LIFE.com has published an amazing gallery of children in the '40s and '50s devouring comic books. And these nostalgic images underline the fact that kids pretty much don't do that anymore.
Michael Chabon's keynote speech at the 2004 Eisner Awards is full of wonderful turns of phrase and well-reasoned theories as to why the children of today don't read comics and how to fix it — and you should read it all — but the crux of it was this:
Children did not abandon comics; comics, in their drive to attain respect and artistic accomplishment, abandoned children. And for a long time we as lovers and partisans of comics were afraid, after so many long years of struggle and hard work and incremental gains, to pick up that old jar of greasy kid stuff again, and risk undoing it all. Comics have always been an arriviste art form, and all upstarts are to some degree ashamed of their beginnings. But frankly, I don't think that's what's going on in comics anymore.
Now, I think, we have simply lost the habit of telling stories to children. And how sad is that?