Let’s take a moment and look at the future generation of comic investors and speculators. How can we show them the magic of these wonderful colorful things?
I have a distinct memory of watching my six-year-old niece flipping through the pages of the My Little Pony comic I gave her for Christmas.
“Hey girl, what do you think of that book?”
“Well, I can’t really read it, but I just like looking at the pictures.”
I think we often forget that the colors and art are what first drew us to comic books. It wasn’t the writing. It wasn’t a crossover event. It wasn’t the literary value. It was bright colors and glossy objects.
The easiest way to spread the joy of comics is to give them to kids. You can instill an appreciation for art, how to handle and care for valuable objects, and just maybe foster a life-long love of comic books. I realized the only way my niece and nephew would get into comic books was if I gave them some. Their mom and dad were never comic readers, and that’s totally fine, so sometimes you just need an Uncle or Aunt or cousin to hand them something colorful and say, “Hey, check this out.”
Comic books are great gifts. If you find yourself at a birthday party for a ten-year-old you can be the cool mom/dad/whatever to spread the joy. I’d probably check with the parent first and assure them you won’t be handing their child Frank Miller’s Sin City (although I enjoyed them…).
This is the tricky part. Being an adult, it’s often difficult to tell the difference between what is appropriate and what isn’t for a kid (at least it is for me). We as adults are most interested in quality, collectibility, and salability. Kids are most interested in colors and stories and cool characters. Some things to avoid:
This is tough because comics have been a male-dominated culture for such a long time. I would probably avoid Dazzler or any women wearing unreasonably tight clothing at all costs. Young minds are malleable and there are PLENTY of alternatives for kids to develop an understanding of comics and their exaggerations. Yes, there are alternatives: Unbeatable Squirrel Girl, Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur, Monsters Unleashed.
Graphic Depictions of Violence
We can avoid the Juggernaut getting his eye stabbed and whenever a body is torn to pieces. Wolverine isn’t going to make the cut. Violence is a fun part of the medium, but it isn’t necessary for introducing youth to it. POWS and KA-BOOMS are welcome.
So, where can we find age-appropriate comics?
I’m glad you asked. The safest bet is to ask your local comic shop. They know because they’ve been asked before. Most publishers have age-appropriate comics that aren’t violent but can give the reader a sense of an action style book. If your shop has really beat up comics from the 50s and 60s, those are always safe (and cheap). They might be a little bland to your taste, but remember, kids are mainly looking at the pictures.
What does this mean for you?
First of all, it’s fun to share something cool with someone else no matter the age. Second, you are supporting the culture by purchasing books that don’t move off the shelf as fast but are equally valuable to the medium. A lot of people aren’t looking for My Little Pony #2. (Who knew my niece was going to enjoy the first one so much?)
And for all the Blackhearts, if you are looking only at the economics of the transaction, know that by giving comics now ensures an increase on your investment in the future. It’s a dirty transactional way of looking at it, but it’s true. So get out there and find those old beat-up Action Comics and Marvel Tales and dig through the bins for Marvel’s Champions, Runaways, and Ms. Marvel. Unless of course, your niece really, really loves My Little Pony. Then you can just keep getting her more of those.