DC Zoom and DC Ink: DC Launching Two New Lines Aimed At Younger Readers

I am a little late on this news (busy week!) but a major announcement from DC this week, addressing a question that I know gets talked about on here a lot, which is how to get more, and younger, people to read comics (and sometimes the specific subset of the question, as it applies to the Big Two, as there are plenty of middle grade and young adults reading comics as a medium, especially world wide. But it is an area that DC and Marvel have had trouble competing in).

DC is doing a significant push in these areas with DC Zoom and DC Ink, including bringing in some very successful middle grade and young adult series authors.

Here is the Times article about it

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Comments

  • nweathingtonnweathington Posts: 5,627
    That Mera cover is fantastic! I hope the writing and interior art is up to that level. But this was the standout quote for me:
    “They are character studies, not necessarily superhero stories,” Ms. Chase said.
    Personally, I think they need to be both. I mean, their characters are superheroes. If you want them to stand out, they need to act like superheroes and have superhero adventures. Otherwise they might as well be talking dogs or normal kids. But if you want to hook young readers and keep them hooked, you have to not just make your characters look cool when doing cool things, but make them interesting and relatable and unique. You know, kind of like what some guys named Kirby, Ditko, Lee, et al., did when they created the Marvel universe. I don't need a marketing research department to know that.
  • aquatroyaquatroy Posts: 447
    edited February 9

    That Mera cover is fantastic! I hope the writing and interior art is up to that level. But this was the standout quote for me:

    “They are character studies, not necessarily superhero stories,” Ms. Chase said.

    Personally, I think they need to be both. I mean, their characters are superheroes. If you want them to stand out, they need to act like superheroes and have superhero adventures. Otherwise they might as well be talking dogs or normal kids. But if you want to hook young readers and keep them hooked, you have to not just make your characters look cool when doing cool things, but make them interesting and relatable and unique. You know, kind of like what some guys named Kirby, Ditko, Lee, et al., did when they created the Marvel universe. I don't need a marketing research department to know that.
    I was also excited when I saw that quote. Then I read the bits on Climate Change and the Clad and my excitement diminished.
    That Mera cover is beautiful and I'll still check them out. Just not with the same enthusiasm.
  • nweathingtonnweathington Posts: 5,627
    aquatroy said:

    Then I read the bits on Climate Change and the Clad and my excitement diminished.

    Guess you won't be too excited about this either, then.
  • aquatroyaquatroy Posts: 447

    aquatroy said:

    Then I read the bits on Climate Change and the Clad and my excitement diminished.

    Guess you won't be too excited about this either, then.
    You are correct, sir. We touched on this with the "Legacy" Waid Captain America title. Now, the creative team could really show some rocks and start taking shots at Antifa. That could be interesting.
  • David_DDavid_D Posts: 3,629
    aquatroy said:

    aquatroy said:

    Then I read the bits on Climate Change and the Clad and my excitement diminished.

    Guess you won't be too excited about this either, then.
    You are correct, sir. We touched on this with the "Legacy" Waid Captain America title. Now, the creative team could really show some rocks and start taking shots at Antifa. That could be interesting.

    I heard they broke a window once.
  • aquatroyaquatroy Posts: 447
    edited February 9
    David_D said:

    aquatroy said:

    aquatroy said:

    Then I read the bits on Climate Change and the Clad and my excitement diminished.

    Guess you won't be too excited about this either, then.
    You are correct, sir. We touched on this with the "Legacy" Waid Captain America title. Now, the creative team could really show some rocks and start taking shots at Antifa. That could be interesting.

    I heard they broke a window once.
    I KNOW! I don't understand why Starbucks is on their Poop list.
  • nweathingtonnweathington Posts: 5,627
    edited February 9
    aquatroy said:

    aquatroy said:

    Then I read the bits on Climate Change and the Clad and my excitement diminished.

    Guess you won't be too excited about this either, then.
    You are correct, sir. We touched on this with the "Legacy" Waid Captain America title. Now, the creative team could really show some rocks and start taking shots at Antifa. That could be interesting.
    You do know the story, yes? It sounds like this movie is not the fictional Superman story that was put on the radio (or some updated version of it), but rather the real story of the writers and producers who made it happen. I think it’s a fascinating story, and one that shows the power stories can have over public opinion. I wonder who’s going to play Bud Collyer?
  • PeterPeter Posts: 442
    David_D said:


    I heard they broke a window once.

    :lol:

  • aquatroyaquatroy Posts: 447

    aquatroy said:

    aquatroy said:

    Then I read the bits on Climate Change and the Clad and my excitement diminished.

    Guess you won't be too excited about this either, then.
    You are correct, sir. We touched on this with the "Legacy" Waid Captain America title. Now, the creative team could really show some rocks and start taking shots at Antifa. That could be interesting.
    You do know the story, yes? It sounds like this movie is not the fictional Superman story that was put on the radio (or some updated version of it), but rather the real story of the writers and producers who made it happen. I think it’s a fascinating story, and one that shows the power stories can have over public opinion. I wonder who’s going to play Bud Collyer?

    I didn't. I based my comments on the brief mention in the linked story at the top of the page. Thanks for posting the additional link. However, at the end of the day today's klan has been marginalized to the point that their more a punchline than a threat. There are other threats that need the same courage that Timely, Simon and Kirby showed when they published the "punching hitler in the face" cover.

    Just my opinion.
  • aquatroyaquatroy Posts: 447

    aquatroy said:

    aquatroy said:

    I wonder who’s going to play Bud Collyer?

    Ben Afleck? ;)
  • nweathingtonnweathington Posts: 5,627
    aquatroy said:

    aquatroy said:

    aquatroy said:

    Then I read the bits on Climate Change and the Clad and my excitement diminished.

    Guess you won't be too excited about this either, then.
    You are correct, sir. We touched on this with the "Legacy" Waid Captain America title. Now, the creative team could really show some rocks and start taking shots at Antifa. That could be interesting.
    You do know the story, yes? It sounds like this movie is not the fictional Superman story that was put on the radio (or some updated version of it), but rather the real story of the writers and producers who made it happen. I think it’s a fascinating story, and one that shows the power stories can have over public opinion. I wonder who’s going to play Bud Collyer?

    I didn't. I based my comments on the brief mention in the linked story at the top of the page. Thanks for posting the additional link. However, at the end of the day today's klan has been marginalized to the point that their more a punchline than a threat. There are other threats that need the same courage that Timely, Simon and Kirby showed when they published the "punching hitler in the face" cover.

    Just my opinion.
    The cool thing is that it was this Superman radio story that really got the ball rolling on making the KKK into a laughing stock. If Yang's graphic novel goes into that, I'll totally be there for it.
  • Mr_CosmicMr_Cosmic Posts: 3,200
    Those "Ink" and "Zoom" logos though. Blegh.
  • TorchsongTorchsong Posts: 2,706
    These look cool and I'll definitely check them out even though I'm long past the demographic age they're shooting for. As to social topics being covered in it...well, that's the fun stuff we're leaving this generation of readers to deal with, isn't it? Maybe they can pick a cue up from Mera or Shazam and become real life heroes...okay I'll shut up now. :)

    Just kidding. I never shut up. :) I do agree with Eric's point that these characters still need to have some amount of "super" to them if this is to work. The fun of being a kid reading these stories (for me at least) was that these were characters who did things I couldn't do and never could...but man did I *wish* I could. These books need to capture that, otherwise the same effect could be achieved if it were "Amanda Jones, 4th grader" instead of "Mera".
  • PeterPeter Posts: 442
    edited February 12
    We shouldn’t let our experiences determine the reaction a younger demographic will have to these books. They are growing up inundated with superheroes all over. Sometimes the normal/different/outcast IS heroic. I see it in my freshmen college kids: they are already individuals. Unique. And they celebrate that. When I was in high school, a class had one class clown. One cheerleader. One most popular. Nowadays, there are many.

    I don’t read YA - so their notion of a protagonist could be WAY different than what we think it should be. I’d leave it up to these new creators to have a better idea of what a younger generation is reading.

    To put it in perspective, what’s that commercial where the young kid says ‘What’s a computer?’ It could be exactly that when thinking about an entry point to creating these books: ‘What is a superhero?’
  • nweathingtonnweathington Posts: 5,627
    I read a lot of YA, both books and graphic novels. I also have a 12-year-old who reads a lot of YA material. A protagonist is a protagonist is a protagonist. They may come in a wider variety of shapes and sizes today, but that’s all window dressing. At their essence they’re all very similar to the protagonists of the 1800s or those of ancient Greece. Because at our essence, all people, regardless of cultural background or skin color or gender, hold the same basic values as being heroic—honesty, integrity, courage, kindness, self-sacrifice, etc.—even if we don’t always seem to value them in how we carry out our own lives.

    If you think Marvel used to flood the market when a genre became popular—and, man, did they—you should look into the YA/middle grade book marketplaces. When you compare what sticks around—Harry Potter, Renee Telgemeier, et al.—to what doesn’t, the differences are pretty clear. And that is what DC is going up against here. DC isn't in competition with Marvel in this case. They’re in competition with Harry Potter and the Wimpy Kid and the Hunger Games. And there’s a lot more competition here than on the comic racks of your LCS. Occasionally imitators catch fire—see Rick Riordan’s Percy Jackson books (which I think are pretty awful by the way)—but for the most part they fall by the wayside in the long run because kids can usually smell out BS. DC needs to play to their strengths if they want to carve out a steady foothold.

    They’ve got a great choice of talent in Gene Yang, a guy who knows superheroes (Shadow Hero is great) and the YA market (American Born Chinese is even better). Even though his best work is the stuff he created himself, not the stuff featuring someone else’s properties and editorial dictates, I trust him to turn in a good story. I've read a few of Mariko Tamaki’s stories, and she’s a decent writer who knows how to handle licensed properties. Laurie Halse Anderson is a good writer (though she’s done her share of shlock which you couldn’t pay me to read), but I don't think she's ever done anything like this, so she might need an adjustment period (as did Ta-Nehisi Coates). The others mentioned in the article I'm not sold on.
  • PeterPeter Posts: 442
    edited February 13
    Wimpy Kid! Stories about teeth! Exactly my point. Not a superhero story. Doesn't need to be. So putting superhero characters into non-superhero setting/stories/situations may be this line's starting point. They may not want to focus on beating up on the bad guys or rescuing kitties from trees. Using their characters to tell different kind of "heroics" is certainly proving to be the case with the titles so far. Big broad topics (climate change, intolerance, etc) - can't be punched in the noggin! :lol:

    I'm all for these books not appealing to us old heads and for finding different ways to be about heroes. Find something new and let the kids sort it out.

    No older person can dictate what kids are going to gravitate to as a whole. Do you see what's popular these days? Makes me shrug and watch something else. And I'm okay with that!
  • CageNarleighCageNarleigh Posts: 727
    edited February 13
    image

    They announced they'll be doing a YA Green Lantern in this line! Awesome! Do I like the idea of another earth lantern? No. Do I honestly thing it'll start crossing over into the main DC continuity? No. So I've got no issues with it! It'll be cool to see how they develop the GL concept and translate it for a YA audience and how, if at all, it differs.

    SOURCE:

    Writer Minh Lê Shares A Sneak Peek of YA-Focused Green Lantern: Legacy
  • nweathingtonnweathington Posts: 5,627
    edited February 13
    Peter said:

    Wimpy Kid! Stories about teeth! Exactly my point. Not a superhero story. Doesn't need to be. So putting superhero characters into non-superhero setting/stories/situations may be this line's starting point. They may not want to focus on beating up on the bad guys or rescuing kitties from trees. Using their characters to tell different kind of "heroics" is certainly proving to be the case with the titles so far. Big broad topics (climate change, intolerance, etc) - can't be punched in the noggin! :lol:

    I'm all for these books not appealing to us old heads and for finding different ways to be about heroes. Find something new and let the kids sort it out.

    No older person can dictate what kids are going to gravitate to as a whole. Do you see what's popular these days? Makes me shrug and watch something else. And I'm okay with that!

    And my point is that DC isn’t going to out-Wimpy the Wimpy Kid. They aren’t going to out-Smile Renee Telgemeier. Those that try typically get lost in the shuffle and fall by the wayside. I’m not saying the superheroes in these stories need to be fighting Darkseid or anything, but they need to be doing things that only they can do in order to stand out, to be unique. They can fight intolerance, they can fight climate change, but they should be doing it in a manner that only they can. How many other boy wizards can you name besides Harry Potter? There are plenty of them out there, but nobody particularly cares. That’s all I’m saying. And last I checked, superheroes are pretty popular these days too.
  • mwhitt80mwhitt80 Posts: 3,455
    <

    Peter said:

    Wimpy Kid! Stories about teeth! Exactly my point. Not a superhero story. Doesn't need to be. So putting superhero characters into non-superhero setting/stories/situations may be this line's starting point. They may not want to focus on beating up on the bad guys or rescuing kitties from trees. Using their characters to tell different kind of "heroics" is certainly proving to be the case with the titles so far. Big broad topics (climate change, intolerance, etc) - can't be punched in the noggin! :lol:

    I'm all for these books not appealing to us old heads and for finding different ways to be about heroes. Find something new and let the kids sort it out.

    No older person can dictate what kids are going to gravitate to as a whole. Do you see what's popular these days? Makes me shrug and watch something else. And I'm okay with that!

    And my point is that DC isn’t going to out-Wimpy the Wimpy Kid. They aren’t going to out-Telgemeier Renee Telgemeier. Those that try typically get lost in the shuffle and fall by the wayside. I’m not saying the superheroes in these stories need to be fighting Darkseid or anything, but they need to be doing things that only they can do in order to stand out, to be unique. They can fight intolerance, they can fight climate change, but they should be doing it in a manner that only they can.
    Young Weather Wizard vs. the polar melt.

    If people dig it I'm okay with that. Those aren't the kind of thing I want to get, but I wasn't in the Scooby-Doo comics market until I was (and I read those things all the time).

    The only part of this that really interests me Gene Yang. ABC is one of my favorite comics, and he can write amazing stories for the YA audience (also see Boxers and Saints). I'll read his book digitally and if I like it get a copy for the kids shelves.
  • nweathingtonnweathington Posts: 5,627
    I’ve had Boxers & Saints sitting on my shelf since the day they came out, and I still haven’t had time to read them yet. Gotta get on that.
  • nweathingtonnweathington Posts: 5,627
    mwhitt80 said:

    Young Weather Wizard vs. the polar melt.

    I was thinking more along the lines of Flash has to save a town from flooding, which at first he thinks is the Weather Wizard’s fault. Turns out WW doesn’t like getting blamed for things he didn’t do, and they reluctantly team up only to find that while they can help fix things as they happen, even their combined powers aren’t enough to prevent all the effects of climate change. But Young Weather Wizard vs. the polar melt might work too. :)
  • mwhitt80mwhitt80 Posts: 3,455

    mwhitt80 said:

    Young Weather Wizard vs. the polar melt.

    I was thinking more along the lines of Flash has to save a town from flooding, which at first he thinks is the Weather Wizard’s fault. Turns out WW doesn’t like getting blamed for things he didn’t do, and they reluctantly team up only to find that while they can help fix things as they happen, even their combined powers aren’t enough to prevent all the effects of climate change. But Young Weather Wizard vs. the polar melt might work too. :)
    Too clever, It has everything. A City destroying problem, a misunderstanding leading to a fight, a team-up, ending in a PSA (and probably a rogue going to jail).
  • nweathingtonnweathington Posts: 5,627
    mwhitt80 said:

    mwhitt80 said:

    Young Weather Wizard vs. the polar melt.

    I was thinking more along the lines of Flash has to save a town from flooding, which at first he thinks is the Weather Wizard’s fault. Turns out WW doesn’t like getting blamed for things he didn’t do, and they reluctantly team up only to find that while they can help fix things as they happen, even their combined powers aren’t enough to prevent all the effects of climate change. But Young Weather Wizard vs. the polar melt might work too. :)
    Too clever, It has everything.
    I don't know about that, but I am currently available. ;)
  • Mr_CosmicMr_Cosmic Posts: 3,200
    edited February 13
    If DC can convince my 11 year old and his friends to stop reading Captain Underpants for a "Superhero vs PSA villain" I'll be shocked.
  • nweathingtonnweathington Posts: 5,627
    Mr_Cosmic said:

    If DC can convince my 11 year old and his friends to stop reading Captain Underpants for a Superman vs (PSA villain) I'll be shocked.

    They can read both. Captain Underpants books are pretty quick reads. ;)
  • TorchsongTorchsong Posts: 2,706
    Ultimately if it gets them reading, mission accomplished. Comics are what basically taught me to read, because I wanted to understand what was going on in all them purty art panels.

    Granted that was learning to read about Starfire (the first one, not the Teen Titans one) fighting these ugly-ass aliens, and Supergirl, who I'm told had a cousin, but that wasn't what my sisters collected. :D
  • Mr_CosmicMr_Cosmic Posts: 3,200
    edited February 13

    Mr_Cosmic said:

    If DC can convince my 11 year old and his friends to stop reading Captain Underpants for a Superman vs (PSA villain) I'll be shocked.

    They can read both. Captain Underpants books are pretty quick reads. ;)
    Ha! Probably. I couldn't think of any other superhero youth books that my son reads. Which goes to what you were saying about DC doing what they do best with superheroes. I don't know how much like "Flash vs. Global Warming" these books will be but I don't see that type of a book taking anything away from what is already out there. Kids get preached at all day during school and I think a lot of them wouldn't mind a hero punching Darkseid.
  • nweathingtonnweathington Posts: 5,627
    Mr_Cosmic said:

    Mr_Cosmic said:

    If DC can convince my 11 year old and his friends to stop reading Captain Underpants for a Superman vs (PSA villain) I'll be shocked.

    They can read both. Captain Underpants books are pretty quick reads. ;)
    Ha! Probably. I couldn't think of any other superhero youth books that my son reads. Which goes to what you were saying about DC doing what they do best with superheroes. I don't know how much like "Flash vs. Global Warming" these books will be but I don't see that type of a book taking anything away from what is already out there. Kids get preached at all day during school and I think a lot of them wouldn't mind a hero punching of Darkseid.
    I agree that kids don’t want to be preached at any more than adults do. And I agree that there are plenty of kids who would be perfectly happy with a simple Superman vs. Darkseid punch-up story. But by the same token, it isn’t that much more difficult to write a book with a message that doesn’t come across as preachy. Science-fiction is full of those books. And if that helps you get into school libraries (I don’t know for sure if it does or not, but it certainly couldn’t hurt), then why not do it?
  • TorchsongTorchsong Posts: 2,706
    I'll get to work on that "Who's Harley Quinn's Girlfriend?" book for the imprint.

    What...IT'S FOR THE CHILDREN!!! Get your heads out of the sewers, people! >:^)
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