New graphic novel aims to provide superheroes for young girls
After debuting with thousands of copies of its first chapter given away during May's Free Comic Book Day, the DC Super Hero Girls have their first official graphic novel release this week with "DC Super Hero Girls Vol. 1: Finals Crisis."
The story, written by Shea Fontana with art by Yancy Labat, follows the characters of Super Hero High during finals week. But finals aren't their only issue — there's also a supervillain in Metropolis targeting the Super Hero Girls one by one.
Fontana said this graphic novel should be a great entry point specifically for younger female readers.
"We are specifically targeting girls 6 to 12, but we think good stories are for everyone, so boys and older kids can like them too," Fontana said. "It's really about having these stories that are emotionally relatable to kids in that age group, and having these characters who we all love from the comics and the TV shows and the movies, and having them in an appropriate way for kids."
The all-ages "DC Super Hero Girls" original graphic novel stars Supergirl, Wonder Woman, Bumblebee, Batgirl, Katana, Harley Quinn and Poison Ivy.
"When we started to look at who we wanted to focus in on for our main cast, we started with the iconic trio of Wonder Woman, Supergirl and Batgirl, who are by far the biggest three females in the canon of the DC Universe," Fontana said. "And then we started going out from there and really thinking how we can diversify our cast and get some really fun characters."
Bumblebee first appeared in her superheroic guise in a 1977 issue of "Teen Titans," and the character appeared in "Teen Titans”-related animation before making her way to "DC Super Hero Girls." She is generally considered the first African-American female superhero from DC Comics.
The Japanese-American hero Katana was created in 1983's "Brave and the Bold" #200, as part of Mike W. Barr's Outsiders team that would soon appear in "Batman and the Outsiders." Katana is set to appear in the upcoming "Suicide Squad" film.
The last two of the "core seven" for this series are more often seen as Batman villains: Poison Ivy and Harley Quinn.
Fontana said Harley Quinn is "just a big ball of fun, and brings great life and energy to everything she's in."
For Poison Ivy, Fontana said the team is focusing on the character's background as a scientist, but in this case, as a teenager.
"From there, we will certainly be expanding our cast," Fontana said. "We had about 30 more girls who will be appearing in the coming years."
In fact, every character who appears in "Finals Crisis" has a DC Comics counterpart, Fontana said.
"Every character that we have in the high school is actually an existing DC character," Fontana said. "All of those characters that you see in the background, you can find in a comic somewhere. Maybe they only had a few appearances in the 1950s, but they are existing DC characters."
The second "DC Super Hero Girls" graphic novel, "Hits and Myths," has been announced for fall.
"That's all about the girls are studying 'The Odyssey' by Homer in their poetry class, and then they end up having their own kind of odyssey adventure while going through this class," Fontana said.