By Jonathan Rich, Bleeding Cool Senior Southern Correspondent
DC Comics’ newest imprint Young Animal has already made a name for itself for being different and Saturday at NC Comicon the creators involved in making these ‘comics for dangerous humans’ talked about what makes the experience resonate for their discriminating readers.
“To think freely is to be dangerous and not do the safe thing” said Jon Rivera, co-writer on the Young Animal book Cave Carson Has a Cybernetic Eye with Gerard Way. “That is what we are all striving for with these books and so far that has been embraced by the readers.”
“It’s intimidating but really cool to explore some new concepts in comics and see what your take on madness will be,” added Shade the Changing Girl artist Marley Zarcone.
“It’s all still ‘crazy weirdo comics’ and we are trying to bring the weird yet still do an homage to all the weirdness of the past,” added Doom Patrol artist Nick Derington. “We want to reference pop art and surrealism, but still create something new.”
“I had a core concept of what I wanted, but I still wanted to let creators make it their own,” curator Way said of the newest comic book line under the DC Comics publishing umbrella. “It was amazing to find champions and warriors who want to make the coolest and weirdest comics possible and we’ve only just started.”
Way arrived to the DC Comics Young Animal panel 10 minutes late saying he was up late writing, but the audience did not mind his tardiness once he began talking about the future of his comic book misfits.
“We talked about designing certain characters for certain artists and making it all connect,” Way said of the flagship Doom Patrol title he is working on with art by Derington. “We talked about Doom Patrol being a large cast of characters living in a theme park sort of like Disneyland. In the next issue, it opens up with a discussion where we learn about a new character who will be important to all of this and the next story arc. You’ll have to keep reading to find out.”
Way also discussed his direct role in the reemergence of an almost forgotten DC Comics character with an important artificial appendage he is co-writing with Rivera.
“I didn’t know anything about Cave Carson at all until Dan DiDio gave me an encyclopedia of DC Comics,” Way explained. “There was only a half inch entry on him and I found that interesting. Dan became obsessed with finding out how he got the eye and it turns out the original writer never revealed the origin, so it was a great storytelling device just to show how he had already had some adventures. Where we pick the story up is a lot later and it’s now about a father and daughter dealing with loss and moving past tragedy. Then we add 80s vigilante Wild Dog to the mix and it all gets even weirder.”
The latest Young Animal series to debut is Mother Panic which takes place in the Batman universe but with the expected Young Animal difference.
“Gerard had a great seed of an idea when we first talked which was Star Wars meets anime meets Batman in terms of tone,” artist Tommy Lee Edwards explained. “Mother Panic is a glowing white apparition, as opposed to Batman who is never really seen.
“Batman is in the third issue and appears in the first arc,” added writer Jody Houser, “but what was interesting to me is what happens when you see a different side of Gotham from the perspective of someone who thinks he’s a piece of crap.”
In celebration of this different take on modern comics Way and company want for Young Animal, all December 2016 issues in the line will have variant covers created by Paul Rentler.
“Paul helped shape the look of the logos for Young Animal and this is a way to show what more he can do,” Way said.
“All of these books have a unique experimental style,” added Young Animal editor Jamie S. Rich, to which Way added “there’s a psychedelic theme going through all of them right down to the colors, which are gorgeous and experimental. I love it.”
Young Animal is also giving away some of the earlier imprint variants as part of the DCYA sweepstakes. For more info, click here.
Jonathan Rich is a freelance journalist, high school educator, and self-professed comic book nerd working in the Blue Ridge Mountains of western North Carolina. He writes about entertainment and pop culture for various print and web publications, including bleedingcool.com.