iFanboy’s 2011 Holiday Gift Guide: Comics for Kids!

There are many kids out there, and there are comics for most of them. If you’ve got rugrats on your list, here are some of our choices for things to wrap that don’t need to be inserted into a high definition console, and cost much less.

 

For the kid who loves dinosaurs, robots, and dinosaurs who are part robot:

What does a man do when he’s established a major foothold in a premiere comic book publisher, and a burgeoning zombie-based television empire? If you’re Robert Kirkman, you team up with Jason Howard and produce an incredible fun book about a boy and his dinosaur, and you call it Super Dinosaur. While there is no toy line, one could easily see one. There’s more to the story than a T-Rex with robot arms and a great personality though. There’s some heart, and an underlying story about family and responsibility. More than that, it’s just a lot of fun.

Buy Super Dinosaur on Graphicly.

For the kid who isn’t quite ready for Lord of the Rings, but loves a huge story:

Jeff Smith’s Bone is the industry standard for smart kids who love adventure, magic, mystery, and just a little scary into the mix. The single volume is a great read for kids and adults alike, and it will take a good amount of dedication to get through the thing. For new comic readers, they’ll be lead easily through the massive story by the master level cartooning of Jeff Smith. The only problem is, after Bone, it’s hard to find anything to match it. But it’ll be 1300 pages before you have to worry about that.

 

For the kid who would rather hang out with a bear instead of a dinosaur:

Skirting the fine line between all-ages and kids books, Reed Gunther does it all. It’s a wonderful whimsical western about a cowboy finding himself in mishap after mishap, all the while accompanied by his trusty companion, Sterling, a very friendly and smart bear who does not mind being ridden upon. The humor is both broad and subtle depending where you look, and the action is big enough to just barely fit in the state of Texas.

Buy Reed Gunther on Graphicly.

For the kids who let their imaginations run wild:

Mandy is eight years old, and she’s cool and calm, channeling all her emotions into her monster drawings. Things in Sketch Monsters get crazy, of course, when the monsters come to life, and that becomes a whole thing! The hardcover format is familiar because it looks like other kids books, but inside, it’s comics, the greatest storytelling medium of all. Bonus points for having a female lead character!

 

For kids whose name is ______ and they like to dance:

You don’t need to explain to kids what Yo Gabba Gabba is, but you do need to use this unique in to show kids how much fun comics can be. Plus, if you’re like me, you get a chance to do all the voices, even if your Toodee needs a lot of work. The book is chock full of comic book masters, but they’re just there having a good time with your kids, in a very cool way.

 

For kids who did finish Bone, and want more:

Scott Chantler is known by grown up comic book readers for doing wonderful historical fiction and non-fiction, but the Three Thieves series is flat out adventure and fun in a magical land and time that is not ours. A band of misfits gets involved in a robbery, and things go way over their heads from there. It’s swords and goblins and giants and tavern intrigue done with deft comic book skill and a lot of fun. The first two volumes are available now, and eventually, there will be five more books in the series. Book One, Tower of Treasure won a Shuster Award for Best Kids’ Comic.

 

For the kid who wants to be a superhero:

Brian Michael Bendis is arguably the most successful comic book writer in the last decade. So it makes perfect sense that he would release Takio, in collaboration with Michael Avon Oeming, and his young daughter Olivia. It’s the story of two girls who get superpowers, and obviously decide to become superheroes, and the first volume is the perfect size to get started, and introduce some kids, maybe even girls, to what comics can do.

Buy Takio on Graphicly.

For the kid who has the father who wants to bond over the DCU:

Tiny Titans is the gateway comic of choice for many a comic book dad with little kids around. Taking the characters of the DC Universe, and reimagining them all, and we mean all, as kids, these whimsical heroes and villains are great for early readers, and completely devoid of anything controversial or as adult as the grown up versions. It’s a sure winner, as proven by the Eisner Award for Best Kid’s Publication in 2010.

 

For the kid who liked that Muppet movie almost as much as their parents:

To take the best advantage of this renaissance of fine culture, e.g. The Muppets, keep the party going with very well made Muppet Show comic books, like BOOM! Studios and Roger Langridge. The comics, started long before it was cool (again), capture the fun of the Muppet Show in panel form, and should keep your frog/chicken/rat/weirdo/bear/monster/pig obsessed wee ones happy for a little longer.

Comments

  1. stuclach stuclach says:

    I just purchases two Tiny Titans trades. One for each daughter. I’m fairly certain I’ll enjoy reading them at least as much as my daughters will.

  2. jackietam jackietam says:

    Excellent choices, Josh. I did read some of your choices, and you are not wrong.

    If you anyone enjoyed the Muppet Show, I may also suggest the Darkwing Ducks series from Boom Studios (first trade: Darkwing Duck: The Duck Returns)

  3. MarkCWarner MarkCWarner (@MarkCWarner) says:

    Amazing timing sir. I know that you mentioned ‘high definition console, and cost much less.’ What about trades like these that is available on digital like NOOK, Graphicly – etc.

    I just re-started and for the first time finished BONE. And it fueled my direction to introduce my 9 year old nephew. Final Question. Do you have suggested ages on the above recommendations? I fear that BONE may be a few short years older than my nephew.

    • Josh Flanagan Josh Flanagan (@jaflanagan) says:

      The appropriateness for various children or various abilities is not something I could hope to guess at. It’s a starting point, but you’ll have to sort out what works for what kids. I’ve heard of 8-9 year olds loving Bone. But it depends on the kids and what the parents feel is appropriate.

    • Gerry Lopez Gerry Lopez says:

      Based on this list, I’m thinking of trying Sketch Monsters with my daughter, and she’s just 2 and a half. I like to be a little ahead of most recommended ages with her, though.

    • MarkCWarner MarkCWarner (@MarkCWarner) says:

      Josh, I am definitely with you on providing what will work for all kids at all ages, and take your comments accordingly.

      Gerry, I am with you on trying to be ahead of most recommended ages, and love the fact that your daughter is not intimidated by those Sketch(y) Monsters

  4. This is a great list. I might try Muppets and Tiny Titans for the 6 yr old niece.

  5. Jeff Reid Jeff Reid (@JeffRReid) says:

    Oh! Oh! There’s also Owly, which is a lot of fun.

    • Josh Flanagan Josh Flanagan (@jaflanagan) says:

      You’re not wrong. I blew that call.

    • Kelly Kelly (@annaluna) says:

      Can we talk for a moment about how wonderful Owly is for emerging readers (aka: kids that understand how a book works but can’t read yet?) not only is the story great (and princess free!) but without words, everything is communicated through expressions and actions – which are interpersonal skills all kids need to learn. The stories are about being brave, having compassion, helping others, solving mysteries, etc, which are again, things you can’t reinforce enough with ego-centric wee ones. It’s all well-integrated into the story so it doesn’t feel like edutainment the way everything on nick jr. or the disney channel does.

      The best part? They have no idea they’re learning all these things. They just like the Owly’s adventures. Once a child gets past the “it must be bright and shiny and chewable” stage of book-having, Owly should be your first stop. …and they’ve licensed stuffed animals, too :)

    • Also from top shelf is ‘Korgi’ by Christian Slade. It blows in the same horn as owly, as it tells a story without words. I recommend it for children at the age of 4+.

  6. merlin48 says:

    I just finished reading Reed Gunther with my kids and they all loved it.

    I would add the Amulet books to this list too. Vol. 4 came out this year.

  7. Super Dinosaur is super fantastic. It’s quite literally a Saturday morning cartoon in comic form…and I mean that as an absolute compliment.

  8. Blargo Blargo says:

    Bah. Of course you release this list AFTER I’ve already shopped for my brother’s kid. AND wrapped it. No going back after that.

  9. Could I also recommend the Bone: One Volume Colour Edition? Not for kids but for us big people as the price is pretty steep. Got mine on Saturday and was very impressed.

  10. Ccicconi says:

    At the risk of tooting my company’s own horn, I will point out that this list should definitely include PRINCELESS from Action Lab Comics. This book has been very well reviewed, and has a positive, kid-friendly message. It is a great book for parents to give to children, including little girls!

    Here’s the Comics Alliance Review:
    http://www.comicsalliance.com/2011/11/30/princeless/

    And here’s the CBR review:
    http://www.comicbookresources.com/?page=user_review&id=4120

  11. Kelly Kelly (@annaluna) says:

    kung fu telekinesis!!

  12. wyn wyn says:

    hey!this is a big help!tiny titans and bone it is!whew!my 8year old boy have been taking peeks on my animal man but now ill shove these books on his chest and say”this is more appropriate.LOL.

  13. dshramek dshramek says:

    I would add Leave it to Chance. A great book for younger readers.

  14. Oh, and then there are the ‘Polo’ books by Regis Faller. Not strictly comics but definitely sequential storytelling in wordless six panel pages. Working as a preschool teacher i have introduced those books to 3-6 year olds and have created many Polo fans. I let the kids ‘read’ the books to each other. I have much fun seeing, that the kids are understanding the invisible art that comics are, when they let me know that they are not only ‘reading’ what they see in the panels but also what happens in between the panels. These experiences often make me sad, that besides Owly, Korgi and Polo there are no other wordless comics for emerging readers. Because the 3-6 year olds find wordless picture books often too simple and can’t read books with words on their own. At all creators: make more all ages wordless comic books!!

  15. jason1749 jason1749 says:

    Unfortunately, except for the magazine-format reprint that Marvel put out, all of the Boom! Studios Muppets comics are out of print. Would’ve been nice for Marvel or Disney to think about maybe having them ready for the increased interest from the movie.

  16. When you have a child, they should give you a copy of Bone at the hospital along with the little blankets and diaper samples and stuff.

  17. Oh, another recommendation: Scary Godmother by Jill Thompson.

  18. NathanNicdao NathanNicdao says:

    What? No Punisher MAX?

  19. Blargo Blargo says:

    Any chance for a “Part 2″ or something of this? Always so hard to find kid-friendly comics that don’t involve the Big Two.

  20. OliverTwist OliverTwist says:

    I bought the first to kids books of Bone to start introducing some children to the wonderful world of comic. I purchased a copy of Walt Disney ‘s Donal Duck “Lost on the Andes” by Carl Banks, whom was a great cartoonist.