften them up by getting them to watch TV instead. Then, maybe, they'll want to seek out some expensive trades or digests with all that disposable income that 6 year olds have. And superheroes... push the superheroes.


At 5:05 PM, Blogger Bully said...

Harvey Comics was still publishing at least as late as the early 1990s, although they were not getting very wide distribution at all at that point.

I share your dismay over the lack of gateway comics--it's one of my constant frets over the state of the industry. At leasy manga seems to be filling that need for the younger generation, although as I frequently argue, if you could market comics like Justice League Unlimited, Runaways, and (Supergirl and) The Legion of Super-Heroes to a market outside the comics shop, that would be a good start.


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