Would you take your children to a superhero movie? This was my thought while settling in recently to watch Superman fly across the screen in Man of Steel. The theater was full of children – small children. At first, I thought it was strange and rather disturbing to see so many young kids in a theater at 10 p.m., getting ready to watch 2.5 hours of computer-made, PG-13 rated destruction.
But then I thought about my library. In the past year, we started purchasing superhero early readers. They were a hit from the moment we introduced them. Circulation went up even higher when we bought additional copies and cataloged them together under F5 Learn Super – now they are rarely, if ever, checked in. And if our Learn to Readers, ages 4-7, are so in love with comic book characters, as I was myself when I was a kid, is it really so surprising that some of their parents are taking them to see the superhero movies?
In addition the early readers, we also carry Marvel Kids Graphic Novels, as well as the picture-bookization of some Marvel characters by Thomas Rich. These are also rarely checked in. If kids want to read about their favorite heroes in graphic novel, early reader, and picture book form, we have to expect them to want to see the movies their heroes are appearing in. Comic book movies are made to appeal to the kid inside adult fans. Should parents think twice about showing the films to their kids? Should libraries consider screening them for younger fans?
I don’t know the answer to these questions. But I do know that I need to purchase some more Superman books.