April 21, 2011

Dinosaurs and Fraggles (more thoughts about comics and kids)

I have kids.

I read comics.

I write comics.

I like comics.

I love my kids.

My kids like comics.

Now, for the record, my kids like my comics. But obviously, that's not enough. My kids like to read -- a LOT. And my son and daughter can only read ArmorQuest or TimeFlyz so many times. So that means I'm constantly looking out for appropriate books for them.

Today I left the comic shop with two titles that were supposed to fit the bill. And beyond that, a day or two ago I got some in the mail.

First, I picked up last week's Fragle Rock vol. 2 issue #3.

My feelings about the Fraggle Rock comic series thus far are no secret. I've reviewed them twice already (here and here). This latest issue is more of the same. Nice stories with sweet endings and wonderful art. (The Uncle Traveling Matt story is simply gorgeous!) I can't wait for the hardcover collection of these three volume 2 issues, mainly because the floppy copies don't last long in my house. I told you, my kids read a lot!

So the money I dropped on Fraggle Rock wasn't a gamble. I love the thought and care and creativity and energy that goes into each issue.

But the money dropped on the next book, this week's Super Dinosaur? I had no idea what to expect. But I went ahead and bought it anyway.

Super Dinosaur is interesting, although I feel strange reviewing it. Generally speaking, I only review things I really like. I figure, if I really like it I should tell people about it. if I don't like it, why waste my time being negative?

The thing is, I'm on the fence about Super Dinosaur.

Now, the art is simply amazing. No doubt there. And the concept? It's everything a kid could possibly want. Lots and lots of explosions. I mean LOTS. And lots of bad guy dinosaurs with names that are amusing puns. Lots of action. Lots of cool high-tech toys. But I have to wait until the next issue to know if my "inner child" is really falling for the story. There are some elements that seem to want this to rise above just being a Saturday morning cartoon concept into being an emotional story for all ages. Bottom line, though: kids who like dinosaurs and big 'splosions will like Super Dinosaur.

Now, while interviewing Patrick Scullin for the "Twitterview"segment of the podcast I co-host (The Fanboy Tollbooth) I learned he had an interesting plan for his Super Siblings comics: the print version is intended for kids with its action adventure focus, while the webcomic is intended for "aprents" with its geek humor focus. I didn't know that, because I hadn't read his print comic.

So I got his print comics in the mail a few days ago, and I enjoyed it. (Haven't passed them on to the kids yet -- that's where the real review would kick in.) I'd recommend them for anyone with kids who like comics.

UPDATE: My kids have read the above mentioned comics and I'm happy to report they liked them all. My son and daughter both especially liked the "Uncle Traveling Matt meets laundry mat" Fraggle story from Fraggles #3, but enjoyed the whole thing and said it actually felt too short. My son also gave thumbs up to Super Siblings, although my daughter was a bit disappointed because the sister is the bad guy. And Super Dinosaur got the most enthusiastic response from my son. When I asked him why, the answer was: "It's got dinosaurs and explosions." So, until Chronosaurus Rex appears in the new TimeFlyz stories I'm working on, it looks like Super Dinosaur is on the top of my son's reading list.

~ Ben

PS -- Some of my OWN all ages comics . . .

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