Cave Carson has an Interstellar Eye #6 cover by Michael Avon Oeming

Two years ago at Emerald City Comic Con, Gerard Way, writer of the Eisner-winning Umbrella Academy and former lead singer of My Chemical Romance, announced that he had partnered with DC Comics to begin a new imprint called Young Animal. With the tagline “comics for dangerous humans,” Way and his collaborators set out on a quest to introduce an offbeat strain of weirdness to DC’s publishing lineup. Today, however, Way and DC Comics announced that Young Animal’s mission is being put on hold for now.

Most of Young Animal’s current lineup of titles, which include Shade the Changing WomanCave Carson has an Interstellar EyeMother Panic: Gotham A.D., and the mini-series Eternity Girl, will be ending after their sixth issues this August.

In a statement exclusively provided to the Beat, Way said:

“I want to give everyone an update on Young Animal. In August, SHADE, CAVE CARSON, and MOTHER PANIC will end at issue 6 as we originally planned, alongside ETERNITY GIRL. It’s been an incredible run for each of them and I’m so thankful to all the writers and artists who began this journey with me, and who created such incredible stories.”

Young Animal found initial success in large part thanks to Way’s careful curation, attracting singular collaborators such as Shade’s Cecil Castellucci, Marley Zarcone, and Kelly Fitzpatrick; as well as Way’s Doom Patrol artist Nick Derington and colorist Tamra Bonvillain. It also recently began playing home to smart and introspective mini-series including the Mike and Lee Allred collaboration BUG!: The Adventures of Forager and Magdalene Visaggio’s and Sonny Liew’s Eternity Girl. These two works would likely have been considered a bit too esoteric for DC’s main comics lineup, but they felt right at home alongside the utter zaniness of Young Animal’s other titles.

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Eternity Girl #6 cover by Sonny Liew

Ultimately, Young Animal even ended up bringing its weirdness to the main DC Comics Universe through “Milk Wars.” This event saw Shade, Cave, Mother Panic, and the Doom Patrol join forces with heroes such as the Justice League of America and Wonder Woman to fight a powerful metafictional threat and save their respective stories.

Doom Patrol #12 cover by Nick Derington

However, for all of Young Animal’s successes, the imprint was never branded as a permanent fixture of the DC lineup. Since its inception, Young Animal has been referred to as a “pop up imprint,” riffing off the concept of boutique storefronts that temporary lease a space to sell a collection of curated goods for a limited time. And indeed, there have been some signs that it was getting close to time to reevaluate Young Animal’s stock. Most notably, the flagship Doom Patrol title has faced a number of production delays over its run, at one point becoming so delayed that future issues were removed from solicits, leading to fans fearing the series had been cancelled.

Even now, though, there are plans for Doom Patrol‘s return. Of this series in particular, Way said that “it’s also important to me that we get the Doom Patrol schedule back on track. We’ll be taking a few months break so we can get caught up.”

Way went on to indicate that Young Animal itself would return in the future, stating that “this is not the end of Young Animal. We’ll have more to news to share when we come back with Doom Patrol. In the meantime, enjoy the rest of these amazing series.”

No matter what the future of Young Animal ultimately looks like, it has already left a strong mark on DC Comics. Most notably, it has inspired other pop-up creator driven imprints such as Warren Ellis’ Wildstorm and the upcoming Brian Michael Bendis line of comics. Still though, I’m hoping that we see this particularly weird side of DC return sooner rather than later.

Shade the Changing Woman #6 cover by Becky Cloonan
Mother Panic: Gotham A.D. #5 cover by Tommy Lee Edwards

13 COMMENTS

  1. Well, that sucks. But I can’t say I’m surprised. I was hoping “Milk Wars” and the relaunched books would bring more attention and new life to the YA line, as all of the books are great reads that fill that weird niche quite well. But I guess that didn’t happen. I hope they all at least get to wrap up their current stories.

  2. Not surprised here either, especially since just about every post-Milk Wars follow-up was branded as a miniseries. I kind of loved these books. Eternity Girl especially has meant a lot to me. I’m glad that everything running is being given the opportunity to finish. Also glad that anything in the pipeline is going to be given plenty of lead time.

  3. Well that sucks, I’ve really enjoyed Mother Panic, Shade, and Eternity Girl. And in the case of the latter 2, 18 issues is a good run by todays standards. Hopefully this means DC gets Judy Houser, Cecil Castellucci and the rest of Shade’s art team more work. They are good creators that should get more work.

  4. I was under the impression that the trades were getting some traction the last couple of months. Kind of puts a damper on the whole idea of curated lines, I think. I still believe that in order to get succes with anything you have got to stick to it. Maybe I am old-fashioned.

  5. RIP Young Animal. I’ve enjoyed the line of books so far, but DC has always been clear that it was temporary to some degree. I would caution anyone from viewing the initiative as a failure though. It proved that a publisher can craft a niche corner of their publishing line if the premise is strong enough and creative talent is good enough. See how Wild Storm has been doing its thing at DC, Bendis has his thing coming up, The Sandman universe stuff is coming soon, Black Label will be its own tangent from the main DC Universe, IDW has their Black Crown imprint, Dark Horse has its Berger Books imprint, Boom! has multiple lines based on different tones and audiences. For the DC side of things, they had to eventually move on to new creative efforts because a publisher can’t keep publishing so many unique lines and titles. But Young Animal has given exposure to new concepts and unsung writers and artists. If DC is smart, people like Castellucci, Way, Vissagio, and Derrington will be promoted to higher profile books or brought to the next new imprints.

  6. “Way and his collaborators set out on a quest to introduce an offbeat strain of weirdness to DC’s publishing lineup.”

    The people who would like that probably don’t go to comic shops or buy floppies anymore.

    “I was under the impression that the trades were getting some traction the last couple of months.”

    The trade market was where this line’s audience was.

    “18 issues is a good run by todays standards.”

    And I remember when the Silver Surfer’s original 18-issue run was considered a crushing failure. How times have changed!

  7. I don’t think the Young Animal line was ever intended to be made of long running series. Honestly after the first series wrapped up after 12 issues, I figured all the series had finished a nice run and venture into strange storytelling. Then we we surprised with announcement of new series continuing from the previous ones. So coming back for 6 issue arcs isn’t really that bad, and hopefully some future stories might be told too.

  8. It’s sad but I look at the fact that we got the great issues that we got. I really liked Shade the Changing Girl. I’m glad Doom Patrol will return but I wonder…with them going to appear on the Teen Titans TV show, if this means DC is going to align them back to a more “normal” version.

  9. I kind of look at it like this. Why should I spend my money on comics that will be abandoned after a couple of issues? I know all current series were sollicited as mini-series, but folding the imprint is a whole different thing. How can a store recommend comics from an imprint that is going to quit?
    Well, I still got some issues of Eternity Girl to look forward to, at least…

  10. ‘It proved that a publisher can craft a niche corner of their publishing line if the premise is strong enough and creative talent is good enough.’
    Well, I think DC proved that 25/30 years ago with Vertigo. If you make good comics and market them well, they will sell, if you stick to it. No major Discovery here. But I agree that DC should keep all creators involved around, if possible. I think DC’s New Age of Heroes could use some more weirdness.

  11. I really wish Way would start incorporating more elements from Grant Morrison’s “Doom Patrol” run.

    There is no excuse for not doing a multi-issue epic arc with Way’s Doom Patrol fighting Mr. Nobody and The Brotherhood of Dada.

  12. I’m not really surprised. The bigger surprise is that Way won’t let go of Doom Patrol and hand it to someone else. Yes, it’s his baby but, he needs to understand that he’s human and can’t do so much tasks all at once.

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