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.

2026: the year the Fifa World Cup Returns to North America

For the first time since 1994 the United States will host a world cup (for men's soccer)

2026: the year the Fifa World Cup Returns to North America
Skylar Meyers

The FIFA World Cup is coming to North American in 2026!

Keep Reading... Show less
Student Life

An Open Letter to Winter

Before we know it April will arrive.


Dear Winter,

Keep Reading... Show less
Student Life

6 Questions To Ask Yourself When Cleaning Up Your Room

This holiday break is the perfect time to get away from the materialistic frenzy of the world and turn your room into a decluttered sanctuary.


Cleaning isn’t just for spring. In fact, I find school’s holiday break to be a very effective time for decluttering. You’re already being bombarded by the materialistically-infatuated frenzy of society’s version of Christmas, Hanukah, etc. It’s nice to get out of the claustrophobic avarice of the world and come home to a clean, fresh, and tidy room. While stacking up old books, CDs, and shoes may seem like no big deal, it can become a dangerous habit. The longer you hang onto something, whether it be for sentimental value or simply routine, it becomes much harder to let go of. Starting the process of decluttering can be the hardest part. To make it a little easier, get out three boxes and label them Donate, Storage, and Trash. I'm in the middle of the process right now, and while it is quite time consuming, it is also so relieving and calming to see how much you don't have to deal with anymore. Use these six questions below to help decide where an item gets sorted or if it obtains the value to stay out in your precious sanctuary from the world.

Keep Reading... Show less

Why I Don't Write (Or Read) An "Open Letter To My Future Husband/Wife"

Because inflated expectations and having marriage as your only goal are overrated.

Urban Intellectuals

Although I have since changed my major I remember the feverish hysteria of applying to nursing school--refreshing your email repeatedly, asking friends, and frantically calculating your GPA at ungodly hours of the night. When my acceptance came in I announced the news to friends and family with all the candor of your average collegiate. I was met with well wishes, congratulations, and interrogations on the program's rank, size, etc. Then, unexpectedly, I was met with something else.

Keep Reading... Show less
Content Inspiration

Top 3 Response Articles of This Week

Meet the creators making their voices heard on Odyssey.

Top 3 Response Articles of This Week
Why I Write On Odyssey

At Odyssey, we're on a mission to encourage constructive discourse on the Internet. That's why we created the response button you can find at the bottom of every article.

Last week, our response writers sparked some great conversations right here on our homepage. Here are the top three response articles:

Keep Reading... Show less

Subscribe to Our Newsletter

Facebook Comments