DC Entertainment is streamlining its publishing operations in a move to “double down” on its core brand.
Beginning next year, the company will publish titles under three age-specific labels: DC Kids (ages 8 to 12, focusing on middle-grade readers), DC (13 and up, the primary DC Comics universe), and DC Black Label (17 and up). These three labels will absorb all existing DC imprints.
DC Ink and DC Zoom were announced last year, focusing on young adult and middle-grade readers. The lines expanded greatly this year with increased presence at comic shops, book stores, and at specialty retail. Featured in the inaugural Media Mashup column in the March/April 2019 issue of the Toy Book, the extensive lineup from DC Ink and DC Zoom includes titles such as Ridley Pearson’s Super Sons series alongside yet-to-be-published titles, such as the graphic novel adaptation of Marie Lu’s Batman: Nightwalker and Dear Justice League from Michael Northrop and Gustavo Duarte.
“What we’ve done here is apply an ages and stages organizing philosophy that will strengthen what we’re already doing well, whether that is our move into the young adult and middle-grade audience or our long track record of success with creator-driven pop-up lines,” says DC Publisher and Chief Creative Officer Jim Lee. “We will also continue to publish creator-owned projects and will evaluate and assign to the appropriate label to help our fans find the best books for their interests. These new labels not only bring greater consistency and focus to our characters, but they also open up a wealth of new opportunities for the talent working on our books.”
For older readers, the new labeling strategy means the closure of the long-running Vertigo label, which brought forth fan-favorite titles — many of which have since been adapted for television, such as Preacher, iZombie, and Hellblazer.
“We’re returning to a singular presentation of the DC brand that was present throughout most of our history until 1993 when we launched Vertigo to provide an outlet for edgier material,” adds DC Publisher Dan DiDio. “That kind of material is now mainstream across all genres, so we thought it was the right time to bring greater clarity to the DC brand and reinforce our commitment to storytelling for all of our fans in every age group. This new system will replace the age ratings we currently use on our material.”
Titles will begin shipping under the new labels beginning in January.