Comics aren’t just for adults

We received some new (to the UK) graphic novels for kids today. Proper GNs, not toddler’s picture books – these are real collections from genuine writers of the genre but aimed at younger readers. Interesting to see comics coming full circle after a fashion – originally often seen (sometimes correctly but not always) as something for kids (or dim adults) a few broke through to become recognised as genuine adult literature. In the last 20 years of course the adult GNs have become far more recognisable (indeed grown ups like to call them graphic novels instead of comics as it sounds more adult and mature). Dark Knight Returns, V for Vendetta and Watchmen really got things going and raised the profile in the mainstream media. Spiegelman won a Pulitzer for the astonishing Maus, confirming what many of us already knew, that comics could be a serious artform and one which can make a tremendous impact.

Recently the likes of Joe Sacco’s Palestine and other works such as Persepolis, Blankets and others have all garnered mainstream attention from broadsheet papers, from the Guardian in the UK to the new York Times. A few months ago I wrote here how one of our account customer, a school librarian, came in to pick some new books for his school. He thought perhaps GNs may help with some of the students who were less keen on reading and I helped him select several hundred pounds of titles, which I have heard have actually worked very well and he is trying to enthuse other librarians to the medium now. Fantasy writer and fellow Alien contributor Juliet McKenna wrote of how she had to slap down a haughty teacher who was rubbishing her child’s wish to write his book report on a Spider-Man graphic novel, until Juliet explained the complexity of the narrative etc and pointed out as the child of a writer he was exposed to a lot of reading.

And here we are, with people such as Neil Gaiman, Lemony Snicket, Dan Clowes and Maurice Sendak all writing and drawing comics but for the younger audience. Full circle. Think I’ll put some in with the adult GNs and see which areas they sell more from. Check out Little Lit for details – and anyone with kids who like comics, these are rather tasty.