Comic Books

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Comic books for girls

May 2008

I am looking for comic books/manga/graphic novels geared to the 8-12 year-old age group for girls. Basically, no superhero or violent material. My daughter loves the comic pages and animation and I would like to try something like this but don't know where to start.

I really like the people who work at Dr. Comics and Mr. Games on Piedmont Ave. in Oakland. They have given me excellent recommendations for graphic novels and comics that my kids have enjoyed. I would bet that they would be able to help you, and it has the added benefit of being a local independent store. Betty
Here are some things I've liked, in no apparent order: Bone by Jeff Smith (very funny, literate, inspired); Ranma 1/2 by Rumiko Takahashi; Hayao Miyazaki has quite an ouerve of comics and animation (Princess Mononoke, Spirited Away, NausicaC$ of the Valley of the Wind, My Neighbor Totoro, Kiki's Delivery Service, just to name a few); Maus, Art Spiegelman's masterpiece about the Holocaust; Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi is great but read it first to check your comfort level for your daughters age group (maybe the first book now, and the sequel tale of Satrapi's rebellious college years can wait); Joe Sacco while we're on this journalistic roll has amazing comics about Palestine and Bosnia; Gene Yang's ''American Born Chinese'' and ''Good as Lily'' by Derek Kirk Kim; Lynda Barry is a genius at capturing ''family life from the perspective of pre-teen girls from the wrong side of the tracks'' (got it from wikipedia when the words failed me); Love and Rockets by the brothers Hernandez is wonderful (again, now that i'm a mom albeit of a 3 y.o. daughter, I might pre-read to check age-appropriate-ness - I recall heavy stuff); Sara Varon's Robot Dreams is amazingly eloquent (Chicken and Cat is good for a younger set too), and I liked punky Julie Doucet (but not sure how it flies now on mom radar - amazing how parenting shifts your worldview). I am sure there is more, with a little digging. My firend Ludon Lee is publishing Super Stories - two short comics penned by Adrianna Tucker and Zach Toma (kids with leukemia) (buy the print comic as a fundraiser for the Leukemia Society or find it online for free.) yes, we need more good comics out there, for and by girls. hope you and your daughter get hooked! grrl comix fan
Check out Amelia Rules by Jimmy Gownley. Rachel
My daughter loves the Bone series by Jeff Smith. Ellen
I can personally recommend several dozen comics/manga, but my best suggestion is for you to go into a comic book store. Dr. Comics & Mr. Games on Piedmont Ave in Oakland is my favorite. Their staff is super friendly and very helpful. You can tell them what you are looking for in a comic and they will point you in the right direction. (510) 601-7800. You may contact me for further suggestions, but please understand I do not get to my e-mail very frequently. kukana
My 11 year old daughter enjoys manga and other graphic novels and while I have not read everything along side of her, a few of the ones that have particularly caught my eye are the following:

Azumanga Daioh by Kiyohiko Azuma (series available at Amazon) Yotsuba&! by Kiyohiko Azuma (series available at Amazon) Amelia Rules! series by Jimmy Gownley

There is also a new series of the old Babysitter's Club books that have been re-issued as graphic novels that are very cute (I think the first three are now available, also through Amazon). I will be interested to see other recommendations! Claire

You could ask in Comic Relief in Berkeley on Shattuck. They have an amazing assortment of comix, manga, illustrated novels, etc. Mostly for adults, but there are things there for kids too. It's a really cool place to visit and shop. And there is a real resident cat...

Also, stop into Bazaar of India on University Ave., they have a selection of Indian comics that tell stories of traditional figures in their pantheon of gods and goddesses. Pretty interesting and a great way to learn about that culture. anon

Try the Baby Mouse graphic novels pub. by Random House. Lots of fun. Kris
Run, don't walk, to Comic Relief in Berkeley. It is, far and away, the very best shop for comics, manga, graphic novels, and other such materials. The staff there are very experienced at finding just the right thing for a wide range of tastes and interests - ask for Todd or Uel if you're unsure.

The shop is on Shattuck Avenue, just south of University, so you can take BART if you want. You can also check out the Berkeley Main Library (comics supplied by, yes, Comic Relief) if you like, but it's worth stopping by the store to get ideas first. There are even a couple of store cats that might come over to greet your daughter! Kathleen

They Cartoon Art Museum in San Francisco might be able to asssist you. A lot of their stuff is geared towards adults, but I've seen comics for younger folks there as well. Their website is: anon
I liked ''ElfQuest'' graphic novels when I was in Junior High School - it's sweet - they're little elves, like fairies - a total soap opera but nice - not too much violence (mostly swords) and maybe some kissing? Girl Books
Have you looked at any of the sailor moon graphic novels by Naoko Takeuchi, you can find them on amazon your best source would be to hit a comic book store they would be able to direct you to the right material. If you are near Alameda, there is a store on Park street just up from Starbucks. My son loves graphic novels he was really into the Bone Series by Jeff Smith more fantasy ala lord of the rings but a fun series and you can find them at most libraries
Joss Whedon (of Buffy the Vampire fame) writes great comics with a high school girl as the star. We love them. CJK

Comic books for 11 year old

October 2006

My 11 year old son is not reading as often as we would like, but has become interested in TinTin comics. I am glad for these, but don't know what to look for when he goes through them. What other similarly ''cool'' comic books can anyone recommend for an 11- year old? comic mom

My boys also loved Tin Tin, and spend a lot of time reading comics and graphic novels. I think that as long as they're reading, it's a good thing. Your son might want to try the Asterix series. Some of the graphic novels are very compelling and sophisticated, such as the ''Bone'' series. Go to Dr. Comics and Mr. Games on Piedmont Ave. in Oakland and ask for suggestions. Anon
The Sandman series from Neil Gaiman is exceptional. They are a bit darker than TinTin, but not much more violent. I would check out one first before you got your son the series. Your comfort level might be different from mine.

The Dark Knight Series by Frank Miller is excellent as well. It's a reimagining of Batman with a sensibility that's similar to the recent movies, especially Batman Returns.

If these are too edgy for your taste, try DC's Teen Titan series (there's also a TV cartoon). These aren't pandering but are not as dark as the other ones above. However, given that he is reading TinTin (colonialism, racial stereotypes) you may be comfortable with them. Good luck! gf

Asterix & Obelix by Uderzo and Goscinny. They are also tried and true; one of the due died a few years back, but the other one (I think the surviving one is Goscinny) soldiers on. Some of the Tintins are available on cassette, by the way, with Leo McKern as Captain Haddock. A are a lot funnier than Tintin, and are VERY well translated. Wendy
If your son likes TinTin, then he might like some of the other French (although TinTin is Belgian) graphic novels which have been translated into English. Asterix comes leaping to mind, as well as Boule and Bill, Lukey Luke, etc. Japanese Manga, at least the more benign ones are also a possible choice. The graphic novels are really popular now, so there are several to choose from. Go down to a place like Comic Relief, at Shattuck nr University, and check out the section that is oriented toward kids, or ask the always knowledgeable staff for guidance - let them know what your parameters are about violence, etc. The Tintins are not completely without that, nor are they always PC, so I'm sure you can find something that meets your standards. Good hunting! kim
I don't know if they are cool, but I think Asterix and Prince Valient comics are lots of fun! Love comic books!
There are so many good comics! The first two that spring to mind are BONE and ASTERIX, but really the best recommendation that I can offer you is Comic Relief. It's a comic shop in Berkeley on Shattuck Avenue; either Todd (the manager) or Rory (the owner) could give you a great range of choices for your son. Comic Relief has been around for nearly 20 years, supplying terrific comics to individuals, schools and libraries. Kathleen
Asterix is fun and there are a lot of them. Check out the comic book shop on Shattuck near Addison. You have to be with him/her because they have stuff for all ages. But, it is fun & quite diverse Tin Tin boosted my son's reading tremendously.
My 11-year-old, also a big Tintin fan, loves Calvin & Hobbes, the Far Side, Bloom County and Doonesbury books. He has learned a ton about 1980s politics from these. Recently he discovered a series called Bone, which he also likes. And he reads the funnies in the newspaper every day. Reader's mom
My son is also a Tintin fan. With a little help from our friendly public librarian, he's branched out to Asterix and Lucky Luke Adventures.
Asterix! Tintin and Asterix were pretty much the only thing I would read when I was 9-13. If he doesn't like Asterix, here are lots of ''graphic novels'' now - but be careful, the content can often be for grownups Asterix and Tintin fan

Comic books for a 7-year-old

May 2004

My 1st grader is interested in comic books, thanks mostly to Captain Underpants. A brief trip to a comic book store revealed that most comic books these days are not for little kids. Can anyone point me in the direction of some age appropriate titles for a boy who's into Bionicles, good guys and bad guys, science fiction, aliens... you get the picture... the usual 7 year old boy stuff. I could do without the swear words and bulging breasts, but maybe that's asking too much. Thanks! Esther

You're right -- all the comic books nowadays are really too violent/graphic for a young child. My 5.5 yo son, a voracious reader, is also into comic books, especially superhero ones (also thanks to Captain Underpants). The librarian at the Berkeley Central Library gave me a few books that he liked: SparrowBoy (picture book), Wingman (chapter book). A long time ago he read a graphic novel called Burger, which he liked. I wish there were more of this type of thing. Oh yeah, he also LOVES Calvin and Hobbes, although it gives him many bad ideas :)

We have recently moved onto more traditional heroes, like Gilgamesh, King Arthur, etc. The library has child-appropriate storybook versions of those characters and we're enjoying them as read-alouds. Good luck! Laurel

I would suggest Calvin & Hobbes and Garfield. The vocabulary may be a bit above his level but the graphics are very inviting. Karen H.
My 7yo has just LOVED Calvin and Hobbes. The Far Side, although sometimes a bit too far, was also a hit. Find them in the library and used book stores. Ruthie
Both my kids learned to read using the Garfield immersion method. The library has them all and many used bookstores sell them cheap. The only downside has been that lasagna is now considered a major food group and must be eaten at least twice a month. lasagna master
My almost 7 year-old loves Tin Tin comic books. And, so do his Dad and I. They're entertaining, action-filled and really, really funny. For the most part, we read them to our son because the language can get pretty dense and elaborate. One word of caution: they were written in the 30s, 40s, 50s and cultural stereotypes rear their ugly heads in some of the stories, which you can talk about with your child. On the other hand, you won't find any DDD- breasted, empty-headed women in them. Tin Tin Fan
My mother-in-law recently bought some comic books for my 8 year old son at a book faire in LA. The series looks pretty age appropriate, no violence, sexism... RQW.. . the Continuing Adventures of Raymond Q Wonderful by Ray Friesen. The book states to visit for more info. eve
I have been going through this dilemna for two years now. I have given in to the large chested women as long as they are butt kicking and of the hero persuasion. We had much better luck with two sets of books to begin with, both of which I got at Comic Relief. One was calle Bones (sorry I don't know the author), and we succeeded with a book of the Spiderman series). Buying the entire books is not only cheaper in the long run, but makes it easier for you to flip through quickly and get a good sense of the ''danger zones''. My son also read all the Tin Tin books. At this stage, we are into X-Men and Japanese animated novels...but that goes back to the large breasted woman debate. I suppgest you ask the comic book store employees. They really know their stuff and can tell you quickly what to stay away from. Can't wait to read the responses myself. B.

Where can I buy old-fashioned comics?

Oct 1998

I have looked around casually for a while for comic books for little kids, of the Richie Rich & Casper variety. My son was given a Roger Rabbit comic book from a friend & he literally loved it to pieces. It was a bit on the violent side for us though, esp. since we had to read it to him a few times. (He's only 4!) So far I haven't seen a thing. I even tried the old 7-11 where I used to buy them as a kid & was told they were discontinued. Are the old-fashioned comic books still around, or have I missed something? Thanks very much. Leah

My son Jake, who is reading the digest over my shoulder as I assemble it, tells me that Collector's Realm on Telegraph below Dwight has a whole bunch of old comic books. He thinks they would probably have the old-fashioned comics there. Also try Comics and Comix on the corner of Dwight and Telegraph next to 510 Skateboarding, (news to me there's a skateboard store but apparently it's a landmark, per Jake.) Note: these two places also carry adult comics, although they seem to keep them cordoned off from the little kids' stuff, but you might want to check it out ahead of time without the little one. Ginger
Dr. Comix and Mr. Games on Piedmont Ave around 40th Street has a wide variety of comic books for all ages. Andrea
I need to put in a plug for a store I haven't seen listed here already: Comic Relief on University. This store, like most comic stores, is not aimed at young children. But the proprietor, Rory Root, is a friend of mine. Rory is very helpful if you need to locate unusual graphic art or comic book material of any sort. And of course the store is conveniently located to Campus (on University between Shattuck Square and Oxford). If you want to talk to Rory himself, your best bet is to go in the late afternoon; he's often schmoozing with other folks in the biz till late at afternoon; he's often schmoozing with other folks in the biz till late at night, so is rarely in during the morning hours.

And while we're at it, let me suggest, for slightly older children, the great line of illustrated books called either Classic Comics or (the more recent release) Classics Illustrated. These are great comic books that are beautifully illustrated versions of books from Classic Literature. I read many classics this way the first time, including the Cask of Amontillado (spelling?), the Black Tulip, the Deerhunter, Moby Dick, etc etc. They come around every ten or fifteen years or so, and were re-released about 5 or so years ago. They may be available in thrift stores or at yard sales. The most recent versions are too recent to have much collectibility, so they should be pretty cheap. I was fascinated by these when I was around 10 years old, and in some cases they inspired me to go find more books by the same author, or to go on to read the originals. I highly recommend them. Dawn

Thank you everyone for your advice! It turns out, if the guy at Comics & Comix is correct, that the Harvey company, which published Richie Rich, Caspar the Friendly Ghost & Little Dot, among others, has gone out of business. He recommends garage sales & flea markets. The good news is that these are not collectibles particularly, so they're still quite inexpensive. I was then referred by Collector's Realm on Telegraph, which hasn't got them, to Treasures of Youth in Hayward. The phone # is (510) 888-9675. Scott, the proprietor, gathered up a bunch of Richie Rich, took my credit card # (ok, I trusted him), and he's mailing them to me. It's not his usual thing, but he said he's willing to go to the post office for anything over $5.00 or so. Also, he told me about a comic book convention this weekend at the Oakland Convention Center w/tons of comic book dealers, not to mention the appearance of the old Batman & Robin guys (Adam West & ?) Leah