One of the greatest missions I have as an aunt, is getting my nieces to grow up as right proper nerds. I love when they get excited about something I’m also loving. Lately, I’ve been trying to get my oldest niece, G, into comics.
I know she likes graphic novels. Some of her favorite books are Smile and Sisters. So getting her into comics is a natural step from that. Not to mention, when talking about C2E2, G has told me she’d like to go with me and cosplay as Wonder Woman.
However, as an adult it can be sometimes intimidating to get into comics. It’s hard when there’s so many current runs and you just don’t know where to start. With kids, well, thankfully they don’t (or shouldn’t) have that fear with comics — but the confusion on where to start can be real. Also, even in some of our favorite titles, these well known superheroes, they’re not always kid appropriate.
However there’s an amazing resource for kids and adults a like for finding comics: your local comic book store.
I am so amazingly fortunate to have an Aw Yeah Comics in my town. Aw Yeah was founded by two comic creators in Skokie and they’ve slowly been expanding. My local shop? Also owned by a comic creator (Mark Waid). But back to the flagship store… Art Baltazar and Franco are responsible for some absolutely amazing comics that are geared towards the younger crowd. You’ve got Tiny Titans, Itty Bitty Hellboy, and their mascot’s own Aw Yeah Comics starring Action Cat, just to name their main titles. So I knew taking G to our local Aw Yeah was going to be a good experience.
Little did I know… it was going to be an amazing experience.
Aw Yeah isn’t a huge place. It starts out with a few books, but mostly toys and collectables — even some clothing. Then you get into the books. G just stood there staring at the shelfs, “am I allowed to look at them?” Yes, dear child, of course you are! When the staff welcomed us in, asking if we were looking for anything, I let them know it’s her first time in a comic book store. They were super friendly and nice. The giant walls of comics was a little overwhelming for G, so I took her back to the back… where the good stuff is.
Aw Yeah has a whole section dedicated to young (and young at heart) readers. They’ve got their own lines, but also many others. I’d tried getting G into Princess Ugg earlier, but it wasn’t her thing. I was secretly hoping maybe she’d pick Lumberjanes. Or maybe Moon Girl & Devil Dinosaur. However, I wasn’t going to push her into anything. Just told her to pick up some books and see what seemed interesting — see if she liked the style and the writing. The manager came back after a bit, and asked G what she liked and that he could help maybe come up with some suggestions. She went into little kid super shy mode, which was totally ok and the manager handled well.
In the end, she picked out 2 issues of The Misadventures of Grumpy Cat (which looks super cute, by the way). Of course, this was after I told her she wasn’t getting any of the toys, just comics. I grabbed Jim Henson’s The Storyteller: Dragons 1 & 2 for myself, because of course I was going to get comics for myself as well.
As we checked out, the manager was talking to us, G still in shy mode, about her selections. She opened up a little bit because she was excited about Grumpy Cat. Then he told us to just hold on a second. He went back in the back and after about a minute came back with 3 more books and an Action Cat plush for G.
We got some of the Free Comic Book Day issues: Gronk, Terrible Lizard, and The All-Different Avengers. G devoured the Avengers in the car ride back to her home. Partially because she knew I wanted to borrow her comics — and because the manager told us that I’d even like that issue. Best part about that though, she got introduced to Ms. Marvel and was super interested in learning more about her. So it looks like I get to share my favorite comic with her! The rest of the drive she spend creating stories and adventures for Action Cat to act out. Which included so many dance breaks — Action Cat is an expert dancer.
G had the biggest smile the entire way. She was so grateful and excited to start reading her books. Even more so, though? G cannot wait to come back to the Comic Book Store again.