DC Graphic Novels for Young Adults

KC Carlson

KC Carlson

A KC COLUMN by KC Carlson

Although DC is no longer labeling these graphic novels as DC Zoom or DC Ink, since they have closed down those imprints, I thought it would be a good idea to check in with a couple of recent publications specifically aimed at younger readers. The children are our future, after all. Or so they say.

Batman Tales: Once Upon a Crime

Batman Tales: Once Upon a Crime

Batman Tales: Once Upon a Crime

written by Derek Fridolfs

painted by Dustin Nguyen

lettering by Steve Wands

Ages 8-12

This is a 192-page anthology of quirky Batman stories, loosely based on classic fairy tales and other children’s fiction. The artwork — beautifully painted by Dustin Nguyen in a few different (yet similar) styles — totally captures what writer Derek Fridolfs is attempting with his oddball story choices and fascinatingly weird characterization of these classic comic book characters.

Here’s the rundown of the stories presented here. As you can imagine with only four stories included, each is longer than you might expect.

Waynocchio — An oddball retelling of the classic Pinocchio story starring Damian Wayne and Alfred and featuring Bruce Wayne, Talia, Zatanna, and even Bat-Mite and Catwoman, along with a whole bunch of Bat-Villains.

The Princess & the Pea — Mostly featuring Harley & (Poison) Ivy, lots more Bat-Villains, plus Harvey Dent and Commissioner Gordon. Oh, and a giant robot Batman who’s controlled by the real thing. You know, your typical modern Batman story…

From Alfred in Wonderland

From Alfred in Wonderland

Alfred in Wonderland — starring Alfred (duh) and about a bazillion Bat-villains and friends. Of course, there’s a tea party. Pinkies out!

The Snow Queen — A balloon-less tale that resembles illustrated text more than traditional comics. Batman is challenged by the elements, encountering the Snow Queen, as well as a Bat-foe or two. Actually, quite touching for a Batman story.

The book concludes with two short sneak peeks at the upcoming Zatanna and the House of Secrets (by Matthew Cody and Yoshitani) and Batman: Overdrive (by Shea Fontana and Marcelo DiChiara).

Shadow of the Batgirl

Shadow of the Batgirl

Shadow of the Batgirl

written by Sarah Kuhn

illustrated by Nicole Goux

colored by Cris Peter

lettered by Janice Chiang with Saida Temofonte

Ages 13-17 (note: a couple of uses of the s-word)

This stars the Cassandra Cain version of Batgirl (aka the quirky teenage Batgirl), who’s still trying to shake her past as the daughter of assassins David Cain and Lady Shiva. There are some other interesting characters in this story, like noodle shop owner Jackie Fujikawa Yoneyama and a librarian named Barbara Gordon. (Nah, it couldn’t be… Could it?)

Shadow of the Batgirl preview page

Shadow of the Batgirl preview page

I found this a bit of a tough read, with the artwork frequently inconsistent (and possibly rushed?) and a lot of odd choices of “camera placement.” Unfortunately, this frequently distracted me from the ongoing story — a major problem with an almost 200-page length. Losing track made it difficult to push myself all the way through. Still, there’s a great premise here, as Cassandra tries to find out what happened to the previous Batgirl, and the new characters are interesting. More storylines involving them have potential, should DC want to continue.

Shadow of the Batgirl also features a Sneak Peak of The Oracle Code (written by Marieke Nijkamp and illustrated by Manuel Preitano) — another upcoming graphic novel starring Barbara Gordon, as she deals with the recent trauma of being paralyzed. This looks quite intriguing.


KC CARLSON felt like a kid again reading these new books. Especially Batman Tales: Once Upon a Crime. It’s so great to read Batman stories that don’t take the characters so super-seriously!

WESTFIELD COMICS is not responsible for the stupid things that KC says. Especially that thing that really irritated you. What’s irritating me is the all-day snowstorm we had the other day — which of course kept most (sane) people off the roads so they could be properly plowed. And besides, who wouldn’t want a lazy day to get caught up on their reading!


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