Recommended Reading


Comics for Kids



These days it can be difficult to find comics that are suitable for kids.  Supermarkets have dozens of bagged magazines where the plastic toy is the main feature and the comics content is pitiful.  It can be hard to see exactly where the next generation or comic readers will pick up the habit.  The packed shelves of the newsagents with weekly comics filled with great art and great stories seems to be a thing of the past.   But if you look hard enough there are a good number of decent comics out there that have the potential to excite kids into becoming lifelong readers and fans of of the comic medium.



(The) Beano was first published in 1938 and over the intervening years has entertained generations of kids.


Thankfully it’s still going and has recently announced, yet again, that it has bucked the trend of most magazines and comics and seen an improvement in sales.  


Still starring Dennis the Menace, Roger the Dodger and The Bash Street Kids it remains a highly entertaining comic and features fantastic art by Nigel Parkinson, Hunt Emerson and Belfast’s own Leslie Stannage.    


It really has to be the first stop for getting your kids interested in comics, and you'll probably enjoy reading it yourself.

The Phoenix

The Phoenix is a high-quality comic that you won't find in the local newsagent.   Available by subscription its a 32 page, full-colour weekly for kids aged between 6 and 12.  It has a great mixture of adventure and comedy, with some educational content hidden among the stories.


Corpse Talk, for example, has cartoonist Adam Murphy interviewing historical characters raised from the dead.  Its funny and kids harldy notice they are learning. 


Adventure strips, featuring pirates, dinosaurs or spacemen, vie with really funny and beautifully drawn comedy stories such as 'Evil Emperor Penguin' and the very funny Bunny v Monkey. 

Rupert the Bear

Since 1920 Rupert the Bear has been delighting younger kids.  Beginning life as a tool in the Daily Express' circulatuion wars with the Mail and Mirror, he is best know for the annual Rupert Books that have been in uninterupted production since 1936.  


Rupert's stories are generally gentle adventure stories, set in a village of talking animals, wizards and fabulous beasts.  The stories are told in a unique style, with each page including four illustrations, each with a two line verse beneath them, but with more detailed prose at the bottom of the page.  I've a real soft spot for Rupert, I learnt to read with these annuals, reading the short verses first and only later the longer prose sections.  I had parents to read those bits to me.   Ideal for very young kids, its an interesting introduction to the world of comics. 

Gary Northfield's, Derek the Sheep, is about as good as kids comics get.  Really funny and deciptively simple, this doesn't frighten reluctant readers off. 


What's more Gary pulls off the trick of producing something that  parents are as likely to laugh at as the kids.     In the pages of the books you'll meet grumpy sheep (are there any other kind), angry squirrels, leprechauns and bullies.  You'll meet Derek's sister and nephew and dangerous bees.  You'll also see some of the best storytelling in comics. 


There are two books reprinting a run of the strip in the Beano a few years back.  Available from Bog-Eyed Books, you can find them here, and while you are there have a look at vern and Lettuce and Useleus, other comics that might well go down well.



Bog-Eyed Books


A publisher of translations of some of the best Franco-Belgium comics.  While some of their titles are aimed at an older comic-reading audience, they have also translated some of the funniest comics for kids.   These books fit neatly beside any Asterix or Tintin Books you might have on your shelves and certainly rival most of them as quality reads for kids.

Lucky Luke

Created by Morris and Goscinny, the celebrated team behind Asterix , the popularity of Lucky Luke rivals that of the little Gaul. 


A really funny and entertaining series , Cinebooks have published more than 60 of Luke's adventures. 

Wind in the Willows

A four part adaptation of Kenneth Grahame's classic children's novel by Michel Plessix.   Beautiful artwork and a delight to read to your younger children.   At £5.99 for a hardback edition its a great buy.


Created in 1938, this long running character rivals Tintin and Asterix as the most popular comic hero in the French speaking world. 


Cinebooks are translating adventures by Tome and Janry from the late eighties which moved the strip into an adventure mode, with time travel and robots featuring strongly.   Very funny, very entertaining.


Incredibly popular in his native France, Ducoboo is the ultimate dunce.   Aimed at slightly younger kids this series deals with friendship, and the right to be different.  At the same time it isn't preachy or moralistic.   Just a really funny comic that kids will love.   Highly recommended.  

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© Peter B Duncan