DC Comics is looking to target a younger crowd in the fall with two graphic novel imprints aimed at budding adults. According to The New York Times, they'll be titled DC Zoom (for middle-school readers) and DC Ink (for young adults). Veteran comic writers will help bring these titles to the masses, but the company is also tapping well-known YA authors like Laurie Halse Anderson (Speak) and Michael Northrop (TombQuest) who don't have previous experience in the comics industry. Other authors hired for the initiative include Melissa de la Cruz (the Descendants series) and Ridley Pearson (the Kingdom Keepers series).
“We wanted to go back to what we used to have in comic books: story arcs for younger readers,” said Bobbie Chase, vice president of talent development at DC Comics and the executive editor for the new imprints. She worked at Marvel in the 1980s and 1990s, rising to one of Marvel Group's editors-in-chief, the highest position a female editor has ever reached with the company. In addition, she stated that these novels are centered around DC's heroes and villains dealing with the world around them, putting up with regular kid stuff like parents and teachers. “They are character studies, not necessarily superhero stories,” she said.
DC Zoom's first title will be DC Super Hero Girls: Search for Atlantis, by Shea Fontana and Yancey Labat. Fontana has already been helming the DC Super Hero Girls series for the publisher since 2015, and Labat's been drawing them.
DC Ink will start off with a graphic novels featuring Harley Quinn and Mera, a love interest of Aquaman who was portrayed by Amber Heard in Justice League. Quinn's book will be handled by She-Hulk writer Mariko Tamaki and drawn by veteran comic artist Steve Pugh, while Mera's title is being written by Danielle Paige (The Dorothy Must Die series), with no artist announced yet. The focus on female protagonists for the initial books is that the audience for middle school and YA is mainly comprised of girl readers, said vice president for content strategy Michelle Wells.
Softover Zoom books contain 128 pages and are currently priced at $9.99, whereas Ink ones are 192 pages and $16.99. They will also be notable for not entangling themselves in the complex superhero continuities established over the years.