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DC Comics' Embrace of Young Readers Is Key to Its Future

A Great Entry Point For Young Readers

Teen Titans in DC Ink

Children know DC's primary superheroes, and it's unlikely that Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman are going to disappear from toy shelves anytime soon. However, contemporary comics tend to skew older, making a lot of the content unsuitable for younger audiences. That's in addition to the issue of trying to introduce younger and new readers to the labyrinthine superhero canon, and the costs of keeping up with an ongoing series. It may not be practical for many younger readers to follow superhero comics in their current form, but graphic novels starring those same characters can serve as an inviting entry point.

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There's also the matter of name recognition: The publisher hired established YA and MG authors, most of whom will be familiar to parents and children, to headline the first wave of titles from DC Ink and DC Zoom.

As those young readers grow older, DC will be presented with an opportunity to help transition them to the more adult versions of its characters, using that same process. Consider renowned cartoonist Gene Luen Yang, who will write Superman Smashes the Klan for Zoom. Known for such works as American Born Chinese, Boxers and Saints, and The Shadow Hero, Yang also writes DC's New Super-Man. He's a familiar name that can be trusted by young readers transitioning into mainstream comic books.

Increases Diversity of DC's Creators and Audience

DC Zoom
DC Zoom

Zoom and Ink also present DC with a chance to further increase the diversity of its pool of creators, which continues to be an issue in the industry. And while there's a contingent of comics fans that insists diversifying the characters is doing superhero comics more harm than good, there's no real evidence that it's hurting sales. Additionally, diverse creative teams do see success in the graphic novel market. In 2017, 17 of the 20 top-selling graphic novels included at least one woman or person of color on their creative teams.

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Although Zoom's and Ink's first books certainly feature a large number of white, male heroes, there's also a strong focus on women and people of color. Readers come from different backgrounds, and they deserve to see themselves reflected in the material they read. Zoom and Ink will give them exposure to both heroes and creators who look like them and may share their experiences.

DC's new foray into the young-adult and middle-grade markets might just yield the success the company needs to both make money from its characters and to start the process of introducing a new generation of readers to its characters. The lineups of DC Zoom and DC Ink are a step forward for diversity, and if DC can find a way to bring those creators into its primary line in the future, publisher's brand will be stronger for it.

The first titles from DC Comics' DC Zoom and DC Ink imprints will debut this fall.

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