EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA


June 24, 2012

Family Matters: Reading superhero comic books won't hurt school work

We have a comic book reader. I don't mean once in a while but having to buy them with his allowance and any other money he can find. He likes the superhero comics. We are worried he won't be able to read good books if this keeps up for too long. We do try to keep track of what he is reading. We don't allow him to get bad ones. Do you know if this causes problems with school work or learning?

Your question brings back many memories, but the short answers are "no" and "I doubt it."

The kind of comics you mention must be harder to find than when I was an avid superhero reader. I do not see them in drug stores and news stands, at least not plentifully so. When I was a child, my parents asked the same question of a reading specialist. They were told, "Reading is reading. Let him do it." So, I never met a superhero I didn't like. Spiderman and Batman are still up there for fine movie fare. The comics used to cost 10 cents. An ice cream cone was 5 cents. For 15 cents you could have a party. I read several a week. When I graduated from college, they were in large bundles in the garage. Unfortunately, they were tossed in the trash as worthless. They would have been worth thousands!

Comics have changed. They are not only more expensive but a bit too sophisticated with artistic depictions of female and male pulchritude. Some have macabre and disturbing themes. I would not allow a youngster to buy them. The superhero is different as a staple depicting the better side of our nature.

By the way, the reading teacher was right. I usually have four or five books going at any one time with magazines thrown in. Reading has been at the center of my life for all these years.

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Dr. Larry Larsen is an Andover psychologist. If you would like to ask a question, or respond to one, you can email Dr. Larry Larsen at lrryllrsn@CS.com.

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