Little Girls and Comics

I was a fairly normal little girl.

I played with baby dolls and Barbie dolls. I even came up with an elaborate system of dismembering and organizing Barbie doll body parts so that I could "fashion" the perfect doll for whichever storyline Barbie found herself in that day. For example, an olympic gymnast can't have perma-bent arms. Back handsprings can't happen with bent arms. However, should Barbie decide to go dancing with Ken (obviously celebrating her gold medal win) she's gonna need bent arms for the waltz. It was all pretty obvious to me as a child, but my parents MIGHT have thought I was a sociopath.

Anyhow. I WAS normal.

My sister and I had a really awesome treehouse that my dad built. We played in it for hours on end and even camped out one night surviving a fairly vicious bat attack.

My sister and I went on make-believe adventures in 3 different secret locations in our neighborhood: "the circus" (a dilapidated park where we did back flips off of swings and were in constant danger of tetanus),  "paradise" (a wooded area with what I believe were large boulders and possibly a stream), and my personal favorite, "Lake Little" (a small field at the bottom or our hill where water collected after it rained. Yep, my sister and I would often picnic next to a puddle).

My sister and I even tied sheets together and climbed out of the third story window of our apartment building while my parents were throwing a dinner party...in a foreign country.
One of my favorite (and safer) past times was walking with my sister to the bookstore after school. She would peruse TIGER BEAT or TEEN BEAT or TEEN TIGER BEAT. I, however, loved ARCHIE comic books. I was also a fan of GARFIELD and often borrowed my sister's CALVIN & HOBBES.

So, I have a fondness for comics.

My husband. on the other hand, has a LOVE for comics. He loves them. He loves SCI-FI. He loves all things generally geek. And I love him for it.

He has introduced me to Joss Whedon (Firefly & Buffy & Dr. Horrible & Dollhouse & too many awesome accomplishments to really name), Star Trek: The Next Generation (although, my dad was a big fan when I was a kid and I would watch along...so, I really just rediscovered these when we got married), MMORPGs, amazing strategy board games that can last HOURS on end (I will never play Caylus again) and yes, comics.

{I am omitting the fact that my husband introduced me to my beloved Doctor. A mention of him will certainly just lead to the longest tangential aside in all of history and I kind of need to stay on track.}

In my adulted-ness, I realized how much fun these things were - almost as fun as dismembering Barbies. 

Looking back, I don't think I missed out on much as a little girl. I still had imaginary and fantastic adventures. But when we had kids - I wanted my daughters to enjoy these fantastic worlds and stories and imaginary play-lands that didn't necessarily involve Barbies or princesses. Barbies and princesses aren't all bad, but they can limit the imagination.

BUT, it's not like I'm going to introduce our children to Firefly or Dr. Who - space cowboys and time lords may be a bit out of their cognitive reach.

Enter Owly and "Mr. Kyle" at Gryphon Games & Comics here in town.

As soon as our big girl was able to sit down and hold a book and look through it, we walked to the comic shop. We perused some things and purchased a DC comic focused on the pets of superheroes...Super Pets. In the edition we purchased, Super Turtle rescues Streaky (Super Girl's cat) from the evil plottings of Ignatius Iguana (Lex Luther's pet lizard). It was good, but a little wordy for our (at that time) two-year-old.

On a subsequent visit to Gryphon our fave comic store employee and all-around-great-guy, Kyle, recommended Owly - a beautifully illustrated (no words) graphic novel featuring an owl, his pet worm, and his forest friends. It's a series. We own four of them. We're fans. Here's why:
  • It features animals...not people...so, you can avoid some of the more "adult" images that many adult comics and graphic novels contain. 
  • It focuses on basic kid stuff - facing your fears, making friends, good life lessons.
  • My kid can "read" it. Only once has my oldest daughter brought Owly to me and asked me to read it - every time since, she has sat down and narrated aloud to whoever was within earshot the story that the pictures were telling. It is an excellent pre-reading activity and gives my girl just a ton of confidence.
I write about this now because I'm listening to my sweet 3-year-old "reading" Owly to her one-year-old sister. It's pretty adorable. The phrase "And then suddenly," is being used about every other page.

Anyhow. It's a great series. I'm so glad that Andy Runton created it and that "Mr. Kyle" introduced us to it.

Thanks, Kyle. It sure beats teaching my girls how to dismember Barbies.

***I have not been paid or compensated in any way for this endorsement of 'Owly' or of Gryphon Games and Comics...or of Mr. Kyle. These are just all around great things, places, and people and I strongly encourage you to check them out. But don't check Kyle out...that would just be weird.

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