Oh, there are so many ways to use cartoons or comics with kids! You can informally teach, or tie in lessons, with "A History of Sequential Art From Cave Painting to Spider-Man" at Comic Art & Graffix Gallery's online museum (http://www.comic-art.com/mus-gal.htm).
After that, be sure to visit the Digital Comic Museum (http://digitalcomicmuseum.com/) to download free, public domain comics from the golden age of comics. Not only is this a rich resource for free comic books (perfect for reluctant readers), but the downloaded comics can be studied for their art and story lines.
And finally, let your inner (or your child's inner) artist and story teller come alive at Marvel Comic's free "Create Your Own Comic" (http://superherosquad.marvel.com/create_your_own_comic) page. Here you can create a strip or a whole book that can be created online then printed. The possibilities here are endless! Aside from entertaining bored kids between classes or home for the holidays, imagine an assignment where they have to tell about the founding of Jamestown in comic book form? Wow...the mind reels with the possibilities!