When David, one of the Fearless Leaders of this site reached out to me and asked, “Patrick, do you want to review a few DC Comics kids books?” I of course said yes, for two reasons. 1) I have two children, who I read to constantly, and my oldest son is obsessed with superheroes. Turns out, you can brainwash them anyway you want, and it’s not illegal. 2) I myself am still obsessed with superheroes, so I wanted to get my hands on them too.
Spoiler alert? They’re wonderful.
Few items to note – these are board books, so they’re good and durable. My youngest likes to chew on them, and they’ve survived that test.
They are geared for an audience around 3-6 I’d say, but they go surprisingly deep into lore for each of these characters, even lame ones like Hawkman. The Big Book of Superpowers has quite a few characters in it, some quite second string, but good to see a wide representation.
My son: “I can run as fast as Flash!” He’s totally lying. He’s got tiny legs.
Also, and I love this, they went with the late 70’s early 80’s version of all characters. See the Batmobile pictured below? That’s 100% Kenner Super Powers, as I still have one in my house. Sidenote: who the hell let Robin drive? he’s like 14. These incarnations of the heroes are all pretty genial folks–even Bats seems to be cracking smiles and old chumming it up.
The Super Heroes On the Go! book is geared for the younger audience, or early readers, with simple picture/word descriptions, and bringing the heroes down to a level that connects with kids – like riding in a car, or swimming, etc.
Uh, is someone stealing the invisible jet?
My son: “Can Superman run as fast as the Flash?” Me: No, because he’s terrible.
Is It Good?
My son: “he’s a baby flying a space ship!”
Yes. Absolutely. They’re great to pick up for a quick bedtime read, and they give a quick snapshot of either heroes out and about, or a deep dive into how they became who they are.
I’ll say this, and it’s my only negative piece of feedback.
My son and I have probably read about 300 kids books about Superman, Batman, etc, and there’s many a creative way to sort of gloss over the dramatic backstory of some of these characters. Batman had an “early tragedy” that led him to fight crime. Superman’s “planet was destroyed, but his adoptive parents…” etc.
The Big Book of Super Powers? To hell with that – Batman’s parents were KILLED.
Him: “Daddy, that’s blue Batman. I’m going to be him for Halloween.” Me: “I’ll start walking down dark alleys now buddy.”
Now, I’m no shrinking violet when it comes to the real world, so we don’t shelter them from that stuff, but I grew up on 60’s Batman and Super-Friends, and at no point did I realize Batman’s parents were the reason he was nuts. 1989’s Batman movie was the first time I think I found out, because the average Batman issue back that was far less about that than his rogues gallery.
On the plus side, the lil’ guy seems no worse for wear for knowing that Joe Chill brutally shot Thomas and Martha. He’s been roaming around the house as of late saying that Batman, Wolverine, Hellboy, and Hulk are all grumpy because they, “lost their parents.”
Me: “They lost them buddy?”
Him: “Yeah, that’s why they’re so grumpy” (Smart kid. Not even 3 years old! #blessed #proudpapa)
Me: “Huh. Do you know what lost means?”
Him: “Yeah I think they’re on an island.”
Me: “So you think they can find them again?”
Him: “I think so. He IS Batman.”
Me: “Good point buddy. Good point.”
“Maybe Dad can go check out Paradise Island…see if he can find Batman’s parents for you.”
Overall: Great premise, fun reads, simple and easy, and nothing that will get the kids too worked up. Well…one thing:
“What did the Bat-fingers say to the face?”
Honestly though, I really liked these quite a bit, and so did the boys. Grab them to read to your little ones if they’re Bat-obsessed like mine.