Comic books began in the 1930s as a unique American art form that has grown - like so many American forms of entertainment - to spread around the globe. From Japanese businessmen reading manga on the subways of Tokyo to French artists re-interpreting Proust with words and pictures, comics have changed entertainment and challenged perceptions. These days, there are comic books for every taste, from slam-bang super-hero adventures and thoughtful slice-of-life to thrilling science fiction and intense drama.
If it's been a while since you've read a comic book, prepare to be pleasantly surprised by the breadth of variety available!
If you're new to comics, here's some information that will help you get the most out of them.
Comics have always held a lot of appeal for kids, with action-packed visuals and engrossing storylines. For those in search of age-appropriate material, here is a sample of publishers and imprints devoted to entertaining and educating comics' youngest readers:
Gemstone publishes classic Disney comics, featuring beloved characters such as Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck. Archie Comics Publications also publishes all-ages adventures, featuring the Archie gang from Riverdale, Sonic the Hedgehog and Sabrina the Teenage Witch.
Dark Horse Comics publishes a number of high-interest comics for kids featuring licensed properties such as Star Wars and Indiana Jones.
Independent publisher Top Shelf Productions has a number of beloved graphic novel series for young readers, including Owly, Korgi and Johnny Boo.
Graphic novel publisher First Second produces a number of titles for young readers, including Sardine in Outer Space, Tiny Tyrant and Adventures in Cartooning.
TOON Books is an imprint of RAW Books and Graphics, specializing in easy reader comics for ages 4 and up. Featuring unique creators from both the comic book and children's book worlds, TOON books are designed to help children who are just beginning to read.
IDW's Worthwhile Books also specialize in unique comics just for kids.
With these and many other publishers creating kid-friendly material, kids should have no problem finding an introduction to the exciting world of comics!