So let’s really, really narrow this discussion about “all ages” comics to what it really is: Superhero Fans Want To Buy Superhero Comics For Their Kids That Are Simultaneously Exactly What They Read As Kids AND All New At The Same Time. They want all the comics on the stands to be ’safe’ for children, while still engaging them on an adult level like all of the other media targeted at adults. They want the stuff they read as kids and teenagers in the 70s and 80s (or hell, the 60s) to be the same as what’s published today for their kids. They will accept no substitutions, and most importantly they need it to be CANON. That’s right, even if the Superhero comics meet every other criteria, they can’t take place in their own “universe” or be the “for kids” version (even if it’s for ‘all ages’), it has to be part of the 616 or DCU continuity or else it isn’t ‘real’. Superhero fans want validation for their tastes and interests, just like the OCD football dad who couldn’t make it to the NFL and is going to live out his dreams in his son. Exactly the same sentiment, but without a million dollar paycheck at the end of ‘reading superhero comics’, so waaaay less pressure.
I’ve already commented on the matter before and in depth, but let me say that I pretty much agree 100% with Butcher. This continual complaint that no one’s making comics for kids anymore is nonsense — there hasn’t been this many comics for kids since the Golden Age era and the quality is in general considerably higher overall (Secret Science Alliance y’all!). I think part of the problem, apart from the reasons Butcher lists above, is that the Western comics audience has become more and more fragmented and insular in their particular interests. By and large, the superhero fans don’t mix with the manga kids who don’t mix with the indie crowd who don’t show any interest in the kiddie books.
Also: Heidi MacDonald offers similar thoughts on the matter here.
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