Comic books were once a child’s domain. Now not so much. Today’s Batman and Iron Man are aimed more for teenagers and, let’s face it, those more in their 30s than for those beginning their love for the graphic novel*. You may look fondly on your younger self, sitting around following the adventures of Wonder Woman, the X-Men, or Archie. But where do you start for your child?
The following 10 comic books are ones that I’d recommend for children ages 7-12, who might find a story to love. And, parents, you just might love them too.
I Kill Giants by Joe Kelly and J. M. Ken Niimura
There are monsters in every child’s life, but one girl, Barbara Thorson, is ready to fight them. And she’s preparing the world for her battle or at least trying. Barbara’s tale touches your heart, especially as she fights her demons: both real and imaginary. Between Kelly’s thoughtful writing and Niimura’s beautiful art, they bring Barbara’s story to life. Let I Kill Giants warm your heart.
Mouse Guard: Fall 1152 by David Peterson
One of my favorite comic books about the bravery of small things: in this case, mice. Mouse Guard draws you in with its beautiful art and keeps you around with its big heart. The Mouse Guard valiantly defends all mice territories from threats like eagles, weasels, foxes, crabs, and sometimes even larger creatures. Despite their size, the mice risk their lives for each other and work together to bring down their larger enemies. Soon Saxon, Kenzie, and Liam will be your new friends. Buy Mouse Guard.
Runaways Vol. 1: Pride & Joy by Brian K. Vaughan and Adrian Alphona
Ever wonder what would happen if you found out your parents were super villains? That’s just what happens to these six teenagers (plus, one pet velociraptor). After finding out that their parents play for the dark side, they run away and plot to stop their parents. Also Vaughan doesn’t forget that they need practical things like food and shelter. How would you react to finding out that your parents are evil? Join the Runaways on their epic adventures.
Dolltopia by Abby Denson
I pretty much cannot stop raving about Denson’s Dolltopia. As a little girl, I played with dolls, mostly Barbies, Ninja Turtles, Batman, or Star Trek ones, all the time. There were extensive narrations in my head and certainly, ones like Denson’s book, that defied heteronormative gender identities. But before you go thinking Dolltopia might be too much of an intense genderqueer narrative for a child, it’s just subversive enough. It is, at its crux, a story drawn in all black and white and hot pink about a group of dolls that escape humans’ homes to find themselves. Whomever they may be. And there’s nothing stronger to give a child to read, but a book that tells them that they will be loved, no matter who they are. Get some subversive fun in your life.
Rose and Isabel by Ted Mathot
Take a historical trip back to the Civil War with Rose and Isabel, two sisters who don’t sit idly by while their three brothers go off to fight with the Union soldiers. But Rose and Isabel are no ordinary women; they come from a long line of warrior women. And even though they were taught pacifism and kindness all their lives, neither will tolerate the loss of their family. Travel back in time to meet these strong ladies.
Spider-Man Loves Mary Jane Vol. 1: Super Crush by Sean McKeever and Takeshi Miyazawa
Ever want to know what Mary Jane thought of Spider-Man when they were in high school? Now you can walk the halls with Mary Jane, Peter Parker, Flash Thompson, Liz Allen, Harry Osborn, and Gwen Stacey as they all try to figure out who they are becoming. Miyazawa manga-style art makes this teenage romp even cuter. Discover Mary Jane and Spider-Man in their early days.
Kevin Keller: Welcome to Riverdale by Dan Parent
Who doesn’t have fond memories of going to the orthodontist and reading Archie and the adventures of the rest of the gang in Riverdale? It can’t just be me. Well, today, the whole loveable gang’s still around getting up to their typical shenanigans that still make adults go “those darn kids!” Recently, current writer and artist Parent has introduced a new pal to the bunch, Kevin Keller. Kevin’s most famous for being Archie’s first gay character. Get to know Kevin and how he’s just another darn kid.
Doctor Who: The Only Good Dalek by Justin Richards and Mike Collins
Hiding from Daleks behind couches is a strong British childhood tradition I’d like to bring to the States. Exterminate! Here the Doctor and Amy Pond must stop the Daleks from invading Earth (again) and follow up on some rumors about there being a good Dalek. (The Doctor is not a believer.) My favorite scene is where a Dalek sinks into lava; now that’s something I’d like to see on the show. Do you believe in good Daleks?
GoGirl Vol. 1 by Trina Robbins and Anne Timmons
When Lindsay inherits her mother Janet’s superpowers, her teenage life involves more than just algebra. Inspired by Robbins own relationship with her daughter, GoGirl fosters a great mother-daughter relationship, not to mention equally awesome female friendships. In the first story, Lindsay saves her best friend Haseena, who’s been kidnapped, with the help of Janet and Haseena herself. Thoughout the book, Lindsay learns a lot about life, growing up, and her mother’s love as she starts fighting crime. And, of course, her adventures are just really a lot of fun. Take an adventure with GoGirl!
The Saga of Rex by Michel Gagne
Rex, a fox, gets taken from Earth to a faraway world to be studied. Due to his charismatic nature, he ends up traveling the universe and meeting his soul mate. In a comic with few words, Gagne paints every cosmic scene and discovers other worlds, species, and a bit of magic through the point-of-view of a fox. This adorable fox will melt your heart no matter what planet you’re from.
What comic books do you recommend for those under 12?
*Graphic novels are collected versions of comic books. Though sometimes these book might go straight to graphic novel format and skip the single issue.
Erica McGillivray is the Director of Marketing for GeekGirlCon.
Hey readers! Shubz here with another installment of Ask GGC. We asked our staff how their time with GeekGirlCon made a difference for them in their lives outside of our organization. Here’s what they had to say:
“I’ve started getting back into comics and science, two avenues of geekdom that I enjoyed when I was younger, but fell to the wayside when I discovered RPGs, video games, and anime. I’ve also become more vocal when I find things offensively misogynistic or racist. As a female Filipino-American nerd, it’s important to speak up about these things. Being on staff has stepped up my game on many fronts including how to succinctly convey my thoughts in 140 characters or less when needed without textspeak abbreviations! Grammar nerds FTW!” – Kristine Hassell, Twitter Administrator
Erica striking a pose at GeekGirlCon 2012
“I’ve been an idealist for most of life, and the world has in many ways tried to stop me from believing in the ability to change the world. GeekGirlCon has really proven that through community momentum, we can change the world. When we first started planning for GeekGirlCon ’11, we would’ve been happy if 400 people showed up; but instead we had almost 2,000. And even more for GeekGirlCon ’12. We’ve inspired people, helped build new skills and interests, and fostered women-positive geeky community. We can be the change in the world.” – Erica McGillivray, Director of Marketing
Left to Right: Shubz Blalack, Tammy Vince Cruz, Raye Abellar
“GeekGirlCon changed my life. It opened my eyes, my mind, and best of all, my heart, to an amazing community all working towards a sincere goal. Admittedly, GeekGirlCon consumed me; it consumed my time, my energy, and my life – but it’s all been worth it. I’ve worked with remarkable people, many of which I would consider good friends. Beyond that, the rad folks I’ve had the chance to meet along the way, reinforced that genuine people do exist, and they support what you believe in.
GeekGirlCon pushed me to work my butt off. I’ve produced some of my best pieces for GeekGirlCon. While giving me that challenge, it’s resulted in a rejuvenated design portfolio. I’ve definitely forced myself to learn a lot of better habits when it came to my work – learning communication is vital, especially leading my own team, and overall organization is detrimental to making things run smoothly. I was known as a mute when I was a kid, but helping lead meetings and represent GeekGirlCon helped build my self-confidence, and improve my own public speaking and interaction skills. A lot of these skills I’ve applied to my day job and personal life, and it makes me feel all sorts of awesomely weird – like I’ve definitely stepped full fledge into “grown up” territory. And I’m quite happy with that.
– Tammy Vince Cruz, Manager of Design
Susie and Stephanie cosplaying it up as Hawkgirl and Starbuck, respectively
“Working at GeekGirlCon opened my eyes in so many ways. It opened my eyes to the hundreds of geeky things out there I didn’t even know existed. It opened my eyes to the fantastic community of geeky women and their amazing supporters. And it opened my eyes to the fact that GeekGirlCon is still a needed organization — there are too many people out there who still feel mistreated, misrepresented, and misunderstood. GeekGirlCon staff members bring a range of personalities to the table, which has given me the opportunity to learn and grow in ways I never expected. It has seriously been a gift to be on this staff.” – Susie Rantz, PR Manager
GeekGirlCon is currently looking for enthusiastic and driven individuals to join our staff and continue to make a difference with us. Could that be you? Check out our Open Staff Positions for more information.
Hiya, readers! For this edition of Ask GeekGirlCon, we asked our staff what their favorite part of being on staff was. Here is what some of them shared:
Kristine on the GeekGirlCon clock giving you the updates from the Twitterverse!
“Joss Whedon once said that he was a great believer in ‘found families,’ and I really lucked out with the family that I found in GeekGirlCon. I don’t have to explain my current nerd obsession or be apprehensive about my fandoms — they just get it and then share their own! My co-workers are smart, witty, and all-around amazing people that never cease to inspire me and crack me up. I less-than-three you all.” – Kristine Hassell, Twitter Administrator
Erica with the Chicks Dig Comics Panel geeking out and sharing in camaraderie
“I love being part of GeekGirlCon’s staff because I truly do believe we can change the world or, at least, geekdom. We’ve created a wonderful space for celebrating geeky women of all stripes. The best reward for being on staff is the smiles on our event-goers faces; seeing amazing cosplay; meeting creators, shakers, and makers; and hearing all the incredible stories. We’ve helped women (and our allies) get new jobs, build skill sets, make new friends, and just generally have a safe space to gather.” – Erica McGillivray, Marketing Director and President
Great minds think alike! Melanie with another Princess Peach cosplayer
“My favorite part is being able to look back on GeekGirlCon ‘12 and know I totally made some little geeky girl’s day. :D” – Melanie Werts, Customer Service Coordinator
Hi everyone! Shubz here with our monthly installment of GeekGirlCon’s Staffer of the Month! For April, read about our President and Marketing Director, Erica!
Name: Erica McGillivray Occupation: Community Attache at SEOmoz Position in GeekGirlCon: President and Marketing Director
1: What are you geeky about right now?
I’m totally geeky out on content creation for inbound marketers lately. I know, probably seems boring. But I’ve been putting together another conference, MozCon 2012, and working with speakers to figure out their technical marketing talks. We’re talking crazy stuff like G+ for SEO, mining the Open Graph for customer personas, rapid fire link building tips, and more.
2: How did you find out about GeekGirlCon?
I heard that some women were getting together to talk about building a convention to celebrate geeky women via Twitter. I showed up to the first meeting, and here I am almost 2 years later.
3: Why did you choose to get involved with GeekGirlCon?
I believe in creating community, women supporting women, and making the geekdom friendly for all people, not just cis, het white men who are able-bodied. I’ve been a huge geek all my life and believe that women play a huge — though often overlooked or under-appreciated — role in making geekdom awesome.
4: When did you figure out you were a geek?
I’ve basically been a geek since birth, so a very long time ago. But the first time I really remember knowing the difference between geeks and non-geeks was when my cat Tasha — named after Tasha Yar on Star Trek: TNG — had kittens. I was about 8 years old, and my parents wouldn’t let me keep all the kittens. One of my mom’s friends and her children came to pick up Worf to give him a new home. I freaked out because my mom told me that they were going to rename him Rocky. Despite trying to convince them that Star Trek was amazing and Worf was a great name, they wrote about their new cat Rocky in their next holiday letter.
5: What’s the geekiest thing you’ve done?
Too many things to count?
In 2007, I went to San Diego Comic-Con for the first (and probably only) time with my friend Pearl. We were supposed to go with our other friend Katelyn; but due to being a broke college graduate, she had to bow out. She’d been pretty down in spirits as she’d had a hard time finding a job — as had many of our classmates — and had to move back in with her family. Right around SDCC time, Katelyn found a job and moved out of her parent’s house, but still couldn’t attend with us.
So Pearl and I conspired to get Cliff Simon — Ba’al from Stargate: SG-1 — to sign an autograph for her that congratulated her on the job and new apartment. Cliff found the whole shenanigans pretty entertaining. Here’s what he wrote: http://t.co/VoPoayqk. And to this day, Katelyn still finds it amusing.
You rock, Erica! Thanks for all that you do and contribute to the team and community!
Let’s keep the conversation going: What’s the geekiest thing you’ve done?