BookCon is underway in New York City this weekend and one of the intriguing projects in the spotlight is DC Ink, the YA play by DC Comics that launched this spring and will expand this summer with the new graphic novel called Teen Titans: Raven. Deadline has the book trailer early and exclusive and you can watch it above.
The book , due on shelves on July 2, was written by Kami Garcia, the NY Times bestselling co-author of YA success stories like Beautiful Creatures and Dangerous Creatures. The evocative artwork is by Brazilian illustrator Gabriel Picolo and the advance copies show the finished product does feel like a marked departure from the sinewy superhero fare that DC Comics has been publishing since the FDR Era.
While the comic book storytelling approach is like most graphic novels but (from its muted hues to its attentive portrayal of youth fashion and star-crossed love) its as different as night and day (or as different as nightshade and Day-Glo). The story is paced differently, too, with more emphasis on high-emotion conversations between friends as opposed to, say, the standard rooftop fistfights.
Garcia will be writing spotlight stories about other members of the Teen Titans – Beast Boy is second – and the Warner Bros-owned DC Comics appears to be ramping up more announcements in the specialized new push to put graphic novels on the shelves of YA’s vast consumer base.
Deadline had a quick word with Garcia and Picolo before Garcia was due on stage in New York for the DC Ink authors panel and tie-in announcements.
DEADLINE: Your Teen Titans spotlight series will veer toward sci-fi themes when its Cyborg’s or Starfire’s turn, but starting with Raven puts you in especially familiar turf with a magic-based character. Do you think that choice might help your YA fanbase find a faster foothold with the character?
GARCIA: I’m so excited about the series because it’s a chance to introduce the Teen Titans to a new audience, including my readers. Raven is an origin story and I wanted to explore how it would feel to be a teen with powers without putting all the focus on the powers themselves. I think my readership will be able to relate to Raven and like my Beautiful Creatures series (coauthored with Margaret Stohl), the story has magical elements and it’s set in the South. New Orleans felt like the perfect city for a magical character like Raven. I hope both YA fans and comics fans enjoy our original take.
DEADLINE: You grew up as a fan of DC Comics characters in an era when conventions were still male-dominated and the vast majority of comics were written, drawn, and edited by men. What was it about the characters that spoke to you? And did you come to the characters through comic books of or did you find them through TV or toys or another way?
GARCIA: Growing up, Wonder Woman was my favorite DC character because she’s so powerful and she was one of the few female superheroes at the time. That’s also one of reasons I was attracted to Raven. In our story, she doesn’t have complete control of her powers, yet, but eventually she’ll realize how powerful she is and how to control her powers. I love the fact that DC Ink [the company’s new YA graphic novel line] has so many titles that highlight the power of young women.
DEADLINE: Gabriel this is a pioneering personal project for you as well, this is your first DC project, correct?
GABRIEL PICOLO: I’m so excited for these books, not only because they’re my first project with DC but also because Raven and Beast Boy are my favorite characters. It’s been so much fun to work with Kami on this new take of the Titans, I really appreciate how thoughtful her script is when it comes to how these characters act, their specific body language, the way they dress and, of course how they deal with their super powers.
DEADLINE: Kami, your storytelling experience has largely been as a writer of prose novels. How would you describe the flow of the collaboration process with Gabriel for this DC Ink project?
GARCIA: I’m an outliner and my first drafts tend to be short, with an emphasis on dialogue and plot, so graphic novels turned out to be a natural fit for me.
Adding Gabriel to the project felt like the perfect fit, too.
DEADLINE: His art seems especially well-suited to the tonality of your work – and vice versa – but did you find that the different rhythms of the medium tilted your writing in unexpected ways?
GARCIA: I had seen his “casual Teen Titans” artwork and his style was the look I wanted for the series. From the beginning, our visions for the project aligned perfectly and the collaboration only makes the writing and art stronger.
Below the cover to Teen Titans: Raven…
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