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Comic books and age limits

Greetings, I have not posted anything in forever and for that I am very, very sorry. I just haven't had much to talk about.. but since this came up and it's bothering me, here we go.

Comic books (particularly superhero comics) and age ranges/limits -
Recently a fellow librarian asked for help on suggestions for tween comics. I named a few more recent ones that are for a kid/tween/teen demographic and then explained that most older comics would also be appropriate for this age group. At this age, I was reading New Teen Titans and Uncanny X-men for instance without any issues. I specifically stated that comics, particularly superhero comics, have largely been "all ages" for most of their history.

This angered the librarian who I made the recommendations too. This librarian told me they specifically wanted TWEEN books because it was helpful for parents, tweens, and librarians and they needed to be TWEEN. Also that older books were too dated and the color and art wasn'…
Recent posts

How Superhero comics teach information literacy Part 2

So we've talked about how superhero comes walk you through the process of recognizing citations and citing your sources and how the Easter eggs and references cause the reader to do research, now we're going to talk about a subject everyone knows and confronts regularly in research.. bias.

Comics, like most storytelling mediums, have a built in way to show bias. Some of this is from the obvious storytelling tricks of showing different perspectives. Comics like Marvels or Astro City do this rather well, taking the reader out of the typical head space of the superhero and into the world around them, those who look up and see the superheroes in their world and how that impacts them. These, however, are more subtle ways that the comics confront, show, and reveal the concept of bias to readers.

The most obvious tools that comics have are characters that are implicitly and strongly biased. For instance, Marvel has the infamous J. Jonah Jameson, who has a one man war against Spider-M…

How Superhero Comics Teach Information Literacy Part 1

OK. I had this idea and submitted it to be published in a book about comics and information literacy and the rejected it. Sad face. I know I could type this out and send it to be officially published and maybe one day I'll take the ideas here and reuse them for an article, but.. that's a long process and I think this is too important to lock up for long periods of time and potentially a paywall.

So I'm going to do a series of posts about how superhero comics inherently teach information literacy and how you as a librarian can tap into that and use that to advocate for comics or even help people understand information literacy. No clue how many posts there will be if I'm honest.. but here's the first.

If you've ever read a lot of Marvel/DC Superhero comics especially from the 60's, 70's and 80's, you will have noticed these little boxes with editors notes in them. These small notes often told readers when things happened in previous issues or in unr…

Not Quite Manga Part 1: American Comics, Japanese culture

I've been meaning to post for a bit, but life got in the way. Sorry about that.

For my return, I'm going to do the first in a series of recommendations for people who read Manga, but want to transition to American comics or just like Japanese culture and want comics about that.

First up are American comic books that are seeped in Japanese culture in various ways. Some are inspired by Japanese ideas, others are from people who love and respect Japanese culture and the language and weaved it into their stories. So.. let's get started.

Kabuki by David Mack - This is an older series that has recently been re-released in "library" editions. David Mack is an extremely talented artist and has spent a good part of his life learning Japanese and Japanese culture. He used these ideas to create a cyber-punk dystopian Japan ruled by the mask wearing Noh who also employ assassins. The main character for most of the series is one said assassin, Kabuki, and her discovery of hersel…

Marvel cancellation "blood bath" recommendations

Many of you have noticed that Marvel recently cancelled a ton of titles. Those would be America, Iceman, Luke Cage, Gwenpool, Hawkeye, Generation X, and Defenders. I know it's a sad time if you were a fan of any of these. It's also going to suck for patrons to discover their favorite comic is gone, but here are some recommendations to fill the void (maybe?).

Harley Quinn - obvious replacement for Gwenpool since well.. they hit a lot of the same notes. Insane over the top fun with a female lead who is having too much fun. Harley also gathers up a group of people like her to form her gang. Oh bonus: Harley Quinn is openly bisexual and in a relationship with her girlfriend, Poison Ivy.

The Question by Greg Rucka - an option to read if you were enjoying America, Renee Montoya is an amazing Latina Lesbian who grows a lot as a person and a hero. She comes out in Gotham Central and becomes the Question in 52. But the 2 Question trades deal with Renee trying to uncover the truth behind …

Comics and Boys: Turning reluctant readers into avid readers via comics

This should be a fun and interesting conversation. Let me first put a disclaimer here and be very very clear: I am not saying not to have any books of a particular type (say starring female characters.. you should have them!). I am not saying you should only have this type of book. I'm also not saying you should only recommend any type of book.. I'm merely stating some facts and perspectives that are my own. Again, you should have comics of all types with all different types of leads in your library. I'm only trying to make you aware of a different perspective.


OK now on to the content and I'm going to start this out with a little history about myself so you can get an understanding of where I am coming from. When I was little, my parents made sure I knew how to read from a young age, but at some point (I don't remember which grade tbh, probably 1st or second?) our class was separated into two groups: The fast (read "good") readers and the slow ( or "…

Transformers More than Meets the Eye and Robots in Disguise

I know I've recommended these books before, but I've been re-reading Robots in Disguise (which becomes just Transformers later) and reading for the first time most of More than Meets the Eye (which becomes Transformers: Lost Light) and I have to say.. wow. These books are just so beautifully done.

I've talked before about the right and wrong ways to do politics in a book. These books? They get it right. How do they do it?

Well here's the thing.. both of these books take place after the war between the Autobots and Decepticons is finally over. It's done. Time to move on and build a new world. In Robots in Disguise, we follow the adventures of all the Transformers, Autobots, Decepticons and Non-Aligned Indigenous Life Forms (or NAILs) all trying to make a new life on Cybertron. There is animosity between all 3 groups Autobots and Decepticons obviously still hate each other from the 4 million year war and NAILs feel like the war destroyed their planet and they just wa…