This year at BookCon, DC announced another batch of titles for their YA imprint, DC Ink. The new books look gorgeous, and I’m super excited by some of the character choices (Oracle! Cassandra Cain!). On a broader note, I’m delighted to see DC continuing their commitment to kid- and teen-friendly comics in accessible formats. I love DC Ink and its kid sister imprint, DC Zoom (for middle grade readers) to bits.
Supergirl: Being Super by Mariko Tamaki and Joelle Jones
Originally released as single issues, this was initially going to be part of the first wave of DC Ink titles when it was released as a trade, but because the imprint as a whole was delayed, the Being Super trade was published without the DC Ink branding. It’s very much in the spirit of the imprint, though, being out of the main DCU continuity and character-driven rather than plot-focused. I’ve…talked about this book kind of a lot. IT’S GREAT.
Mera: Tidebreaker by Danielle Paige and Stephen Byrne
Published April 2, 2019. Check out our interview with Danielle Paige here!
Under the Moon: A Catwoman Tale by Lauren Myracle and Isaac Goodhart
Published May 7, 2019.
Teen Titans: Raven by Kami Garcia and Gabriel Picolo
To be published July 2, 2019.
Harley Quinn: Breaking Glass by Mariko Tamaki and Steve Pugh
To be published September 3, 2019.
Batman: Nightwalker – The Graphic Novel by Marie Lu, Chris Wildgoose, and Stuart Moore (adapter)
An adaptation of the existing YA prose novel by Marie Lu, from DC’s Icons series (published by Ember). To be published October 1, 2019.
Wonder Woman: Warbringer – The Graphic Novel by Leigh Bardugo, Kit Seaton, and Louise Simonson (adapter)
An adaptation of the existing YA prose novel by Leigh Bardugo from the Icons series. To be published January 7, 2020.
Gotham High by Melissa de la Cruz and Thomas Pitilli
The Lost Carnival: A Dick Grayson Graphic Novel by Michael Moreci and Sas Milledge
The Oracle Code by Marieke Nijkamp and Manuel Preitano
Shadow of the Batgirl by Sarah Kuhn and Nicole Goux
Teen Titans: Beast Boy by Kami Garcia and Gabriel Picolo
Truth or Consequences: A Jack Hyde Story (working title) by Alex Sanchez
Announced in July 2018 with no publication date or artist information; no news since.
Wonder Woman: Tempest Tossed by Laurie Halse Anderson
Announced in February 2018 with no artist information (even though art accompanied the announcement). Originally slated to be published in November 2019, that seems unlikely at this point since there’s been no further news on it and we’re already hearing about Spring 2020 titles.
DC Super Hero Girls series written by Shea Fontana, with most issues drawn by Yancey Labat
The DC Super Hero Girls graphic novels were already being published when DC Zoom was announced, and in fact their success was part of what led DC to make the leap into more robust kids’ graphic novel publishing. Because of this, some of them carry the DC Zoom branding and some don’t. Continuity doesn’t really matter for these books, but if you care, the publication order is: Finals Crisis, Hits and Myths, Summer Olympus, Past Times at Super Hero High, Date with Disaster, Out of the Bottle, Search for Atlantis, and Spaced Out, the last of which just published June 4, 2019.
Super Sons: The PolarShield Project by Ridley Pearson and Ile Gonzalez
Published April 2, 2019. Check out our interview with Ridley Pearson here!
Dear Justice League by Michael Northrop and Gustavo Duarte
To be published August 6, 2019.
Superman of Smallville by Art Baltazar and Franco
To be published September 3, 2019.
The Secret Spiral of Swamp Kid by Kirk Scroggs
To be published October 1, 2019.
DC Super Hero Girls: At Metropolis High by Amy Wolfram and Yancey Labat
This will be the first in the new DC Super Hero Girls series, created to tie in with the new animated show by Lauren Faust. To be published October 15, 2019.
Black Canary: Ignite by Meg Cabot and Cara McGee
To be published October 29, 2019.
Super Sons: The Foxglove Mission by Ridley Pearson and Ile Gonzalez
To be published November 5, 2019.
Diana, Princess of the Amazons by Shannon and Dean Hale and Victoria Ying
To be published January 7, 2020.
Green Lantern: Legacy by Minh Lê and Andie Tong
To be published January 21, 2020.
Batman: Overdrive by Shea Fontana and Marcelo Di Chiara
Announced in February 2018 and initially slated for April 2019, then August 2019. The latter seems unlikely at this point.
Batman Tales: Once Upon a Crime by Derek Fridolfs and Dustin Nguyen
Announced in February 2018 and initially slated for a 2018 release, then November 2019. We’ll see?
Superman Smashes the Klan by Gene Luen Yang and Gurihiru Studios
Of course the book I’m most excited for has NO RELEASE DATE INFORMATION AT ALL, except that it will apparently be released as periodicals first, then collected.
Okay, that was a lot of pub dates I just threw at you! As I’ve said here and many times before, I really love this initiative and am thrilled to see DC continuing to push it. I’m also really glad to see that they’ve increased the prominence of their artist credits in contrast to their earlier announcements, where it was all about the writer and the artist was lucky to get a mention.
The books are also staggeringly more diverse, at least in terms of gender, than I’ve come to expect from DC. Out of the 14 announced Ink titles, nine have female leads and only four have male leads (plus Gotham High, which I’m counting as an ensemble book until we get a stronger sense that it’s mainly Bruce). Less laudably, only two of the leads are inarguably POC, with two maybes depending on whether the Selina in Gotham High is Latina as she sometimes is in the regular DCU (and does not appear to be in Under the Moon) and whether DC will allow Dick Grayson to be Romani this week. Frustratingly, one of those few POC, Jack Hyde, is also one of the few queer characters, and his book appears to be in limbo right now. (Harley Quinn and Wonder Woman are both canonically bisexual, even if DC can be squirrely about it.)
On the creator side, out of 25 creators total, 15 are women and 10 are men. From what Google tells me, nine are POC—so about 1/3 of the total—but photos and last names can be misleading so please do not take this as gospel!
Over at Zoom, we have 12 titles with 16 male leads and 10 female ones. (I disregarded the original DC Super Hero Girls books since so many of them weren’t published under Zoom and the casts are so enormous that statistical analysis of their makeup would be mind-numbing.) That oversized number is courtesy of the two ensemble books in the line, Dear Justice League and the newer version of DC Super Hero Girls. Looked at another way, there are only three books with female leads, eight with male leads, and one with a co-ed (and 3/4 male) team. Or, if you remove the duplicate characters (Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman each star in three books), there are ten male protagonists in the lineup and eight female ones. Six of the leads are POC (or maybe eight depending on what version of Hawkgirl that is; one of those leads, Damian Wayne, has two books to his name. The only canonically queer lead is Wonder Woman.
Creator-wise, we’re looking at 10 women and 13 men, so Zoom’s creative staff skews a bit more male, although not as much as its character pool does. With the same caveat as before, I believe that 10 of the 23 total creators are POC, giving Zoom a slight edge on the racial diversity front.
Clearly these numbers could be improved in places—Ink in particular desperately needs more POC leads—but considered the abysmally low diversity statistics of DC’s monthly books, I’m pretty impressed. And hopefully this exercise in reaching outside of the usual contact pool will help change some of the dynamics at DC Central as well.
So that’s where we are! (Whew.) Right now I’m especially chomping at the bit for Shadow of the Batgirl and Superman Smashes the Klan. Which DC Ink and Zoom books are you most looking forward to?