Those of you have heard me speak at conferences or read my previous posts, now that I’m a passionate fan of comic books. As a reader, there is no doubt in my mind that reading comics as a child not only fostered my love of reading, but helped me improve my vocabulary and gave my vivid imagination a launching pad. As a writer, I still read comics because the best comics writers today are great not only at story telling but at using dialogue to move a story along. You can always learn something by reading other writers.
Lately, I’ve been on a crusade to encourage kids to read more comics. I’ve also been trying to inspire teachers, librarians and parents to let kids read more comics. I think we now have a tremendous opportunity with Hollywood cranky out so many movies based on comics and graphic novels, to use this medium as a tool to help reluctant readers, especially boys, get hooked on reading.
If you’re a parent who loved comics as a kid, why not start reading them again ? After all kids pay more attention to what you do, than what you say. Rediscover the love of Batman, Superman, Spider-Man, Wonder Woman or Supergirl that you had as a kid. If you start reading comics, I’ll bet your kids will too. And I’ll be willing to bet, once they start reading comics, they’ll start reading other things. Like, you know, books. Take them to a comic shop and let them look around. Tell them they can’t have an action figure, but they can have a comic book! (You can come back later and get them the action figure!) Note: If your community doesn’t have a comic shop, there are a ton of online comic sellers, so let your child browse their selection and find one they like.
I really believe we have a golden opportunity now to use the power of popular culture to inspire our kids to read more. And don’t just take my word for it. There is a ton of research showing that comics are a great way to get reluctant readers hooked on reading. Here is just one article.
And to encourage more kids, parents, teachers and librarians I’m going to do my part by reviewing comics on a regular basis. And trying to give you some of my recommendations of what I think you or your young reader might like. I think it’s a worthwhile experiment. Trust me. Reading comics as a kid, made me want to read other things. And I know a lot of my writer friends say the same thing.
So to kick things off, this week, I’m recommending FLASHPOINT #1. In brief, the original Flash, Barry Allan was killed a long time ago and replaced by the original Kid Flash, Wally West. But now Barry Allan is back from the dead. And as usual, when someone comes back from the dead, things have a tendency to go wrong. Way wrong. Like Universe altering wrong. And this story is a suspenseful page-turner as ‘back from the dead Barry’ is trying to figure out what the heck is going on and why the world is upside down. Things really get weird when Barry discovers that all of a sudden the world he knew is completely changed. There is no Superman. There is no Justice League. There is a Batman, but he is not the Batman you think he is. Intrigued? I was. And I think you will be. Flashpoint #1 is on sale now and I believe this is a good way for you and your child to connect over a book. It might not be a traditional book, but remember this:
Reading is reading.