Art and Franco Ready to say AW YEAH To YOUNG JUSTICE

YOUNG JUSTICE, Firebreather, Announced

Announced at the DC KIDS AW YEAH Panel at Comic-Con International: San Diego, Young Justice is getting a new monthly comic due out soon, and DC has tapped Art Baltazar and Franco Aureliani to write it.

The comic, which is based on the new Young Justice animated series launching on Cartoon Network in November, will feature art by Mike Norton.

"We were given the TV script to read and we just loved these characters and the stories they're telling," Aureliani said. "We were just amazed we're able to work with this really cool stuff they're doing on the TV show."

The Young Justice team line-up for both the TV show and the new DC comic will start with the new Aqualad, Superboy, Robin, Kid Flash, Miss Martian and an arrow-firing character named Artemis. DC Entertainment CCO Geoff Johns did tease that other characters will show up as the show progresses, too.

"We can't really talk about the characters and their backgrounds, but they're just great," Aureliani said. "It really honors the stuff from the comics, but it's got the new Aqualad and new stories. It's just a lot of fun."

Readers are being introduced to the comic book version of the new Aqualad in the series Brightest Day, who will now be part of DCU continuity. But the Young Justice series will exist in its own universe, according to the writers.

"This is just about the Young Justice team. Their stories," Baltazar said. "The comics take what happens on the show and we expand on the stories you'll see on TV."

Baltazar and Aureliani began working for DC Comics when they launched the Tiny Titans series in 2008, with Baltazar drawing their co-written stories. Kicking off a new DC Kids line for the publishing company, Tiny Titans was hailed by fans and critics, even winning an Eisner Award for Best Publication for Kids. The comic's collection also made the New York Times Best Seller List.

The two collaborated as co-writers again when they took over the Billy Batson and the Magic of Shazam comic,  working with Norton as artist. That series ends temporarily in October, though Co-Publisher Dan DiDio said it will be relaunched soon after. Still, the entire creative team is excited to work on Young Justice.

"Aw yeah. Mike's the best. And he's fast. He can really show the emotions and reactions of the characters," Baltazar said. "It's great working with him."

While Tiny Titans and Billy Batson were both aimed at a very young audience, the writers said Young Justice will be appropriate for kids of any age, but particularly teens.

"The cartoon falls somewhere between what they were doing with Justice League Unlimited, which felt more adult, and Teen Titans, which felt younger. This leans more toward Justice League, but with teenagers," Aureliani said.

While the cartoon and new comic is a different line-up, a teenaged team called "Young Justice" was originally a comic that launched in 1998, created by Peter David and Todd Nauck. The series ran for 56 issues and won a loyal fan following, but hasn't been revived since. The book has been long out of print, and collections of the original series are starting to ship in October 2010. Original series writer Peter David was also announced at SDCC 2010 as a writer on the TV series.

The two confirmed Young Justice would have plenty of humor, which readers have come to expect from the two writers, but the laughs will be mixed with action and drama, as the kids in Young Justice learn and grow while fighting against evil.

"It's about teenagers, so they laugh and have fun," Baltazar said. "But they deal with  serious things too."

For fans of Baltazar and Aureliani's work, the idea of them writing serious scenes may seem unusual, but the writers said they're doing their best to capture the feeling of the cartoon on the pages.

"People are used to us joking around, but listen to us," Aureliani said with a laugh. "We sound all serious right now while we talk about this. But that's because we take this really seriously. This cartoon is just so good, and we love what they've done so much, that we want to make this comic great too."

We're Young, Just Us.

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