10 Great Comics For Kids
By Erik Missio
Jul 31, 2015
Comics can be an excellent way to get reluctant readers going and an exciting artform for voracious readers to explore. Digital devices can make comics more accessible for families who don’t live near comic shops and more portable for kids and families on the go.
There are tons of comics that might appeal to your kids—some comics are wordless, while others are ideal for early readers or bigger kids who want to share storytime with a narrating parent. Others might be a little more intense or offer complex subject matter best aimed at middle-schoolers or older.
No matter what, when it comes time to pick comics, personal taste is a big factor.
No matter what, when it comes time to pick comics, personal taste is a big factor. Maybe your daughter is into sci-fi or sports stories. Maybe your son likes slapstick humour or classroom drama. Comics are also a visual medium—some art styles will just click more on an individual level.
Here are some of my favourite kids comics, ones you may want to consider next time you walk into a comic store or go looking for comics online. It’s important to remember that there are many different apps, devices and publishing licenses, so not all titles are available in all formats. Some might be exclusive to the Comixology app, while others might be only found in Apple’s iTunes store.
Jeff Smith’s nine-volume series about three cousins lost in a strange valley of good and evil. Critically acclaimed, wildly successful and really good.
An intelligent, gorgeous series of standalone tales featuring an intrepid girl and the fantastic world in which she has adventures (Luke Pearson is a versatile cartoonist and his work can be really great for kids, but some of his other work is inappropriate for kids—make sure you skim through other titles first).
Canada’s first cartoonist-in-residence (at the University of Windsor), Scott Chantler offers this smart action series featuring an acrobatic girl on a quest.
These wordless comics by Andy Runton look at the friendship between an owl and an earthworm—perfect for kids who aren't quite reading yet.
This trilogy by Toronto-area writer J. Torres and Halifax cartoonist Faith Erin Hicks draws on Pacific Northwest mythologies in a tale about a kid who can become a sasquatch.
These two collections (with a third—Fable Comics—on the way) are essential. Some of comics’ best creators tackle familiar stories in not-always-familiar ways.
Virtually everything in this line of books curated by The New Yorker’s art editor Françoise Mouly is worth a look. Younger kids will love Eleanor Davis’ Stinky and slightly braver ones will dig R. Kikuo Johnson’s The Shark King.
“This is one of the most popular kids’ comics in Japan, but is practically unknown in North America,” says manga expert Deb Aoki about this series about a time-travelling robotic cat. With a cartoon series now airing, your child can be an early adopter.
Raina Telgemeier has won numerous awards for her best-selling comics, including this breakthrough autobiograhy about the impact of dentistry in middle-school life.
Of his work with artist Alex Serra, writer Jack Briglio says, “It’s an all-ages fantasy adventure about a family’s typical conflicts between parents and kids, and kids and kids, as they grow and learn about life.” Except there’s magic, giants, trolls and dragons. And bullies.
For more suggestions, the School Library Journal’s Good Comics for Kids blog also offers reviews and news of noteworthy kids comics. Cartoonist Dave Roman has some kids comics listed on his site. And you can always borrow paper and digital comics from your local library or read short samples on various apps and online sites.
Of course, when you come across new comics, it’s always important to look through them yourself to determine suitability for your child—some may have intense action or scary characters.
What comics do you and your family enjoy? Let us know in the comments. And if your kid has particular interests, feel free to share and ask other readers for suggestions.
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