The first question I asked was what comics the panelists had enjoyed as kids and think smart kids would still like today. Pretty much everyone in the room praised Bill Watterson’s Calvin and Hobbes. Beyond that, our experts singled out:
- The early Muppet comics. (Apparently the Muppets strip running in newspapers from 1981-86, with occasional supplements in Muppet Magazine.)
- René Goscinny and Albert Uderzo, Asterix.
- Hergé, Tintin.
- Gary Larson, The Far Side.
- Ed Emberley, The Wizard of Op (Out of print, but sample here).
Near the end of the discussion, I asked what titles people would name as recommendations for kids now, particularly in the upcoming gift-giving season.
- Scott Chantler, Three Thieves series (Tower of Treasure and The Sign of the Black Rock) and Two Generals.
- Matt Phelan’s nonfiction Around the World.
- Shaun Tan’s wordless masterpiece The Arrival.
- George O’Connor’s Olympians series.
- Adventures in Cartooning by James Sturm, Andrew Arnold, and Alexis Frederick-Frost.
- John Allison, Bad Machinery webcomic.
- Gareth Hinds’s adaptations of classic western literature.
- Jon Porcellino, Thoreau at Walden.
- Tove Jansson, Moomin comics from the 1950s.
Colleen AF Venable:
- Chris Giarusso, Mini-Marvels series. (At this point the moderator butted in to praise Giarusso’s G-Man as well.)
- Jason Shiga, Meanwhile.
- Jarrett J. Krosoczka, Lunch Lady series.
- Kazu Kibuishi, Amulet.
- Many of the TOON Books for beginning readers.
- Sara Varon, Robot Dreams.
- Gene Luen Yang, American Born Chinese.
- Emmanuel Guibert, Alan’s War: The Memories of G.I. Alan Cope and The Photographer.
- Bryan Talbot, The Tale of One Bad Rat.
- Nearly anything by Roger Langridge, such as Snarked!, Thor the Mighty Avenger, and The Muppet Show series.
- Dave Roman, Astronaut Elementary webcomic.
- Takako Shimura, Wandering Son manga.