By now, you’ve likely read Dave Phillips’s post “What Taking My Daughter to a Comic Book Store Taught Me.” For those that have not, read it–it does not go well.
The article’s focus is on how the author realized the sad state of comics for girls. Your initial response may have been the same as mine, to throw your hands up and say “C’mon! It’s SO not that bad! It was just a bad store!” Except was it? Yes and no. First off, what right do we have to invalidate the man’s personal experience? This is how it made him feel, period. But also because seven is tricky. Heck, I’m not sure how comfortable I am with the fact that he talks about how easy it was to find male comics featuring Batman and Superman was for his five-year-old son. Five-year-olds probably shouldn’t be reading comics featuring a guy hunting down and killing all of Superman’s loved ones, or a serial killer with his own sliced-on face stapled on – both current storylines. Just saying. But a seven-year-old girl? That’s not so simple.
After a heavy discussion in the GeekDad bullpen, I’ve come up with twelve titles for a seven-year-old girl. Here are some guidelines that I used to judge inclusion.
- Titles must be female-led. Yes, girls can read comics about boys (my daughter devoured Bone), but let’s focus on representation. His son was able to go into a comic store and see people who represented him. Let’s give some for his daughter.
- Titles should be more than a toy ad or a cliche. It’s for this reason we’ve discounted both My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic titles (cue Brony rage), and the Archie comics titles like Betty & Veronica. The former isn’t terrible, but we should aspire for better. The latter is just… c’mon. Body image issues, values stuck in another era, and a basic built-in Bechdel test fail in the very concept books. No, thanks. Let’s have girls who kick butt, not obsess over them.
- Books must be in print! It’s really, really easy to recommend the fantastic Supergirl: Cosmic Adventures in the 8th Grade. It’s just perfect. Except it’s out of print. Same with the awesome Leave it to Chance. Yes, you can get them on Amazon (and you totally should), but you’re not going to find these casually browsing a comic book shop.
- Books don’t have to be superhero books or monthly comics. Comics are about more than people in tights, and let’s not forget that. As for format, as long as it is a comic you would (or should) find in a well-stocked comic book store, then it’s fair game.
- Age is important. If we upped this to ten, I’d have about a dozen more comics to add (Faith Erin Hick’s Friends With Boys, Brian Wood’s all-girl X-Men run, Storm, Kathryn Immomen’s Sif run, and the most recent two volumes of Captain Marvel pop right to mind–oh, and Spider-Gwen, and Silk, and Spider-Woman–the list goes on). But part of me feels that they’re either a drop too violent, or be just a smidge too mature. But I’m noting them here because your mileage may vary.
- This is my list. Even with the above guides, not all the GeekDads agreed with me. You may not also. I’m basing this on raising my own GirlGeek, now 14 years old. The seven-year-old you know may not be into any of this. As I’m sure you know, there’s no seven-year-old hive mind.
#12 Doctor Who: The Tenth Doctor
What happened to no books with a male lead, you ask? Titan Comics’ way around the limitations of writing about a Doctor who has already regenerated (twice) is to make the comic book much, much more Companion-focused. Gabriella Gonzalez is more than someone for the Doctor to talk to, but the person who is growing and changing. My only real concern would be that the current story line, set in World War II and featuring the Weeping Angels, may be a bit mature. That’s the same reason I’m not including the companion from their 11th Doctor series, who is mourning the loss of her mother.
Honorable Mention: Dan Slott’s current Silver Surfer run features a similar dynamic, making the generally boring Marvel icon interesting by pairing him with a companion named Dawn Greenwood. The Allred art is a treat for the eyes.
#11: Avengers Assemble: The Forgeries of Jealousy
Officially a team book, this focuses on newbie super hero Spider-Girl (Not the one you’re thinking of – the other one. No, the other, other one) trying to be accepted by the Avengers as she tries to rescue a teacher of hers. Her interaction with the team is the focus of the book, especially with Spider Woman and Black Widow.
This story has great art, solid writing, and featured heroes all over the media for the last few years. The only downside is that terrible, clunky name. Still, due to that popularity, it should be in the trade section at any local comic store.
Honorable Mention: Almost anything Kelly Sue Deconnick has done for Marvel.
#10 Gotham Academy
It’s really hard to believe this is being published by the same company that makes the absolutely soul-crushingly bad Wonder Woman comic. Becky Cloonan and Brendan Fletcher have brought a new and interesting setting to the DC Universe, and Karl Kerschel makes the characters and the very buildings of a prestigious prep school set in Batman’s Gotham just come alive. While it features male characters as well, this is very much a female-led book. Lead character Olive Silverlock is just the right amount of mysterious and engaging, and new student Maps may be the best part of the series.
Note: Don’t get confused and get the new Batgirl as well. Despite the great art and design, the stories are absolutely PG-13.
Aside from the previously cited Cosmic Adventures, there’s been a real lack of Supergirl comics you can hand a young girl, which is insane. It’s like sitting on a goldmine. The recent DC relaunch actually gave us a Supergirl I’d give a teenager, which is an improvement from Peter David’s Heaven/Hell-infused run or the waiftastic Michael Turner covers. The most recent issues though, feature a soft relaunch, sending Kara to space school where she’s met new friends (including a remake of ’80s DC character Maxima), and has to unravel a secret.
A little more violent than some parents may like, the main focus here is a distinct lack of “Good Girl” art, something that plagues Supergirl comics (like in the aforementioned Peter David run, where cheesecake artist Ed Benes drew a scene in a locker room of 14-year-old girls. Ew). And while it’s dressed up with fights and tights, at the end of the day it’s about an outsider trying to fit in at a new school. Just, you know, with laser vision.
Honorable Mention: DC’s digital-first Sensation Comics is killing it with assorted takes on Wonder Woman. The only catch is that not every story is good for a seven-year-old.
I wavered on including this run. For one thing, with Supergirl, this gives us not one, but two comics featuring derivatives of male heroes. For the other, She-Hulk is about to be canceled. The series is now going to be a twelve-issue, two-volume collection. But on review, it’s a book about a strong woman, both physically and in terms of personality, with a largely female supporting cast (the always entertaining Patsy Walker, aka Hellcat), and the level of violence isn’t too high. I’m counting it.
Warning: As with Supergirl, there have been tons of She-Hulk comics, and to say they’re not all for seven-year-olds is the understatement of the day.
Honorable Mention: Faith Erin Hick’s The Adventures of Superhero Girl. It’s a former comic strip, in collection only, but it’s just great stuff.
Like I noted above, these aren’t going to all be about superheroes. Raina Telgemeier’s coming-of-age dental drama may seem advanced for seven, but I’m speaking from experience here. That’s how old my daughter was when she got her copy and she read it so many times that it’s falling apart.
Raina’s other works, Drama and Sisters are absolutely too mature for seven (one deals with homosexuality, the other marital friction), but if your daughter loves this, then try her adaptations of the Baby-Sitters Club books. And if your LCS doesn’t carry Smile? You need a new LCS.
Honorable Mention: Page by Paige by Laura Lee Gulledge. In the same genre, but about a girl who finds her voice via art. I don’t know if I’d give it its own listing, but it’s something to keep in mind.
#6: Adventure Time: Gone Adrift (and others)
While Adventure Time may seem like an almost stereotypical boy’s show, the comics are something else. BOOM! Studios has made it a point to get some amazing indie talent on these books. They’ve had several female-centric minis and graphic novels, like Marceline and the Scream Queens, Bitter Sweets, Marceline: Seeing Red, and the currently out Marceline: Gone Adrift. Strong, engaging books and funny as hell.
Honorable Mention: Bee and Puppycat, another BOOM! book. Based on a popular series of web shorts, my only quibble would be that the female protagonist can be a bit passive.
#5: Cleopatra in Space
I’ve been following Mike Maihack’s work for a long time and it’s just amazing. I admit to cheating a bit here, as your seven-year-old may be more likely to find this one in their Scholastic Newsletter than at the LCS, but they’ll order it for you if you request it.
If you want a taste of Mike’s stuff, check out the webcomic that inspired the series (note disclaimer!), or his always awesome Batgirl/Supergirl one-off prints (DC: Hire this man!). Honorary mention: Zita the Spacegirl, about a modern-day girl who finds herself in space. My own daughter didn’t care for it, but she may have actually been too old.
And that’s the last honorary mention. My final four stand alone.
#4 Ms. Marvel
The new Ms. Marvel is, in a word, perfect. It captures the feel of early ’60s Spider-Man books. Instead of being an outsider for being a nerd, Kamala Khan is an outsider because of her religion. A huge comic fangirl, she finds herself with powers beyond that of a mortal girl, and has to use them while balancing life as a teenage girl. G. Willow Wilson’s stories have been perfect, and other writers have used the character well too. In an age where some characters are sort of shoved at the fans, the new Ms. Marvel feels like she’s here to stay. Thank goodness.
With a slogan like “Friendship to the Max,” you might quickly discount Lumberjanes as yet another “Girls solve conflict by being FRIENDS!” book. But it’s not. It’s so not.
It’s just insane how popular this book is. At the 2014 New York Comic Con, the line to meet the creators was epic. I’ve been waiting for the first trade for my daughter forever. April can’t come soon enough. And now, a quick musical interlude:
They’re really kinda great, you guys.
#2 Unbeatable Squirrel Girl
Ryan North has spent the last few years doing some great Adventure Time comics for KaBoom!, as well as funky stuff like a Choose-Your-Own-Adventure take on Hamlet. Now he’s at Marvel, where he’s teamed up with Erica Henderson to tell stories of an unexpected hero – Squirrel Girl. For years, it was something of a conceptual punchline, but Marvel is letting these two cut loose. So far only one issue has come out, but it has been letter-perfect. The basic concept is that our heroine is trying a secret identity for the first time, and going to college.
She can beat Thanos, but how will she handle a normal life? Also, she talks to squirrels. Like, all the time. And as an added, added bonus, she’s not drawn like a skinny mini. Indeed, one of the story points is that hiding her tail gives her a “conspicuously awesome butt.”
Paul Tobin may be the most widely published comic book writer that you’ve never heard of. As an in-house writer for Marvel, he wrote tons and tons of those giveaway comics you see everywhere. When not doing that though, he has been killing it with Bandette. Who is Bandette? Bandette is a hero and yet also a thief. There’s some moral ambiguity here, as our heroine evades both Inspector Belgique as well as some more sinister criminals. Bandette is aided by a network of street kids, and it is largely through them we see her true heart, one of purest gold.
Colleen Coover’s art is magnifique. Her art pops in every panel, creating a feast for the eyes, both young and old. If you don’t want to wait for the trades or press for a store to order it, you can get them digitally. You can even read #1 for free. As the hardest title to find, this may be a bit of a cheat, but it’s also the best one on this list.
Update: I have been reminded that the first issue has a sex scene. You may need to use your judgement.
Wow, that was a lot of work. Maybe we shouldn’t be so quick to condemn the store owner, eh? But at the same time, I’m happy to say it *is* better than it was when I was a young man, albeit only slightly (I can’t see Marvel putting out a Swimsuit Special now.) Back then, we had Friends of Lulu championing the slogan and concept “Comics are for everyone.” Now, FoL is defunct, which is a shame, but the need is not. So as parents, we need to be sure to vote with our wallets. If you hear of a title that may suit your daughter, be sure to not just order online, but go to a comic book store and ask for it. Make sure the owners know there’s a demand so that the next time someone comes in, more than two titles come to mind.
67 thoughts on “12 Comics for a 7-Year-Old Girl: A Response”
Nice, thanks for this,At least i have a direction on good reading material for my daughter. She will love this, especially the Supergirl.
Thanks for a great list! I’m always on the look out for reading material for my 8 yo daughter. She LOVES Zita the Space Girl and I’ve been hunting for some more comic material.
Having a female lead makes these more approachable for my daughter, but I know my two older boys will also pick them up and read through them.
I’m debating doing a similar article for boys. Like I noted, the stuff the original poster’s five year old was interested is so, so not right for that age.
Would you be interested?
Yes, I would. The comic shop in my home town has a kids section right next to the door. A great idea that I wish more shops would implement.
I came down here to make sure Zita was taken care or, and she was! Thank you!
Zita was the tipping point for my daughter. Those books turned her into an avid reader and now I’m constantly on the lookout for quality books and comics for her.
Thanks for this, and thanks for not giving the source article more than a paragraph of your time. This is a very positive article, and I will refer back to it in the future.
I found it difficult to decorate my son’s room with comics when most of my back issues are from 90s where most body-types were unreal. Many comics now are more light-hearted (like Squirrel Girl, and Skottie Young’s work). I have high hopes for the material my son will have by the time he starts reading them.
You’re welcome. Like i said, I didn’t want to invalidate. The goal was to be constructive. My mission statement was “if at any point I sound like a cliche of a Men’s Rights Advocate, then I’ve gone too far.”
I know exactly what you mean about the 90s comics. I suggest looking online for prints by the artists you mention, as well as Dean Trippe and others.
I did like Zita the Spacegirl, I think it’s PERFECT for a seven year old. Also Amelia Rules
Note: the second or third of Amelia Rules is a bit dark so it depends on the kid, I’d recommend (for any comic) that the parent or parents read it first
Ladies and gentlemen, my wee geekette.
As other people mentioned, Zita the Spacegirl is fantastic. The Amulet series is one of my favorites.
Two indie published books I love: Adamsville and Jackie Rose.
Thanks for the links. Amulet I was thinking might be a drop too advanced for seven, but then I’ve never properly read it. What do you think?
And what of the links? Seven, or ten? And do they meet the guidelines of findablility?
I’ve heard great things about Amulet, but passed on it when my boys (10 and 12) were that age because it looked a little heavy. They’re a great age to try it now, thanks for the reminder. I’m going to need to save this post, there’s more recommendations than my wallet can handle 🙂
Another one for older kids is Mouse Guard. This is my 10 y/o son’s favorite. A great find thanks to free comic book day.
For what it’s worth, my 5-year-old LOVES the Amulet books. I read them to her, of course, but she just adores them.
All are good books, however for nitpicking funs, is She-Hulk appropriate for a seven year old? I seem to remember an issue about them getting drunk (SUPER-drunk) and going adventuring with Hellcat, and plenty of lawyer talk. I suppose you might say something like “Why can’t seven year olds read lawyer talk?”, and I guess the answer there is it’s boring, and adult in all the wrong ways (I think kids would rather read proper superheroes than lawyer superheroes. Plus, lawyers are evil).
I think young’uns would dig the excellent art (except that awful, awful fill-in issue art), I just don’t think they’d find it particularly thrilling (Then again, I’m a bit down on it as I think the ongoing sub-plot is a snore fest, and it seems the final issues will focus on that).
With another one, the early issue of Bandette had a few adult situations in them from what I can remember – including sexing! (Or am I just a worried old man now, and seven year olds would totally did those things? I know by 9 or 10 at my school we were flicking through Bond books to find certain scenes…)
From my experience with Lumberjanes, anyone intrigued – make sure you get the trade! It had been decided the book would be a review proof smash-hit before it came out, but that first issue was a mess, and left me, and more importantly the six year old niece, unimpressed. That said, the buzz is still so strong they must have sorted out their teething pains.
Also, not sure how My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic gets kicked off the list because of it’s origins, but other cartoon and tv adaptation is allowed in (six of the books are from companies who sell a lot of ancillary product based on their characters – after visiting comic and toy shops in England, it’s hard to see Doctor Who has anything other than a toy ad. There’s zillions of them!). I mean, I get ‘Who needs a list to say young girls would like MLP comics, because they lunge at them like crack addicts when you show it to them’… but young girls do love it, and though I haven’t sat down and read the story, the art is fantastic. Toy selling seems low on the agenda of the book. I’m no Brony, but I find it an odd exception.
“(Or am I just a worried old man now, and seven year olds would totally did those things? I know by 9 or 10 at my school we were flicking through Bond books to find certain scenes…)”
That should be dig, not did. We liked the sexing in Bond, but even Australians weren’t starting that young.
Agree with MLP. It’s literally page after page of puns, both written and visual. They’ll read the story then go back and check out what all the background characters are doing, for hours. It reminds me of Boom Studio’s MUPPETS in all the best ways. 7 year olds will lap it up, and it’s something to share with their brony dads.
When my daughter was seven (now well over a decade ago) our choices were considerably different. But they were still mostly cartoon and tv adaptions: Looney Tunes (still going strong!), Powerpuff Girls, Justice League animated.
It’s a pity the Young Justice comic didn’t last too long, although the trades are still available. Teen Titans Go! is still out there, I believe.
Thanks for writing this up. My only issue with some of the suggestions are the repeated caveat that the CURRENT run of Supergirl, etc. are appropriate–what do I do when I hook my 7-year-old on Supergirl and 6 issues in they change the writer and take a decidedly inappropriate storytelling turn? Suddenly I have to explain why she can’t read her favorite comic anymore.
I will need to get my hands on Zita and Bandette. Fortunately I have the beautiful HCs of Leave it to Chance. And though Bone is technically led by males, I consider it more a “talking animal” book with Thorn as a hugely important character. My daughter loves it.
That is a darn, darn good point about continuing stories like that. It’s one argument for trade waiting.
On Morts’s Facebook wall, I said “As you might have expected, I totally disagree on My Little Pony. I think that it’s better than “not terrible” and that Katie Cook and Andy Price are among the best creators currently doing children’s comics.” Morts replied that he initially had it on the list, but removed it partly because another writer told him to “try to avoid books where the central theme is “girls end conflict with friendship and flowers, wheeeee.”” And my reply to that was: “It’s true that “girls end conflict with friendship and flowers” is the central theme of MLP, but not in the way it sounds like. MLP stories tend to avoid overly simple resolutions, and they’re more about achieving mutually acceptable compromises than papering over the conflict. A good example is the recent Babs Seed/Rarity issue of Friends Forever, where they end up realizing that neither of them is ever going to be a huge fan of the things the other likes.”
Also, another friend who’s a children’s literature scholar suggested Vera Brosgol’s Anya’s Ghost and Barry Deutsch’s Hereville. I think the former might be intended for a slightly older audience. I haven’t read Hereville, but it looks awesome.
We have the volumes 1 & 2 of Hereville. I cannot recommend it for seven. Nine, maybe.
My girls, now 12 and 7, LOVE Brian Michael Bendis and Michael Avon Oeming’s Takio (http://www.amazon.com/Takio-Brian-Michael-Bendis/dp/0785153268). I was hoping it was going to turn into an ongoing but, alas, this is all we get for now. Also, Hope Larson has some great books that my older daughter loved when she was younger. Hope did an illustrated version of A Wrinkle in Time which is spectacular. Another vote for Amulet. We haven’t finished the series but the girls did enjoy the books we have read.
I don’t know that I’d call MLP just toy marketing.
My kids read it and aren’t really into the toys; they’re barely aware of them, which leads me to think that the books stand up just fine on their own. At that, since the core cast returns (and is relatively limited) I’m not sure how well it’s marketing anything, as opposed to an 80s GI Joe with a near-infinite and changing roster of heroes and villains.
The stories also do stand up pretty well on their own right.
At least, that’s what I see in my own family’s interactions. Maybe a larger sample size would lead me to a different conclusion.
In any case, “Squirrel Girl” also looks like a good choice. I especially like that her costume is decent, and the artwork in general is approachable for kids. (Also, that costume is one that’s both easy to make and one I’m perfectly-comfortable having my kids wear.)
I’d have to agree. I purchase the MLB volumes for my kids, but we don’t watch the show or buy any of the toys. However, I see the distinction you were trying to make and I appreciate getting recommendations that are a little further off the beaten path.
I’m totally down with people liking MLP. Really. It was actually on my first draft. It was removed after much internal discussion. If it works with your kids, awesome.
Don’t get me started on the GI Joe comics. Really.
I totally spaced and left off Abigail and the Snowman. Had I remembered, it likely would have knocked She-Hulk off.
So far I think Abigail and the Snowman is inferior to Snarked, but it’s still fun.
I would strongly support the Hereville series by Barry Deutsch, Sara Varon’s Robot Dreams; Shaun Tan’s The Arrival, and the Holms’ Babymouse series and the Squish series. Brosgol’s Anya’s Ghost includes a discussion of revenge killing that might be a bit complicated for some 7 year olds, especially if they are reading without parental discussion.
Also, I would recommend that any parents and educators who are interested in children’s comics contact the Toronto bookseller Little Island Comics – they are the kid version of the major mainstream comics store The Beguiling. I’ll include the link in this post — the folks at Little Island can provide you with dozens of great recommendations. http://www.littleislandcomics.com
As far as suggestions go, I’d definitely join in on the support for the ‘MLP’ comics, mainly because Katie Cook is doing some great stuff with the concept, and ‘Amulet’. Seriously, we can’t keep it in stock at the store I work at.
Alas, ‘Rapunzel’s Revenge’ is currently listed as out of print, so it joins ‘Leave it to Chance’ and ‘Supergirl: Cosmic Adventures in the 8th Grade’ in the “awesome, but not readily available in funnybook stores” pile.
Jill Thompson’s ‘Scary Godmother’ is wonderful, and if they’re a bit too old, her ‘Magic Trixie’ series is equally delightful.
Also, Rod Espinoza’s ‘Courageous Princess’ is finally coming back into print… which is nice.
One problem that’s kind of addressed in the original article is that there are a lot of 7 year old girls out there who really love the iconic superhero characters, and they’re being deliberately excluded. So many little girls LOVE Supergirl or Wonder Woman, for instance. The daughter of a friend of mine adores Catwoman – recently, she was at Warner Brothers movie world, a local theme park – and she ended up spending ages talking to and hanging out with the woman playing Catwoman. Afterwards, she was so delighted she was almost dancing on air, and yet Warner Brothers and DC Comics, who own the character, aren’t really interested in doing anything with it that’s suitable for anyone outside a pretty limited audience.
As good as so many of these choices are, it can be really heartbreaking to have a little girl walk into the store and desperately want “something with Wonder Woman”, and not have anything which would be suitable for her to read.
Great list! My personal recommendation is the graphic novel version of Neil Gaiman’s ‘Coraline’ drawn and adapted by P Craig Russell, my son first got into it at 5 years old and still loves it at 7.
Though I’m curious; you mention Raina Telgemeier’s Drama as being unsuitable because it deals with homosexuality – do you mean you consider the subject itself unsuitable, or does it actually contain sexual content? It’s a pretty big difference, but I’m assuming actual sexual/sexually themed content is involved if it’s aimed at teenagers and dealing with sexuality; on the other hand, I’d also assume you’d specify that as the reason it’s unsuitable.
‘Coraline’ isn’t too spooky for seven?
I don’t consider the subject itself unsuitable, but it deals with sexual identity in a way that a lot of seven year olds may not be able to parse. I’m not calling for a ban (It’s quite awesome), but I’m not ready to stick it on the list.
Coraline was not too spooky for my seven year-old. I’d say it was just spooky enough, the way fairy tales used to be. Would also recommend the graphic novel for Gaiman’s ‘The Graveyard Book.’ However, I have one big caveat. The opening scene contains several murders, presented graphically. That’s regrettable, because the original story wasn’t nearly as graphic, and the rest of the story is a fairly harmless coming of age story..
I think the one that I would add to this list is the current run of Oddly Normal. Issue 5 has either just shipped, or will be shipping soon. I have been getting it for my 1 year old, with the thought that some day when she is a little older she might like it. Also have to second the Silver Surfer (Dawn adds a lot of great depth to the story).
You’re the second person to suggest that book to me. I’ll have to check it out.
Love all the discussions and recommendations on here. In regards to what is appropriate at that age, it is so varied and one of our big jobs as parents. I have four children and what is “appropriate” is different for each of them.
My 7 year old daughter loved Zita the Spacegirl. She also likes: Missile Mouse, Tiny Titans, Disney Fairies Tinkerbell graphic novel series, Magic Trixie, Geronimo Stilton/Thea Stilton, Scooby-Doo, Avatar the last Airbender graphic novels, and Phoebe and her Unicorn.
Oh! I forgot Phoebe and her Unicorn was a thing!
Lots of great suggestions here. My experience with a 6 year old daughter is that Ms Marvel’s story is too stretched out to hold her attention, though she’s interested. Supergirl really does not work–the writers have just made the story all over the place and menacing.
Lumberjanes is great, a big win for my daughter.
Bandette, while a wonderful comic, has some adult situations, including a couple caught in bed together in the midst of adult activities, in the first few pages.
She Hulk is pretty meaningless to a six year old–not sure if a 7 year old will get more out of it.
My daughter really loves and understands the current Silver Surfer run and loves the idea of Gotham academy.
I would also recommend Little Nemo Return to Slumberland, Penny Dora and Scooby Doo Team up.
I have had to work VERY hard to find comics for a young girl at the comic shop, and many of those on this list can be hard to find in the massive piles of totally inappropriate comics. Comic shops can be a tricky place to take young children. My daughter used to love to go to my comic shop because they gave out lolipops–but then one day she got a look at a very gory cover to the comic book Spread–it made her cry and she has never asked to go to the shop again!
You know, it’s been so long since I read the first issue of Bandette that I spaced on that. Thank you.
Well, if you’re going to outright dismiss Betty & Veronica as “cliche”, I think you’re setting yourself up for aggravation.
It’s a cliche suggestion, yes.
And it’s a comic that is largely about mooning over boys. Yes, there are exceptions but that’s the core. I’m not saying never give it to a child (my daughter loves them and read them then and now) but we should aspire to better for our daughters than that.
Hey folks, thought I’d chime in here.
I gave my daughter Tiny Titans around 5-6 and she read all 50 issues in a weekend. While it is more team focused, it is an easy to read and excellent comic that gets them exposure to the larger DCU. We went further into the Aw Yeah catalog and bought Itty Bitty Hellboy and Action Cat.
MLP is definitely a house favorite. I don’t really feel this is a comic done to sell toys. Like someone else said on here, the kids will pour over the issues for hours looking for Doctor Hooves and other different nods. I even found a Quantum Leap reference as I was reading it to my 7 year old.
Zita the Spacegirl and The Powerpuff Girls are both hits with my 7 year old. Penny Dora is a massive hit with my 8 year old.
Beyond the girls’ comics vs. boys’ comics discussion, it’s about time someone recognizes comics as a way to just gets kids into reading!
Absolutely. My three oldest all started with comics which led to Diary of a Wimpy Kid, Dork Diaries, etc and now onto full blown books. I now have all three on Kindles and they are reading all the time.
Did you see the Newberry awards post? People are.
Tiny Titans would have made this list if not for the female protagonist rule. Same with the other Aw Yeahs.
Disqualifying MLP wasn’t my call. I went by someone else’s judgement as I have not read them. Although I have seen the Quantum Leap reference.
Are there Powerpuff Girl comics in print?
IDW was publishing a Powerpuff Girls comic quite recently. I don’t know if it’s still running.
I have a friend whose daughters (one of whom is around 7, I think) really like Balthazar and Franco’s work.
I’ll check out the PPG comics.
I’m sure their daughters love it. Not saying girls can’t/shouldn’t. It just doesn’t meet the guidelines of this article.
What about PS238 by Do Gooder Press? A comic about an elementary school for super hero children? Aaron Williams puts comics online and has done trades of previous strips and although it isn’t girl-centric, there are a pretty equal number of boys and girls and their importance is also relatively equal. The current strips are very focused on his main female hero “84” (If you read through the comics you will understand the name)
PS238 is an interesting one. i think I’d have to pass that one to the judges. It IS great though. How available in stores is it?
Don’t know if it doesn’t count because it’s a graphic novel based on a webcomic, but Girl Genius is a great one. It’s decidedly PG rated (people die and most of the cast are sociopaths to some degree). It’s not a superhero comic per se, as the only superpower really available is to be a mad scientist (good and bad… all mad), but at least one of your suggestions wasn’t super-related either. The bad guys and side characters are split pretty evenly by gender and race, producing a neat dynamic. Action, humor, detailed artwork, little background jokes… it’s good. It’s been going for over a decade and you can get graphic novel versions or see the whole run online for free.
You know, people keep suggesting that to me and I’ve yet to read it. Thanks.
I just realized that no one’s mentioned Princeless.
And that’s the #1 reason that I’m going to have a follow-up article. Kicking myself.
It’s great to see so many mentions of comic books with females in the lead. Please be on the lookout for Purple and Nine. It’s a new digital comic book by Gangly Sisters. It revolves around two girls, Purple and Nine, who solve everyday problems through their fascination with technology. Check out http://www.ganglysister.com to learn more.
Hopefully, the next time you do this list Purple and Nine will be featured.
Thanks for this. I picked up a few issues of Ame-Comi Girls at my local used bookstore yesterday based entirely on the covers (and the $0.50 price). My 8yo started reading before I had a chance to look through them. They’re definitely a little old for her. And a lot more appealing to teen boys, I think. I read through and was just disappointed.
Aye. Nice art, not even the worst story, but no.
Glad to have found this list and all its comments. Completely agree with the comment calling for recognition of comics as a gateway to reading. Where I live, this idea is readily accepted, and the reading of comics is strongly encouraged in the classroom. Because of that, and because my daughter is French/English bilingual, she is fortunate to be able to draw on a larger pool of comics. In fact, she came across some of the comics mentioned here (and others that weren’t) through their French translations; e.g. ‘Amulet.’
I’ll toss out a few other comics my daughter loved: ‘Giants Beware!’/’Dragons Beware!,’ ‘Cat’s Cradle,’ and ‘The New Brighton Achaeological Society.’ Oh, and our current reading is the excellent ‘Princeless’ series mentioned in the comments. It hits on all the right points, doesn’t it? Also, even if it doesn’t meet criteria for the article, I can’t recommend ‘Tiny Titans’ enough. Why? Because it reflects kids’ lives and ways of looking at the world. I wish there were more comics written with that in mind.
I’ll be sure to look into those titles!
I’m horrible because while I enjoyed “Tiny Titans”, I do find the first few issues off-putting, as they rely on knowledge of inside jokes. But boy, does it ever get good.
My daughter is starting to get into reading comic books, and her birthday is coming up soon. I have been trying to some some books for her to read, but they are all more guy based. So I really appreciate you listing off 12 comics for girls to read. I’ll definitely make sure I look into getting my daughter a few of these.
This is a superb post – exactly what I was looking for! headed down to my local comic shop tomorrow with this. Keep up the good work!
Thank you kindly.
This was a great post to have found as my 11 year old is just starting to get into comic books. However!! I went to amazon to check out Bandette, and as I scrolled through the first book there is a picture of a man and woman having sex!! Definitely not something I want a daughter reading, especially since this list is for a 7 year old. Just thought you might want to revisit that suggestion 🙁
Yes, I did forget that bit. It was pointed out and I should update.
I know this is an old thread but in case anyone is still reading. My daughter has been devouring Princeless from Action Lab Comics.
I did a follow-up specifically to add Princeless. Love it.
You do not realize how much I love love love the new Ms. Marvel comics. As a fifteen year old girl, it is wonderful to see comics that can apply to not only my age of reader but also younger readers. Defenitely a recommended title.
Some of our favorites also: the Ottoline series, Chicken Squad series, Princess in Black series
Thank you, all. Such a great post and commentary.
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