Top Comics of 2004: Comics for Kids



I don’t know about you, but I started reading comics when I was a kid. And by “kid” I mean like 10 years old or so. I was turned on to this exciting world of heroes and villains through the stories and art of the any and all comic books I could get my hands on. One of the interesting developments in the history of comic books is the assumption by the rest of the world that comics are just for kids. We all know better. Have comics been targeted at kids in the past? Sure they were, but as comic book readers, we all know that they’ve always also played well to the adults of the world. It’s only in the past 15 years or so that adults have not shown any real shame in being a comics fan along with the comic book publishers publishing more mature and adult books. But there has always been an undercurrent of “for kids” within comics, and I believe there always should be.

Therefore, to kick off iFanboy’s Wrap Up of 2004, we start with: The Top 5 Comics of 2004 for Kids!

1) Ultimate Spider-Man
Published by Marvel Comics

When Ultimate Spider-Man came out a few years ago, the die hard Spider-Man fans freaked out. No one wanted a “retelling” of one of our beloved heroes. But what the boys over at Marvel, led by iFanboy fave and Ultimate Spider-Man writer Brian Michael Bendis, told us was that while this was a retelling, it was also a cultural update as well. The themes and concepts of Spider-Man remained true, but they made him a teenager again in the present day. They successfully made one of the most inaccessible comic books accessible to kids again. And the good news is, kids are buying it, probably helped by the success of the movies. Regardless, quality super-hero stories that can be enjoyed by all ages.


2) Teen Titans Go!
Published by DC Comics

When the Cartoon Network launched the show Teen Titans Go!, they took a similar idea as Marvel did on Ultimate Spider-Man, but they did it on TV. They took the concept of the Teen Titans, currently existing DC characters, and put them in a contemporary setting aimed at kids. Not many were sure if it would work, but it seems like the Cartoon Network just hits home runs consistently and the show is a hit. So naturally, we get a comic book based on the cartoon. This has been great as kids who tune into the show are led to the comic book, which is a perfect launching pad as they get older to lead them to the rest of the DC Comics Universe. A friend of mine’s daughter has followed that exact path, by watching the cartoon, she is now exploring the world of comics. Doesn’t get any better than that.


3) Runaways
Published by Marvel Comics

One of the few hits from Marvel‘s ill-fated Tsunami line, Runways unfortunately came to an end this year. But thankfully they’re working on a new series so that kids and adults alike can tune back into the dramatic telling of a group of teens who discover their parents are super villains, or at least seem to be! Writer Brian K. Vaughn spins a fantastic mystery tale that is relatable to any kid who thinks their parents are evil and reads almost like a TV show. Marvel began reprinting the back issues in smaller digest sized books that are perfect for reading on the go.


4) Simpsons Comics
Published by Bongo Comics

The Simpsons have become embedded the annals of our country’s pop culture history books. Just about everyone has enjoyed the cartoon for 15 years or so now, and Bongo Comics have quietly been publishing comics telling further adventures of our favorite snarky cartoon family for years. Recently publishing the 100th issue of Simpsons Comics was a milestone, clocking in at #128 in the Diamond Top 300 Sellers List. One of the guys in my local comic book store said that for years kids have consistently been buying and enjoying Simpsons Comics and that hasn’t changed in 2004.


5) Scooby Doo
Published by DC Comics

When I did my informal poll of my local comic book store, I was surprised to hear their top seller among kids was Scooby Doo, but there’s something about that dog that kids love. Again, helped by the recent movie series, DC Comics has been publishing cartoon mysteries with Scooby and the gang for years. I can’t really attest to the quality of the comic book, but hey, at least its getting kids into the comic book store so maybe they’ll stumble on one of the above comics while they’re there.


The Top 5 Comics of 2004 for Kids was a list assembled by iFanboy through interviews with comic book store owners, studies of the Diamond sales charts and consultations with comic book publishers.

Ron Richards