Also published on this date: Shelf Awareness for Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Wednesday, August 30, 2017: Dedicated Issue: Random House DC Icons Series

Random House Books for Young Readers: DC Icons - Super Hero Icons Meet Megastar Authors

Editors' Note

Random House DC Icons Series

With the support of the publisher, Shelf Awareness celebrates the launch of Random House's DC Icons Series for young adult readers. The stories and interviews are by Siân Gaetano.

Random House Books for Young Readers: Wonder Woman: Warbringer (DC Icons #1) by Leigh Bardugo

Books & Authors

Random House Publishes DC Icons Series for Young Adult Readers

Young adult super hero fans are getting excited! Random House Books for Young Readers has partnered with Warner Bros. Consumer Products and DC Entertainment to publish official young adult novels featuring four of the most iconic DC Comics Super Heroes. On August 29, 2017, the first book in the DC Icons series, Wonder Woman™: Warbringer, by Leigh Bardugo, was released; it will be followed by Batman™: Nightwalker (Marie Lu) on January 2, 2018, Catwoman™ (Sarah J. Maas) in Summer 2018 Superman™ (Matt de la Peña) in Spring 2019. Each of the four YA novels embraces and explores themes of good vs. evil, coming-of-age romance and the determination to achieve seemingly impossible dreams.

Random House Books for Young Readers: Batman: Nightwalker (DC Icons #2) ) by Marie Lu

A Chat with Editor Chelsea Eberly

Shelf Awareness chats with Chelsea Eberly, Senior Editor, Random House Books for Young Readers, and editor of DC Icons series.

Chelsea Eberly

Did you grow up with DC Comics?
I fell in love with the DC Universe watching Batman: The Animated Series. That show opened my eyes to the complexity of heroes and villains alike, and then once I'd discovered the comics, I never looked back. I'm currently a big fan of Gotham Academy.

How were these four super heroes chosen?
Wonder Woman, Batman, Catwoman and Superman are pop culture icons. These characters have immediate name recognition, regardless of storytelling format. It would have been a missed opportunity to call our series DC Icons and then not choose these iconic characters.

How were these four authors chosen?
We started by lighting the Bat-Signal.... No, actually we began by creating the ultimate wish list. If we could have anyone, who would we want to write the official coming-of-age stories about Wonder Woman, Batman, Catwoman and Superman? Then we did some sleuthing--checking social media and talking to agents to find out who on our list were superhero fans. If an author was already a fan of a specific DC character, then we knew we'd struck gold.

How have the stories been adapted for a contemporary young adult audience?
These are coming-of-age stories, so you're seeing the characters earlier in their lives than usual. We meet them just as they're discovering who they are and beginning to shoulder the burden of what it means to be a hero.

Are these original stories or retellings?
The DC Icons books are completely new, original stories. We were less inclined to retell these characters' origin stories because they are such familiar, well-trod lore. We want our stories to take readers by surprise.

How did you allow each author to bring their own writing style and flair to the book and to the DC Comics world?
Warner Brothers and everyone at DC have been wonderful partners throughout this entire process. The DC Universe is rich with storytellers across a wide variety of formats, and they understand that you get the best results when creative people have the space to be creative. In this case, they've been there at each stage to weigh in on whether we were keeping within the DC Universe, while also understanding that each author needs to be able to create an amazing story that lives up to YA readers' expectations.

What are you most excited about with the unveiling of these four works?
So much! These authors are at the top of their games and delivering incredible stories. I can't wait for readers to discover how Leigh Bardugo envisions Diana's first secret mission and the strong women warriors of Themyscira; how Marie Lu carefully unspools the mind games between Bruce Wayne and a girl accused of murder in Arkham Asylum; how Sarah J. Maas shows a scrappy young Selina clawing her way to the top of Gotham City's criminal underbelly; and how Matt de la Peña reveals the immense humanity in Clark as he discovers his true (alien) identity. I mean, c'mon, what's not to get excited about? And the best part is that you don't need to care about super heroes to care about these characters. I only wish the books were coming out sooner.

Can we look forward to more young adult DC Comics titles in the future?
Yes, but that's all I'm allowed to say!

Wonder Woman™: Warbringer by Leigh Bardugo

Leigh Bardugo

Princess Diana longs to prove herself to her legendary warrior sisters. But when the opportunity finally comes, she throws away her chance at glory and breaks Amazon law--risking exile--to save a mortal. Diana will soon learn that she has rescued no ordinary girl, and that with this single brave act, she may have doomed the world.

We asked author Leigh Bardugo what drew her to this particular super hero.

"I mean, the easy answer is that I've been a fan since I was a kid waking up on Saturday mornings to watch Super Friends. And when Random House/DC approached me, I was definitely excited to write my own take on the Amazons, the lasso, the bracelets, all of those incredible iconic parts of Diana's character. But I think there's more to it than that. Wonder Woman represents a unique kind of hero. I love seeing her kick ass, and I loved writing her kicking ass, but there's another kind of strength that defines her--the strength to choose kindness over cruelty, to choose peace even when you know you could win the fight. I think that compassion is what drew me to her and what I wanted to place at the heart of her story."

Leigh Bardugo is the #1 New York Times and USA Today bestselling YA author of the Grisha trilogy (Shadow and Bone, Siege and Storm and Ruin and Rising). Her new YA fantasy, Six of Crows, was a New York Times Notable Book and an ALA-YALSA Top Ten Pick of 2016. The Grisha books have been sold in 30 territories, and the first trilogy is in development with DreamWorks for a book-to-film adaptation to be produced by David Heyman. Bardugo lives and writes in Hollywood, Calif.

Batman™: Nightwalker by Marie Lu

Marie Liu 
photo: Primo Gallanosa

The Nightwalkers are terrorizing Gotham City, and Bruce Wayne is next on their list. About to turn 18, Bruce is ready to inherit his family's fortune along with the keys to Wayne Industries and all the tech gadgetry that he loves. But on the way home from his birthday party, he makes an impulsive choice and is sentenced to community service at Arkham Asylum. There he meets Madeleine Wallace, a brilliant girl with ties to the Nightwalkers. She is the mystery he must unravel, but is he convincing her to divulge her secrets, or is he feeding her the information she needs to bring Gotham City to its knees?

We asked author Marie Lu what drew her to this particular super hero.

"My first introduction to Batman was on Batman: The Animated Series when I was a kid. I grew up with Batman, and it was my first introduction not only to a superhero, but to a nuanced character, someone who was kind of gray and literally in the shadows. I've always been drawn to that."

Marie Lu is the #1 New York Times and USA Today bestselling YA author of the Legend trilogy (Legend, Prodigy and Champion). The Young Elites fantasy trilogy reached #1 on the New York Times bestseller list, and Fox and Temple Hill have bought the film rights. Marie was an art director in the video game industry but now writes full time. She lives in Los Angeles.

Catwoman™ by Sarah J. Maas

Sarah J. Maas; photo: Josh Wasserman

Two years after escaping Gotham City's slums, Selina Kyle returns as the mysterious and wealthy Holly Vanderhees. She quickly discovers that with Batman away on a vital mission, only Batwing is left to hold back the tide of notorious criminals. Gotham City is ripe for the taking. But with a dangerous threat from the past on her tail, will she be able to pull off the heist that's closest to her heart?

We asked author Sarah J. Maas what drew her to this particular super hero.

"As a kid, I was drawn more toward heroines who existed in gray zones, Catwoman in particular being one of my favorites. She possesses her own moral compass and answers to no one but herself. She has her own agenda and is willing to play both sides of the line to achieve it--she's bold and clever and a total enigma. Those are the kind of heroines I've always loved to explore the most, and getting the chance to reinvent one of the characters that shaped me as a writer and a woman is truly a dream come true."

Sarah J. Maas is the New York Times, USA Today and internationally bestselling YA fantasy author of the Throne of Glass series (Throne of Glass, Crown of Midnight, Heir of Fire, Queen of Shadows and The Assassin's Blade) and the Court of Thorns and Roses series. The Throne of Glass series is being developed for television by the Mark Gordon Company, and A Court of Thorns and Roses is being developed for a feature film by Tempo Productions and David Garrett's Mister Smith Entertainment. A New York native, Maas lives in Pennsylvania with her husband and dog.

Superman™ by Matt de la Peña

Matt de la Peña; photo: Heather Waraksa

High school is tough on everyone, even the future Man of Steel. Clark Kent knows he is different from the other kids in school. When Clark saves a new kid's life, it seems like he may have sparked a real friendship. Unfortunately, Bryan is the heir to the Mankins Corporation, the wealthy business buying up all of the farms in Smallville, Kansas and beyond. There are rumors they're doing secret experiments, and the migrant workers in town have begun picketing outside their headquarters. The unrest in town is building, and so are Clark's abilities. It's time for his father to tell him the truth: Clark isn't from Earth. Clark must decide what this news means to him, how this information will shape his identity and what's really going on with Mankins Corporation before it's too late. The seeds of hate have been planted, but the boy who will one day become Superman is learning to weed out the evil.

We asked author Matt de la Peña what drew him to this particular super hero.

"Superman is the ultimate immigrant. Throughout my writing career I've been drawn to stories that feature protagonists who are somehow marginalized, whether it be racially, economically or politically. I'm usually following a mixed-race kid from a poor, border town, but marginalization can be found anywhere, including a place like Smallville, Kansas. So in a way, Superman's coming of age fits right into my creative sweet spot. But there's another reason I was drawn to the Superman story: his powers. I mostly write realistic fiction. And here was a chance to work with a character who can fly and punch through walls. The thought of exploring these powers within the context of the immigration angle was just incredibly exciting."

Matt de la Peña is a New York Times bestselling and Newbery Medal-winning author. He has penned six critically acclaimed YA novels, including Mexican WhiteBoy and The Living, for which he received the Pura Belpré Author Honor Award. His picture book Last Stop on Market Street was awarded a Newbery Medal, and illustrator Christian Robinson's artwork received a Caldecott Honor. De la Peña lives in Brooklyn, N.Y., with his family. He teaches creative writing and often visits high schools and colleges throughout the country.

Random House Books for Young Readers: Wonder Woman: Warbringer (DC Icons #1) by Leigh Bardugo

Random House Books for Young Readers: Batman: Nightwalker (DC Icons #2) ) by Marie Lu

Random House Books for Young Readers: Wonder Woman: Warbringer (DC Icons #1) by Leigh Bardugo

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