Comics For Kids: Where to Start?
Figuring out the best comics for kids shouldn’t be as hard of a task as it is. After all, weren’t comics originally made for children? That may have been true 80 years ago, but like all things, the media we consume grew up along with us. From the Walking Dead to Marvel Zombies, comics have become just as mature a medium as any other form of entertainment. Comics have also transcended the pages in a way their original creators probably never could’ve imagined. Iron Man and Wonder Woman are household names. With technology, it’s also becoming increasingly more difficult to get kids noses out of their phones or tablets. But, that’s not a bad thing depending on what’s on the other side of the screen, like these comics for kids!
Comics Go Digital
Before we jump into what comics might be a good start for your kids, let’s talk about a few important tools for consumption. DC Universe, Marvel Unlimited, and Comixology are all amazing subscription services that will give access to thousands upon thousands of comics. Whether you’re looking for a hard to find issue that is no longer in print, or you just can’t float $40-50 dollars on a hardcover novel, you can probably find it on one of these services. And the best part is? You aren’t paying any more than you would for Netflix or Hulu and there’s reading involved.
5 Great Comics for Kids
This first one comes from DC Comics Rebirth Era and focuses on Superman’s son, Jonathan Kent, and Batman’s son Damian Wayne. When I first started my read of the Rebirth Era, I expected this to be a hard read for a grown-up. Jonathan is 9 and Damian is 12 and they’re teaming up to do their own thing. I thought that was a recipe for a lame disaster. But, honestly, this series was quite a surprise. Jonathan and Damian couldn’t be any more different if they tried. Jonathan is naïve but caring. He wants to do the right thing and live up to his father’s expectations and always see’s the best in people. Damian is overconfident, he’s a bit of a jerk, he wants to be better than his father and is never wrong.
The two butt heads more than a few times throughout the series but they always turn it into a way to strengthen their friendship. The series also includes plenty of cameos from Superman and Batman as well as the rest of the justice league. It’s a story about self-discovery, humility, and learning to go out on your own and be your own hero. Kids of any age should really get a kick out of this series.
The Runaways are perhaps THE comic for the rebellious teen era. They’re a Marvel property which also got a three-season adaptation on Hulu. The premise is pretty simple and something that most kids consider at one time or another, “what if our parents are super-villains?” In the case of the Runaways…they are! While the parents form a secret cabal of villains, the kids, mostly teenagers are forced to go on the run.
The cast is made up of a diverse roster of personalities that are constantly clashing, but they all learn to rely on one another and become a family in their own right. What’s great about the Runaways, is that it shows kids that it’s ok to rely on others while also teaching them how to stand on their own. There are countless series of The Runaways and, of course, the Hulu adaptation is a great way to pique some interest in the comic as well.
Zatanna and the House of Secrets
Zatanna has always been a favorite of mine but is usually a side or support character to the much bigger Justice League members or stories. This is an interesting take on her aimed at a much younger audience. It’s more akin to the books I remember reading in elementary school, but Zatanna is way cooler. The story centers around her father going missing within the House of Secrets. It’s a book full of magic and wonder, fantastic creatures, and puzzles for Zatanna to solve.
Though this one is available on DC Universe, you can find it on Amazon for $10, or on Kindle and Comixology for $5. The only other downside is that it’s just a single book, so if your kid really likes it you’ll have to find something else to take its place. There’s also a great version of this with Wonder Woman called Diana: Princess of the Amazons as well.
The Magnificent Ms. Marvel
This one right here is an absolute gem. Since Kamala Khan has come onto the scene at Marvel, she’s been getting bigger and better. Currently written by Saladin Ahmed (who also writes Miles Morales Spider-Man), Kamala is an absolute joy from front to back. She’s smart, energetic kind-hearted, and determined. She reminds me of a lot of the reasons that I originally fell in love with Spider-Man when I first got into comics. But what really makes her special for me and what I think both kids and their parents will love about Kamala is the role her family plays in her story.
Though it’s recently been changed due to in-story events, Kamala’s mother and father were actually aware of identity. The whole cliché of hiding your superhero identity from family is so played out. Instead of being obstacles, she has to overcome or lie to, Kamala’s parents become allies in her fight against the injustices of the world. Kamala can teach a lot of important lessons to kids and teens alike and if there’s one must-read series on this list, it’s the Magnificent Ms. Marvel.
Gotham Academy is another magic adjacent story if your kids were into Zatanna and the House of Secrets. Its age range is maybe a tad higher pushing into the Young Adult reading for its spookiness. Gotham Academy features a very wide and diverse cast of characters from various backgrounds and age groups. It has more American-spin on the magic academy genre, if Harry Potter was something your kids might be interested in but the recent comments made by JK Rowling has you looking for an alternative, Gotham Academy isn’t a bad option.
There’s a heavy focus on solving mysteries with adults both aiding and working to stop the kids. Even amongst the students themselves, there are problems that they must work to fix between one another to save the day. Gotham Academy: Second Semester even features a worthwhile visit from both Bruce Wayne and his son Damian. Overall the characters are very likable, the adventures are fun and exciting. And it serves as a gateway into the greater Batman world.
Did you find our list helpful? Maybe you have some recommendations of your own that parents looking to get their kids into comics might like? If so we’d love to hear from you! Please let us know via DMs on the CheckpointXP Facebook. You can also reach out to us on Twitter or our comic book expert Robbie Landis.
If you’re a comic veteran or new fan, you should also check out our comic book podcast, The Other Identity. It’s hosted by Robbie Landis and Marvel Alumni, Ben Morse. The Other Identity is for fans new and old to celebrate the heroes and stories that inspire us all.