While DC's familiar female characters are clearly wearing a whole new wardrobe in the new Ame-Comi Girls comics, they're also being marketed with a whole new approach.
Beginning in May, Ame-Comi Girls, based on the popular manga-inspired collectibles DC has been selling the past few years, will be released as a weekly series every Monday. That release schedule breaks the traditional release schedule of American superhero comics, which normally come out monthly on Wednesdays.
Gray, who's co-writing the comics with his frequent collaborator, Jimmy Palmiotti, is excited by the prospect of being involved in a digital-first comic that comes out on different days. "Why not? I keep saying how important the digital landscape is to reaching a wider, and hopefully younger, audience that both embraces the new format and is unencumbered by a 'been there seen that' familiarity with the comic industry," he said. "Eventually everyone of every age is going to have access to apps and the importance of giving comics a strong cultural hold on the digital market seems imperative to the growth of the industry."
"The crew at DC are always famous for experimenting with formats and new ideas," Palmiotti told Newsarama. "After the amazing year they are having, it just made sense to expand some more."
The Ame-Comi Girls comics will be released as part of an initiative announced by DC this week at Chicago's C2E2 comic convention. The publisher will now release a different digital comic every week through its various publishing platforms.
Besides Ame-Comi Girls on Mondays, readers will also get weekly chapters of Batman: Arkham Unhinged on Tuesdays, chapters of the existing Beyond comics on Wednesdays, new Batman comics on Thursdays, and a new Smallville: Season 11 comic on Fridays. The weekly comics will also be collected into a monthly print comic, although most digital chapters will come first.
In the new series, the heroines must unite to stop an invasion by the female Brainiac, who is aided by a group of “bad girl” super villains. Initially, there will be five individual character arcs with multiple chapters, leading up to a united, Ame-Comi Girls series.
"We start out of the gate with Wonder Woman, and then as the story progresses we introduce the reader to the next character joining in the fun and keep going from there," Palmiotti said. "This is a universe inhabited with the coolest female superheroes and villains and we get to really know what makes them tick with this series. The world they live in is the world readers are familiar with — from Gotham, to Metropolis, to Themyscira and so on — we move the story all over the DC universe, even into outer space.
"The overall premise is to tell big action filled epics and tell them in the most exciting way we can. Our first big villain to show up is Cheetah and from there we hit just about every female super villains you can think of and some new ones along the way," he added.
The idea behind the series, Gray said, is to present recognizable icons in new and exciting ways with fresh voices.
"That includes the familiar cities of Metropolis and Gotham," Gray added. "Some things will be subtle, but the idea was to take our cues from the designs and inject some things we’ve always wanted to do."The prime example is in making Wonder Woman younger, less mature and refined," he said. "Our Diana is a brash and rebellious young princess who is forced into a position where she has to represent her people in a strange culture that she doesn’t like very much. Other smaller things like making Jimmy Olsen into an older sexy Sebastian Junger type photojournalist in love with Power Girl. Or the idea that Batgirl and Robin are enthusiastic teenage girls with their hands on this incredible technology and sneaking out at night to pick fights with criminals."
All stories are written by Jimmy Palmiotti and Justin Gray, with Wonder Woman art by Amanda Conner and Tony Akins, Batgirl art by Sanford Greene, Duela Dent art by Ted Naifeh, Power Girl art by Mike Bowden and Supergirl art by Santi Casas.
"They were each hired to showcase their strengths and also matched to the character we felt was the best for them to draw," Palmiotti explained. "Each of our artists have been paired up perfectly and each new chapter of the story gets more and more exciting as you go along.
"As you can tell with someone like Amanda Conner, we knew we had to get her on Wonder Woman, after seeing her work on Wonder Woman #600," Palmiotti said. "We got very lucky to have such talented artists involved with this project. We got Tony Akins also on Wonder Woman, Sanford Green knocks it out of the park with the Batgirl chapters, Santi Casas goes nuts on the Supergirl chapters, Ted Naïfeh has a great time making Duela Dent extra evil and Mike Bowden puts the power into his Power Girl chapters. You have to see how amazing this all looks."
While the Ame-Comi Girls have already gotten a few bloggers questioning their "sexiness," the fan base for anime and manga, which inspired the Ame-Comi designs, are noticeably more female than traditional American comics.
But Palmiotti and Gray said the comics they're writing aren't targeted to a specific gender or age. "The good thing here and with the digital format we’re using is that the target audience is hopefully 13-80," Gray said. "The hope is that we can present these characters in a way that makes them appealing to everyone."
"The audience is anyone interested in the Ame-Comi characters, anyone interested in the female characters in the DCU and anyone that enjoys reading fun stories that are a bit over the top," Palmiotti added.
The two writers said they already loved the figures that inspired the series, and they were given the opportunity to create a whole new world for them.
"Aside from the fact that the designs are fantastic, we were given the opportunity to write a majority of the heroines in the DCU all at once without being subject to previous continuity or any existing publishing plans," Gray said of the gig. "Who wouldn’t want to do that?
"We looked at the project as another challenge for us," Palmiotti said. "With the last Power Girl series under our belts, we felt it would be cool to have that fresh attitude applied to a whole new group of interesting characters. Getting to work on characters like Wonder Woman, Batgirl, Powergirl, Supergirl and so on, in one big continuing story is a dream come true. Getting to present them in this format, well...it's just super exciting for us."
The writers said there will be a lot more Ame-Comi versions of characters than just the ones who are headlining the titles. "All you have to do is look at the characters that were part of the Ame-Come line and you will know what is eventually coming up," Palmiotti said. "If you have a favorite, just stick around: She will be making an appearance.""It is our hope to use all of them in some way," Gray said. "We start out with a huge cast that also includes several villains. I’m personally dying to start work on stories for Hawkgirl, Raven and Mera as well."
Both writers said they're excited to bring to life characters that already have a line of costumes because of fan demand. "We think this project is going to make a lot of people very happy," Palmiotti said.
"Everyone involved has put a great deal of work and love into this project," Gray said. "You get to see some of the most beloved super heroines in the world re-imagined first as these amazing PVC figures and now being developed in their own unique world."FACEBOOK and TWITTER!