Robot 6

Quote of the day | Skottie Young, on kids’ comics

Art by Skottie Young

“What is a kid comic? Did we grow up on ‘kid’ comics? Who knows? I think we grew up with comics that could be read by anyone. I got started reading comics when Image started. I was 13-14 years old and seeing bodies ripped apart and child molesters getting murdered in the pages of Spawn. Funny thing is, I could buy those at Toys R Us. Was that material meant for kids? Again, I don’t know. But I was a kid, I read it, and I loved it. I could name 50 other books that rode that line and at the end of the day, I was reading. I was learning and discovering and learning that i may be able to do something with my ‘doodling.’ Some people think that violence in comics isn’t what is needed to get kids to get off the X-Box and pick up a comic. I say that those people don’t really know what kids are playing on their X-Box. If anything our comics are way too tame for them. We all have grand ideas about how to make the perfect comics for kids. I say they already exist.”

– artist Skottie Young, continuing the latest round of debate about the availability of comics appropriate for kids



Yeah, that makes sense. Geoff Johns-ian violence definitely seems to be so retarded that it’s aimed at twelve year olds.

I think he has a point; I also think there is a difference between comics aimed at “kids” and comics aimed at teens. I originally got hooked on comics at an early age via those huge DC Silver Age book-sized collections in the 70s and Spidey Super-Stories, and those are as tame as Tiny Titans are today. But my comic reading/collecting hobby was cemented as a ten year old via Marvel, including the Spider-Man issues featuring Harry tripping on LSD. And while those are a far cry from Silver Age DC they are also nowehere near as intense as today’s more graphic DC and Marvel output.

Not sure what my point is. Anyway, I think Marvel, DC, and others put out a nicely varied line of superhero titles that can appeal to many different age groups, so if a 6 year old, 13 year old, or 20+ year old wants to read a comic he/she will find several that are appropriate. I think the real difference today continues to be availability. My 15 year old nephew, who became a huge Batman fan after watching Dark Knight, recently asked me if they are still making Batman comics!

I’ve got to agree with him. The violence/gore/sex in comics is barely half of the problem anyway (like he said, the people that most M-rated games appeal to are usually under the age of 18). I’d rather the large publishers put big money into getting normal comics (especially less superhero ones) sold in non-comic non-book places than go all-out on amazing all-ages books that sit quietly in the corner of a shop dedicated to a shrinking demographic.

I’d rather people try to put comics into mainstream stores that aren’t mainly (or heck, are MOSTLY not) Superhero books to start chipping away at the idea that that’s the only genre that exists in our wonderful medium, but hey, kids are going to find trash anyway. Making it easier to find that trash would be a great way to make more money and you’d be stupid to not jump on it.

After all, how else could you make more money on a story about Red-clad aliens that vomit blood and use it as a weapon other than the only group of people that should reasonably find it entertaining?

The problem is not with comics that have shock-value stuff in them; the problem is that it’s often featured in comics with no warning, thus preventing the reader from deciding if that’s what they want to be exposed to. For example, a kid who loved the Teen Titans cartoon might buy an issue of the comic expecting more of the same fun… and run into the story where Wonderdog eats Marvin. Is that fair?

DC can publish all the gore they want if that’s what they feel will sell. But they cannot get away with calling those “all-ages comics” if they do so.

“I was 13-14 years old and seeing bodies ripped apart and child molesters getting murdered in the pages of Spawn.”


13-14 year old is a teenager, and is not at the same maturity level as a 7-12 year old kid. So a book like SPAWN is more appropriate for a 13-14 year old teenager then it is for a 5-12 year old kid.

As I have said many times before on this forum (and various other forums), the pre Quesada layered all ages CCA approved Marvel comics (from 1961-2000) is the perfect middle ground example of how to do all ages comics without sugar coating and/or talking down to the readers.

As a school librarian, working in a private preK-8th grade school, I cannot bring in most Marvel and DC comics. It also seems that Mr. Young is only addressing TEENS, not kids. Most teens can handle most Marvel and DC superhero comics, but younger kids under 12 probably can’t. I wouldn’t let my son read most of the superhero comics until he was about 13, mostly because of the excessive violence in the current titles; I could let him read almost all of the old comics in the Showcase and Essential collections. I started reading comics when I was very young (Kindergarten and 1st grade), and I was reading The Spirit, The Phantom, Batman, and Superman from the time I was 7. Of course, that was half a century ago (I’m getting old). I have brought lots of comics into my school collection, and very little of it is from Marvel and DC. There are some very good comics out there, suitable for the younger kids, but you have to go to the smaller publishers (BOOM! Kids, TOON Books, Top Shelf, First Second Books, Graphix, and others) to find them.

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