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Dark Horse Comics Picks Up Magical Girl Zodiac Starforce

Dark Horse Comics is a publisher whose titles tend to be heavily slanted to the older teen/adult male audiences, rather than girls or young readers in general; their few all ages offerings have been licensed properties such as Star Wars and Avatar the Last Airbender. That’s starting to change with a recent announcement made at this year’s Emerald City Comic Con.

Zodiac Starforce started its life as a webcomic on Tumblr, had a mini-comic side story Zodiac Starforce Adventures published at SPX, and is now going to be a four-issue mini-series to be published by Dark Horse Comics starting in August. The all-ages story follows four high school girls, Emma, Kim, Savanna, and Molly. They are magical girls who get their powers from the signs of the zodiac but who haven’t been fighting as a team for a while. This first story arc will tell how and why they become a team again. The girls will be facing off not just against monsters but also against some of the girls in their school, whose mean attitudes are fueled by an ancient dark power. They also have all the other problems teenage girls face. Being a magical girl doesn’t make you immune to real world problems.

The creators behind this series, artist Pauline Ganucheau and writer Kevin Panetta, have plenty of experience creating all ages stories, both having worked on titles such as The Amazing World of Gumball, Bravest Warriors, Regular Show, Foster’s Home for Imaginary Friends and TMNT: The New Animated Adventures. The pair started out working on a project called “Cadets” where Zodiac Starforce was a TV series the characters watched, but it soon grew into its own series. The series has been shopped around for two years before Dark Horse scooped it up.

Zodiac Starforce has a lot of great things going for it. Besides being an all ages series, which is always good to see more of, it is about magical girls, a genre that has been expanding to some success recently, with titles like Steven Universe and Bee and Puppycat. The series takes a lot of inspiration from older magical girls titles Sailor Moon and Card Captor Sakura, picking some favorite tropes such as matching costumes and transformation sequences. The character designs show a lot of diversity, in body type, ethnicity and personality, which actually goes against most magical girl tropes.

I’m really looking forward to reading Zodiac Starforce. The story sounds like a lot of fun, and the art looks great. I mean, how can you not want to read a series where one of the characters watches Godzilla movies and loves MST3K? It’s also heartening to see a comic company not known for appealing to girls stepping out its box. August can’t come fast enough.

Lori Henderson About Lori Henderson

Lori Henderson is a mother of two teenage daughters and an avid reader. She blogs about manga at her personal blog Manga Xanadu as well as contributing and editing for Manga Village. She blogs about all things fandom (mainly Doctor Who) at her other personal blog Fangirl Xanadu. She's been at it so for over 5 years now and counting!

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