Howdy! This page is part of a guide to comic books recommended for younger readers (along with some stuff their parents might like as well. This page covers the letter "T." Other books are linked to below.

So, come celebrate that groovy, geeky, magical medium that we all grew up on... and share that special sense of wonder with someone smaller and newer than you. By the way, this is a work in progress, and your recommendations are always welcome... )

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"Teen Titans: Year One"
Written by Amy Wolfram
Illustrated by Karl Kerschl & Serge LaPointe
(DC Comics, 2008)

This is a fun, irreverent take on the old, 1960-era "Teen Titans" book, which started out as a "Brave And Bold"-style team-up book, and morphed decades later into one of the most popular super-books of the 1980s. I bought this for two reasons: one, I am on the prowl for comics that might be appropriate for younger kids (10 and under) and two, because I'm a fan of the old, original Titans, the kid-sidekicks lineup featured here. Glancing at this on the store shelves, I thought it might be too gimmicky or "raw" (ie, geared towards "mature audiences") or disrespectful towards the characters. But, I couldn't resist, and zooming through it at home, found it fun but slightly flawed. It almost works as a little-kids book -- the domestic-abuse scene where Batman wallops Robin is a little too disturbing, but other than that, this is okay. The big problem is with the ending: the last two pages just kind of... END. It's very abrupt and clumsy, and doesn't really track with the rest of the book. There is a whole subplot where Batman is bossing Robin around all the time, and although Bats was under some evil creature's influence when he hits Robin in the first chapter, you get the feeling the trouble runs a little deeper than that. The creators never quite flesh this subplot out, and while the last page tries to provide a resolution, it's very clunky and unsatisfying. It fees like maybe they planned a whole other issue to work this stuff out, and maybe DC nixed it because it got a little too heavy... Anyone know for sure? Anyway, this is mostly a pretty fun book - nice artwork and a mild Young Adult retcon for this goofy old kids' team. (B-)

"Teen Titans: DC Archive, v.1"
Written by Bob Haney
Illustrated by Nick Cardy
(DC Comics, 2003)

And... here are the original Teen Titan stories from the late 1960s and early '70s, featuring Robin, Speedy, Kid Flash, Aqualad and Wonder Girl, the sidekicks of Batman, Green Arrow, Flash, Aquaman, and Wonder Woman. Turns out many diehard DC fans disown these old stories, which are filled with paper-thin plots, goofy fake-hipster/hippie daddy-o lingo and lots of phony counterculture references... I liked these comics as a kid (although I really only read a couple of issues...) but a lot of that had to do with my hardly ever reading DC stuff, thus giving this series an exotic air. I do have to admit, it doesn't hold up well, decades later. (Still, I think the kids' costumes were cooler and more fab than the grownups... Especially Wally's yellow speedster outfit...) Later, in the '80s the Titans became a big fan favorite, though I find that era to be full of overblown super-duper stuff, and wouldn't necessarily recommend it... These early adventures were dumb, but they still have an old-school innocence to them that may be appealing. Cool artwork, too! (B-)

"Thor The Mighty Avenger, v.1: The God Who Fell To Earth"
Written by Roger Landridge
Illustrated by Chris Samnee
(Marvel Comics, 2011)

In this kid-friendly reboot of Marvel's great Asgardian superhero, Thor is reimagined as a less stuffy, less pompous, less boring thunder god, a recently reincarnated deity who is a little confused about his role in the grand cosmic framework, and less prone to spouting absurd pseudo-Shakespearian thees and thous. In short, he's more modern, easier to identify with, and way more fun. Don't get me wrong -- I liked the old Thor as a kid and appreciate the inclusion of a few of the old, original stories in the back of this book, but ya gotta admit he is one of the classic superheroes who hasn't held up well over the years. The reboot is quite welcome. The stories are good, too: if you want a good, lighthearted, irony-free, old-fashioned super-book to share with your kids, this is a great candidate. Marvel needs more books like this one for younger readers to enjoy. (A)

"Thor The Mighty Avenger, v.2"
Written by Roger Landridge
Illustrated by Chris Samnee
(Marvel Comics, 2011)

More fun stuff. In this volume, Thor fights Prince Namor (aka the Sub-Mariner) and Iron Man, and learns more about his Asgardian heritage. Backup features include reprints of old adventures from Journey Into Mystery #85 and 86, from 'way back in 1962(!) (Note: Unfortunately, I am told, Marvel apparently canceled this title already, so the eight issues in these two collections is all there is... at least for now. Pity. Because this book is a lot of fun! 'Nuff said.) (A)

Tintin -- see: bibliography

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