For parents who know a little about me but don’t really know who I am, the conversation starts something like this: “My [son/daughter] tells me that your daughter is one of the best readers in class. She’s always reading… I also heard that you were really into… comic books, superheroes, and things like that. Is this true?” I proudly proclaim that comic books were instrumental in my becoming a voracious reader, and that I used comics and graphic novels to instill in my daughter and intense love of reading, creativity, and fantasy world-building. I explain that since reading comics and YA fantasy/adventure books, my daughter’s imagination is incredibly expansive and that her being able to make-believe is a value that I and her mother share.
They are usually intrigued by now.
They then tell me how their child doesn’t like reading and that they are on screens “entirely too much.”
“Comics and other geek things aren’t for everyone. You have to find what works for your child. Put e-books on their devices and see what happens.” With white parents, the conversation stalls out. Not sure why.
But with POC parents, the conversation becomes much more intense. I talk to them about gender and racial representation in comics. I share with them that it was my daughter seeing people who looked like her, her parents, her family and her friends in comics that was directly responsible for being the reading machine she is. This brings me to my favorite book on the market, Goldie Vance.
Boom! Studios’ imprint Boom! Box puts out some of the best work on the market. From Lumberjanes to The Midas Flesh they have yet to have a miss. But they have outdone themselves with Vance. It is an astonishing book.
Hope Larson and Brittney Williams have made a book for the ages. The four issues mini-series (kills me that it isn’t ongoing) takes place in an idealized 1960’s, at a Florida resort, Crossed Palms, that Marigold “Goldie” Vance’s father manages.
Her dream is to be the in-house detective. Goldie is mischievous, curious, quick-witted, and has a knack for seeing and making connections, all the skills a burgeoning detective needs.
Having the story take place at the resort and the surrounding environs gives the book a depth and familiarity lacking in many books. It grounds the story by being so intimate with the world-building.
I won’t spoil the story for you, as you need to read it for yourself. But I will say that these first three issues are the most comic’s fun I’ve had in years.
I fully endorse this series. But I doubly endorse it for POC parents of sons and/or daughters or whatever gender they choose, who are trying to find a way to introduce comics to their children, but have found it difficult to find any decent gender or racial representation. Hell, this series just might make comic fans out of the whole family.
And if you don’t think representation matters, take a look at this:
I love this book. My eight-year-old daughter loves this book. Her exact words: “Daddy. I love Goldie so much. People would be stupid not to turn her into a cartoon like that Tintin movie we saw.”