Acknowledging the importance of getting more young readers into their characters – and buoyed no doubt by the massive success of the DC Super Hero Girls franchise – DC officially announced not one but TWO new original graphic novels lines for young readers.
DC Ink is focused on young adult (YA) readers, while the DC Zoom line is focused on middle grade readers. Both lines will feature the top tier talent among kids authors, including multiple best-selling authors and such best-selling comics luminaries as Gene Luen Yang (in a Superman vs The Klan book no less!!!) and Mariko Tamaki.
DC’s interest in launching new a new line of kids comics isn’t exactly a secret: it was announced last May in a promotion release stating that Bobbie Chase would ass launching a kids line to her portfolio. The line’s lead editor, vp of content strategy Michele Wells, was talking openly about it at the last San Diego con.
However it was left to the NY Times to reveal details:
Bobbie Chase, a vice president at DC and the executive editor for the new imprints.
Though a few of the graphic novels will have creators who are already working in the comic book industry, the majority of the writers are a Who’s Who of popular novelists for young readers. They include Laurie Halse Anderson (“Speak”), Melissa de la Cruz (the Descendants series), Michael Northrop (“TombQuest”) and Ridley Pearson (the Kingdom Keepers series).
“Any initiative that will create material for 7- to 15-year-olds, I’m all for,” said Chuck Rozanski, the president of Mile High Comics, which has three comic stores in and near Denver. “That’s our biggest growth area in the store.”
Diane Nelson, who heads up both DC Entertainment and WB’s consumer products division, added in a statement president of DC Entertainment and president of Warner Bros. Consumer Products. “Superheroes are more popular than ever so it only makes sense to bring these DC characters to an entirely new generation of young readers. The first comic books created decades ago were for kids, and as the business evolved and matured, it became more focused on adult readers. DC Ink and DC Zoom present an exciting new opportunity to grow our publishing business and ensure beloved stories built around iconic characters like Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman are endeared as part of the fabric of childhood for years to come.”
Co-Publishers Dan DiDio and Jim Lee also jumped on:
“Two of the recent areas of growth in publishing include graphic novels and books for young readers – we’re bringing those formats together with DC Ink and DC Zoom. We’ve already experienced tremendous success with our DC Super Hero Girls graphic novels. The new DC Ink and DC Zoom slate, paired with a stellar author line-up, presents a major business growth opportunity and we couldn’t be more excited – we’re going big.”
Both lines will launch this fall. The DC Ink line launches with HARLEY QUINN: BREAKING GLASS by Mariko Tamaki (SUPERGIRL: BEING SUPER) with art by Steve Pugh, and MERA by Danielle Paige (DOROTHY MUST DIE series).
DC Zoom launches with DC SUPER HERO GIRLS: SEARCH FOR ATLANTIS from writer Shea Fontana and artist Yancey Labat.
The complete line-up as it stands:
- BATMAN: GOTHAM HIGH – Melissa de la Cruz (ALEX & ELIZA, BLUE BLOODS series, WITCHES OF EAST END series)
- BATMAN: NIGHTWALKER – THE GRAPHIC NOVEL – Marie Lu (LEGEND series)
- TEEN TITANS – Kami Garcia (BEAUTIFUL CREATURES series)
- UNDER THE MOON: A CATWOMAN TALE – Lauren Myracle (INTERNET GIRLS series, KISSING KATE)
- WONDER WOMAN: TEMPEST TOSSED – Laurie Halse Anderson (SPEAK and CHAINS)
Additional confirmed titles and authors for DC Zoom include:
- BATMAN TALES: ONCE UPON A CRIME – writer and artist: Derek Fridolfs, Dustin Nguyen (BATMAN: LI’L GOTHAM)
- BATMAN: OVERDRIVE – Shea Fontana (DC SUPER HERO GIRLS series)
- BLACK CANARY: IGNITE – Meg Cabot (THE PRINCESS DIARIES series)
- DEAR JUSTICE LEAGUE – Michael Northrop (TOMBQUEST series)
- GREEN LANTERN: LEGACY – Minh Lê (DRAWN TOGETHER)
- SUPER SONS – Ridley Pearson (KINGDOM KEEPERS series)
- SUPERMAN OF SMALLVILLE – writer and artist: Art Baltazar & Franco (TINY TITANS)
- SUPERMAN SMASHES THE KLAN – Gene Yang (AVATAR: THE LAST AIRBENDER series, NEW SUPER-MAN), will be released as periodicals first, then collected
In a press note, a DC spokesperson noted that this release is concentrating on writers as opposed to artists, thus the lack of art assignments in the list.
While, as noted, this project has been in the works for a year or more, it couldn’t’ be better timed. While there has long been resistance within most DM-centric comics companies to kids comics (because of the long stigma of comics as kid stuff), in a time of failing periodical sales, you’d have to be obtuse not to notice what’s working.
Specifically, DC Super Hero Girls, a consumer products initiative announced back in 2015 has upended the girls toys market and the graphic novels have sold 100,000 unts for DC. Even a hater would have to admit, this is a success worth copying.
Plus, how many 8 year olds know who Mera is now? After they read this graphic nvoel, they will and they’ll also be future consumers of DC’s filmed and maybe even adult comics content.
Also, Ink and Zoom have an absolutely stellar lineup of writers, most of whom have already successfully dabbled in the graphic novel market.
So, some good news for a change.
OH yeah one more thing c*m*csg*ate? Suck it.
If that sounds like a lineup heavy on heroines, there is a reason.
“If you look at readership in middle grade and Y.A. in general, you’ll see a swing on the side of female readers,” said Michele Wells, the vice president for content strategy at DC.
I’m told this is just the beginning of DC’s bombshell announcements for 2018. Stay tuned!
Heidi MacDonald is the founder and editor in chief of The Beat. In the past, she worked for Disney, DC Comics, Fox and Publishers Weekly. She can be heard regularly on the More To Come Podcast. She likes coffee, cats and noble struggle.