In another indication of the changing fan base of American comics, DC Comics and its parent company Warner Bros. has announced plans to launch DC Super Hero Girls, a multifaceted line of content and merchandise targeting girls and based on DC’s iconic super heroes. A licensing partnership between DC/Warner Bros, Mattel, Random House and Lego, the DC Super Hero Girls line will launch with an interactive digital product in fall 2015, followed by a wide variety of print and digital content, TV shows, toys and other products aimed at girls aged 6-12.
The DC Super Hero Girls universe will be based on the female super heroines of the DC Comics Universe—Wonder Woman, Supergirl, Katana, Poison Ivy, Harley Quinn, Bumble Bee and Batgirl—depicted as multi-ethnic teenagers in their formative years prior to full development as superpowered adults. Each of the characters will have her own storyline about mastering her power and growing up.
The new line also brings together a variety of DC Comics licensees in different product areas. Random House Books for Young Readers has been named master publishing partner and will produce a line of books, including original graphic novels, slated for spring 2016. Mattel, DC’s master toy licensee, will produce action figures for girls, and work with Warner Bros. Animation to produce interactive digital content. Toy manufacturer Lego will collaborate with DC on creating building sets designed specifically for0 girls.
The launch of a comic book superhero universe focused on girls is yet another acknowledgement of the impact of changing fan demographics on the commercial U.S. comic book industry. For decades, American superhero comic book publishers like DC Comics and its longtime competitor Marvel have focused their publishing almost exclusively on boys and adult males. These houses are now rethinking their characters, stories and merchandise to acknowledge the rapid growth of female fans as well as increasing the representation of race and ethnicity in their comics.
This is not the first time DC Comics has targeted girls. In 2006, the publisher launched Minx, an experimental line of indie and manga influenced graphic novels aimed at female YA readers; it folded the line two years later. However, this new initiative is aimed at the biggest U.S. commercial market for comics—superheroes—a genre usually thought to appeal predominately to boys. The DC Super Hero Girls initiative is an acknowledgement that female comics fans—some studies estimate nearly 50% of comics convention attendees are women and girls—are interested in all kinds of comics and are making their presence felt across the pop culture marketplace.
President of DC Entertainment Diane Nelson said, “DC Super Hero Girls represents the embodiment of our long-term strategy to harness the power of our diverse female characters. I am so pleased that we are able to offer relatable and strong role models in a unique way, just for girls.”