ink_zoom_logosAcknowledging the importance of getting more young readers into their characters – and buoyed no doubt by the massive success of the DC Super Hero Girls franchise – DC officially announced not one but TWO new original graphic novels lines for young readers.

DC Ink is focused on young adult (YA) readers, while the DC Zoom line is focused on middle grade readers. Both lines will feature the top tier talent among kids authors, including multiple best-selling authors and such best-selling comics luminaries as Gene Luen Yang (in a Superman vs The Klan book no less!!!) and Mariko Tamaki.

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Art not credited

DC’s interest in launching new a new line of kids comics isn’t exactly a secret: it was announced last May in a promotion release stating that Bobbie Chase would ass launching a kids line to her portfolio. The line’s lead editor, vp of content strategy Michele Wells, was talking openly about it at the last San Diego con.

However it was left to the NY Times to reveal details:

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Bobbie Chase, a vice president at DC and the executive editor for the new imprints.

Though a few of the graphic novels will have creators who are already working in the comic book industry, the majority of the writers are a Who’s Who of popular novelists for young readers. They include Laurie Halse Anderson (“Speak”), Melissa de la Cruz (the Descendants series), Michael Northrop (“TombQuest”) and Ridley Pearson (the Kingdom Keepers series).

“Any initiative that will create material for 7- to 15-year-olds, I’m all for,” said Chuck Rozanski, the president of Mile High Comics, which has three comic stores in and near Denver. “That’s our biggest growth area in the store.”

 

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Art by Mayo “Sen” Naito

Diane Nelson, who heads up both DC Entertainment and WB’s consumer products division, added  in a statement president of DC Entertainment and president of Warner Bros. Consumer Products. “Superheroes are more popular than ever so it only makes sense to bring these DC characters to an entirely new generation of young readers. The first comic books created decades ago were for kids, and as the business evolved and matured, it became more focused on adult readers. DC Ink and DC Zoom present an exciting new opportunity to grow our publishing business and ensure beloved stories built around iconic characters like Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman are endeared as part of the fabric of childhood for years to come.”

 Co-Publishers Dan DiDio and Jim Lee also jumped on:

“Two of the recent areas of growth in publishing include graphic novels and books for young readers – we’re bringing those formats together with DC Ink and DC Zoom. We’ve already experienced tremendous success with our DC Super Hero Girls graphic novels. The new DC Ink and DC Zoom slate, paired with a stellar author line-up, presents a major business growth opportunity and we couldn’t be more excited – we’re going big.”

Both lines will launch this fall. The DC Ink line launches with HARLEY QUINN: BREAKING GLASS by Mariko Tamaki (SUPERGIRL: BEING SUPER) with art by Steve Pugh, and MERA by Danielle Paige (DOROTHY MUST DIE series).

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Art by Gabriel Piccolo

DC Zoom launches with  DC SUPER HERO GIRLS: SEARCH FOR ATLANTIS from writer Shea Fontana and artist Yancey Labat.

The complete line-up as it stands:

  • BATMAN: GOTHAM HIGH – Melissa de la Cruz (ALEX & ELIZA, BLUE BLOODS series, WITCHES OF EAST END series)
  • BATMAN: NIGHTWALKER – THE GRAPHIC NOVEL – Marie Lu (LEGEND series)
  • TEEN TITANS – Kami Garcia (BEAUTIFUL CREATURES series)
  • UNDER THE MOON: A CATWOMAN TALE – Lauren Myracle (INTERNET GIRLS series, KISSING KATE)
  • WONDER WOMAN: TEMPEST TOSSED – Laurie Halse Anderson (SPEAK and CHAINS)

Additional confirmed titles and authors for DC Zoom include:

  • BATMAN TALES: ONCE UPON A CRIME – writer and artist: Derek Fridolfs, Dustin Nguyen (BATMAN: LI’L GOTHAM)
  • BATMAN: OVERDRIVE – Shea Fontana (DC SUPER HERO GIRLS series)
  • BLACK CANARY: IGNITE – Meg Cabot (THE PRINCESS DIARIES series)
  • DEAR JUSTICE LEAGUE – Michael Northrop (TOMBQUEST series)
  • GREEN LANTERN: LEGACY – Minh Lê (DRAWN TOGETHER)
  • SUPER SONS – Ridley Pearson (KINGDOM KEEPERS series)
  • SUPERMAN OF SMALLVILLE – writer and artist: Art Baltazar & Franco (TINY TITANS)
  • SUPERMAN SMASHES THE KLAN – Gene Yang (AVATAR: THE LAST AIRBENDER series, NEW SUPER-MAN), will be released as periodicals first, then collected

 In a press note, a DC spokesperson noted that this release is concentrating on writers as opposed to artists, thus the lack of art assignments in the list.

While, as noted, this project has been in the works for a year or more, it couldn’t’ be better timed. While there has long been resistance within most DM-centric comics companies to kids comics (because of the long stigma of comics as kid stuff), in a time of failing periodical sales, you’d have to be obtuse not to notice what’s working.

Specifically, DC Super Hero Girls, a consumer products initiative announced back in 2015 has upended the girls toys market and the graphic novels have sold 100,000 unts for DC.  Even a hater would have to admit, this is a success worth copying.

Plus, how many 8 year olds know who Mera is now? After they read this graphic nvoel, they will and they’ll also be future consumers of DC’s filmed and maybe even adult comics content.

Also, Ink and Zoom have an absolutely stellar lineup of writers, most of whom have already successfully dabbled in the graphic novel market.

So, some good news for a change.

OH yeah one more thing c*m*csg*ate? Suck it.
If that sounds like a lineup heavy on heroines, there is a reason.

“If you look at readership in middle grade and Y.A. in general, you’ll see a swing on the side of female readers,” said Michele Wells, the vice president for content strategy at DC.

I’m told this is just the beginning of DC’s bombshell announcements for 2018. Stay tuned!

7 COMMENTS

  1. Honestly I think this is great news. I mean it’s been 10 years since Minx was killed, about time for DC to realize that market segment is under served. Though to be fair I am a little disappointed that it’s all about existing superheroes. I still believe the best thing the New 52 era DC tried was bringing back different genres to their mainstream comics line.

    Also I know none of these creators are going to be foolish enough to do so, but I think having new heroes would a real boon to these imprints.

  2. This is awesome, but you should note the page counts and price points for these books. They’re all about 96 to 128 pages, and the kid’s line cost $9.99 and the teen ones cost $16.99. They’re comparable to manga titles for kids and YA books for teens. DC is aiming for these comics/graphic novels for traditional traditional publishing. Diamond and the direct market is waning in influence.

  3. Here’s my one and only concern: there IS a demand for YA and “kids” versions of Marvel and DC’s IP, but I’m not convinced that this demand is especially WIDE if it is not at a “non-casual” price,. Unlike the adult market, where the end consumer is usually spending their own money, that usually doesn’t describe kids and YA purchases, so focusing tightly on building a line of Sell-Forever books to make perennial, rather than trying to max the Buy-per-customer.

    As a retailer, I will be able to keep a finite number of releases in my mind. Let’s assume we can probably find space in bandwidth for 3-5 new “Batman”-focused titles, maybe 2-3 for “Superman” and “Wonder Woman”, and, I don’t know, maybe 8-12 “not the Trinity, but DC-branded” projects in the age category. SEVERAL OF THESE “MINDSHARE” SPOTS ARE ALREADY TAKEN right now.

    Also, realistically, there is an elastic demand on most “remix” kind of IPs — “DC SUPER HERO GIRLS” is wicked-awesome right now, but I’m not entirely convinced that it doesn’t just become an up-priced periodical at volume 6 or 7, where each new volume might sell X, but its’ not actually additive anymore at that point.

    -B

  4. This is awesome! So many people talk about getting comics on spinner racks as kids, because comics were marketed to and sold to young readers for a reason. If these types of books (including the already published Superhero Girls books) help get comics in kids’ hands, then the future is bright for comics as a medium. Clearly the last few years have shown a demand for kid focused comics in the bookstore/Scholastic market. This is the way to create life-long readers and customers.

  5. All great news – my one caveat is please DC don’t fall into the “since girls are reading YA and middle grade the most that’s who we should be focusing on” trap. We are far past this conversation – ALL kids are reading graphic novels. Just focus on telling great stories and ALL readers will come to them.

  6. Just wondering… is the Earth One line now dead?
    That line was designed to mimic the success of Marvel’s Ultimate Universe, but while the volumes were successful, the release schedule was erratic. Given the production schedule of monthly comics, there should have been a new volume in each series once a year. 2018 has two books scheduled.

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