Comic books come in many forms and many are completely inappropriate for children. Manga, the Japanese form of comic book drawing and creation, may have some child friendly comic books, but a vast majority of these works are geared toward teens, or even strictly for adults. This is certainly true of American comic books too. The fact that something has illustrations doesn’t imply content is G, PG, or even PG-13 rated. The standard of thinking of comic books as innocent diversions for children begins with their originally being marketed for kids. This standard has changed, and needs to be considered when choosing comics for kids, or even letting them read the comics in the newspaper.
Having considered this caution, there are still many excellent comic books for children, some of them new, and many of them collections of classic cartoons. If you really want to keep content clean, consider buying collections of Peanuts strips by Charles Schulz. These still continue to be relevant, funny and it’s hard to resist loving characters like Snoopy and Woodstock, or feeling drawn in by the conflicts of the unluckiest boy in the world, Charlie Brown.
Another comic strip that is now no longer running is the wonderful Calvin and Hobbes by Bill Watterson. Young boys, and their parents may especially enjoy this strip, involving the adventures of the boy’s boy, Calvin, and his stuffed (though to Calvin, live) tiger. Additionally Watterson’s work is excellent for beginning to intermediate readers, since it introduces plenty of hard vocabulary words, and like the Peanuts series, launches kids into some fairly educated references to the world of science, literature and philosophy.
Both boys and girls may adore Garfield which is also available in book form in collections of strips, and still runs in many newspapers’ comic sections. The fat cat with his love of food and laziness in general usually doesn’t fail to delight, and is very child friendly. A newer series to consider is the Eisner Award winning graphic novels based on the charming owl named Owly. Parents and critics alike praise Andy Runton’s work especially because it is so kid friendly.
As kids progress into pre-teen years, they may really enjoy comic books that deal with classic superheroes. Spider-Man, the Justice League, and Superman do contain mild violence but still remain popular and relatively innocent in content. Don’t forget the Classics Illustrated series for children, popular in the 1950s, which created comic book renderings of classic literature and fairytales. These may be a little harder to find, though on a small scale, some companies are beginning to republish the Classics Illustrated line, and if you look on sites like EBay or in used bookstores you may be able to find a few for kids who are devoted to comic books.