Markley’s Fevered Brain: High School Redux

Wayne Markley


by Wayne Markley

DC Super Hero Girls: Final Crisis

DC Super Hero Girls: Final Crisis


I often complain that there are so few books that are fun to read and leave you feeling good. If you add to that these books are self-contained and tell a complete story in one graphic novel at a time, then DC has found a perfect set of books in their digital first DC Super Hero Girls. Digitally there are five volumes of these excellent mini-graphic novels. Three are out so far in a traditional print format, in the smaller graphic novel format that are larger than a traditional digest, but smaller than a graphic novel. They are the same size as BOOM!’s Disney collections. To be honest the concept of these books is clearly designed (and DC has said so) to be used for creating merchandise such as t-shirts, clothes, toys, etc. and selling it to young girls. I have seen a number of licensed properties based on these characters, but I am fairly confident there are a great number more out there than my limited search. Whatever the origins of these series of books, the end result is a home run. While I mentioned there are current three full color graphic novels, there are also three prose novels based on the characters and a yearbook that is sort of a Who’s Who of this part of the DC Universe.

The basic premise of the books are a number of DC heroes are still in high school, and even though the books are called DC Super Hero Girls, there are also boys. Each story is broken down into chapters, generally eight of them, and the group breaks up into smaller groups to confront the menace. Sometimes there are different villains that in the end all are serving the same cause. There is also a fair amount of the stories devoted to school life and the personality of the cast is heavily focused on so each hero is clearly defined in terms of their powers and personality. The cast of the books are generally (not everyone appears in every story as there are other characters that come and go) Wonder Girl, Supergirl, Bumble Bee, Beast Boy, Zantanna, Katana, Batgirl, Poison Ivy, Harley Quinn (blonde version), Hawkgirl. Killer Frost and more. The professors include the Demon who speaks in rhyme, Gorilla Grodd, and Amanda Waller. The second two volumes are heavily Wonder Woman centric, but I suspect that was done anticipating the movie. All of these stories (so far) have been written by Shea Fontana (who also wrote an excellent fill in issue of the Justice League of America #22) and all of the art has been by Yancey Labat, who has a perfect mix of whimsy and cartoony that just adds to the books charm.

DC Super Hero Girls: Hits and Myths

DC Super Hero Girls: Hits and Myths


The first volume is called DC Super Hero Girls: Final Crisis. The basic premise of the story is it is finals time and all of the students find they are confronted by obstacles that prevent them from completing their final tasks for graduation. After much trauma, drama and fun it ends up it was all a plot by the evil Lex Luther. Volume two is called DC Super Hero Girls: Hits and Myths. This volume guest stars Lobo, and the main story involves the girls wanting to give Professor Demon a birthday party but due to unforeseen circumstances, this causes all sorts of problems. In this world the Demon has ties to Trigon from the New Teen Titans. While the synopsis might sound a little heavy, it is a fun read. The third volume is called DC Super Hero Girls Vol. 3: Summer Olympus. With this volume they actually start to number the books on the spine where on the first two volumes there is nothing noting that these books are part of a series. In this story Wonder Girl and Bubble Bee go to Olympus for summer break to visit Zeus and the rest of Wonder Girl’s siblings. While there they have to prove themselves against Aries and Stryfe. Batgirl and Beast Boy chase crimes around the world and Supergirl goes back to the farm. By the conclusion of the story everybody is back together to defeat the villains in this story.

All three of these graphic novels are perfect for any reader even though they are designed for younger girls. Even the most hard boiled Super Hero fan would enjoy these books. As I mentioned, the point of these series originally was for merchandising, and DC has done that with a number of things, from DVDs to Legos to dolls. So far there have been two animated DVDs featuring the DC Super Hero Girls and their school. These DVDs are fairly well done and are just as much fun as the graphic novels. If you are interested these two DVDs they are called, DC Super Hero Girls Hero of the Year and DC Super Hero Girls Intergalactic Games. Of note is that both of these movies are written by Shea Fontana who also write the graphic novels. I will say though the DVDs are probably better for younger viewers as they did not hold up for me as much as the graphic novels. (This was strictly a personal taste issue as I am not a big watcher of modern animation so while I love the characters and concepts in graphic novel form they did not please me near as much as an animated format. This in no way diminishes the quality of them.) There is also a series of shorts based on these characters on YouTube and there is an animated series planned for the Cartoon Network in 2018.

Batgirl at Super Hero High

Batgirl at Super Hero High


Random House has also published three prose novels based on these characters and the DC Super Hero Girls franchise. All three books are written by Lisa Lee. Batgirl at Super Hero High is an origin story of how Barbara Gordon becomes Batgirl and joins Superhero High with Supergirls help. In Supergirl at Super Hero High, Super Hero high helps Supergirl feel less like an outsider and normal with the help of a friendly librarian, although villains and bad guys try and make her feel unwelcome. The third book is Wonder Woman at Super Hero High. This one is about Wonder Woman leaving Paradise Island and going to Super Hero High to learn about the ways of the modern world, and all of the stuff that comes with high school, good and bad. All three of these books are recommended for pre-teens, 8-12 but are a fun read for any age.

Super Hero High School Yearbook

Super Hero High School Yearbook


There is also the Super Hero High School Yearbook also written by Shea Fontana. This book is the size of a traditional magazine and is square bound and is in full color. It is a who’s who to the DC Super Hero Girls world with bios of all of the cast and details about the campus and the school. A great companion book for the books above.

This wraps up this blog. I really enjoy these Super Hero Girls graphic novels. Even as a cranky old man, I find these books to be refreshing and fun to read. They are a nice mix of classic DC material with a sense of fun and joy you do not see regularly in DC books, or comics in general for that matter. (With a few exceptions). Have you read these books? What do you think? Do you enjoy them as much as I do? Do you read other books that have a similar sensibility that I am not reading? I would love to hear from you. I can be reached at MFBWAY@AOL.COM or on Facebook at Wayne Markey. All of the thoughts, and words, here are mine and in no way reflect the thoughts or opinions of Westfield Comics or their employees. Now if you have not tried one of these books, get off your device or computer and go read one and have a good time. As always…

Thank you.

USER COMMENTS

We'd love to hear from you, feel free to add to the discussion!