One naturally assumes that all comics are aimed at children. This is not necessarily true as history has taught us that many comic books and comic strips are aimed at adult audiences. Comics aimed at children can either be for entertainment or they can be actually educational. The comics can also be age ranged base with some targeting those before teenage years and others aimed at the older children.
In the United States the Marvel Comics have produced their own rating system so that parents will know what age of readership a comic is targeting.
As of 2005 the bands are:
- All ages
- A Appropriate for ages 9 and up.
- T+ suggested for teen and up
- Parental advisory
- Max-Explicit content
As so many comics are printed in a wide range of subjects that children are protected from inappropriate material. The use of comic strips in teaching is widespread. As teachers strive to make learning more motivating the idea of using a comic strip to get a learning point across to a class room of pupils is compelling. It does give the students the opportunity to become more engaged in the teacher’s lessons There are now online sites who are giving teachers the opportunities to use their software in order to utilise comic strips in their lessons. The resources now available are huge and an opportunity which many teachers are taking.
There can be no greater way to harness a love of reading in the very young than by producing comics that are so entertaining they will easily engage them. It can be difficult finding the appropriate material specially aimed at this sensitive age range. As time has progressed both the major comic publishers Marvel and DC publishing have become more aware of this and there are many comics that can meet these tasks. However, the Toon Books seem to be leading the modern market in providing for the very young. They have divided their attention between brand-new readers (3+) and Emerging Readers (4+). They now have outstanding cartoonists, such as Lille Carre and Rene French and each book is labelled with the age range it is appropriate for.
A good example of their works is the Eleanor Davis’ award winning “Stinky” who starts off being scared of people but once meeting them realizes that they are not that bad. A good example of a comic that is produced for entertainment is The Beano. Colourful characters have been created to make children laugh. According to the publisher DC Thompson The Beano is aimed at Children aged between 7 and 11. One of the main aims of DC Thompson is that through humour children are encouraged to read more. The Eagle magazine was published between and 1950 until 1969 and then later from1982 until 1994. It was aimed at older children with adventure heroes being created.
Perhaps the most famous was Dan Dare a science fiction pilot who has been compared with a “Biggles in Space”. Although aimed at children it is worth noting that many adults got a great deal of pleasure from reading The Eagle.