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Holy comic books, Batman! Olympia comic store, museum team up for family-friendly day

The tides are changing for comic book enthusiasts, said Frank Hussey of Danger Room Comics. Adults used to shy away from urging children to read the brightly-colored books.

But with an influx of kid-friendly reading material, that mentality is falling by the wayside.

“Librarians, teachers and parents, they all used to be anti-comic,” Hussey said. “But what we’re seeing now is that they’re all for them. Anything that will get a kid interested in reading.”

That’s what brought the downtown Olympia comic store and the Hands On Children’s Museum together Saturday. The organizations teamed up for a comic-themed day, complete with comic book authors, local illustrators and, of course, arts and crafts.

Four-year-old twins Isaac and Isaiah Rock of Tumwater visited the museum specifically for the event. Their dad, Byron Rock, said superheroes are a big deal in their house. The boys love the animated movie “The Incredibles” and the Public Broadcasting Service show “Super Why.”

“We’re all superhero, all the time,” Rock said. “That’s why we’re here today.”

The family decorated fabric superhero capes together, using a “Super Why” motif.

The event also offered an advice booth for parents whose children are interested in comics. Hussey ran the booth, recommending books that are suitable for all ages and nearly guaranteed to attract even the most reluctant readers.

One of them is Little Lulu, a series of comics written in the 1950s. Hussey said the books were ahead of their time and still appealing to young reader.

“It’s at least protofeminist,” Hussey said. “Which is a big step for something written back then.”

He also recommends the Bone series, illustrated in the style of the old Pogo comic strips.

Victoria Jamieson, the Portland-based author of the child-friendly graphic novel “Roller Girl,” was scheduled to speak at the event during the afternoon. Casey Bruce, of Danger Room Comics, said the book is fun and exciting, and appealing to nearly everyone.

“I enjoyed it and I’m a 35-year-old man,” Bruce said. “It wasn’t really written for me.”

But he said that’s the point: comics can be irresistible. And a good comic is something that families can share.

That’s why the Hands On Children’s Museum welcomed Bruce’s idea for the event, said Adrienne Testa, visitor engagement coordinator for the museum.

“We love having events that appeal to whole families,” Testa said. “And comics are perfect for that.”

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