DC Entertainment's Jim Lee and Dan Didio On The Importance of their Imprints

Jim Lee and Dan DiDio, co-publishers of DC Entertainment, seem on paper to have put a lot of stock in high-profile writers who have begun to curate "pop-up imprints" across DC's publishing line.

Beginning with the critically-acclaimed Young Animal line from My Chemical Romance frontman and Eisner winner Gerard Way, DC's Pop-Up imprints have become a place where seldom-used characters can be tweaked, tortured, and reinvented in ways that do not necessarily have to be reflected in the main-line DC superhero comics.

“We recognize that creators have their own respective fanbases,” Lee said. “They love collaborating with people with like-minded sensibilities, and out of that passion and energy you can create clusters of books that are maybe more tightly interweaved within a broader spectrum of books, and that creates excitement amongst the fans. You’re able to leverage these big names and their big ideas and form a cluster of books in the corner of the universe rather than just one book. Since they’re still talking to each other and collaborating with one another, it still all kind of ties in together. It allows people to sync tonalities with key creators, let them drive the show creatively, and grow the universe organically.”

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“I love this just for the invention and vision that they bring,” added DiDio. “If you look at it, we have Gerard Way on Young Animal, we’ve got Warren Ellis on the WildStorm books, we’ve got Neil Gaiman coming in to curate the Sandman books. We’re looking at Geoff Johns coming in to do The Killing Zone and there’s a couple of other creators who have that kind of vision and scope that we think can really help take things that we wouldn’t normally be using and find ways to reinvent them.”

Besides Ellis, Way, Gaiman, and Johns, Superman and Action Comics writer Brian Michael Bendis also has a pop-up imprint -- reviving his old Jinxworld banner. There are also imprints for young adult reader and middle-grade reader books that will launch soon -- which have long been identified as passion projects for DiDio himself. DC's longest-running imprint, Vertigo, is relaunching this year with a number of new titles from hot young creators, overseen by former Batman group editor Mark Doyle.