Online comics for kids and teens
In this month’s SLJ, Anna Adam and Helen Mowers put the spotlight on children’s books that are available online in their entirety. Thanks to an upsurge of interest in classic comics and illustration, there is also an interesting selection of comics available online. I’m not talking about webcomics here but comics and graphic novels that originally appeared in print and have been moved to the web. (If you have no scruples, almost any comic is available for free online, but I’m excluding pirate and scanlation sites.)
The ASIFA-Hollywood Animation Archive is a treasure trove of illustration, cartooning, and classic children’s literature. This is a place to get lost and wander around in for days.
The Michigan State University Library has several collections of digitized comics: 19th-century comics, Real Heroes comics from Parents Magazine Press, and True Comics.
Richard and Wendy Pini are in the process of putting the entire Elfquest story online.
Palindrome-obsessed librarian Tangognat is in the process of scanning in a favorite childhood comic, Amethyst, Princess of Gemworld. Check back for updates!
Spire Christian Comics were drawn by an Archie Comics illustrator; a number are available for online viewing.
Pappy’s Golden Age Comics Blogzine collects stories from, as promised, Golden Age comics, with some commentary on the side. This is definitely a site aimed at adults, but the comics include children’s comics and it’s a good place to go if you’re looking for a particular title. Magic Carpet Burn is another blog along the same lines, and I’m Learning to Share has some nice kid-friendly vintage comics.
Marvel Digital Comics is Marvel’s online service. Not all the comics are teen-friendly, and most require a subscription for viewing, but they do have a page of free comics available as well. You may be required to register in order to view them.
Archie Comics also has some back issues up to be read online.
For those who like manga, Tokyopop has put some of their older volumes online for free in their entirety. Digital Manga has several how-to-draw manga titles online for free, but before sending a kid there, be aware that Digital’s specialty is yaoi and there are more mature titles up on the site as well. And Central Park Media has some entire volumes of teen and older-teen manga up at their site.
Archive.org, the attic of the internet, has a number of comics available for download. At the moment they mainly appear to be Westerns and adventure comics that are in the public domain. Just type "comics" into their search engine to get a lengthy list (along with links to comics podcasts and other stuff).
EDIT: I can’t believe I forgot Golden Age Comic Book Stories, which features some lovely vintage illustrations and book covers alongside the funnybook stuff.
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About Brigid Alverson
Brigid Alverson, the editor of the Good Comics for Kids blog, has been reading comics since she was 4. She has an MFA in printmaking and has worked as a book editor and a newspaper reporter; now she is assistant to the mayor of Melrose, Massachusetts. In addition to editing GC4K, she writes about comics and graphic novels at MangaBlog, SLJTeen, Publishers Weekly Comics World, Comic Book Resources, MTV Geek, and Good E-Reader.com. Brigid is married to a physicist and has two daughters in college, which is why she writes so much. She was a judge for the 2012 Eisner Awards.
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