Later in life, when our son was unwell, in addition to his usual comic, I’d pop out and get him an extra one from the local newsagent as a treat, so when my little granddaughter, three years old, was unwell recently, I thought I’d get her one – she loves drawing and is also showing a lot of interest in reading. However, when I had a look at what was on offer I was really taken aback. Every single comic was not only wrapped in plastic but also had a plastic toy attached. When I was a kid, you’d get the very rare free gift with a comic, maybe once a year, and it was usually stuck on the front with a bit of glue. If you’re the right age, you’ll remember the kind of thing: a little Princess ring, or a paper device that made a bang when you gripped it and threw it forward.
In this time of crisis, when children worldwide are taking to the streets to demand climate action, right now, calling for us to reduce the impact of human over-consumption on our planet, and when David Attenborough and eminent scientists have laid out the devastating reality of the irreparable damage already done to planet Earth, and the legacy of our wasteful civilisation, bequeathed to our children and any future generations to deal with, it’s hard to believe that publishers of children’s comics can be so blind to all this that they are producing further mountains of plastic to be, eventually, tipped into the sea or landfill sites.
Boycotts can be very effective. May I suggest to all those who care enough, that you take the small steps of not only boycotting children’s comics until this practice is stopped, but also letting the publishers and retail outlets know of the action you’ve taken. In the meantime, you could go to the public library every week and get out a book (they really need our support), or if you can’t access a library, buy a second-hand children’s book once a week from a charity shop?