DC has added several new volumes by high-profile creators to its middle-grade and YA original graphic novel program.

Nicole Maines, the actress and transgender rights activist, will write Bad Dream: A Dreamer Story a YA graphic novel that will reveal the origin of DC’s transgender character. Maines played Dreamer, a.k.a. Nia Nal, on the CW series Supergirl and has already written a Dreamer comic, with art by Rachel Stott, that was included in the 2021 DC Pride anthology (see “DC Comics Makes a Cavalcade of Pride Month Announcements”). The 2023 DC Pride will include a preview of Bad Dream (see “DC Pride Month”), and the book is scheduled for April 2024. Rye Hickman is the artist for the project.

Ngozi Ukazu, creator of the webcomic Check Please!, announced on Twitter that she is writing and drawing Barda, a graphic novel that will tell the origin story of Big Barda, one of Jack Kirby’s New Gods. “Over the last two years I've become enamored with Jack Kirby's vision and genius,” Ukazu said in a Tweet, promising the book would have “plenty of that KIRBY KRACKLE!!” Barda is set for release in June 2024.

Ukazu launched Check, Please! in 2013 and self-published print editions of the four-volume series, crowdfunding them on Kickstarter. The final one brought in $580,000 in pledges in 2021, breaking the funding record for webcomics projects on Kickstarter (it is now in second place, having been surpassed by Ava’s Demon, Book Two—see “Kickstarter Reveals Top 15 Comics Projects of 2022”). The series was also published in two volumes by First Second (see “‘Check Please!’”) and the second volume was nominated for a 2021 Eisner Award.

Grace Ellis, writer and co-creator of Lumberjanes, Moonstruck, and Patricia Highsmith: Flung Out of Space, is teaming up with artist Penelope Gaylord for the middle-grade graphic novel Diana and the Hero’s Journey. The story starts with Diana’s village preparing for a festival to honor the Greek god Hero, a festival that degenerates into chaos when Diana and her pet goat arrive. To clean up the mess, she and the goat go on a journey that ends up being a hero’s journey of sorts. The 160-page paperback is slated for release on October 3, 2023, with an MSRP of $12.99.

Ellis collaborated with artist Brittney L. Williams on another middle-grade DC graphic novel, Lois Lane and the Friendship Challenge (see “Preview: ‘Lois Lane and the Friendship Challenge’ TP”).

Finally, Young Alfred: Pain in the Butler, by writer Michael Northrop and artist Sam Lotfi, follows the early years of Batman’s butler as he unravels a mysterious plot at the Gotham Servants School. Northrop is the author of several other middle-grade DC books, including Teen Titans Go!, Dear Justice League, and Dear Super-Villains (see “Preview: ‘Dear Super-Villains’ GN”). The middle-grade novel will be published on August 1, 2023, as a 160-page paperback with an MSRP of $12.99.