Why Aren’t There More Comic Books For Kids?
Start writing a post

Why Aren’t There More Comic Books For Kids?

The shift to mature comics may have lost some readers

Why Aren’t There More Comic Books For Kids?


Stern faces talking about dire, complex situations.

Grotesque screams as guns and lightsabers ripped people apart.

This was my first impression of comic books, back when I got my first one in the early 2000’s.

It was a 2004 issue of “Star Wars Tales,” which means I must have been 8 years old at the time.

Living in a smallish town in Germany, I didn’t have the same access many American kids have to comics.

But I had a lot of quasi-big brothers, U.S. Air Force guys my parents worked with. They occasionally indulged me with comic books they bought on their air bases.

These presents delighted me. And confused me.

On the one hand, I learned to love the comic book format and Star Wars.

Even today, it’s hard to think how I feel about the Star Wars prequels without thinking about the “Empire” and “Star Wars Tales” comics that introduced me to that universe.

On the other hand, I never fully understood most of those comic books.

I eventually started checking out comics from the library, and transferred from reading mostly Star Wars comics to reading DC and Marvel stuff.

I found these comics a little easier to understand, but everything still seemed dark and weird.

“Man of Steel” comics had creepy villains with motivations I couldn’t understand.

“Batman” comics had hookers and street gangs, topics I didn’t understand at the time.

The first Spider-Man comic I read featured what appeared to be someone getting consumed by spiders.

None of these stories were necessarily disturbing, but they were certainly written for teenagers and therefore hard for 8-year-old me to understand.

The moment I really started understanding comics came some years later, after my family moved back to the States.

I was browsing my new library and discovered a brick-sized book of reprinted Batman comics from the 1960’s. Dramatic, but not grimy. Suspenseful, but never graphic. Somewhat simpler characters. In short, 11-year-old me loved them and I become a full-fledged comics fan.

I returned to mature stories and complex characters when I got older, especially “Watchman” and the Sandman series.

But the period I truly fell in love with comics was filled with PG-only comics.

Reprinted Spider-Man and Batman comics from the 1960’s, E.C. Segar’s Popeye comics from the 1930’s, even 1920’s comics like “Walt and Skeezix.”

None of these comics were still being printed, so I relied on library editions. The few times I entered comic books shops in that period left me feeling confused again.

In other words, I became a comic fan at a time where I wanted lighthearted stories and to get that I needed to find old comics.

Comic book companies weren’t selling comic books for pre-teens or the PG-only audience.

Research has shown me my experience wasn’t unusual.

History Channel’s 2003 documentary “Superheroes Unmasked” noted that when comic books moved from being sold at newsstands to specialty comic book stores, most of them also became products for “mature readers.”

Paul Levitz, then DC Comics’ president, stated that most comic book buyers today aren’t kids at all.

This change to older reader markets apparently goes back to the 1950’s when harsh censorship made comics excessively simple, which led to a generation of writers who wanted to push the envelope.

This generation of writers created some great stories, including classics like “Maus,” “Watchmen” and “The Dark Knight Returns.”

Eventually, gritty and edgy became the norm.

Dark Horse Comics founder Mike Richardson Dark commented in “Superheroes Unmasked” that after “The Dark Knight Returns” and “Watchmen” came out, comics stopped being innocent.

This trend leaves comics in an odd situation.

It’s now easy to find comic books which have complex stories featuring tough topics and characters that adults can appreciate.

Being a comic book fan who’s also an adult has never been easier.

Then again, being a comic book fan who’s also a child become rather hard.

It’s hard to hard to find comic books that suit you, hard to find places where it’s okay to say you don’t care for dark stories and R-rated material.

Comic books may have reached the place where young kids, traditionally the biggest group of consumers, really can’t appreciate comic books.

Report this Content
This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
Warner Bros.

Cozy season is here and if you're taking a break from reading your feel-good romance novels by the fire, perhaps a festive romance movie or rom-com night is exactly what you need. If so, you've come to the right place because these 15 movies are the perfect escape from all those horror movies on your watch list this October.

Keep Reading... Show less

October — arguably the best month of the year — is finally here, which means we will be losing some of our Netflix favorites but gaining some new ones for the fall lineup. Here is a list of TV shows and movies we will be losing and gaining on Netflix during October.

Keep Reading... Show less

I'm so proud of Demi Lovato's new, powerful breakup ballad, "Still Have Me." After her split from fiancé Max Ehrich, she is pulling herself out from the darkness, picking up the shattered pieces, and realizing that she's got this. If that's not inspirational, I don't know what is.

Keep Reading... Show less

Trader Joe's has been my favorite grocery store since I knew it existed — from the small, community-like feel to the prepped frozen snacks I throw in the oven 10 minutes before having guests over, it's been a go-to for me for over a decade.

During the four years in college I didn't live near one, friends and I would make a semi-annual pilgrimage to the one nearest us hours away to pick up our favorite essentials, all on a college budget.

Keep Reading... Show less

It's important to recognize that we all go through different experiences based on the reproductive systems we're born with. Yes, the penis and vagina do different things. I want to understand what it's like to walk around with a pair of balls and I'd hope others are curious about what it's like to bleed once a month, endure infertility issues, and just have a uterus and identify as a woman.

I'm not going to lie — I was pleasantly surprised by the answers I received when I asked 12 men about some basic reproductive health. Here's what they had to say.

Keep Reading... Show less

Many people want to help when they learn someone they know is going through or has been through, a rough period in life. The issue lies in the right way to approach the situation without making it worse. These encounters, whether they be continuous or a single conversation, are never easy. It's okay to feel discomfort and to question whether or not you're handling it properly.

There are a few things I've found to be mostly universal in theory (if not in full thought) from the person going through a tough time. I hope this brings some understanding and perspective for the next time you have a sit down with someone you care for.

Keep Reading... Show less
Health and Wellness

PCOS Is The Worst, But The Women Battling It Every Day Are Extraordinary

Women are learning new ways to assist hormonal health every single day.


Everyone knows someone who has polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS). Maybe you don't know that you know, but with 10% of women in the United States having the autoimmune disease, it's more common than you'd think. The hormonal hell that many of these women go through is not only painful, but it's exhausting, with too few answers thanks to a lack of research and consistency.

This lack of research makes the disease rather "trial and error" for many women, as everyone's case is different and requires them to figure things out based on experimentation. Thankfully, the women of the world are good at fixing problems. While PCOS has caused me a lot of hurt, I've been blown away by the women I've met who continue to tackle this battle head-on, one day at a time.

Keep Reading... Show less

OK, listen, I also think Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is cool. I had an Elizabeth Warren sign in my dorm room for a while. I'm currently interning for a congressional candidate. I'm very invested in politics. And supporting and liking certain politicians over others is a part of being invested in politics.

Keep Reading... Show less
Rebecca Alvarez

Rebecca Alvarez is many things: founder, sexologist, CEO, mentor, and more — as a Latina businesswoman, each of her endeavors is grounded in the strong principles of inclusivity and diversity, especially in sexual health and wellness. Bloomi is the product of her all of her shared passions, and with it she has fostered a community of like-minded, passionate women.

Keep Reading... Show less

There is not a consistent standard for health education in the United States. There are a lot of variables that go into this — what state a student lives in, whether they go to a public or private school, and the district's funding and priorities. These variables can be argued for any subject, not just health class. But as we continue to grow as a society, hopefully bettering our education system along the way, it's crucial to consider this often-forgotten element of a child's schooling.

Keep Reading... Show less
Facebook Comments