DC Creators Talk Reinventing Iconic Heroes For Teens at SDCC

The DC SDCC panel today highlighted their young adult books, which have been reintroducing their iconic heroes, reimagined for a younger generation. Many of these books have been written by YA-authors most known for prose, which has allowed DC to explore new perspectives on legacy characters. Jim Lee introduced this portion of the DC@Home panel during the digital festivities, transitioning to a segment led by Michelle Wells, VP and executive editor DC Books for Young Readers. Wells introduced two teams for their library of titles: Lois Lane and the Friendship Challenge creators, writer Grace Ellis of Lumberjanes fame and artist Brittney Williams, and the Swamp Thing: Twin Branches team of best-selling author Maggie Stiefvater and artist Morgan Beem.

DC SDCC panel covers reinventing icons for young readers. Credit: Comic-Con@Home.
DC SDCC panel covers reinventing icons for young readers. Credit: Comic-Con@Home.

Grace Ellis spoke on the task of reinventing Lois Lane for young readers:

"It's Lois without Clark where we can really dig into Lois specifically without any of the Superman baggage. It's a dream come true. […] The story takes place over the summer, of the first week of summer and which is just like such a magical time that I remember specifically because it's it feels like even though you know it's going to end eventually, it feels like it won't end. So it's a combination of that and thinking about Brittany's art style, and how good you are at drawing expressions, especially very funny expressions, so I knew that if we took Louis and just cranked up everything we already know about Louis, where would we land? And we've landed on someone who's just like she's very funny, and she's really she's just a wild, wild child. She's a steamroller, she's very passionate. I love her I love where we landed."

Brittney Williams added, making sure readers know that their take comes from a place of love and fandom: "I have basically known these character, Lois Lane, for a very, very long time. An embarrassing long time."

DC SDCC panel covers reinventing icons for young readers. Credit: Comic-Con@Home.
DC SDCC panel covers reinventing icons for young readers. Credit: Comic-Con@Home.

Maggie Steifvater then discussed the unique place she found to dive into her Swamp Thing reinvention:

"For me, Swamp Thing was appealing because one of the things that I touch upon into all of my novels is kind of that confluence of science and magic, of reality and speculative fiction. I always want any kind of genre element to be talking about the real world, to making it more heightened and the thing I love about Alec Holland from Swamp Thing is that he's always been really into the natural world, and I'm really into the natural world, so I thought but for the age that he was that it would be really cool to look at someone coming of age alongside biology and plants, and feeling out of place. And plants are nothing like us and so he relates more to plants. So that was really where I first connected with Alec."

On the topic of a teenage Swamp Thing, artist Morgan Beem added:

"I have like a deep, deep love of things that are like kind of creepy. One of the things I love about Swamp Thing is a hero, he's this champion for the natural world that I feel like right now is really important. But he's not your classic hero, you know he's not the like chiseled, caped, sort of PR-ready person who's out there, you know, punching criminals or whatnot. [He] is very much a thing from the shadows, you know, somebody whose body has been mutated somebody who upon you know just looking at him you would think monster instead of hero and I just think that that dynamic and kind of dealing with that dark side of doing good is really compelling story wise."

The full DC SDCC panel can be watched here.

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About Theo Dwyer

Theo Dwyer writes about comics, film, and games.
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