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DC announces imprints for young readers

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At WonderCon 2018, DC Comics gave attendees and online live-streamers an inside look at the company’s recently announced Zoom and Ink imprints during a panel on March 24.

Both imprints will be targeting young readers and will have their first products released later this year.

“Superheroes are more popular than ever so it only makes sense to bring these DC characters to an entirely new generation of young readers,” DC Entertainment and Warner Bros. Consumer Products president Diane Nelson said. “The first comic books created decades ago were for kids, and as the business evolved and matured, it became more focused on adult readers.”

“DC Ink and DC Zoom present an exciting new opportunity to grow our publishing business and ensure beloved stories built around iconic characters like Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman are endeared as part of the fabric of childhood for years to come,” Nelson said.

DC Zoom is geared toward readers in the middle grade range, whereas DC Ink is geared toward young adult readers. Acclaimed writers from both the MG and YA genres, such as Gene Yang (“Avatar: The Last Airbender”) and Kami Garcia (“Beautiful Creatures”), respectively, have been charged with creating these stories.

Ferdy Pippen, Southern Miss alum and principal at Waynesboro Riverview Middle School, said he thinks it is important to capture the attention of young readers.

“As a middle school principal, I see firsthand how hard it is to motivate students to read. [Zoom and Ink] will give teachers a reading tool that students will want to read versus being forced to read,” Pippen said. “I think DC is going in the right direction, to capture the hearts and minds of children early so that they will become lifelong readers and learners.”

Pippen said that DC’s new imprints may help parents encourage their children to read.

“The current research shows that the earlier a child starts to read and hear the spoken word, the further in education and higher paying position the child will eventually achieve,” Pippen said.

With a baby set to arrive in May, Pippen said programs like DC Zoom and DC Ink are important.

“As a future parent, I am already picking out stories that I will read to my child. This will ensure that she is off to a good start.”

Manager and owner of Bombshell Comics Justin Adcock said that he has had more families with young children ask for books their children can read. Adcock has a section in his store stacked with age-appropriate content for children.

“I’ve sold more [young reader-targeted] books in about the last year than I have the last 16 years I have had this shop,” Adcock said.

The success of one of DC’s top-selling books for children, “DC’s Super Hero Girls,” helped DC decide to make more books for children.

Adcock echoed this story of success. “For comparison, ‘Super Hero Girls’ now outsells ‘The Walking Dead,’ which used to be my best seller,” Adcock said.

Adcock said he will order some products from DC Zoom and DC Ink and place them on the shelves of his young reader’s section and hopes that they do as well as “Super Hero Girls.”

Upcoming books for DC Zoom include “Batman: Overdrive” and “Green Lantern: Legacy,” while upcoming books for DC Ink include “Teen Titans” and “Wonder Woman: Tempest Tossed.”