Thursday, June 14, 2007

A Very Special Top 5 List

I have a special treat for you from my six year-old son. As I was preparing a list of "Best Collected Editions" for my upcoming interview with podcaster Chris from Collected Comics Library, my son thought I should make a list of HIS favorite comic books too. So, from the perspective of a soon-to-be kindergarten graduate, here are the top five comic books currently being published (followed by my commentary):

1) Sonic the Hedgehog--I wrote about my first exposure to the Sonic comic book a few months ago, and I pointed out that the continuity is overwhelming, and I found the issue to be unreadable, but my son loved it. Well, he continues to love this comic book ever since, and I've grown to understand his attraction. The action is fast-paced, the characters say exactly what they mean, and there is a real sense of jeopardy established. He literally was upset by last month's issue when, only looking at the pictures, he saw all of Sonic's friends obliterated by Dr. Eggman. He didn't even want me to read the story to him, because he thought the characters had died. When I finally read it to him, he realized the words described a teleportation ray. The characters weren't dead after all, just imprisoned somewhere far away, and Sonic was going to go save them all! It was a great lesson in the magic of comic books. The pictures AND words matter equally. So, even though I still don't particularly like Sonic the Hedgehog, I liked that he learned that lesson, and I like the enthusiasm he shows for each new issue. It's cool to see your son devour a comic book as soon as you bring it home. (And, as a side note, I picked up the new Fables trade for my wife, and she read the whole thing right away. So the image was: my wife reading Fables on one end of the couch, my son reading Sonic on the other, and my daughter watching TV in the middle. I told my daughter--who's three--that she needed a comic book too! She asked for "Woman Woman," which is what she calls Wonder Woman. So I gave her a copy of Wonder Woman Archives Volume 1, the only Wonder Woman book I had around. She said, "I don't like it," and thereby ruined my chance to turn all of my family into comic-loving geeks. DC Comics, if you're reading this, you have a potential reader just waiting for an age-appropriate Wonder Woman comic book. Try to start publishing one by the time she's old enough to read. Maybe Gail Simone is already at work on just such a title.) Anyway, Sonic the Hedgehog is BY FAR my son's favorite comic, as he will gladly tell you.

2) Sonic X--My son has only read one issue of this title, and he didn't seem to understand it, but he assumes it must be great because the other Sonic comic book is so awesome. Anyway, that's why he puts it so high on his list. I can't bring myself to buy him two Sonic titles every month though. Does that make me a bad parent? No way! I shouldn't let my son develop a two-Sonic-a-month habit so early in life. Unless he wants to get a job and pay for the comics himself! Am I right, people?

3) Legion of Super-Heroes in the 31st Century--Did he list this title in his top five just to get my approval because he knows I'm obsessed with the Legion now? Possibly. But he really liked all the episodes of the cartoon, and he loves the characters. I can't believe he loves the comic book this much, though, since the first couple of issues haven't really been all that exciting for him. But he and I both have great hopes for this title. And, it's the freakin' Legion!

4) Teen Titans Go!--He and I have been watching the first three seasons of the animated series on DVD recently, and it was a really cool show. I didn't appreciate it at the time, because it was so different than MY Titans, but, even though he watched these episodes before, he was too young to remember much about them (he claims to have no memory of Season One at all), and he's really excited about the comic book now that he's recaptured his joy for the cartoon. Plus, the most recent issue was great! I'll miss reading this title with him when it's cancelled later this year.

5) Power Pack--Although this is a bunch of mini-series and not an ongoing, it's basically been published every month for the past couple of years, and my son loves it. He's less happy with the art on the Hulk mini, but he just thinks it's awesome to see little kids with super-powers. And each member of the team has such well-defined personalities, the stories really work well. It's been fun to read this one too. I'd personally put this waaaay higher than the Sonic stuff, but I'm not six.

Out of this Top 5, I would sincerely recommend the Legion, Titans, and Power Pack books to anyone, no matter what age. They are good, often much better than a lot of "mainstream" titles I buy from Marvel and DC. Don't be afraid to pick them up just because they are for kids. All the Silver Age comics were written for kids too, don't forget.

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