DC is introducing a new imprint called Young Animal, which features a specialized line-up of talent curated by Gerard Way, writer of Umbrella Academy (and lead singer of My Chemical Romance). Included in that line-up is writer Jon Rivera, best known as co-author of the critically acclaimed series Heartbreak. I had the pleasure of first meeting Rivera in 2002 in New York and subsequently became friends. At San Diego Comic-Con 2016, I was fortunate enough to sit down for a few minutes with both Rivera and Way to chat about their work on DC’s new Young Animal imprint.
I heard you’ll be experimenting with printing techniques in the new line. What do you have planned?
Gerard Way: We have four core titles, but it is important to differentiate single issues, each in a special way. Doom Patrol has a peel away cover, but we’re trying not to do it in a gimmicky way. Cecil [Castelucci, writer of Shade, The Changing Girl] will experiment with forcing the reader to read in innovative ways. We’ll also being putting out a oversized psychedelic special through the main line.
Jon Rivera: We’re bringing back the physical reading experience.
Will such a strong emphasis on the physicality of the books affect how the books read digitally?
Way: It’s fundamental; it works either way.
Rivera: The physical element is a bonus.
Jon, how has your background in storyboarding and writing/drawing books like Heartbreak influenced your writing of Cave Carson?
Rivera: In school we were taught to write a story that works without words. Writing is more than just shooting words at the reader. You have to think about how the scenes work together, how they build up. Heartbreak was all real stories about people finding themselves and relationships. So that really grounds Cave Carson.
Is there anything our particular readership will find appealing about the Young Animal imprint?
Way: Comics should reach everyone. It shouldn’t skew to one demographic or another. I read comics to Bandit and her face lights up when there are female characters. So making sure women were well represented was important to me. It was important to me to make sure Shade, The Changing Girl was an all-female team. I was excited to bring on Jody Houser on. We had a chance to talk about what it was like behind the scenes when I was in the band.
Rivera: Cave Carson is a father-daughter road trip from hell. They really get to know each other.