If something even vaguely comics-related is successful, and traditional comic book superheroes aren’t there, they will find a way there before long. Witness how short a length of time it took for America’s comic superheroes to make their debut in manga volumes after that medium broke through to the West. Now DC’s taken notice of the Korean app Webtoons, which displays comic panels in a vertically scrolling mobile format.
DC already dipped their toe in the water with Batman: Wayne Family Adventures last year, a comedic Webtoon about the dysfunctional squabbles of the Bat-Team. This year they’ll be adding three additional series, starring established DC characters in new continuities.
The most interesting of these will probably be Red Hood: Outlaws, a series about Jason Todd and his gang attempting to go legit and fight crime. They now have not only the city’s most powerful villains to contend with, but also other superheroes, who don’t buy the sudden change of heart and would just arrest them anyway if given the chance. In addition, Todd’s team has internal conflicts as well, which will likely get in the way. It’s an endeavor with pretty low odds of success, which is what makes it interesting.
Then there’s Zatanna and the Ripper, a series where DC’s beloved magician must face off against the most famous mass murderer of the 19th century after falling though a time warp. You would think this fight would last five seconds, or however long it takes to say “Kcaj emoceb a gorf.” We assume, then, that there’s more going on here.
Finally the story of Vixen is retold yet again in the form of Vixen: NYC. Mari Jiwe has just moved to New York City to attend college. Her family from Ghana has just gifted her a package, and you’ll never guess what’s in it: yup, a magical totem that will allow her to channel the proportionate strength and skills of animals. But here’s the wild twist: the plot description states that this time, her powers will be limited to “the animal kingdom… of New York.” What good will the abilities of rats and pigeons be? Will she be able to give anyone the Bubonic Plague with a touch? I guess that would help fight crime in theory…
All these comics will be free to read on the Webtoons app, starting May 26 when Vixen debuts. The other two are coming later this summer.