Comic Book Collecting 101 With Kids – A Daddy and Me Activity

Emma and I at the San Diego ComicCon
Emma and I at the San Diego ComicCon

My third piece published on the Disney Dads website, it was fun to do something different.  Since Marvel Comics is now a subsidiary of the Walt Disney Company, I thought I would venture into this topic and I love it.  However, it was the least favorite on the site judged by the number of “likes.”  Still, I do think this article was important talking about how to share your interests with your kids.  I included the picture from ComicCon here that I didn’t submit to the website because at the time Star Wars wasn’t “Disney” yet, but now that they are all one big happy family, it just seems to fit.  Enjoy this director’s cut!

One of the fondest memories I have as a child is a shared love of the Incredible Hulk with my dad.  He was the one to buy me my first comic book and it’s become a hobby I’ve stuck with my entire life and now share it with my daughters.  To this day, I don’t know where he got them.  I imagine at the local convenience store or maybe at the supermarket or something because it wasn’t a regular monthly event for us.  Just one day after work, my dad would come by my room, smile at me and hand me another issue of the Incredible Hulk.  My eyes would light up and I would read it immediately.  The adventures of Bruce Banner, misunderstood scientist and lonely soul, would delight me for however long it took me to read it.

As I grew older, I began to grow more serious about my comics.  I expanded to the Uncanny X-Men and found the world of mutants to be a fun and interesting place.  Captain America, Thor, and the Avengers became regular staples in my hobby and soon I was buying even more esoteric books like Dreadstar and The Alien Legion.  I have even been so fortunate as to have a few of my books signed by some of my favorite writers and artists like George Perez and Adam Hughes.  I began “bagging and boarding” everything and storing my comics in protective boxes to prevent accidental spills or unwanted creases and cracks in the spines of my books (a big “no-no” in the comic collecting world).  Yes, I was a true comic collector.  My collection varied in size over the years as I bought, sold, and traded many of them, but comic collecting has always held a good place in my heart.

Reading together on the sofa
Reading together on the sofa

And then I had kids.  I still collected comics, but now would drag my two daughters with me to the comic book store on a monthly basis.  They would hear a lot of “don’t touch that” as we went from shelf-to-shelf, but then one day one of the guys who ran my local store gave each of my kids a comic book.  Never having showed much interest in comics, I didn’t think Eve, my oldest, would enjoy it (Emma still too young to read), but she ate that first book up quickly and wanted more.  Each month going to the comic book store became something we both looked forward to, and as my youngest daughter became old enough to enjoy looking at the pictures I started buying them for her, too.  Now, even though my oldest has moved away, I still buy her monthly titles, often saving them for her until she comes home or we go and visit.  I ask her how she’s been enjoying them so far and she even keeps them in a special box with bags and boards like her dad.  As for my youngest, Emma?  I wish I could say we sit there and read together often, but if she comes with me to the store, she’s finished reading hers before we even get home!

A great example of the sophistication of comics today - for "older kids"
A great example of the sophistication of comics today – for “older kids”

Nowadays, they have comics for all ages.  They still have the ones you might be familiar with like Spider-Man, the Avengers, Archie, and Superman, but they have kid-friendly versions of nearly all of them now.  They also have comics based on popular toys, games, and TV shows so you’re bound to find something that appeals to your children (and is age appropriate).  The depth and breadth of comic collecting has grown since I started and there really is something for everyone.  All that to say that I hope you take the opportunity to include your kids in the things you love in life and give them a chance to love it, too.  I know for me it has brought me even closer to my children as it also brought me close to my own father.  Last year, I even bought a collection of Incredible Hulk comic books for him for Father’s Day.  Thanks, dad.

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