As a true believer, I have introduced my kids to some classic (read “old”) comic books : some DC Showcases and Marvel Essentials for superhero adventures , as well as Lucky Luke and Astérix for that European flare. These are basically the same great stuff I was enjoying as a kid (and still do to this day!). The fact that these wonderful tales are still available ensures us that today’s young readers have a ready supply of “kid friendly” comics to choose from. But there also needs to be fresh material for our children to sink their minds into. Consequently, I’m ecstatic when new “all-ages” titles are published.
“Publish them and they will read”, to paraphrase the Kevin Costner vehicle A Field of Dreams. So it is with this spirit in mind that I introduce you to My Top 5 All-Ages Comics.
5. Muppet Show This is a nostalgia pick for me. I recently revisited the TV series with my kids and was pleased to discover that Jim Henson’s creations have lost none of their appeal. So imagine my surprise when writer/artist Roger Langridge took it upon himself to bring these wonderful characters back to life in a reverential rendition of the small screen phenomenon. Do yourself and your kids a favour by introducing them to these zany muppets.
4. Owly This comic book features the heartwarming adventures of Owly and his friend Wormy. Writer/artist Andy Runton has chosen to present these charming stories about an unlikely friendship in an original manner : there is no text. Instead, the characters emote and communicate with graphics. This ingenious method ensures that these tales can be experienced universally, regardless of a reader’s mother tongue. Simple, yet elegant.
2. Oz series There are 14 novels in L. Frank Baum’s “canonical” Oz series. I bet you thought that the Wonderful Wizard of Oz was his one and only creation, right? Well, storyteller extraordinaire Eric Shanower and stupendous cartoonist Scottie Young have made it their mission to bring all of Mr. Baum’s stories to life in breathtakingly beautiful illustrated renditions of these beloved masterpieces. Do yourself a favour. Buy it for the kids, but read them yourself.
1. Bone When my ten year old son discovered this series at his school library, my hope in humanity was renewed. First, because I applaud the fact that teachers would even consider purchasing comics as a means to kindle the love of reading in kids. Second, because this storytelling genre needs more young readers if it is to survive. And lastly, because Jeff Smith has created a bona fide chef d’oeuvre that deserves all the praise and accolades bestowed by one and all. Read it.
P.S. “All-ages” is not a synonym for “kids”. These books can and should be enjoyed by everyone.
Honorable mentions : Atomic Robo, Darkwing Duck, Reed Gunther.