Thoughts From the Geek - All Ages Funny Pages
We’re currently in an “All Ages” comic book renaissance spurned on by the Adventures line from Marvel and DC Kids from…well… DC. Further to this we’re lucky to have access to Fraggle Rock from Archaia, the Disney lines from Boom Kids! and Bongo Comics who have been pumping out titles like the Simpsons and Futurama since 1993.
While the term “all ages” may seem to ooze with superfluity when talking about comic books, this is purely to distinguish Lockjaw and Uncle Scrooge from Hit Girl and Franken-Castle. All ages books are just that, all ages. They are accessible and appropriate for any age group, my personal view on the rating is that it differs from a television “G” rating in that it’s not purely a mark that it’s suitable for children. The all ages stamp to me indicates that the book is suitable for children but still enjoyable for us big children too, which makes perfect sense since we’re the ones with money. I’m a big fan of these comics if for no other reason but because they are fun! Isn’t that what comic books are all about?
I have a stupid little system where every Thursday when I get my comics I file them in order of RA, or, “reading anticipation”. The higher the RA (what a geek!), the further it goes to the back of my read pile, much in the same way that one would put aside bacon as the last indulgence of a breakfast feast. In the last few months I’ve found that the Marvel Adventures books by Paul Tobin with Scott Koblish and Roberto Di Salvo as well as Thor: The Mighty Avenger by Roger Langridge and Chris Samnee have been my bacon, week in and week out.
These books have a great deal going for them. They generally operate as stand alone issues so if you see a character on the front cover that you dig just pick it up, you don’t have to commit to a long story arc. Furthermore, the writing and art on these books are good, CRAZY good! Paul Tobin writes a fantastic story while Chris Samnee… man that guy can draw! Not to mention Skottie Young, he was the inspiration behind the name of this blog. Frank L. Baum put the words on the page but Skottie really made it his own.
Last year the all ages stadium seemed to be at risk of collapse with the Marvel Adventures line went through a reshuffle and Johnny DC seemingly shifted into the DC kids moniker. At this same time though, Boom Kids and chief creative officer Mark Waid seemed to be pouring money into Disney properties like Mickey Mouse, Scrooge McDuck and a number Pixar gems. Whether this approach will pay off in the long haul will be an interesting one watch from the sidelines. I, as a comic book geek, can only hope that while I enjoy an all ages book there are kids also picking them up and feeling the elation that I felt when reading my first comic book, Marvel Comics Presents: Wolverine #92. It had two stories with Peter David writing and Sam Keith on pencils and ink. Good times.
So the next time you are at your local have a second look at some “all ages” gear. You may even strike it lucky and find Lockjaw and the Pet Avengers in the specials bin (Thank you Chris Eliopoulos, Ig Guara and Karl Kerschl such a fun, and damn pretty book!)
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