Most kids love comic books. I remember when I was a little girl, my dad used bring one home to me every day after he was finished working. I’m talking Richie Rich, Archie, Dennis the Menace… pretty much benign fare, and as humor is a MAJOR emphasis in our family (we’re talking Irish snark all over the place), the comics were usually funny ones. I didn’t read superheroes, too much, but I remember those being more serious, but nothing like today.
Move forward to 2010. Comics have grown up.
Not only that, but they have morphed into a genre known as the “graphic novel.” They’ve been around since the ’50’s actually, but the popularity of these has grown in the past 20 years or so. Lots of adults still read them, and I must confess… I’ve read a few, too. Guess what” They’re actually very well done in many instances.
So, while people my age might think, Feh… Comic books, I’m here to tell you, they have arrived! And young adults are the primary market they’re geared to.
Think Watchmen, V for Vendetta, and From Hell — all Alan Moore, who’s really the graphic novel go-by, and Batman: Arkam Asylum by Grant Morrison. All of Moore’s work mentioned above has been turned into film, and if you’ve seen any of them, you probably have a different opinion from when you started. It has heft — plot and characterization, not to mention the artwork. These are totally worth a read.
At the younger end of the young adult range, kids like comics, but they’re also into Japanese anime. Series like Ruroni Kenshin, Dragonball Z, Cowboy Bebop, Inuyasha, and on and on. Kids love this stuff and it starts around the time they become interested in Pokemon.
I remember going through all that with my daughter. For the longest time, she wanted to move to Japan after college and work in the field. Now that she’s 21, things are a lot different, though she still appreciates a good anime. 🙂
Kids throughout this age range are thinking a lot about the opposite sex already, too. Romance is important, especially if you’re training your reader-sights on girls. They want handsome young men to carry them away from the prison that is their parents’ house. Though you’re probably thinking, Wish I had it so bad, you can’t think like that. You have to feel the frustration of knowing absolutely everything and not being allowed to stay up past 11. It’s horrible!
Also think about relationships and group dynamics when writing for these kids. It’s the world they’re living in. They can’t drive, so they’re not completely independent yet. Other kids that they know form their world and it makes them very important. Peer influence is HUGE.
Another place to meet young adults is any fast food restaurant, of course. Just get a cup of coffee and sit in the booth. Listen to them.