My youngest son has been obsessed with a show called Spidey and his Amazing Friends for a good while now. If you're unaware of it, it's basically a Spider-man show aimed at audiences too young to read or watch the films.
Recently, Disney+ also dropped a Star Wars show called Young Jedi Adventures. It's aimed at the same age group with many visual similarities, just set in different universes. Both are very colourful, have very cartoony, cute characters and episodes are short with pretty basic plots.
Despite my concern about my kids getting too addicted to watching stuff on streaming services, I can't help but notice the genius of shows like these.
Not long ago, it occurred to me, my youngest son now knew all the popular Spider-man variants (Peter Parker, Miles Morales & Gwen Stacey), other Marvel heroes such as Iron-Man, Hulk, Ms Marvel as well as the most well-known Spider-man villains: Green Goblin, Dr Octopus, Rhino, Sandman etc. Young Jedi Adventures features new characters but drops in familiar ones, such as Yoda.
He knows all these characters before he can even read!
Clearly, Disney is playing the long-game with these shows. They know that if they hook them in now, they'll make fans of these franchises for life.
As a parent, I'm also playing a bit of a long-game. My son is already loves flicking through the few Spider-Man comics I own so my hope is that his interest in these characters have a knock-on effect to him wanting to read.
If that turns out to be the case in a couple of years, it's a win-win in my opinion.