I'm hoping there are a few geeky parents on this site. ;)

My son really likes the Scooby Doo and Batman: The Brave and the Bold TV shows, which he watches on Cartoon Network here in Sweden. We're currently on vacation in Sofia, Bulgaria, and as I was wandering along Slaveykov the other day, I picked him up an old Scooby Doo comic book from one of the many book stalls.

He was really excited with the book, and wanted to read it right away, so we sat down and started. He really liked the pictures, and asked a few questions about the stories (there were two, each about 15-20 pages). He also enjoyed asking me which panels we had already read.

Since he seems to be ready for comic books, I'd really like to introduce him to two of my favourites: Batman and the X-Men. My feeling is that the X-Men stories might be a little over his head at this point, however.

So my question is this: can anyone recommend a specific Batman or X-Men series that would be accessible to a four-year-old?

  • Its hard to answer when you don't tell us if your child can read on his own yet, and what reading level he's on..
    – J.J.
    Apr 23, 2011 at 21:06
  • Javid, he can't read by himself yet, as he just knows a few letters. He does "read" to himself or to his stuffed animals sometimes, though. He takes a book that he knows very well (one of the Doctor Seuss or Berenstain Bears ones) and retells the story whilst flipping the pages. Apr 25, 2011 at 4:34
  • I read the Spiderman series to my 4/5 year old. With me reading, I was able to do a little bit of 'parental editing' if I felt things were getting a little to PG-13. (My point being that if you are the one reading, you have some control on how to best make it 'accessible')
    – DA01
    Jan 22, 2012 at 23:10

7 Answers 7


The recent set of Power Pack minis from Marvel are just wonderful. They've got bright happy pictures, good morals, are aimed smack-bang at the All Ages market, so that you'll enjoy reading them with him, but he'll still understand and enjoy them.

Also, as per your specific request: X-Men!

  • Very cool! That X-Men one is getting ordered for his next birthday! Jan 25, 2012 at 8:29
  • I cannot recommend the "Thor and the Warriors Four" one enough. Toddler of Thunder and Afro'd Beta-Ray Bill. Also, any scene with Katie Power and Beta Ray Bill.
    – deworde
    Jan 25, 2012 at 11:29

I don't know about Batman or X-Men specifically, but my very-nearly-4 year old loves Spider-Man and really enjoys the Marvel Adventures Spider-Man series.

The Marvel Adventures series is specifically aimed at younger audiences and also includes Avengers, Fantastic Four, Iron Man and Hulk titles.

You can get hold of 'Digests' which collate the comics four issues at a time.

  • I think that Marvel Adventures looks pretty good, from a cursory review on Amazon. Spiderman is not as cool as Batman or the X-Men, but he'll do in a pinch. ;) Apr 25, 2011 at 4:50

Some of the concerns of X-men and Batman are likely beyond a four year old, though a parent reading stories they love, tends to just plain work for a lot of reasons.

If I remember right, our kids loved the some of the Disney "Huey, Dewey, and Louie" where they were going on adventures. Crime solving. Dora the explorer might also be appropriate. There are similar issues as with X-men and Batman, just in a possibly more relatable manner

  • He's a big fan of Dora the Explorer and Diego the Animal Rescuer. That's funny, now every time I look at Diego, I'm going to see the young Latino Bruce Wayne. ;) Apr 25, 2011 at 4:42

My son loves comics too, though I admit I got him started. There are some early readers for both DC and Marvel, there is Marvel's Super Hero Squad that is a kids version of the Marvel Universe mostly centered on the Avengers but there are many other heroes and villains in it as well. We got the I Can Read Series (the books come at Level 1-3) that has kid friendly versions of DC and Marvel as well as Owly, which is a graphic novel told entirely in pictures. Owly helped me get him to look at pictures and try to find the story, he didn't like it at first but a year later I find the books all over the house. Although my sons favorites are Iron Man and Spiderman I have had good luck finding age appropriate material for him.

Batman and X-men might be a little advanced for a four year old, though if you can find a story you like and spend time reading that can hardly be lost, though I always found the X-men to get more literal and not kid friendly. I think DC and Marvel are making some versions of their titles more kid-centric to bring in young readers so you might be able to find something at a comic ship, and ask them what might be available.


This is a great question!.As I am a comic book geek and my 5 year old son has been into Marvel's Superhero Squad series since he was 4. Its good to watch, and they provide kid-friendly books.
DC also has "geared for children" Batman books.

As far as the classic comic book format which, in many cases, is largely graphics based, but has condensed text in speech bubbles, I have found that my son finds it hard to follow the story, and gets bored. I haven't found a good "comic-book" format for my son, which has high graphics panel-based content, with a simple enough, slow-enough paced format, so just stay with the single story, low text-per page books that are geared for his age-group and you will be fine.

Aside: One thing to be aware of is the presence of hitting and smashing, which little boys of that age are prone to acting out. I told my son, from very early on, that what happens in the comic book, stays in the comic book, and if you want to act out a scene, you do "pretend hitting".

The Series of books I was talking about above is called DC Super Friends and here is an example of it I found on amazon. But if you google for DC Super Friends you should find tons. The graphics are kid friendly and the stories are simple and enjoyable.

  • I'll check out the Superhero Squad, that sounds ideal. Do you have any idea what DC's version is called? (I'm more of a Marvel guy myself, but I make an exception for Batman and certain Superman books, and my son already likes Batman.) Apr 25, 2011 at 4:37
  • WRT the hitting: that's a good point. He already watches a few cartoons with some violence (e.g. Batman: TBatB and Ben 10), but he tends to copy the acrobatics and gadget manipulation more than the punching. He does know that hitting other people is not OK, so I'm not worried about that aspect of comics. Apr 25, 2011 at 4:40

Here's a page on Scholastic oriented towards this, with a number of links. Darkhorse has released a number of classic children's comics such as Herbie. The New Brighton Archeological Society looks good, if dark.


One possibility from the independent side are Bone by Jeff Smith. Originally published in black and white, Scholastic has published a full-color version. It does get darker and grimmer near the end. Another might be Usagi Yojimbo from Stan Sakai. Another black-and-white, it has beautifully clear artwork and storytelling.

I was a DC girl myself starting in the early 1970s and didn't start reading Marvel until the early 1980s. Perhaps try some older Shazam! or Batman and Robin collections.

  • "Usagi Yojimbo" is a fantastic series of books! I actually attended a talk by Stan Sakai back in university--he's a lovely man. Jan 25, 2012 at 8:28

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