Dear Justice League
Wes Abbott (letterer), Gustavo Duarte (artist), Marcelo Maiolo (colorist), Michael Northrop (writer)
DC Zoom (a DC Comics imprint)
August 6, 2019
In March 2015, I hosted a Gotham Academy roundtable featuring five book bloggers. We discussed their limited experience with comics, whether the series was great for newbies, and if they would go on to read more comics. The purpose of this exercise was to prove that DC Comics could reach a larger audience by making their comics more accessible. It’s been almost three years since that roundtable, and DC Comics is now publishing graphic novels under their new middle grade and young adult imprints, DC Zoom and DC Ink. This ongoing series on WWAC, DC Youth, will follow these fledgling imprints and see how they do with reaching a new group of comic book readers—starting with Dear Justice League.
Dear Justice League is the second book to come out of DC Zoom, DC Comics’ recently cancelled middle grade imprint (more on that in an upcoming post!). Its premise is simple: superheroes are pretty popular, and kids have important questions for the likes of Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Hawkgirl, Green Lantern, Aquaman, Cyborg, and the Flash. Does Aquaman smell like fish? Does Green Lantern have any tips on style? Hawks eat mammals, but does Hawkgirl?
I had the pleasure of reading a preview of this book as part of Free Comic Book Day, and I knew it would be a standout among DC Comics’ offerings for kids. After reading it in its entirety, I was proven correct. Dear Justice League is an absolute delight. Each member of the Justice League gets their moment to shine and an email to answer. Superman is asked if he’s ever made mistakes, and then proceeds to deal with one disaster after another because he was reading while flying. It takes these larger-than-life characters and turns them into people who kids can relate to. If your heroes can mess up and feel insecure, then maybe it’s not a reach to dream that big dream. It means that falling down is just the moment before you’re on your feet again.
Author Michael Northrop did an excellent job at writing for kids while also creating something older folks can enjoy. As a Batman fan, I enjoyed this take on my moody knight. The art team truly brought this story to life. I loved Duarte’s style which really works for this book. The expressions and movements are playful (see Green Lantern and Batman) while also allowing for the quieter moments like Wonder Woman thinking about her eleventh birthday party. Maiolo’s colours are soft in the way that the book itself is soft; it leaves you with a lingering smile and the feeling of warmth. I highly recommend picking up Dear Justice League for the kid in your life or for yourself!
There are more DC Ink titles out now compared to DC Zoom, but it’s interesting to see both of the imprints releasing strong titles around the same time (see Teen Titans: Raven) after a rocky start. Now that both imprints will either get a rebrand (DC Zoom into DC Kids) or disappear into the overall DC Comics umbrella, it’ll be interesting to see how that will impact book promotion and DC’s ability to get to audiences that aren’t already interested in serialized comics or accessing comic shops. That’s be a discussion for another time, and this series will continue to follow these kids and young adult titles.