Your Thoughts on DC's YA/MG books (Ink/Zoom)?

More than two years ago on February 4th of 2018, following months of hinting and speculation, DC made it official in the pages of The New York Times: They were getting into the Kids OGN business.

Collectively known in-house as DC Books for Young Readers, the new initiative would house two imprints: DC Zoom (now DC Books for Kids or DC Kids for short) to publish books for the middle-grade crowd, and DC Ink (now DC Books for Young Adults) to publish books for the young-adult crowd.

The goal of both lines is pretty simple: create standalone, evergreen stories that serve as the bridge for younger audiences to cultivate a love of DC and comics in general.

The strategy, or one of the main strategies: recruit some of the biggest names in YA/MG fiction, from established giants to up-and-comers, to craft those stories alongside a bevy of rising artistic talent from across the comics industry.

Fast-forward to today, where after a year and a half of baking in the oven, the first titles were released into the world in April of last year.

Here’s a chronological list of those books, broken down according to the imprint they were published in (Zoom and Ink for simplicity), with their creative teams and the month they dropped (LCS dates here).

DC ZOOM

April

  • Super Sons: The Polarshield Project by Ridley Pearson and Ile Gonzalez

June

  • DC Super Hero Girls: Spaced Out by Shea Fontana and Agnes Garbowska

August

  • Dear Justice League by Michael Northrop and Gustavo Duarte

September

  • Superman of Smallville by Art Baltazar and Franco

October

  • The Secret Spiral of Swamp Kid by Kirk Scroggs

  • DC Super Hero Girls: At Metropolis High by Amy Wolfram and Yancey Labat

  • Black Canary: Ignite by Meg Cabot and Cara McGee

  • Superman Smashes the Klan by Gene Luen Yang and Gurihiru(*)

DC INK

April

  • Mera: Tidebreaker by Danielle Paige and Stephen Byrne

May

  • Under the Moon: A Catwoman Tale by Lauren Myracle and Issac Goodhart

July

  • Teen Titans: Raven by Kami Garcia and Gabriel Picolo

September

  • Harley Quinn: Breaking Glass by Mariko Tamaki and Steve Pugh

October

  • Batman Nightwalker by Stuart Moore and Chris Wildgoose (Based on Marie Lu’s novel)

So now that we have before us a solid overview of what was essentially the first year of DC Young Readers, I’m curious to know what your thoughts are on these books if you have read any of them?

What are your favorites? Any least-favorites? What are they doing right with these lines and what else could be done better?

And hey! If you have any kids or cousins or nephews who are reading one of these books, I more than welcome you guys to share their opinions with everyone here.

So…blast away!

(*Superman Smashes the Klan is being published as a three-issue, prestige-format miniseries. The collected edition will drop in May).

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I haven’t read any of these yet, but this year I’m very excited for Superman Smashes the Klan, The Oracle Code, and Shadow of the Batgirl

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So far I’ve only read the Catwoman book and the first issue of Superman Smashes the Klan and enjoyed them both.

I’m outside the age range they’re shooting for, so I haven’t really had any interest in reading any of the titles myself. That said, I completely support DC putting more effort into getting more kid-friendly stories out there. I definitely like how the main comics are more adult-friendly, but it does leave out a lot of younger readers, so Ink and Zoom are good for engaging kids/teens that wanna read comics

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I’ve read most of the Ink and Zoom books (Super Sons v2 and Harley Quinn: Breaking Glass being the two I’ve not read) and enjoyed most of them.

Super Sons v1 was somewhat dull, but the others have been alot of fun, especially Dear Justice League, Mera: Tidebreaker and Superman of Smallville.

Superman Smashes The Klan is a good read, and Green Lantern: Legacy looks interesting as well.

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I’m outside their age range too, but it’s definitely a testament to the talent assembled for most of these that there are books I can point at and say ‘That looks like something I want to read’.

It also helps that there’s a LOT of genuine effort and artistry being put forth. They are not shortchanging on anything, and that’s great to see from a major comics company.

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Agreed on Super Sons being dull. For me, while not terrible (I’ve read some real stinkers in middle/high school so I should know), they just pale in comparison to all the great stuff that has come out since then. Swamp Kid and Superman Smashes the Klan are just two highlights in particular.

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Swamp Kid was fun, and more enjoyable than I was expecting it to be.

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I concur with you and @Vroom on Superman Smashes the Klan.

Yes, Yang is a generational talent as a graphic novelist, but he’s also become a exceptional superhero writer and SMTK represents the apex of that.

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In addition to Superman Smashes The Klan, Gene Luen Yang’s work on Superman (2011-2016), New Super-Man and The Terrifics is also quite enjoyable.

I’ve spoken about Black Canary: Ignite and things I liked about it. Mainly, it was a fun read and a solid origin story. It showcases a lot of elements from Black Canary’s mythos and presents them in a way that makes them all fit rather nicely. I also am a fan of that style of art. It reminds me of stuff you’d see from BOOM! Studios.

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