Trip to the comics shop

I took daughters E and N, along with their friend G, to Chicago Comics – one of the best shops in Illinois IMHO.
It’s not the “oh boy let’s go!” experience that it used to be, because the girls have been kind of disappointed in the offerings. They’re 12-years-old – almost 13 – and they need no prodding to read. On the contrary, we have to tell them to stop sometimes.
They’re not yet interested in romance, so I think that’s why they’re not all that interested in manga or things like the prose Twilight series. And they’ll opt for the original version over the remake/cartoon version any day – they looked at but rejected the graphic novel of “Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventures and aren’t interested in the Warriors graphic novels.
But they love stuff like Amy Unbounded, Amelia Rules and Tintin, and are pretty open-minded about trying new things I bring home that they might be interested in.
In spite of that, the last time we went to the comic shop, we had to look hard before finding “korgi” from Top Shelf. The only think I took home then was the latest “Atlas.”
This time, we nosed around for quite a bit. It looks like the manga section was moved or drastically cut back (I wasn’t looking for any so I’m not sure). They had an expanded selection of Tintin, and the girls picked up one they didn’t have: Red Rackham’s treasure.
While they perused the superhero comics with their friend, I looked through the small press/independants. The girls are not keen on shuffling through this stuff because sometimes the content is really adult and that makes them uncomfortable. But they also know that this is where I found “korgi” last time, so they know I’m looking for me and them.
For the most part I passed over things I would otherwise buy. I have a lot of books waiting for me to read, and I just couldn’t justify buying more right now. I like the Zot complete collection, and I’m always interested in anything by the Los Bros. Hernandez. I also admire Jason Lutes’ “Berlin” series and anything by James Sturm. Still, it just wasn’t the day for me to buy something.
I did find “Mouse Guard” and the girls were instantly interested. Reminded them some of the “Redwall” books. Friend G picked up three of DC’s “Trinity” series, numbers 6, 7 and 8.
Back home, all the books got passed around. I’d say the most tepid response was to the DC books. G picked those up because she liked the Batman move, and read some of the Batman comics geared to kids written by Josh Elder and Russell Lissau. But she had most of those books, and for whatever reason decided to try these. Maybe because of the low numbers.
But none of us really connected with the series or the characters. It just seemed so steeped in the DC Universe that they couldn’t buy into it. And we couldn’t figure out why the covers didn’t reflect the content inside the magazine.
Still, we found a few jewels among the offerings. I can’t help but think we’d spend a lot more money at places like these if there were more to appeal to these kinds of readers.
Hello, publishers!


6 Responses to “Trip to the comics shop”

  1. In my opinion, Marvel has been doing a great job with their offerings for younger readers. I’d venture to say that the Marvel Adventures line is far more enjoyable and more closely attuned to the original 1960′s Marvel comics than the mainstream offerings.

    Another young reader surprise? “Wolverine: First Class.” It’s told from the perspective of Kitty Pryde. The action in very PG, but that’s not detrimental at all. The dynamic between curmudgeonly old Wolvie and bright-eyed Kitty Pryde is one of the best in comics right now.

    And if your girls are into fantasy/adventure, have ‘em check out Bone (if they haven’t done so yet). The colored version from Scholastic is very attractive.

  2. Thanks for the recommendations. The girls have seen and read some Bone. If more fell on their laps they’d probably read it, but for whatever reason they haven’t sought it out.
    Marvel – and DC – have been trying to appeal to young readers and, sure, I’ll show them some pages of that Wolverine book that are online. But I’m going to bet it’s still focused too “old,” and too pop culture.
    Look, it’s not the violence in the books that turn them off – they love Indiana Jones, the Mummy series, stuff like that. It’s the little things – practically on the first page Kitty is interested in a boy and sounds kind of dopy about it. In the Trinity books we looked at, Wonder Woman “relaxed” with her friend by going shopping.
    It’s not like these activities are foreign to the girls, but the way they’re handled just comes across as so cliched that it makes their eyes roll.
    That’s not my opinion, that’s just my observation. And while those things may not be dealbreakers, those are impressions that the rest of the book has to overcome. Can it? I don’t know. I’ll tell you what, I’ll pick up a few of the issues and see.
    But really, I think if they had more like this: Amy Unbounded, Amelia Rules and Tintin, I wouldn’t be posting.

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