Thursday, November 12, 2009

Marvel House Ad + Comic Book Store Adventures!

This lovely little Marvel house ad from My Love #2 (November 1969) advertising Our Love Story, serves as a reminder of the days when pre-teen girls had a plethora of titles to choose from when it came to selecting a comic book to read. Although there are some really great all ages, fun-for-all comics out there currently, it seems that many comic books geared towards females today are for the older teenage and young adult set.

Yesterday I had the day off of work and I of course hit up the nearest comic book store while out running errands. I witnessed something that made me smile for the rest of the day. Two mothers brought their two little girls into the store who were about eight years old or so. The little ones proceeded to dig through the long boxes full of Archie's and other assorted funny animal and humor comics. After picking out about four comics each, they excitedly brought their selections up to the counter and proceeded to pay with their own money that they anxiously dug out of their Hannah Montana purses.

This story may not seem like such a big deal to some, but I work in an industry (museums) that frequently asserts that "people just don't read anymore." I have never bought this silly unfounded argument, so seeing these little girls buying comic books helped to restore my faith in humanity! Ok, maybe it wasn't that dramatic -- but it sure was cute!

I know this story is a tad off topic from romance comics, but I just had to share!!! Thanks for humoring me!!!


  1. Jacque: I loved your story of the comic shop. Like you, I work in a field (libraries) where there is a great deal of concern over new readers. And, like you, I don't see much cause for worry.

    I wish there were more comic choices for kids, too. It seems all comics are geared to either surly adults or surly teenagers. I applaud the mothers of your story for encouraging a love of comics. I began my love of the written word and reading at the comic rack at my local drug store. My parents even tailored my allowance so I could afford two comics a week, even.

    Great story. Thanks for sharing. It did my heart good and assisted in a restoration of faith for me as well. - Mykal

  2. Jacque: Great post. My wife (Spectergirl)and I recently took our 4-year-old to our local comics shop where they were having a free comics (mostly left overs from free comics day + a big box of battered kiddie comics) for canned food drive. It was the first time my boy had been in the comics store since he was a baby. He called it "that library with the blow-up Spider-man on the ceiling".

    We picked him up some Casper and Little Lulu and Popeye. Although an avid reader (well, listener), he's still a little puzzled at this stage by sequential art. He's just starting to grasp why there are like SIX Caspers on the same page !

    Anyway, it did my heart good to see his eyes light up at comics. Now, if only the industry will make something children want to read *sigh*

    Keep up the good work. The Mrs. and I are huge fans of romance comics (She makes me read them out loud and do the oh-so-groovy voices)and your blog is the best I've seen so far on the genre.

  3. A very heatwarming story, Jacque. I too love seeing kids reading and enjoying comics, and yes, many of them do like to read and are attracted to the combination of words and pictures. I don't think that will ever really go away. One of my co-workers kids loves comics and I've seen him with collections of TinTin that he devours.

    One of my fondest memories was at a convention some years ago. I was busy rifling through boxes and a boy, around 10, was nearby with his father, looking through a box of Fantastic Four's, all issues by Kirby. He was so excited and he kept saying how great the covers were and how he wanted to read them. I told his father "Your son has great taste."

    Nick C.

  4. I agree with all these bloggers~ this endearing story is what MAKES this blog worth visiting~! I would give up my Taylor Swift lunchbox to witness kids buying comics ! (of course, I live on an Island... we are lucky just to have kids and a Post Office)

  5. Mykal: I thought it was really cool of the mothers also. I almost wanted to talk to them about their coming in -- was it planned? Did they just drive by and thought it would be fun? I managed to just observe, but it did my spirit good as well. It is too bad there aren't more comics/graphic novels for the younger set, but I think the ones out there are good like Tiny Titans, the Akiko books, and Supergirl: Cosmic Adventures in the Eighth Grade. Just out of curiosity, does your library carry comic books?

    Aaron: "that library with the blow-up Spider-man on the ceiling" Oh my goodness, too cute!!! Since there aren't a whole lot of comics out there for the wee ones, I am glad to see your son is getting to read the classics!!! Also, I am glad to see there is another couple out there that enjoys romance comics as much as my boyfriend and I do!

    Nick: Like you said, children's inherent liking for the sequential nature of comics probably wont ever end. I can imagine that the repetitive nature of the panels is also appealing for kids.

    Lysdexicuss: Thank you so much for reading! While I don't live on an island, I live out in a rural area and I am about an hour from the nearest comic book store, so it was a real treat!

  6. Jacque: We can't really do comic books, as there is no real way to deal with the format (you can't shelf them for one thing, and the format is just not durable enough to catalog with tags and so forth - they would only last about two or three curculations, tops).

    But we do have a pretty good graphic novel collection. As it happens, I do the ordering for all fiction for the library where I work, and you can best believe we have graphic novels, which are very popular. -- Mykal

  7. That's great! I think most libraries are carry graphic novels now. When the Marvel Romance TPB Volume 2 finally becomes available, you will have to order that!

  8. Jacque: I'll consider that a formal book request ;-) -- Mykal

  9. Jacque,

    I forgot to mention one of the things I do to help promote comics for kids: donate comics and book collections to the local library. Although I would love to keep everything I own, I also have to deal with space limitations and I've chosen to pass on some of my comics/graphic novels/books to the library. In the past few years I discovered the Little Lulu collections from Dark Horse and absolutely loved them. After passing them on to my brother to read (he loved them too!) I decided to give some of the collections to the local library. Well, when I went back to the graphic novel/comics section some time later I discovered that many of the Lulu's were on loan and the one's that remained were well worn,meaning they were being read!
    So, if you really want to get kids interested in comics, pass on some of your Peanuts, Lulu, Archie, Little Orphan Annie or Spider-Man collections. It'll do your heart good.

    Nick C.

  10. Great idea, Nick! I am sure children's hospitals or women/children shelters would also appreciate kid friendly comics/graphic novels!

  11. jacque -

    i have been working to addict my kids to comics and have pretty much suceeded. they still don't like going to the local comic shop, as it, like most comic shops, is NOT kid friendly, but they do know where the simpsons and kid DC comics are. I bought, after looking for years, a vintage spinner rack and have it in the living room stocked with all sorts of comics. They and their friends know to go and pick up whatever they want to read.

    It goes to show that when the comics were everywhere, like the drug store, supermarket, and such, it was easy to learn to love reading them. The habit was easy to acquire. This is the big failure of the direct market: to make it so that comics were no longer a mass media since the masses no longer knew that comics existed! We lost two generations of kids being able to easily fall in love with reading comics.

  12. A spinner rack in the living room? Wow, cool! Your kids are very lucky! I bet they get a kick out of that!

    Very true, comics aren't really mass media if they don't really reach the masses! It is somewhere between a subculture and mass culture. Not really one or the other. Some of my friends have even asked me where someone would go about buying comics!