Have you ever read The 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…
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!
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.
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?!