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Today, we went live to bring you the latest news from the DC Comics Young Animals imprint panel. Panelists included co-publisher Jim Lee, imprint overseer Gerard Way, Vertigo Senior Editor Jamie S. Rich, and more.

Jim Lee came on stage to talk about his past with Gerard.  He mentioned that he and his wife were big fans of Gerard’s band, My Chemical Romance.  Gerard quipped that one of the best parts about being in MCR was that the backstage was always full of comics people.

Gerard said the line was inspired in a moment where he was thinking about writing music, but nothing came to him.  He decided it was time to start writing comics again.  He pitched Doom Patrol to Jim Lee, who was interested, but the moment Young Animals truly came into being was when Gerard pulled out an old encyclopedia of DC characters and started flipping through. He found characters like Shade and Cave Carson.

Then Gerard started coming up with new ideas.  Gerard mentions Jim and co-publisher Dan DiDio gave him the trust to do what he wanted to do fullheartedly.  He continued on to say that despite his punk background, he sees nothing wrong with working with a major label like DC because he also believes in creating art on a grander scale.


Gerard came up with the cover to Doom Patrol #1, which features a gyro, as an homage to pop artist Andy Warhol.  Gerard noted that pop artists such as Warhol and Roy Lichstenstein were big inspirations for Young Animals.  Jamie said that Doom Patrol’s odd solicitation and cover ruffled some feathers among the editorial office. Editor Mark Doyle was particularly confused by it.
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In addition to the four titles the boutique imprint is publishing, they are also considering creating a “blacklight comic” that experiments with different types of inks.  They brought on a special Shade the Changing Girl poster, drawn by Nick Derrington and colored for blacklight by Mark Chiarrello.  The panel room lights went dark and Jim shined a blacklight on the poster, causing it to glow effervescently.  They also showed off a Flex Mentallo beach towel which they are considering putting into production.  Gerard noted that if they made  blacklight comic, they’d want some “weird dudes” to write it.

Doom Patrol features old characters like robot man and negative man, but also many new Gerard Way originals.  Casey Brinke and Sam Reynolds are the lead characters for series and our windows into the weirdness of the world.  Gerard described this iteration of the property as “the best of the best”.  He read every previous run of Doom Patrol before working on his own, celebrating everyone’s continuties and then bringing something new to it all.

“One of the most important things about Young Animals is that it is a team effort.”  Cecil Castellucci and Kelly Fitzpatrick, the writer and colorist of Shade the Changing Girl took the stage to discuss their collaboration.  Cecil said that the team, including artist Marley Zarcone, has a secret DM on Twitter and a pinterest board where they exchange ideas for visualizing Shade’s narrative, which is based heavily around the concept of “madness.”

Shade is an alien who stole a Madness Coat from her home planet and escaped to Earth, possessing the body of a teenage girl.  Shade has to cope with her new body and the fact that the coat is creating physical manifestations of people’s madness.  Kelly’s colors have a psychedelic feel that channels the Milligan Shade run.  Gerard first noticed her talents for Young Animal when he read Neverboy, written by Shaun Simon.

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Jamie Rich noted that all the Young Animals books are written so that they are approachable by new readers, but here  many homages  he past that will satisfy more entrenched readers.

Gerard noted that the Young Animals books are in continuity with the DC Universe and one another to some extent, but they also exist in their own pocket universes as well.

Jon Rivera, co-writer of Cave Carson has a Cybernetic Eye took the stage to discuss the title he is working on with Gerard.  Jon has known Gerard since art school and they are having a lot of fun with Carson.  Cave is an expert in spelunking and Kung Fu, but they noted that it was not a comedy.  There’s humor but drama as well.  In issue 2, we find out how Cave got the cybernetic eye, but not why he got it.

Jody Houser, writer of Mother Panic, could not make it to the panel, but sent a message to the crowd saying that she is very excited for everyone to meet Violet Paige.  Mother Panic will be the first Gotham-based book specifically made for mature audiences.  She’s an heiress and anti-socialite who is addicted to cybernetic augmentation.

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Gerard showed off some Young Animal variant covers, including a Doom Patrol cover by Bryan Bolland.

Tom Scioli did a variant for Super Powers, the backup story included with Cave Carson has a Cybernetic Eye.

Gerard took pains to note that Young Animal has four main stories, but they are constantly considering other special projects. He mentioned the Psychadelic special again but also cheekily said he’d like to do a Bane Coloring Book. Doom Patrol clocks in at a full 24 pages per issue, but other stories will feature back ups.

Mother Panic will feature a backup called Gotham Radio written by Jim Kruger.

Gilbert Hernandez will do a special backup story to Shade the Changing Girl #1.

In conclusion, one fan dressed as Star Wars character Leia asked Gerard who his favorite hero was. His answer? Luke Skywalker (and he wasn’t making a joke!).

Thanks for joining us for this special liveblog of the DC Young Animals panel!

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