The Best DC Comics For Young Readers [Kids’ Comics]
Superhero comic books are a great way to get kids of all ages reading, while teaching solid moral lessons and giving them something to aspire to. However, it can be difficult parsing which titles are suitable for kids and teens, and which titles most assuredly are not, so ComicsAlliance has put together a list of some of the best choices.
Today we're looking at DC Comics, which has been making increasing attempts to be more inclusive and provide a wider range of comics for all audiences over the past couple of years. Whether it's comics for fans of TV shows, new spins on classic franchises, or a Young Adult take on political satire, there's something for everyone these days at DC.
Probably the biggest indicator that this run of Batgirl — issues #35-52 to be exact — was going to be a huge hit was when the real-life pair of Doc Martens that were Barbara Gordon’s new boots sold out within 48 hours of the announcement of the "Burnside era." Making a star of industry newcomer Babs Tarr, whose manga-esque, fashion-forward designs gave the title and DC a breath of fresh air, and giving Cameron Stewart and Brenden Fletcher the biggest hit of their careers, combined with astonishing colors from Serge LaPointe, this team took Batgirl from being second-tier to utterly essential.
Shaking up the status quo with new characters like Frankie, intriguing new villains like Velvet Tiger and The Fugue, and proving that not all good cape comics have to be dark and dour, the “Burnside era” will be treasured and studied by readers of all ages for years to come. As it should. [Tom Speelman]
Supergirl is an easy sell these days, with the Supergirl TV show starting season 2 this year. The show has been praised for its optimism and earnestness, but that's been hard to find in the Supergirl comics published over the last decade. If your child is looking for more fun with Kara, try the Adventures of Supergirl digital comic, based explicitly on the show. Kara's working with the Department of Extra-Normal Operations, but she's still new to the superhero life. Her relationship with her sister Alex is front and center in this story, with Alex's past DEO operations coming back to haunt both her and Kara in the form of Rampage. Kara loves her sister, but can she trust her?
With gorgeous art by Bengal in the first story, and writing by Sterling Gates, Adventures of Supergirl fits the light hearted, kid-friendly tone of the show, and will be collected in print in fall 2016. [Emma Lawson]
Gotham Academy is one of DC Comics’ smartest choices in recent years. Set in Gotham City’s most prestigious (and super spooky) high school, the series focuses on teenagers Olive and Maps, and their group of mystery-seeking friends dealing with social drama, ghosts, and the occasional Batman visit. Writers Becky Cloonan and Brenden Fletcher pull such influences as Harry Potter, school age manga, and Batman: The Animated Series together to bring a story younger readers can fall in love with.
The first two volumes feature Karl Kerschl’s absolutely gorgeous lineart with colorwork by some of the most talented colorists in the business, including Msassyk and Serge LaPointe. Best of all, it’s about youngsters who get into scrapes and build friendships as they explore the history of their school. Gotham Academy is a must read, especially for kids. [Katie Schenkel]
When the trailblazing writer & cartoonist Gene Luen Yang announced he was working for DC — on Superman, no less — no one was sure what to expect. But that run was excellent and, to no one’s surprise, so is New Super-Man. Kenan Kong, a brutish teenager who becomes China’s version of the Man of Steel after standing up to a supervillain, is not a very nice kid. But he is a sympathetic one with a good heart. And the way Yang writes him, he’s slowly learning what it means to be a hero.
With Viktor Bogdanovic’s action-filled pencils, Richard Friend’s effective inking, and Hi-Fi’s bombastic coloring on his side as he charts Kenan’s journey and builds up the Justice League of China, Yang is doing work that will surely capture fans of the Avatar: The Last Airbender graphic novels he’s written for Dark Horse, and his creator-owned material. [TS]
Harley Quinn is one of the most famous and, frankly, coolest Batman characters out there. So it's no wonder that your kid might be interested in reading a comic about her. While most skew a little, uh, family-unfriendly, Mad Love — set in the world of the children's series Batman: The Animated Series — stands out for being more kid-friendly.
A short comic delving into Harley's past and showing how she came to love the Joker and become the masked mischief maker we all know and love today, it also shows the damage of unconditional love in a way that children can understand and accept. Aside from all of that, it's just a really, really great comic.
Most kids won't catch the subtext, and it's not much worse than anything you'd see on most children's shows, but be warned that some parts are a bit risque. [Tara Marie]
Prez definitely skews way more towards Young Adult than most of the titles on this list, but I think it’s an important comic that would be a great fit for the teens in your life. Set in an all-too near and all-too believable future, Prez follows the story of Beth Ross, who goes from viral video sensation to Commander In Chief, and has to navigate the minefield that is modern politics.
Packed with allegory and allusion, as well as a lot of fun, Prez presents an introduction to satire for young readers and reads like an age-appropriate version of Transmetropolitan. Depending on the age of the reader, a lot of the jokes might go over their head, but Prez can open up a new world of comedy to burgeoning comics fans, and perhaps prepare them for the terrifying world that waits around the corner. [Kieran Shiach]