Mini interview

I was asked in Feb to do a little interview for a student. Here’s that…

As a parent who is working professionally within the comics industry, do you encourage your kids to read comics, and why?

I think I’d always encourage my kids to read, regardless of what it is they’re reading. I like comics, and comics got me through a tough time as a reader, but my kids don’t seem to have picked up that deep love I had for them and treat comics as just another way to entertain themselves when they’ve been told they’ve got to come off youtube.

Given the current state of the industry, do you think young readers are catered to enough? Does the industry put enough emphasis on younger readers? Is there anything you think the industry could do,
from a publisher or retail level even, that would help open the door for kids into comics? Or is there anything that they are doing at 

the moment that you think is encouraging?

Price I think is the big issue. There’s plenty of kids comics on shelves in the newsagents and supermarkets (in fact more than at any time I remember) but they’re expensive especially compared to the hours of entertainment that can be had from video games, and it would be nice if all comics shops had a section that matched the Big Bang’s shelves for kid friendly fare.

What is your opinion on the all-ages books that are currently available? A common phrase used in comics retail, when suggesting comics for a new adult/teenage customer, is that there is a comic out
there for everyone, do you think this statement applies to younger readers or do you think more publishers should be focusing on the all-ages market?

I wish I could speak with some authority here, but I can’t. My experience is limited to my experience, and I have a tendency (like most parents) to try and impose my tastes on my kids, I want them to read 2000AD – I’d LOVE a younger age version of 2000AD – but they love pokemon and are pretty well served on that front.

What do you think kids could learn or what could benefit them from reading comics at a young age?

There’s an enormous amount of benefits to reading comics, I think – and many not so obvious. Expanding a child’s vocabulary seems pretty obvious but I think it broadens your thinking and helps you understand new more complex subjects sooner. Granted that’s often a little backfiring (I mean, it’s great my kids know what radioactive means, but it’s less great that they think it means it can grant them the powers of any animal that is radioactive as long as it bites them). It’s also amazing way to expand a child’s empathy, and can teach them social situations and how to react, again, comics being comics, there’s a hyperbolic nature to these things, but the little moments grounded in real life can help kids deal with knowing right from wrong, and knowing what side society they really want to belong to.