DC Comics path towards a female-friendly image has been rocky to say the least — but it’s taken some great steps forward with the surge of popularity in comics like Batgirl and Gotham Academy. Now they want to take it a little further with a new initiative that highlights their female heroes.

DC Super Hero Girls, a partnership between DC, Warner Bros. animation and Mattel, re-imagines a cast of female superheroes (and villains) as young girls, getting to grips with their identities and powers. Aimed at girls between 6-12, it’s akin to Disney marketing their myriad female characters under the collective “Disney Princesses” banner — and, like said Princesses, the cast will be all over a variety of bits of merchandise, from animated direct-to-video movies to books to T-shirts and Lego starting next year. Here’s the full art DC released with the announcement:

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Only three Batman-related characters? Such restraint! But still, it’s nice to see heroes like Katana and Bumblebee among the usual cast of heavy hitters like Wonder Woman, Supergirl and Batgirl.

It’s also nice to see the big comics companies starting to acknowledge the growing base of female comics readers. Let’s hope DC Super Hero Girls offers a neat entry point into the world of comic books for new audiences.

[Via THR]

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