Former DC Comics intern Gerard Way has just been given his very own imprint at the publisher. That’s what we call working your way up in the world. Of course, he did make a brief, generation-defining stop as frontman of My Chemical Romance along the way…
Way, an Eisner Award winner for his Dark Horse series Umbrella Academy who studied animation at SVA, crashed the DC All Access panel to announce the “Young Animal” imprint, with the “Comics for Dangerous People” tagline, which is a separate mature content line, and not under Vertigo as some had speculated. The lineup includes Doom Patrol, Shade the Changing Girl, Cave Carson Has A Cybernetic Eye, based on an old DC character, and Mother Panic, a brand new character.
Just to give some initial impressions, this is a pretty good “remix” of what got Vertigo started back in the day, going so far as to feature two of the titles that put Vertigo on the Map (Grant Morrison’s Doom Patrol and Peter Milligan’s Chade The Changing Man.) The idea of revamping an old DC character with modern sensibilities (Cave Carson) is also straight from the Vertigo playbook, and Mother Panic is also much in the spirit of Vertigo’s edgy take. However, the Young Animal line will be in DCU continuity, something that Vertigo broke away from pretty soon.
The creative teams are also fresh to DC, for a new contemporary look. The proof will be in the pudding, of course, but this looks promising.
DOOM PATROL – This September, in the spirit of Grant Morrison’s legendary run on the series, along with other classic incarnations of the characters, writer Gerard Way and artist Nick Derington will put their unique stamp on the world’s strangest heroes taking on the universe’s strangest villains.
Way and Becky Cloonan had a Doom Patrol pitch that never made it into the game; presumably this is a revamp of that.
SHADE, THE CHANGING GIRL – An alien takes over the body of a 16-year-old bully and must face the challenges of being a stranger in a foreign land, plus the consequences of a life she didn’t live. Star Wars’ Moving Target writer Cecil Castellucci and artist Marley Zarcone explore themes of madness, alienation, and the bizarre in this sci-fi thriller, with covers by Becky Cloonan. The new series hits shelves in October.
CAVE CARSON HAS A CYBERNETIC EYE – Writers Gerard Way and Jon Rivera, along with artist Michael Avon Oeming take readers on a strange adventure with DC Comics’ Silver Age character Cave Carson, his cybernetic eye and his college–age daughter as they travel to dark places deep in the earth and mind. Catch this new series in October.
MOTHER PANIC – Meet Violet Paige, a celebrity heiress by day and brutal vigilante by night as she takes on the underbelly of Gotham City’s high society. Hitting shelves in November, the series is written by Gerard Way and Jody Houser with art by Tommy Lee Edwards.
Way’s debut interview is in Rolling Stone, and he had this to say:
My take is a brand-new take. I would say, to me- it feels like a cross between, kind of the super strange things that were going on around the time of Grant Morrison and Rachel Pollack, and then it has a lot of the spirit of the original series from the Sixties. It also has this indie kind of feel like Love and Rockets. Love and Rockets is a big influence. My take’s very different, and I think I owe that to readers of Doom Patrol. I think if I came in and just did fan fiction of something then that would be no good. Aside from that, I’m a completely different writer than Grant. He’s my hero and he’s my mentor, but I can’t go near what he did. Like, it’s so great and it’s so intellectual. There’s a certain way he wrote that comic that I can’t do, so I’m not going to.
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.