Posted by: Brian Hibbs on March 5, 2008
If you’re old enough, you might remember when DC comics had a slogan int he UPC box of their Direct Market-shipping comics that said something “DC Comics: They’re not just for kids anymore!”
And, in general, the comic book industry has really followed that lead — comics AREN’T for kids any longer (except for a very small number of titles)
To me this is kind of a shame. When I bring home the new week’s books, and plop on the sofa to start reading them, I often have to chase Ben (now four-years old) away when I’m reading something even as supposedly as innocuous as SPIDER-MAN or SUPERMAN, because there’s just so much violence and in them.
Unnecessary violence and blood, for that matter.
Some of my favorite fiction is “for kids” — I can watch WILLY WONKA AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY (Gene Wilder version) weekly, if I had to. I love reading Ben books like CHARLOTTE’S WEB or JAMES AND THE GIANT PEACH or our current project of going through the Baum OZ books (man, there’s some archaic language in those though — I find myself “rewriting” them as I read them) — and I’d say that the best kid’s work really needs to have things that appeal to EVERYONE in them.
So today’s pick is a GN aimed at kids, but also working very well for adults, too!
More after the jump…
There’s a couple of easy and obvious choices for “Kid’s” comics. It’s hard to go wrong with a BONE or a Carl Bark’s UNCLE SCROOGE comic, or even the first incarnations of the “DC Animated” comics (BATMAN ADVENTURES, SUPERMAN ADVENTURES), but I’m going to go with something a smidge more “obscure”.
James Robinson & Paul Smith’s LEAVE IT TO CHANCE.
The “high concept” of this series can be summed up as “NANCY DREW meets HARRY POTTER”, (Well, though Robinson’t intro to v1 calls it “NANCY DREW meets KOLCHAK THE NIGHT STALKER”, but then, HARRY POTTER started in ’98, and the introduction is dated ’97) and its just tons of fun.
There’s action, suspense, adventure, magic, and even a cute pet dragon, and its both absolutely wonderful for kids AND adults, just like it should be.
LEAVE IT TO CHANCE is one of those books that just doesn’t turn very often (in fact, it might be the slowest sellers in our kid’s section), but I’ll continue to carry it until the day I die because I just like it so much. It is usually my number one suggestion to parent’s looking blankly at the kid’s section, but they almost always opt for something THEY’ve previously heard of.
Format might be working against sales, as well — CHANCE is available in three oversized “European” laminated hardcovers, which makes it look more expensive than it actually is (and compared to a number of “real world” kids books, it’s down right cheap)
Either way, the stories are a delight, never talking down to its audience, always crisp and fun, while Paul Smith’s artwork is just drop-dead gorgeous.
Comics: They aren’t just for adults. Read some LEAVE TO CHANCE and find out!