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 Woman, Cave Carson has an Interstellar Eye, Mother 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.
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.
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.