Fans of the wild and strange, rejoice! Today, DC Comics announced the return of Young Animal, a pop up imprint curated by Gerard Way. Originally launched in 2016, Young Animal went on hiatus about a year ago after producing four regular series and three miniseries. Beginning this July, however, the lights are turning back on at the circus as Young Animal births the continuation of Gerard Way’s and Nick Derington’s run on Doom Patrol as well as two new series: Collapser and Far Sector.
In its original incarnation, Young Animal played host to a swath of strange and vividly imaginative stories such as Shade the Changing Girl and Cave Carson Has a Cybernetic Eye. The line made a name for itself by revitalizing and modernizing little-known elements and characters of the DC Universe in fresh and often slightly esoteric ways. It allowed creators on series such as Bug: The Adventures of Forager and Eternity Girl to wax philosophical in the same breath as Mother Panic punching her way through an even more visceral Gotham City than we’re used to. At one point, the line even revamped itself and crossed into the DC Universe proper, fighting warped versions of the Trinity for the fate of all stories. The overall result was a line that felt like nothing else in the DC publishing stable, putting out books that were singularly weird to a fault, but often had something quite poignant to say.
Formerly best known as the lead singer of My Chemical Romance, Way has blossomed as a comics creator in the years since leaving the band. The Umbrella Academy, a Dark Horse series co-created by Way and Gabriel Ba during the MCR years, was recently adapted as a show by Netflix and released to rave reviews. His work alongside Nick Derington on the previous incarnation of Young Animal’s Doom Patrol was critically lauded as well. And this particular property recently received a major boost thanks to the DC Universe’s streaming series focused on the ragtag team. In multiple ways, now feels like the perfect time for Way to relaunch Young Animal on the back of his well-earned creative wave. Of Young Animal’s return, Way said:
“We are thrilled to revitalize DOOM PATROL, and to present both COLLAPSER and FAR SECTOR, two books that push the medium of comics and their respective genres through uncharted territory. Readers can expect everything from high doses of cosmic weirdness and positivity, to deep examinations of anxiety and emotions while wielding immense power, to sci-fi explorations of authority and control and what it means to be a guardian while a world hangs in delicate balance. More fantastic comics outside the norm, as only DC’s Young Animal can do.”
Leading the new lineup of Young Animal books is Doom Patrol: Weight of the Worlds. Featuring a new subtitle, this book will be a continuation of the original Doom Patrol story that Gerard Way began in the first incarnation of his pop up imprint. The book will continue to be co-written by Way and Jeremy Lambert. Derington will continue to contribute covers to Weight of the Worlds, but DC confirmed that there were no plans for the artist to return to interiors on this continuation of the series. Instead, Weight of the Worlds will feature an ever-changing stable of artists, beginning with James Harvey and followed by Doc Shaner, Nick Pitarra, and Becky Cloonan. Harvey will illustrate the first two issues of Weight of the Worlds, the first of which comes out on July 3rd, to be followed with the other named collaborators producing one issue each at this time. According to the solicit, below, they will be followed by yet “more” artists:
DOOM PATROL: WEIGHT OF THE WORLDS
Written by: Gerard Way and Jeremy Lambert
Art by: James Harvey followed by Doc Shaner, Nick Pitarra, Becky Cloonan and more
Series debut: July 3, 2019
Gerard Way and the World’s Strangest Super Heroes return in an all-new series that takes them beyond the borders of time and space! The Doom Patrol will go on an epic road trip around the solar system, facing off against the unusual and bizarre including the fanatical fitness fiends of planet Orbius and the Marathon Eternal. Big changes are coming for these unusual heroes, including Robotman coming to terms with his new life as a human.
Secondly, we’ve got the Way brothers reunion that My Chemical Romance fans have been dreaming about for years. Gerard’s brother Mikey Way will be making his comics series debut on Collapser. Co-written by Mikey and Shaun Simon, who previously co-wrote The True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys comic with Gerard, Collapser follows a “wannabe DJ” named Liam James. James suffers from “crippling anxiety,” but one day finds himself blessed with incredible powers after a black hole arrives in his mail. However, with these great powers comes a great conflict as well. Collapser will feature regular series art by Ilias Kyriazis (Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency, Secret Identities) and will begin publication on July 17th, 2019, per the solicit below:
Written by: Mikey Way and Shaun Simon
Art by: Ilias Kyriazis
Series debut: July 17, 2019
Liam James is a wannabe DJ whose life goals are almost completely dashed by his crippling anxiety—until a package arrives in the mail containing a black hole that gives him amazing powers and draws him into a cosmic conflict far beyond anything he’d ever imagined. But Liam will discover that when it comes to life, love, mental health and superhero responsibilities, there’s no such thing as a quick fix, and that power comes with a cost.
Contrary to what one might think– Collapser won’t be Mikey’s first comic. He worked on a short Scarecrow story for DC’s 2008 Halloween anthology with Mateus and Chris Peter. That story, “The Ballad of Jonathan Crane,” was recently reprinted in 2018’s Swamp Thing’s Halloween Horror Giant #1, distributed in Walmart stores.
Finally, later this year, multiple Hugo-award-winning writer N.K. Jemisin (Inheritance Trilogy, Broken Earth) will make her comics debut with Far Sector. Jemisin is currently one of the most prominent names in all of sci-fi/fantasy writing, pulling off the unprecedented feat of winning the Hugo Award for Best Novel three consecutive years, from 2016 to 2018. Working alongside Jamal Campbell, who is currently the artist on Wonder Comics’ Naomi, Jemisin introduces us to a new Green Lantern: Sojourner “Jo” Mullein. Jo’s been assigned to protect the City Enduring, “a massive metropolis of 20 billion people” where peace has been maintained for centuries because the people have been stripped of all their feelings. However, as the full description below indicates, these long years of calm are about to end:
Written by: N.K. Jemisin
Art by: Jamal Campbell
Series debut: 2019
Newly chosen Green Lantern Sojourner “Jo” Mullein has been protecting the City Enduring, a massive metropolis of 20 billion people, for the past six months. The City has maintained peace for over 500 years by stripping its citizens of their ability to feel. As a result, violent crime is virtually unheard of, and murder is nonexistent.
But that’s all about to change.
This new series introduces a dizzying game of politics and philosophies as Jo discovers a brewing revolution in the City, aided and abetted by some of its most powerful citizens.
If you’re someone who likes seeing Lanterns thrown into complex and painful political situations a la Omega Men (2016), Far Sector may just be the book for you. I know I’ll certainly need a political saga to fill my time with between the end of Game of Thrones and the start of Democratic Primary debates.
As of this announcement, all three books in the new Young Animal line are slated for monthly publication. Notably, however, the previous incarnation of Young Animal– Doom Patrol in particular– was often beset with scheduling delays. Hopefully, however, in the many months since the latest Doom Patrol issue came out and the original Young Animal books ended, these creatives will have had time to work on their respective books in a way that prevents such issues in the future.
That said, ultimately, it’s simply exciting to have Young Animal back. The original lineup of titles from the imprint produced some of my favorite DC comics in recent years– Shade the Changing Girl/Woman in particular– and it offers a unique space to tell offbeat and topical stories with DC’s vast collection of concepts and characters that you couldn’t see anywhere else in the line– stories that are subversive, poignant, or just plain strange. It is, in short, an imprint for “dangerous humans.”
Alex is the New Media Editor of the Comics Beat. He is also a freelance comics editor with previous credits at First Second, Top Cow, and Papercutz. He primarily covers DC Comics and Magic: the Gathering.