Kids, Comics and the Summer Reading List
Help keep your kids reading skills sharpened this summer with a simple trip to your local comic book store. Despite comic book television and cinema tackling darker themes and vulgar settings (ahem Deadpool), there are still plenty of comic books that are safe for young eyes and minds.
Schools often prescribe students with a reading list over the summer, as studies have shown children often are impact by summer learning loss, also known as summer slide. To compliment those lists, we’ve come up with a list of some of our favorite children’s and young adult comics.
The comic variation of the popular television show launched in February 2012, published by BOOM! Studios. The monthly comic is written by Ryan North, and illustrated by Shelli Paroline and Braden Lamb. Canon with its TV show counterpart, there are some deviations, but what does remain are all the characters your kids love, Finn, Jake, Flame Princess, Princess Bubblegum and Lumpy Space Princess. Help your kids continue their adventure with the Adventure Time comics series.
My Little Pony comic
The return of My Little Pony to television skyrocketed interest in the beloved ponies, and in 2012, Hasbro licensed the herd to IDW Publishing to deliver a monthly comic. With story arcs spanning two to four issues, kids will not loose attention so quick. The series is also noted for homages to the original 1980s MLP, as well as references older fans adore. The comics have been a massive hit in the industry, with both kids, parents and fans being drawn into comic book shops in high numbers. There are currently 11 volumes in the main series and additionally companion comics in the micro-series, Friends Forever and special editions.
Based on Adventure Time’s creator Pendleton Ward’s animated series of the same name, the comic follows four 16 year-old heroes for hire. Written by Joey Comeau and art by Mike Holmes and Ryan Pequin, the monthly comic also began publishing in 2012. Characterized by quirky humor and colorful artwork, it’s a series that will warm and humor in the same sitting. Be advised, there is mild violence and sexual suggestions in this book, so maybe not the best for the youngest of readers.
Zodiac Starforce comic
Fans of Sailor Moon, Buffy, Lumberjanes and Totally Spies will dig this book from Dark Horse about a group of teenage girls with magical powers. Written by Kevin Panetta and art by Paulina Ganucheau, the book centers around the leader Emma, and her journey to save herself and the world from an evil force that has infected the world.
One of the most recent books on the list, Another Castle was released in Maech 2016 by Oni Press. A play on ‘your princess is in another castle,’ the comic follows Princess Misty as she is kidnapped by Lord Badlug. Written by Andrew Wheeler and art by Paulina Ganucheau, the princess must save herself, and the citizens of her kingdom.
This graphic novel by Kazu Kibuishi is published by Scholastic, focuses on Emily Hayes and her adventures with a magical amulet found at her great grandfather’s house. She enters a fictional world with her younger brother. There a seven volumes, so plenty of material for kids to get wrapped up in.
Written and illustrated by Noelle Stevenson, this fantasy comic started as a web comic, showing that dreams really do come true. Now printed by HarperCollins, and the rights recently being purchased by 20th Century Fox Animation for an animated film, Nimona is all that is cracked up to be. The titular character is inspired by gender bent cosplay, and exists in a mash-up universe. Nimona is a shape shifting character that traverses fantasy and sci-fi tropes.
No list could be complete without this iconic series. BOOM! Studios started publishing the comic in 2014, after the wild success of the web series. Natasha Allegeri, the creator of the series, pens it as well. The book follows the adventures of Bee, an unemployed girl, and her mysterious companion Puppycat. There are two volumes out so far.
If you pick up any old comic from the two big houses today, they may not be entirely suitable for younger readers. Rife with violence and sexual themes, the standard comic books may need to be shelved for a few more years. However, there are plenty of volumes out there to read, especially of Golden Age Comics. Comics made during this time were geared towards actual kids. Keep in mind some of these comics were heavily influenced by the wars of their time, and there will be war propaganda. Otherwise, pick up Superman #1 or Amazing Fantasy #15 and relive history.
Contrary to popular belief, there are contemporary comics from the two big houses that young readers can pick up! No way! Marvel has a bunch of series, such as The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl, Ms. Marvel, Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur and their upcoming Champions series by Mark Waid. On the DC side, you may want to pick up Teen Titans, The Animated Batman Series, Supergirl and Scooby-Doo Team-Up.