If you think superhero comics are for kids, you’re either hopelessly out of date or very au courant. Over the past 40 years, superhero comics have grown progressively darker and more violent and the audience has grown older (I hesitate to say "more adult"). However, recently Marvel and DC have both developed kid-friendly lines, and at Culture 11, Noah Berlatsky takes a look at several Jeff Parker titles that he enjoys with his own child. What he finds is that Parker doesn’t just dial back the sex and gore, he shifts the whole approach to storytelling:
Jeff Parker has a fair bit of action in his comics too, but it’s all somehow…leisurely. It reminds me a little of the Oz books, or of Peter Pan, which are chock full of adventure and preposterous happenings, but which nonetheless seem to proceed at a gentle trot.
Back at his own blog, The Hooded Utilitarian, Berlatsky continues the conversation with a discussion of whether the Comics Code was a good or a bad thing for superhero comics, and he comes to the surprising conclusion that superheroes would have been more kid-friendly without it. Bill Randall continues the theme with the comment that censorship, such as the code, can actually foster creativity, although that doesn’t seem to have happened with American superhero comics. And Tucker Stone expands on the topic a bit with a column about warning labels at comiXology.
At Publishers Weekly Comics Week, Chris Arrant talks to Faith Erin Hicks about her boarding-school graphic novel, The War at Ellesmere. I haven’t seen it described specifically as a YA property but I think it’s a book teens would enjoy. Also up at PWCW is my article on the dual track for The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya: The manga will be marketed to the usual suspects, but the light novels will be promoted to the general YA audience. Watch for reviews in this space soon!
Chris is a busy guy: At Newsarama, he chats up Ted Naifeh about the sixth Courtney Crumrin book, Courtney Crumrin & the Prince of Nowhere.
If you’re new to manga and looking for some starter titles, 19-year-old Liviana of In Bed With Books has some suggestions, and they’re not the ones you usually see, either.
Sho Murase shows off some art from an upcoming volume of Nancy Drew.
Mariko and Jillian Tamaki’s YA graphic novel Skim has been short-listed for the Canada Council for the Arts Governor General’s Literary Awards, in the Children’s Literature category.
Salimbol on The Arrival (The Chocolate Mud Wyvern Presents)
R. J. Carter on The Baby-Sitters Club: Claudia and Mean Janine (The Trades)
Greg McElhatton on Crogan’s Vengeance (Read About Comics)*
Win Wiacek on The Greatest Stories Never Told (Now Read This!)
Jog on Prince of Persia (Jog – The Blog)
If that whetted your appetite, there’s a generous preview of Crogan’s Vengeance here.