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Alan Kistler is a self-styled comics historian who has written for various major comics news websites and been interviewed about comics by CNN, NPR, and others. His website contains an archive of his articles, including a series of guides meant to gently break new readers into the 40- to 70-year histories of various major comics characters, universes, and even fashion.
Heritage Auctions is a major collectibles auctioneer, and their expertise makes their reference section a wealth of information. Of particular note is the glossary of comics terms, which will help beginners learn some of the commonly used jargon within the comics community.
The Internet Public Library is run by a community of librarians and information professionals dedicated to providing high-quality research assistance and scholarly resources for free online. Their “For Teens” section includes a page on graphic novels, which includes not only great web resources for comics and graphic novels, but also good synopses on the history of graphic novels, manga (Japanese comics), and other comics-related subjects.
For parents who may want to introduce their children to comics but aren't quite sure where to start, the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund (CBLDF) has put together a great short comic on the benefits of comics for early and limited readers, how to read comics, and resources for finding excellent comics for young readers. Parents can educate themselves or, since it is a comic itself, read it together with kids to introduce them to the experience of reading comics.