Written by: Crystal Mazur
Edited by: Mike Hansen
Comic books have been around for a long time. They carry a stigma for some: they are blamed for illiteracy and delinquency, and are wrongly seen as a sign of uneducated minds. Time has proven this to not be the case, but the perception exists with individuals. This is a missed opportunity for exposing children to different types of literacy. Comics can reach out to children who have difficulties reading. While it may not be a form everyone will like, offering the experience of reading comics gives kids one more option in their reading arsenal. As an adult, it is important to understand the basics in the world of comics. This can be a very confusing adventure. Here are some tips to help adults navigate the world of comic books.
Make it special
Reading should be special for both the parent and the child. It is a chance for children to use their reading skills to understand the story that is taking place. Reading should be a fun experience and children have a natural desire to read. Go to a local comic store or book store with your child and involve the sales people in helping find the perfect comic for your child. There are comics that can be perfect for kids as young as 3.
It takes all of 3 minutes tops to look through the comic book before your child does. If it makes you uncomfortable, you have the right to look for another comic book that fits your comfort levels and still excites your child. Marvel does have a rating system, but it is only mandatory for Marvel Comics and optional for all others. There is NO standard for rating comics!
Ask for Help
Whether you are in a bookstore or a comic store, the salespeople are there to help. Many times the stores will have a special area for early readers. If they don't offer comics for young readers, talk with them about possibly doing so, and feel free to go to another store. Never feel like you have to wander aimlessly around a store looking for what you want.
Talk with Other Parents
You would be surprised to discover which of your friends read comics. Or which parents use comics with their kids. They may have wonderful suggestions for you, or be willing to help you find the perfect comics for your child. Ask around your local community for comic book stores, or groups who will help you out with comics. There are parent reading groups and cafes in my area that teach children about comics and help parents get excited about it.
Learn HOW to Read a Comic Book
Many parents decide not to use comics because they don't understand HOW to read them. Once you get some practice in it, it does get easier. First, basic boxes go from left to right, top to bottom on the page. If there are odd shaped enclosures, follow left to right, top to bottom. One good way to look at comics is that if you read it over and it makes NO sense, scan the page to figure out the direction. Most of the time the art will support the direction of the words. If you are having trouble still, the art sometimes leads your eye to the panel that should follow it.
Talk to Your Library
Many libraries carry comics, or will carry comics if there is enough interest in the local area. They can always borrow from other libraries, so you don't have to track down older issues in a mad chase around town. If your library does not carry comics, speak with your librarian about acquiring them.
Know Your Issues
There are different TYPES of comic books?! Why yes! The two major types are issues and trades. Issues are a series of stories and are generally paper covers. Trades are a larger collection of issues and tend to have a sturdier binding. For children, issues are easier to handle, but rip very easily. Trades are much sturdier but more expensive, and younger children have a harder time holding them. Pick which one is best for your child.
Take Time to Teach Kids How to Handle Comics
Comics are fragile, especially the issues. You will need to take time with your child and teach them how to hold their comics to make sure they last as long as possible. They will rip comics and they will fall apart, so don't freak out. Some simple repairs can be done to help them last longer. Once the comic has seen its last days, don't throw them away. Reuse them as comic themed art for your playroom or bedroom.
FREE COMIC BOOK DAY!!!
The first Saturday in May is Free Comic Day! This is where local distributors or community organizations provide free comics for everyone. You can visit www.freecomicbookday.com to find local stores in your area. Many stores will have costumed actors (CosPlayers), cake, sales on merchandise and movies running all day, celebrating the importance of comics in literacy.
Where Else Can You Find Comics?
I'm glad you asked! Here are some links to find awesome comics just perfect for your family! DriveThruComics is an online distributor that offers both PDFs and print on demand! They always have offers going on for free comics or sales on comics. DriveThruComics