DC Comics Previews Upcoming Middle Grade & YA Titles at Book Expo

DC Ink DC Zoom

DC Comics has been bringing you stories about super heroes for 80 years. They have some of the most recognized heroes in pop culture – Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman – but coming in as a new fan can be daunting, especially when you’re younger. This is why DC has launched two brand new imprints publishing graphic novels specifically for middle grade (DC Zoom) and young adult (DC Ink) readers.

This morning at Book Expo America, I was fortunate enough to get a sneak peek at some of the upcoming titles for both DC Zoom and DC Ink, as well as getting to hear from some of the authors and artists. It was very important to DC that they reach out to established names in the middle grade and young adult book world to develop these brand new stories for a brand new audience. Titles in the DC Zoom imprint are meant for children ages 8-12, while title under DC Ink are intended for 13+.

DC Zoom seems as though it will be the more prolific of the two imprints, with one current title and nine upcoming in the next year. Two of its titles have sequels already scheduled for release.

Current and upcoming releases from DC Zoom:

DC Zoom Super Hero GirlsDC Super Hero Girls: Spaced Out (June 4, 2019) and DC Super Hero Girls: At Metropolis High (October 15, 2019) are both based off the popular cartoon series, which has some of DC’s iconic female characters all attending super hero high school. (We are big fans here at The Geekiary.) Spaced Out (written by Shea Fontana, illustrated by Agnes Grabowski) introduces Jessica Cruz, Earth’s new Green Lantern and a new student at Super High. At Metropolis High (written by Amy Wolfram, illustrated by Yancey Labat) has our heroes forced to find an after-school club after too many tardies (from all that crime-fighting of course!) runs them the risk of being suspended from school.

Super Sons DC ZoomDC Zoom Super SonsSuper Sons: The Polarshield Project (available now) and Super Sons: The Foxglove Mission (October 29, 2019) revolve around the adventures of Jonathan Kent (son of Clark Kent and Lois Lane) and Ian Wayne (son of Bruce Wayne and Talia al Ghul). The Polarshield Project (written by Ridley Pearson, illustrated by Ile Gonzalez) sees the boys and new friend Candace fighting to save Earth from the devastation caused by melting polar ice caps. The Foxglove Mission (same creative team) has the boys and Candace dealing with the aftermath of the Polarshield Project, with all three of them on the run.

Dear Justice League DC ZoomDear Justice League (August 6, 2019) has the greatest heroes in the DC Universe answering fan mail from their biggest fans – kids. Writer Michael Northrop drew inspiration from his time as a reporter at Sports Illustrated Kids to write Dear Justice League (illustrated by Gustavo Duarte).

“Professional athletes are not always the most forthcoming interview subjects,” Northrop said. “I got used to the sort of canned, cliched answers. […] But one of the things we did […] was ask them questions sent in by kids, and the difference was really eye-opening. You would see those athletes almost physically re-frame and answer those questions more openly, more honestly, put a little more thought into it. […] And it was something that really stuck with me, how the shields came down.”

Black Canary IgniteBlack Canary: Ignite (October 29, 2019) follows a thirteen-year-old Dinah Lance, who wants badly to both follow in her father’s footsteps and join the Gotham City Police Department and win the battle of the bands with her two best friends. Writer Meg Cabot talked about how Black Canary resonated with her because she was, as a child, always told that she needed to be less loud, which is why she chose to write Ignite (illustrated by Cara McGee).

“I was told by my sixth-grade principal that I was the loudest girl in the entire school and this was not in a good way,” Cabot said. “I didn’t feel like I was loud. I felt like I was just expressing myself. But I really felt that that was kind of a bummer, because what’s wrong with being loud? […] [Ignite] really is about using about using your voice to help mankind. That’s something that I think is so important for girls – and boys – but especially girls who are the ones who really are told to keep it down and that it’s not okay to shout, it’s not okay to be loud in the cafeteria. It’s a really important message for girls, especially these days because, let’s face it, women are really being oppressed in many, many ways.”

Superman of SmallvilleWritten by Art Balthazar with art by Balthazar and Franco, Superman of Smallville (September 3, 2019) follows the adventures of a thirteen-year-old Clark Kent. When random objects begin to take flight and disappear, Clark’s parents assume he is responsible and threaten to ground him. But he’s innocent! Can he find the real culprit?

Swamp Kid coverWritten and illustrated by Kirk Scroggs, The Secret Spiral of Swamp Kid (October 1, 2019) reveals the innermost thoughts of middle schooler Russell Weinwright, who has algae for hair, a tree trunk of a right arm, webbed toes, and a parsnip for a thumb.

Diana Princess of the AmazonsWritten by Dean and Shannon Hale and illustrated by Victoria Ying, Diana, Princess of the Amazons (January 7, 2020) revolves around a lonely, eleven-year-old not-yet Wonder Woman and her quest to find a friend on Themyscira.

Green Lantern Legacy coverWritten by Minh Lê and illustrated by Andie Tong, Green Lantern: Legacy (January 21, 2020) follows the adventures of Tai Pham, who one day inherits his grandmother’s jade ring and learns that there is more to it than meets the eye.

And those are the titles you can expect soon from DC Zoom! I received copies of At Metropolis High, Ignite, and Dear Justice League, so I’ll be reviewing those right here on The Geekiary.

Current and upcoming releases from DC Ink:

Mera TidebreakerWritten by Danielle Paige and illustrated by Stephen Byrne, Mera: Tidebreaker (available now) has Mera embarking on her first-ever visit to the surface on a mission to kill Arthur Curry and secure her crown…until she learns that he isn’t as bad as she thought.

“I’m not one of those humble, humble people who are like, ‘No, I can’t do that’,” said Paige, talking about when she was first approached for the project. “I used to write soap operas, so I think I can write anything. […] But […] the idea of writing a superhero book just seemed so far outside of my world, and not because I couldn’t write it, but because I didn’t think that there was a place for me in that world. So getting this opportunity was such a big surprise.”

Read our review of Mera: Tidebreaker here.

Under the Moon A Catwoman TaleWritten by Lauren Myracle and illustrated by Isaac Goodhart, Under the Moon: A Catwoman Tale (available now) introduces us to Selina Kyle before she becomes Catwoman when she’s just a teen runaway on the streets of Gotham struggling to find her identity.

“I think part of the reason they paired us up together is because we share a lot of the same storytelling sensibilities,” Goodhart said when he spoke about getting asked to do the art for Under the Moon. “We’re both very bright sunny people; we’ll come into a room and we’re all smiles all the time. But, and you can see this in our work, we’re not afraid to be vulnerable and explore our shadow selves, so to speak.”

Read our review of Under the Moon: A Catwoman Tale here.

RavenWritten by Kami Garcia and illustrated by Gabriel Picolo, Teen Titans: Raven (July 2, 2019) follows Rachel Roth as she has to start over in New Orleans after the sudden death of her foster mother in an accident that left Raven suffering from amnesia. But she isn’t sure she wants to recover her memories.

“I like origin stories,” Garcia said when asked about how she approached Raven. “I’m interested in what makes you become a certain way as an adult, or an older character. And I always believed it’s your teen years. They’re it.”

Harley Quinn coverWritten by Mariko Tamaki and illustrated by Steve Pugh, Harley Quinn: Breaking Glass (September 3, 2019) is about a young Harleen Quinzel being sent to live in Gotham City and getting adopted by a troupe of drag queens whose cabaret is in danger of being pushed out by gentrification.

“I’m a queer person,” said Tamaki when asked about Harley’s “found family”, “and your queer found family is really important. And so I really love the idea of her accumulating these people who influence her and that she learns from. It’s very specific that she gets all these messages – even the sort of messages of going through hardships. She meets these queens and they have a very specific story, and then she meets her friend Ivy.”

There also two graphic novel adaptations from DC Icons, DC’s line of YA novels. Batman: Nightwalker (October 1, 2019), based on the novel by Marie Lu, was adapted by Stuart Moore and illustrated by Chris Wildgoose. Nightwalker has a newly eighteen-year-old Bruce Wayne somehow imprisoned in Arkham Asylum. Wonder Woman: Warbringer (January 7, 2020), based on the novel by Leigh Bardugo, was adapted by Louise Simonson and illustrated by Kit Seaton. Warbringer follows Diana after she rescues a young woman whose very existence causes cataclysmic events.

Read our review of Leigh Bardugo’s Warbringer here.

And those are the upcoming titles from DC Ink! I’ve already reviewed a couple of them, and I received copies of Raven, Breaking Glass, and Nightwalker so I’ll be reviewing those soon!

Author: Jamie Sugah

Jamie has a BA in English with a focus in creative writing from The Ohio State University. She self-published her first novel, The Perils of Long Hair on a Windy Day, which is available through Amazon. She is currently an archivist and lives in New York City with her demon ninja vampire cat. She covers television, books, movies, anime, and conventions in the NYC area.

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