Monday, April 6, 2009

Yes, Kids Still Like Comic Books!

Everybody knows kids today don't read comics. With the Nintendo DS and the Xbox and the internets stealing away their attention, it was inevitable that Marvel Two In One would fall by the wayside. Kids today aren't interested in static words and images. Right?

Balderdash, I tell you!

I present my irrefutable anecdotal evidence:

As part of my ongoing crusade to indoctrinate the youth of America, I gave my neighbor's son a Marvel Adventures Spider-Man digest for his fifth birthday. Now, this kid is already predisposed to superheroes. He's got enough costumes to outfit the Avengers and wears a different one every day. He already has a base knowledge of Marvel and DC thanks to Cartoon Network and DTV cartoons. But his mom was telling me that the few comics he owns were too old for him. To help her out, I immediately rattled off a list of age appropriate titles and publishers in such a rapid fire nerdly fashion that I surely overloaded her poor civilian mind. Not that it would have helped if she retained any of the data I regurgitated. Knowing what's available is only half the battle. The other half is actually tracking down a comic shop to get a good title. But I digress. I'll rant about accessibility another day.

Anyway, fast forward to the birthday party. He opens the Spidey digest and half the kids in the room are immediately drawn to it. One by one I watched kids pick it up and flip through, stopping to read a few pages. Quite a feat when you consider all the other distractions at a birthday party. I hope it holds up to his scrutiny later on, because unlike video games, the trance is broken if the story doesn't deliver. Video games are a lazy medium. They don't require the same level of work as reading. But reading, be it comics or literature, delivers much higher artistic returns. As I saw at that party, the allure of comics is there. The medium itself - the art, the panel progression, the typography - is still an effective hook all by itself.

All we need to do is find the quality titles that can hold their attention. How hard can that be?

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