DC recently launched new imprints of their graphic novels: DC Ink, for young adult readers, and DC Zoom, for middle grade readers. Therefore, there was a lot for the creative team and talent to share at Comic-Con International’s DC Young Readers panel. On hand to discuss the latest in DC Super Hero Girls, as well as upcoming titles from DC Ink and DC Zoom, were Dustin Nguyen (Batman: Streets of Gotham), Art Baltazar and Franco (Tiny Titans), Danielle Paige (Mera), Sarah Kuhn (Shadow of the Batgirl), Michele Wells (DC VP Content Strategy), Agnes Garbowska (DC Super Hero Girls), Monica Kubina (DC Super Hero Girls) and DC Group Editor Marie Javins.
Moderator Ashley Eckstein (DC Super Hero Girls) began the conversation with Michele Wells, who introduced the new titles. Announced earlier this year, Michele described DC Zoom (ages 8-12) and DC Ink (13-up) as having “out of continuity stories. They’re full books… set to the continuity of the core of the characters are.”
When asked about her reaction when DC approached her, Danielle Paige exclaimed, “So incredibly excited!… I was surprised and thrilled at the opportunity to pitch to DC.”
“When you get the call, you drop everything else you’re doing… I canceled the pizza and Pay Per View, and I’m getting on the plane” Art Baltazar joked.
Meanwhile, Sarah Kuhn described her reaction as “I try to play it cool, but when I got this, I wrote back right away with lots of exclamation points.”
Responding to a question about writing adult stories for young audiences, Danielle Paige said, “Making things palatable in YA is something I’ve always done.” Danielle Paige is penning the DC Ink graphic novel Mera: Tidebreaker, due out April 2019.
“I pitched Aquaman first, as the Little Mermaid, and I wrote it in all seriousness… Mera actually did grow up under the sea, so what if instead of the Little Mermaid following him to land because she loves him, she follows him to land to kill him?” Paige said about the idea behind Tidebreaker.
Speaking further on Mera, Michele Wells talked about how she is a very strong character driven by loyalty, but also she’s a teenage girl. The struggle Mera has, Wells said, is between “loyalty to her people and loyalty to her heart.”
Sarah Kuhn’s Shadow of the Batgirl was her bucket list Batgirl character. In detailing her experience so far, Kuhn said it’s “basically a retelling of the origin story. The aspects of the characters I’ve loved are her deep relationships with Barbara Gordon and other people in her life… I wanted to do something about her finding her family and having that mentorship. I wanted to really explore the relationships between female superheroes. And I added a character that’s basically a superhero Asian auntie.”
“What I came to love about writing comics was the collaborative aspect… I had the artist and the editor to collaborate and see how it develops. I like it as a way from getting away from being alone with the story in a room by yourself,” added Sarah about her writing process.
Titles coming out under the DC Ink line are:
Dick Grayson: Lost Carnival by Michael Moreci (writer)
Gotham High by Melissa de la Cruz (writer), Thomas Pitilli (illustration)
Oracle Rising by Marieke Nijkamp (writer)
Shadow of the Batgirl by Sarah Kuhn (writer)
Truth or Consequences: A Jack Hyde Story by Alex Sanchez (writer)
Winder Woman: Tempest Tossed by Laurie Halse Anderson