Get Your Cape On: DC Super Hero Girls Hopes to Empower Tomorrow’s Heroes Today
Announced in April, the DC Super Hero Girls line was a bold statement by Warner Bros. about its commitment to reaching out to all demographics of the market, and very specifically, young girls. While initially revealed as a partnership between Warners, DC Entertainment, and companies like Mattel, Random House, and Lego, there hadn't been many details revealed about what form and shape DC Super Hero Girls would take beyond vague promises of apparel, toys, animations and books. Today, Warner Bros. and DC broke the silence (via USA Today) to tease a bit more about what to expect from the upcoming girl-focused line.
DC Super Hero Girls will take all the familiar faces from the DCU, and transplant them into a stylized high school setting, not unlike Monster High or My Little Pony Equestria Girls. Instead of being heroes or villains, everyone at Super Hero High School is on (relatively) equal footing. Batgirl is the computer whiz, Harley Quinn is the class clown, Amanda Waller is the principal, and characters like Wonder Woman, Barda, Cheetah and Poison Ivy will all walk the halls together as classmates.
“It’s fun for all of us to be involved in something that’s going to play into the girl-power aspect of what kids and parents are looking for,” Diane Nelson, president of DC Entertainment and president/chief content officer of Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment, told USA Today.
As you can see in the animated short above, almost everyone in the DCU is getting the Super Hero High School treatment, even though the primary focus for the line is on young ladies. It's not really clear what criteria is being used to determine which characters are being turned into students or remaining adults (Superman is clearly older, while Green Lantern and Star Sapphire are teens), but there's definitely an abundance of kids ready to learn at Super Hero High.
Being brought back to high school also means that between saving construction workers, the DC Super Hero Girls will still be dealing with everyday issues many non-super kids deal with, too. “When you’re that age, whether it’s as young as six or — on a more aspirational level — when you’re moving into a high school environment, you’re trying to figure out who you are, and that’s what these characters are going through,” Nelson said.
The animated short is just one part of the larger scheme, which will also include TV specials and direct-to-video features in 2016 (at the earliest), along with a middle-grade novel series from Random House detailing the adventures of the DC Super Hero Girls. The first book, written by Shea Fontana, will focus on the girls trying to escape Lex Luthor's clutches and is set to arrive in July of next year. There will also be graphic novels from DC, though there's still not much information on when they'll be out or who'll be working on them. This of course will all tie into the branded social media accounts, and the upcoming toy lines.
Two lines of figures were announced today, and they'll also be on display at New York Comic Con this coming week. The 6" line could be considered standard action figure fare, with characters rendered in plastic with multiple points of articulation and accessories. There will also be "action dolls" at a slightly larger 12" scale, which are more akin to the Barbie and Monster High variety that are so popular these days.
These too will have multiple points of articulation and accessories (when necessary), but will also feature real hair and fabric costumes. Lego sets are also on the way, but haven't been shown yet. Perhaps by Toy Fair in February we'll have a bit of an idea of what to expect. Something along the lines of the brick-maker's Disney Princess line would certainly make sense.
Ensuring that strong male and female characters were represented everywhere within DC's and Warner's reach was something Nelson wanted to emphasize, too. By creating an entire brand just to reach an audience that's in dire need of attention, the companies are definitely taking the right first steps. Geoff Johns, DC’s chief creative officer, also told USA Today that DC Super Hero Girls was "one of the most important things that we’ll be a part of so far since DC’s been formed. It’s a huge statement and opportunity.” That's a sentiment we certainly share.
As our own Janelle Asselin said back when DC Super Hero Girls was announced, "Teaching girls that they can be super heroes too — and that super heroes are for girls, not just that girls can like the super hero things made for boys — is really, really important. Girls should be raised to not be ashamed of whatever set of traits and gender presentation they feel fits them, and that includes being feminine."
Whether or not DC Super Hero Girls is executed in a way that makes this all possible, and whether or not girls gravitate to this franchise like they have similar lines, remains to be seen. That it exists at all is incredibly promising, and if it's as successful as intended, perhaps other publishers will take note and get their butts in gear on lines targeted towards this audience as well.