all-ages comics for under-10s?

compound

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It's often been said that contemporary cartoons have 'smartened up' in order to make themselves accessible to a kid-friendly audience, without necessarily 'writing down' to them, or dumbing the plot for the sake of brevity or simplicity. (And still appealing to the pop-smart, media-savvy adults who watch them too -- whether stoned or not.)

But do you know of any comics that do the same?

Certainly not the recent batch of Marvel Age manga titles.

Scholastic -- known largely as a mainstream publisher of children's lit -- may have been onto something when they decided to reissue the complete Bone in a mass-produced affordable format. They also commissioned Chyna Clugston (Blue Monday, Ultimate Marvel Team-up) to do a Mean Girls-style graphic novel aimed at pre-teens for them (it's called Queen Bee, I think).

A few of the Oni Press titles, like the Courtney Crumrin books, I'd recommend for younger Harry Potter fans. That, as well as the Alison Dare series.

Anything else comes to mind?
 
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Seldes Katne

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It depends. If you're looking for on-going series, I'm not aware of many. I know Disney publishes stuff for kids, and I think the Archie series is still going.

The only other one I've seen is Owly, by Andy Runton. This is an all-ages comic that appeals to kids with cute pictures and wordless expressions, but has enough plot and character to appeal to most adults. It's a story of an owl who is lonely because all the other animals and birds are afraid of him. One day he rescues a worm who's in trouble and takes care of him, and the worm decides Owly's not a bad fellow after all. After a trip home for the worm, the two become friends and go through a series of adventures together. If you're looking for explosions and block-buster-type action, this isn't it, but it's a nice introduction to story-telling through progressive pictures and facial expressions.

Another wordless story series is Gon, by Masashi Tanaka. I think they are out of print at this point, but there were several: Gon on Safari, Gon Underground, etc. Gon is the world's toughest (and smallest) dinosaur, and he stomps his way from one confrontation (and friendship) to another.

I'm not sure if this is a series, but I like the trades I've seen of James Robinson's Leave it to Chance. The stories take place in an alternative Earth where magic and science both work. Chance Falconer wants to become a paranormal investigator like her father, but that sort of thing supposedly only happens with the males in the family. Yeah, right. Chance is a smart girl who gets herself into and out of trouble, along with a cast of police officers, villains, and various supernatural creatures.

A one-shot book that's popular in my library with the under-10 crowd is "It was a Dark and Silly Night", which contains a bunch of short comic-type stories from a variety of writers and artists (Neil Gaiman, Lemony Snicket, etc.). The stories are all unrelated, and the only thing they have in common is the beginning line of "It was a dark and silly night...."

I'm not sure if this is a one-shot or not, but I liked Captain Raptor and the Moon Mystery, by Kevin O'Malley. This is an actual hard-cover book that wasn't originally a comic series. The main characters are all dinosaurs, but they have space ships and advanced technology, and they go to their planet's moon to investigator a strange light that flashes across the sky.

Depending on the reader, I can sometimes recommend the Usagi Yojimbo series about the former-samuri-turned-ronin rabbit Usagi. The characters are all animals, and the violence is pretty bloodless. The stories and "chapters" are short and the art is good. Usagi generally wanders from place to place, fighting villains and helping non-warrior folk.

I'm seeing a bunch of "cine-manga" books published that are basically television shows and cartoons turned into comics. The titles include Kim Possible, Spy Kids, some of the Disney stuff like Finding Nemo, etc. Barnes and Noble Online lists a bunch of them. I'm not sure how many are on-going. (There's even one that's biographies of NBA players!)

I happen to like the Asterix series, which I first read many (many) years ago in high school French class. Most of the violence is "cartoon violence" and more funny than alarming. There are a bunch of plays on words and some social/political humor that probably only adults would get, so the title can be read by pretty much anyone. Asterix, of course, is a French "barbarian" dealing with Roman invaders and other problems back in (or somewhere around around, anyway) 50 B.C.

I'm also going to send you to this thread at Millarworld on Good Comics for Kids. Someone there asked a similar question, and received various answers. Let me know if the link doesn't work, and I can post a list of recommended titles.

I expect to be visiting my LCS next week, so I can ask them for recommendations as well.
 

compound

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Thank you so much for the comprehensive recommendations, as well as the MW link! Both were very helpful indeed.

I would be remiss not to point out that Marvel did release one very satisfying all-ages title last year: the under-appreciated Guardians, by (former editor) Marc Sumerak and Casey Jones. It will FINALLY be given new life, in digest format, this week!

The description from Amazon is fairly accurate, so I won't bother attempting to rephrase it:
Then: A group of neighborhood kids who make-believe that they're intergalactic super-heroes have a chance encounter with a real alien and help him in his time of need! Living out their childhood fantasies to the fullest, they tell the alien that they are the Guardians - appointed protectors of this planet - and that, should he need their help again, they'll be ready!

Now: It's been 14 years since their extra-terrestrial adventure, and the kids have grown up and moved on. Having given up their childhood dreams they are making an awkward transition to the adult world, working average jobs and living average lives... until the alien that they helped all those years ago returns to Earth, seeking the help of the "Guardians" once again! With the fate of the universe in their hands, it's up to these disillusioned 20-somethings to step up and save the very same world that tried to tell them they were crazy!​
It draws inspiration from the wide-eyed post-E.T. cutesy-alien media of the 80s, but nearly subverts it with a more realistic/modern twist, stripping the genre of its cloying naivete, without completely giving up on the sense of awe and wonder usually associated with it.

It has a few nods to the inter-galactic corner of the Marvel Universe -- one gag makes use of the powers of the increasingly-ubiquitous Skrulls. But otherwise, it's totally accessible for newcomers.

The art is similar to Adrian Alphona's work on Runaways, and while it doesn't have the same refreshing inventiveness as that series, there are enough common themes to appeal to its fanbase.
 

Seldes Katne

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Just wanted to add a title I recently read:

The Courageous Princess, by Rod Espinosa. Princess Mabelrose is the only daughter of loving parents and lives in a small kingdom. She dreams of finding the perfect prince, but when she travels to a ball in a neighboring kingdom, discovers how petty other members of the royalty can be. She is kidnapped by a powerful dragon who plans to hold her for ransom, but instead of waiting for a prince to come rescue here, as her father did for her mother, Mabelrose decided to escape on her own, with the help of a magical cloak, ring, and pouch. Despite the dragon's pursuit, Mabelrose manages to make friends with Spiky the porcupine, and together they elude the dragon and his allies. Their adventures take them half-way across the Hundred Kingdoms, to a final showdown with the dragon in a land populated by talking animals.

The art is manga-style, and Mabelrose has a very female perspective and method of solving problems, but is still a smart, capable character.
 

DIrishB

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compound said:
Thank you so much for the comprehensive recommendations, as well as the MW link! Both were very helpful indeed.

I would be remiss not to point out that Marvel did release one very satisfying all-ages title last year: the under-appreciated Guardians, by (former editor) Marc Sumerak and Casey Jones. It will FINALLY be given new life, in digest format, this week!

That guy didn't wear a hockey mask and have a bad attitude by any chance, did he?
 

ourchair

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DIrishB said:
That guy didn't wear a hockey mask and have a bad attitude by any chance, did he?
Unfortunately, no. I bet he gets that all the time, though. Like Ralph Macchio being asked if he's the Karate Kid.
 

E

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ourchair said:
Like Ralph Macchio being asked if he's the Karate Kid.

I wonder how many calls he fielded when Pat Morita died.
 

Seldes Katne

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Another title to add to this list.

Herobear and the Kid, by Mike Kunkel, has, I think, a little more appeal for adults than kids, but as usual, it depend on the reader.

"The Kid" in this title is Tyler, and we first meet him at his grandfather's funeral, where Tyler is sadly remembering the old man and how much he meant to him. Tyler's family has inherited his grandfather's house (complete with butler -- keep an eye on this guy, he plays a pretty important role later on). Tyler has also inherited something else: a stuffed bear and a supposedly broken pocket watch. Neither item is as it appears, however. Tyler discovers that the stuff bear turns into Herobear, a 10-foot tall polar bear with a red cape. (Kunkel draws this entire comic in black, white and gray, so the bear's cape really stands out!) The pocket watch has a couple of nifty functions, too.

While Herobear and the Kid is kind of a superhero comic, it's also about a boy with an active imagination and a renewed sense of wonder as he discovers the secrets behind the watch, the bear, and his grandfather. Part of this series have a lot of exposition, so if a child is looking for major action, s/he may be disappointed at times. The revelation of Tyler's grandfather's identity may or may not work for all readers, but the entire story is heart-warming and funny, especially for those of us who remember what it was like being a kid.
 

ourchair

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Seldes Katne said:
Another title to add to this list.

Herobear and the Kid, by Mike Kunkel, has, I think, a little more appeal for adults than kids, but as usual, it depend on the reader.

"The Kid" in this title is Tyler, and we first meet him at his grandfather's funeral, where Tyler is sadly remembering the old man and how much he meant to him. Tyler's family has inherited his grandfather's house (complete with butler -- keep an eye on this guy, he plays a pretty important role later on). Tyler has also inherited something else: a stuffed bear and a supposedly broken pocket watch. Neither item is as it appears, however. Tyler discovers that the stuff bear turns into Herobear, a 10-foot tall polar bear with a red cape. (Kunkel draws this entire comic in black, white and gray, so the bear's cape really stands out!) The pocket watch has a couple of nifty functions, too.

While Herobear and the Kid is kind of a superhero comic, it's also about a boy with an active imagination and a renewed sense of wonder as he discovers the secrets behind the watch, the bear, and his grandfather. Part of this series have a lot of exposition, so if a child is looking for major action, s/he may be disappointed at times. The revelation of Tyler's grandfather's identity may or may not work for all readers, but the entire story is heart-warming and funny, especially for those of us who remember what it was like being a kid.
I havne't really had the resources to commit to more comics than the ones already in my limited pull list, but I've always been charmed by what I've seen of this book.

I'll bet Kunkel gets a lot of annoying and unfair comparisons to Calvin & Hobbes creator Bill Watterson in interviews and features though.
 

ProjectX2

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Bass said:
The Punisher MAX series by Marvel.

"Mummy, why is Frank playing operation with that man's stomach?"
 

Seldes Katne

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Compound, I'm not sure if you're still looking for recommendations on this topic (if not, say so, or I'll just keep adding whatever I find ad infinitum :D ), but I found this list of graphic novels for younger readers at the ALA (American Library Association) site. A few titles have already been mentioned on this thread, but this is a much more comprehensive list. I'm going to have to get my hands on some of these for my library's collection.
 

MoS

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I went to a local comics show this weekend and saw the usual Portland crowd, but also met Jeff Parker, who writes the Marvel Adventures line for Marvel, which is a separate continuity group of titles featuring Marvel heroes. (Spider-Man and the Fantastic Four, and an upcoming Avengers title that features The Hulk, Iron Man, Captain America, Storm, Giant Girl (Janet Van Dyne), Spider-Man and Wolverine.)

The Adventures line is meant to be fun, exciting and all-ages friendly, with "done in one or two issue" stories and simplified origins and backstory. In the Avengers line-up, Parker talked about the relationship between Storm and the Hulk which sounded pretty interesting - sort of an "elemental to elemental" thing, where Storm can "Hulk" and "de-Hulk" Banner faster than anyone else.

One of the things I liked is that Parker talked about bringing back the style of letters pages where the characters answers the mail and ralk to the readers, in an attempt to set up the "old Marvel" feel - when you picked up a comic in the 60s and early 70s, the level of Stan Lee hype was amazing, but it was always amusing and somewhat inclusive - you were part of the Marvel family and he was talking to you directly. The current Marvel tone is adversarial at best.
 

compound

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Rhyo said:
The current Marvel tone is adversarial at best.
Okay, this is definitely getting off-topic, but in defense of contemporary Marvel, i'll say this:

(1) the old-style Marvel letters pages -- from the Bullpen hype to the "Make Mine Marvel" and the No-Prizes -- may have felt inclusive, but, as an adult, I've felt much more "included" (even in the warm, fuzzy sense) in immersive online communities like this one, than I ever did while reading the old Marvel titles. (Full disclosure: I'm 27. Started reading Marvel with their All-Ages STAR Comics licensed line when I was 9; moved on to the 616 X-titles I was 11, just before the talent exodus that resulted in the the creation of Image. Meaning Rhyo is considerably older than I am :wink: )

While communities like Ultimate Central may not have direct access to the "culture industry" (in the Marxist/Adorno sense of the word), the way an official letters page would, it still does a much more effective job of simulating the feeling of being part of an ersatz "creative family".

(2) I know Powers is not *technically* a Marvel title, but it *is* published by Icon, and I think it serves as a really good example of a modern comic with an "inclusive" letters page. Sure, a lot of it are reprints from Bendis' message board, and Bendis himself often uses a mockingly cooler-than-thou tone, but it's all obviously being done with tongue planted firmly in cheek. And if the mood of the letters page is often juvenile and sophomoric -- and hardly "appropriate for all ages" -- it's only because it reflect the sensibilities of its actual readership, for better or worse.

In that sense, it's no different in spirit from the old Marvel letter pages, because it makes the fans/readers feel like they have a stake in the creation of the over-all comic-reading experience.

Now, getting back on topic...

Seldes Katne said:
Compound, I'm not sure if you're still looking for recommendations on this topic (if not, say so, or I'll just keep adding whatever I find ad infinitum ), but I found this list of graphic novels for younger readers at the ALA (American Library Association) site. A few titles have already been mentioned on this thread, but this is a much more comprehensive list. I'm going to have to get my hands on some of these for my library's collection.

Thanx x 1 000 000 for posting that link here. I actually came across it several months ago, but I was too busy to post it, at the time.

Yes, I am constantly on the lookout for entertaining, un-dumbed-down all-ages comics. I have no kids of my own -- nor can I afford to have any in the forseeable future -- but my girlfriend Claire is the Godmother to a handful of young ones, some of whom are reaching the age when I started becoming a voracious reader.

It's reassuring to know they've got so many options, as far as reading mateiral goes! (Of course, exchange rates and import taxes kinda limits the scope, but mercifully both Claire and myself come from relatively upwardly mobile, affluent families.)
 

nigma

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thankz guyz the info really helps cuz i was about to expand my comic section for kids.

and i hate you compond and Ourchair with your Avtars.

but the list really helps and i'll have to add Little LuLu to the mix. this is an old comic strips that are complied into a "book" published by Dark Horse. most adults that look at it are always....i remember that, and end up getting it for there kids. and most kids find it funny as well.

Leave it to Chanceby Image is not a bad comic. i gave this book a teen 10+ rating just based on the drawing for some of the monsters and the appeal of death. but other than that i found it to be a pretty good read
 

MoS

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compound said:
(1) the old-style Marvel letters pages -- from the Bullpen hype to the "Make Mine Marvel" and the No-Prizes -- may have felt inclusive, but, as an adult, I've felt much more "included" (even in the warm, fuzzy sense) in immersive online communities like this one, than I ever did while reading the old Marvel titles.

I was thinking of the letters pages in New Avengers (back when they had them) which were defensive and downright RUDE. Not that the fan letters they were answering weren't just as rude, but it annoyed me that the publisher didn't take the high road and either answer politely or just not print them. Ditto Joe Q's weekly Q&A/hype column on Newsarama which is often extremely abrasive. I think Joe Q is trying to be funny and failing miserably.

Lately they've added back Brevoort's "Editor's page" in the issues he has editorial control over, which is, I think, an attempt to return to the "old Marvel" feel. I don't think it's going to be succesful, not in the wake of the internet. I have yet to read anything on that page (which, to be fair, there have only been 2 of them) that I hadn't read on the net and weeks to months earlier.
 

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Rhyo said:
I was thinking of the letters pages in New Avengers (back when they had them) which were defensive and downright RUDE. Not that the fan letters they were answering weren't just as rude, but it annoyed me that the publisher didn't take the high road and either answer politely or just not print them. Ditto Joe Q's weekly Q&A/hype column on Newsarama which is often extremely abrasive. I think Joe Q is trying to be funny and failing miserably.
Mine wasn't. Or the one that followed mine. :please:
 
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