DC Comics plans an aggressive kids/young adult graphic novel expansion

Last weekend, DC Comics announced plans to ramp up production of kids and young adult graphic novels. DC announced more than two dozen graphic novels will be released in 2020 and 2021.

This comes after the previous announcement of DC simplifying their imprints to three age-branded lines: DC Kids, DC, and DC Black Label. While Zoom and Ink are no more, those announced titles will still come out. However, they’re now joined by the books listed below.

DC’s kids/YA graphic novels announced

Young adults

  • Catwoman: Soulstealer – Adapted by Louise Simonson from Sarah J. Maas’ DC Icon prose novel and illustrated by Samantha Dodge
  • Galaxy: The Prettiest Star – Written by Jadzia Axelrod and illustrated by Cait Zellers
  • House of El Book 1 – Written by Claudia Gray and illustrated by Eric Zawadzki
  • I Am Not Starfire —Written by Mariko Tamaki
  • Mister Miracle – Written by Varian Johnson
  • Nubia – Written by L.L. McKinney and illustrated by Robyn Smith
  • Swamp Thing – Written by Maggie Stiefvater and illustrated by Morgan Beem
  • Teen Titans: Beast Boy – Written by Kami Garcia and illustrated by Gabriel Picolo
  • Victor & Nora: A Mr. Freeze Story – Written by Lauren Myracle and illustrated by Isaac Goodhart
  • Whistle – Written by E. Lockhart and illustrated by Manuel Preitano
  • Wonder Woman: Tempest Tossed – Written by Laurie Halse Anderson and illustrated by Leila del Duca
  • You Brought Me the Ocean – Written by Alex Sanchez and illustrated by Julie Maroh
  • Zatanna: The Jewel of Gravesend – Written by Alys Arden and illustrated by Jacquelin De Leon

Former DC Ink titles (now part of the young adult releases)

  • Wonder Woman: Warbringer
  • Gotham High
  • The Oracle Code
  • Shadow of the Batgirl
  • Lost Carnival: A Dick Grayson Graphic Novel

Middle grade

Zatanna
Art by Yoshi Yoshitani.
  • Amethyst: Princess of Gemworld – Written by Shannon and Dean Hale
  • Batman and Robin…and Howard – Written and illustrated by Jeffrey Brown
  • DC Super Hero Girls – Written by Amy Wolfram
  • Dear Super-Villains – Written by Michael Northrop and illustrated by Gustavo Duarte
  • Green Arrow: Stranded – Written by Brendan Deneen and illustrated by Caleb Hosalla
  • Indestructibles Book 1—Written by Ridley Pearson
  • Lois Lane – Written by Grace Ellis and illustrated by Brittney Williams
  • Metropolis Grove – Written and illustrated by Drew Brockington
  • Primer – Written by Thomas Krajewski and Jennifer Muro and illustrated by Gretel Lusky
  • Superman Smashes the Klan – Written by Gene Luen Yang and illustrated by Gurihiru
  • Super Sons Book 3: Escape to Landis – Written by Ridley Pearson and illustrated by Ile Gonzalez
  • Teen Titans Go! to Camp – Written by Sholly Fisch
  • Teen Titans Go! Roll with It – Written by Heather Nuhfer and P.C. Morrissey
  • The Mystery of the Meanest Teacher: A Johnny Constantine Graphic Novel – Written by Ryan North and illustrated by Derek Charm

Former DC Zoom titles (now part of the middle grade releases)

  • Diana: Princess of the Amazons
  • Green Lantern: Legacy
  • Batman Tales: Once Upon a Crime
  • Zatanna & the House of Secrets
  • Batman: Overdrive
  • DC Super Hero Girls: Powerless
  • Anti/Hero
  • Arkhamaniacs
  • My Video Game At My Homework

Comments

Teen Titans Go #23
“Teen Titans Go!” #23 (October 2017). Art by Dario Brizuela.

All of this shows the impact of two recent developments: the kids’ graphic novel sales boom, plus the shift in comic sales away from the direct market, which is no longer the majority of comic sales. DC’s obviously taken notice, and realized they need to change their sales, target audience, and publishing tactics.

That sales aspect probably was a big factor in changing DC’s tune. Per 2018 Bookscan bookstore sales figures, DC and Marvel combined only earned about a fifth of book channel comic sales. Scholastic and other kid-friendly books dominate, while manga publisher Viz outsells DC or Marvel individually. The “Big Two” are only really that when looking at direct market, single-issue comic sales.

As for the announced graphic novels, they sound like an interesting mix. On one hand, “Johnny Constantine” sounds odd, given the character was one of Vertigo’s mainstays, plus his background (a hard-boiled, chain-smoking detective/magician). Then again, Constantine got referenced in “Scooby-Doo Team-Up” of all things, so anything’s possible.

I’d imagine the “Teen Titans Go” volumes should be popular. The TV show’s still a cornerstone of Cartoon Network’s lineup. While “Go”‘s monthly title’s ending, it might fare better in trade/graphic novel format.

Also standing out to me is that Nubia is coming back, after all these years in limbo! This pleased some over on Twitter; the last time I can recall seeing Nubia is in (again) “Scooby-Doo Team-Up.”

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