The DC Super Hero Girls universe is expanding on Cartoon Network and into more graphic novels. From executive producer Lauren Faust (My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic), the new DC Super Hero Girls cartoon will feature fresh redesigns of popular characters like Wonder Woman, Batgirl and Supergirl as they navigate high school and superhero life. Faust, DC Group editor Marie Javins, and other members of the creative team took the stage at Comic-Con International to give us a first look at this new series, as well as a preview of upcoming books.
The panel began with sharing highlights from the past few years with clips of powerful female superheroes "leaping from the pages of comics." The clips highlighted the DC Super Hero Girls merchandise featured on various talk shows, and girls talked to the camera about who their favorite girl super heroes are.
Marie Javins spoke about the new DC Super Hero Girls comic books coming out and when asked if she was surprised about the overall positive reaction, she said "No, girls have always read comics, women have always read comics [...] I knew that the audience for this was out there. It was absolutely delightful to have everyone on board so quickly."
One of the new comics is the Search for Atlantis comic which will come out in October, where Mera is the new student, and Brainiac has shrunk Atlantis. About the fan reaction to the books, Javins said "It's been spectacular watching the kids in these costumes for them."
The clip from the new series is titled "The Late Batsby" featuring Batgirl falling asleep while studying. Luckily, she gets a call from Wonder Woman about having to fight Mr. Freeze. The problem Babs has is that her dad is still up, so she can't go running off into the night to join the fight, leading to her overall humorously frustrated reaction. Batgirl tries to catch up with her friends by any means possible, including going through sewers and people's apartments. And to our surprise, she's actually the first on the scene!
"The short is quite a bit different from the series previously ... it's the next step, the next evolution," Lauren Faust said about the revised incarnation of the show. "Balancing your teenage life with your super life ... is the crux of the series."
"We're reintroducing the idea of secret identities. Who are these heroes who regular girls who go to regular schools?" Lauren Faust said about the girls. For example, Batgirl is sleuth as a hero, but as a teen, she's a fangirl.
Elaborating further on some of the girls, Lauren described Jessica Cruz, the Green Lantern, as a hero is a protector, but as a teen, she's an activist. Zatanna as hero is magic, but as a teen, she's a showoff.
"The funnest part is we have a lot of women on our team, and it's been a lot of fun to dive into our own teenage experiences and bring those feelings and coming of age stories to the table and putting a super spin on it," said Lauren.
"Wonder Woman is kind of a fish out of water [...] she has to deal with superhero stuff and adolescent stuff like crushes. And she gets to have an accent!" said Grey Griffin, voice of Wonder Woman.
"The stories that we've done are under lock and key but all very reminiscent of stuff girls go through in high school. What's so fascinating is you're seeing these girls do regular stuff, but the stakes are different, not just higher [...] That's what speaks to me. When you're in high school, everything is drama. This is just big for real" described Nicole Sullivan, voice of Supergirl.
"Barbara Gordon has an after-school job that is basically a Taco Bell. We're exploring all aspects of the girl's lives" said Lauren speaking further about the relatability of the girls.
The second clip was unfinished and showed some of the girls in detention. Wonder Woman enters the room, to the awe of the others. In her introduction, she proclaims that she's not a girl, she's a woman before getting in a fight. The girls in the room inevitably all reveal, thanks to the deductions of Batgirl, that they all have powers and agree to band together.
"My heart is going very fast right now. Everyone is smiling, and I'm very happy" said Lauren about the crowd's reaction to the clip.
Jennifer Kluska said "I'd have to go with Zatanna" when a girl asked what superhero she would be, while Nicole Sullivan would go with Supergirl because "she kicks butt!"
When asked about how they can show that boys can watch this show too, Lauren Faust said "We want the show to speak for itself. I'm a believer in all-ages entertainment. [...] We just feel like if it's good, anybody will watch it. No pun intended: we're not pulling any punches [...] I want to entertain and inspire."
About the previous "Super Best Friends" shorts, Grey Griffin said, "Those shorts were so popular that I printed out a picture of that Wonder Woman (for different cons) [...] And now I'm on the Comic-Con bag! I've been doing this for 20 years, and now I'm on the bag!"
When asked about Katana, Lauren Faust said: "Yes, Katana is coming back, and we have big plans for her."
"Supergirl and Superman have a pretty strong storyline that will be featured on the show [...] We've got a thing with Wonder Woman and her mom, and Batgirl with her dad," said Lauren about the relationships the girls will have with the first generation heroes.
When asked about favorite superheroes, Grey Griffin said "Wonder Woman! I grew up with Linda and watching that, I loved how strong she was!"
"Spoiler alert: so in our show, we're going to show that Barbara Gordon and Harley Quinzel are best friends that grew up together in Gotham, and they have no idea that they're beating each other up at night," said Lauren when asked about why Harley Quinn goes bad.
Elaborating further on Harley's characterization, Lauren said "Here's the thing with Harley. She loves very hard. She loves her friend Barbara, and she makes bad choices for love."