writing

Do you read comics?

Have you ever read The Beano?

beano

When I was young, there were LOADS of comics for kids to read. For a long time I subscribed to a magazine called Judy, which was filled with comic strips of girls doing exciting things: climbing mountains, being chased by spooky clowns (that one freaked me out big time!), fighting evil mirror reflections of themselves, searching for treasure…

A page from Judy magazine. Some strips were in colour, but I didn't really mind; I was just glued to the STORY!

A page from Judy magazine. Some strips were in colour, but I didn’t really mind; I was just glued to the STORY!

Judy doesn’t exist any more. Neither do many of the other comics available back in the 70s and 80s. But The Beano is still going strong – 75 years old now!

I went to a talk last week given by Neill Cameron who draws a comic strip called Pirates of Pangaea for a comic called The Phoenix. Here’s one of his drawings:

Pirates and Dinosaurs! How cool!

Pirates and Dinosaurs! How cool!

Neill was talking about how sad it was that comics weren’t really around any more (especially for girls). He believes that one reason children’s literacy levels aren’t very good in this country is because kids don’t read comics any more. Everyone loves a story with pictures. And we all know that the best way to get young children to engage with words is to add pictures – after all, we give our babies and pre-schoolers picture books! But once children can read, they’re expected to not ‘need’ the pictures any more – but that’s a real shame, because visuals can really help you to get into a story.

Pirates of Pangaea has a girl hero, yay!

Pirates of Pangaea has a girl hero, yay!

I talked to his writing partner Dan Hartwell afterwards and it all got me thinking: I miss comics! So I’m wondering about writing a new kind of book now…;-)

Do you love comics? Would you read them more if they were available? Have you read Asterix or Tintin? Have you ever tried to draw your own comic?

And who’s your favourite cartoon character?!

15 thoughts on “Do you read comics?

  1. I’ve got to admit, I’ve never really read comics – but, they sound lots of fun, ‘cos I love reading magazines with pictures in! Yes, I think I’d like to read stories with pictures occasionally, it’s good fun! 😉 I’ve seen a few Tintin ones I think, as my best friend’s brother reads them. I guess it would be a good way of encouraging kids to read more! I’ve never been bothered really by no pictures, ‘cos I love to imagine stuff! Great post 🙂

    • I love to imagine stuff too, but somehow comics add an extra element of fun to a story sometimes. In Japan, comics (Manga) are HUUUGE and everyone reads them, children and adults alike. I wonder what their children’s literacy levels are like?

    • Oh, Peanuts!! I loved Snoopy when I was younger – oh, and I had lots of Garfield books too, which are mainly three-panel stories. Extraordinary skill to be able to do those.

  2. I buy the trade paperbacks (book versions) of the comic Chew, but that’s not technically a children’s comic… (it’s not rude or anything, just not aimed at children. And full of swearing.)

  3. I read the Beano, the Dandy, Judy and Jackie when I was young, and Smash Hits and Top of the Pops when I was older..but I couldn’t read comic strip now, it’s so hard to follow the storyline, I don’t know how I ever managed it! My niece, who is living in France and struggles with her English lessons, is reading books like the Geronimo Stilton series which include speech bubbles and comic strip and it’s my belief that this (and other formats such as Anime,Asterix and Tintin) are what will give her the fluency to later pick up the books I send her for Christmas but which are currently too challenging for her to read on her own.

    • That’s really interesting that you find it hard to follow the storylines now. I wonder whether your brain has been trained out of the style or something? Neill said in his talk that his mum finds it really hard to read comics too. Maybe it’s to do with the way our brains work?
      I haven’t heard of the Geronimo Stilton books – will have to look them up. Would they be suitable for five-year-olds?

      • Not unless their reading age is fairly advanced – more 6-8 year olds (my niece is 9 going on 16 but with an English reading age of probably about 8)

  4. I love the beano!! My dad and aunt read it and still do!! Although I think that these days everyone thinks that the beano is for boys, which I don’t agree with……

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