I have a question..it’s not a new question but it’s more and more a prevelent one as the days go by. How do we get kids into reading comic books? I mean, when I go to my shop, I see guys my age….or at least adults. The only time I see kids is on Free Comic Book Day. A little background first….I run a early childhood center (a daycare in laymen’s terms) so I deal with kids from newborn to 12 and I deal particularly with five to twelve. School agers we call them and they LOVE superheroes. LOVE THEM. But their exposure to comics is limited. They are more plugged into the movies and tv shows. And yet whenever I show them comics they are excited…but some of the stories they can’t understand because it’s not written for them. So the books like the Marvel Age Line are important but it’s not readily available to kids. Well they are but the parents aren’t reaching out to supply these books to their children. This goes back to a more overreaching problem with not only the transition from print to digital but also a drift from actual reading in general, especially comic form reading.
How can we fix that? I don’t have great ideas but the key is getting these books in their hands to keep, at least for a time. Personally, I think the library is the key. Books are free and the supply is vast. It takes time to do this. Leaving the home and taking the time to takes to go out and spend time there I’m not sure many parents are willing to do or have the time to do. But it’s a great option that has many benefits beyond more reading for the family. Another thing I think is an obvious move but a conflicting one for the industry overall is going digital. Kids have tablets and phones in their hands almost constantly so why not put them onto apps that they can have access to comics? The problem here is that it takes away from print comics and that takes away from the next point. Take them to comic book stores. A lot of stores are going out of business because of the lack of traffic and buys. The ones that are left are diversifying their appeal by adding gaming (especially card gaming) to their stores as well as other attractions. While things there are not free, they are becoming places kids and teens can find something to do and be engaged in. Lastly it puts money in the pockets of those stores that serve those communities.
It comes down to us that are lifelong comic book fans. Those things that we loved when we first started reading can be shared and if it leads to some kids becoming what we are then it’s a win. I’m not saying it’s a lock. I have three girls and they all read to a certain degree but not to my level of love. I do think that the more diverse content we can show them the better off we will be. If done right we may capture older folks too and captialize off this crazy golden age of comic book movies we are in while it lasts. It hasn’t really worked yet but we have to keep trying or I believe it will die out. And who wants that?