Epic comics alternatives to Tintin or Amulet for younger readers?
January 10, 2021 1:18 PM   Subscribe

We like reading comics series like Tintin to our toddler but we need help finding something books that are (a) more modern and comprehensible; and (b) appropriately kid-friendly and low stakes. (He's not ready yet for classics like Bone or Amulet.)

My almost five-year-old loves to be read comics like Tintin, Amulet and the Moomins (as well as chapter books like The Hobbit), but my partner and I are unsatisfied with all of our comics series. Things like Tintin, Moomins, Asterix etc are all too full of confusing old jokes (or straight-out racism/sexism), but modern classics like Bone or Amulet are too scary - the stakes are too high for our little guy, with real peril and parental death. The modern Asterix adaptations aren't really any better. We've enjoyed French series like Polo and Petit Poilu but I'd like something with slightly more intricate plot (and words).

Are there any comics series that mix the relatively low stakes globe-trotting of a Tintin with the more child-oriented modern feel of something like Amulet? We'd prefer something where there are several books to get through (to eat up lots of pandemic reading time). Our home is bilingual french/english if it's helpful. Thank you!
posted by Marquis to Media & Arts (14 answers total) 12 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Zita the Space Girl is soooooooo wonderful in all the ways!
posted by Omnomnom at 1:21 PM on January 10, 2021 [10 favorites]

Best answer: Check out the Super Happy Magic Forest Series.
posted by SaltySalticid at 1:35 PM on January 10, 2021 [1 favorite]

Best answer: My three year old and his six year old bestie both love the Claudette series. He actually like Amulet too, but I don't think he follows a lot of it, whereas he does follow like 85% of the Claudette books. I'll be following this closely because he was addicted to the Claudette books for months, but we haven't found anything to replace them yet.
posted by slide at 1:50 PM on January 10, 2021

Best answer: Hilda is great for this. Low-stakes scary and a protagonist who likes risks and explains how she deals with them.
posted by Lawn Beaver at 1:57 PM on January 10, 2021 [7 favorites]

Best answer: Catstronauts, absolutely. My kid is five and very sensitive about peril and emotional intensity and loves them.
posted by teremala at 2:52 PM on January 10, 2021 [2 favorites]

Best answer: My son loved the Cleopatra in Space series. There's also a TV show, but he says it's completely unlike the comics.
posted by signal at 3:20 PM on January 10, 2021

The Mini Marvels series (all the superheroes are kids) was pretty fun.

Tiny Titans was also good.
posted by any portmanteau in a storm at 3:58 PM on January 10, 2021 [1 favorite]

Herge also wrote Jo, Zette, and Jocko (which I have read) and Quick & Flupke (which I have not). Both are aimed at younger readers than Tintin.
posted by basalganglia at 5:00 PM on January 10, 2021 [1 favorite]

It might be a little early for Steven Universe, but the comics are visually interesting and inclusive. I certainly read comics at that age that I didn't fully understand until later.
posted by BlackLeotardFront at 5:40 PM on January 10, 2021 [1 favorite]

Harriet the Hamster Princess by Ursula Vernon may work for you.
posted by suelac at 6:13 PM on January 10, 2021 [1 favorite]

Best answer: They don't actually have globetrotting, but Cardboard Kingdom and Doodleville are pretty great for that pre-Amulet and Bone adventure demographic.

+ yes to Zita the Space Girl.
posted by umbĂș at 2:03 PM on January 11, 2021 [1 favorite]

I have to say, though, Zita does have scary adventures, is in exquisite danger more than once throughout the series and meets some scary creatures.
There's this amazing warmth in the story, though, and a pervading message of friendship conquering evrrything. Zita's talent is being a brave, loyal friend and finding many, many other misfit friends who help her. They're sweet and funny, and there's so much good humour and cuteness in the story! Maybe get the first book and see how your kid reacts?
posted by Omnomnom at 2:09 PM on January 11, 2021

My eight year old loves Ariol and has been reading it for at least a year.

We also pick up as many issues of the Journal de Mickey as we can find on the stands when we're in France.
posted by Liesl at 2:17 PM on January 11, 2021

Response by poster: Just wanted to follow-up a bit - although I'm at the mercy of my local inter-library loan.

I picked up the first Mighty Jack book (a parallel series to Zita), and although my son enjoyed it it doesn't meet my main criteria: besides the (very) scary monsters, there's very serious mortal peril for the protagonist's little sister, and this was the kind of stuff I was trying to avoid (for now - my son is only 4).

I also got a Super Happy Magic Forest book, which has great illustrations and was quite fun but also a little too dum-dum cartoon for my preferences. Still awaiting some of your other suggestions, thank you!
posted by Marquis at 5:51 PM on January 20, 2021

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