Over the weekend at the Rooster Teeth Expo 2019 (RTX), fans of the western anime series RWBY got a number of announcements about the expansion of the franchise, including a new Western comic book published by DC Comics. This next step in the RWBY universe will be written by Marguerite Bennett (Power Rangers), with art from Mirka Andolfo (Unnatural) and Arif Prianto (Deathstroke).
If you’re unfamiliar with the property, RWBY is a story about a group of young women who fight evil in an elaborate fantasy world. Drawing fans in with its anime style, Rooster Teeth’s animation blends fantasy and the supernatural in the universe of Remnant. The four strong girls, Ruby Rose, Weiss Schnee, Blake Belladonna, and Yang Xiao Long are training to become Huntresses, humanity’s only hope of defeating creatures known as Grimm. It is now in its sixth season, the franchise has cemented itself as a fan favorite and a mainstay at any convention, not just RTX.
Beyond the creative team, we learned more about the details of the upcoming comic during the “DC Comics X Rooster Teeth” panel. Made up of Geoff Yetter, Rooster Teeth’s Head of Licensing, RWBY director Kerry Shawcross, Rooster Teeth’s brand manager for animation Christine Brent, and the writing team behind the newly announced gen:LOCK comic from DC Jackson Lanzig and Collin Kelly, we were able to see behind the creative curtain and understand what all goes into picking a creative team to adapt the animated show. For Brent, the woman in charge of maintaining continuity between Rooster Teeth’s animation and it’s extensions, the most important piece of picking a team was ensuring that it was a female-led creative team.
One thing that stood out at the panel was Rooster Teeth’s focus on making sure that the crew tasked behind bringing RWBY to Western comics did right by the girls. This extended from the need to hire a female writer, to picking an art team who could create a comic that blended Eastern and Western illustrative styles.
When they landed on Andolfo, she had created a test cover and images that showed the girls in a variety of poses as well as close-ups of their faces. Pulling these test shots up on screen, the crowd erupted with excitement as Brent explained that Andolfo was chosen because of her passion for the characters that came through in her test illustrations. As the images were pulled up on screen we got a crash course from Brent on how the art went through a process of adjustment in order to maintain continuity in the characters across visual styles.
Although Rooster Teeth didn’t want to have the Viz manga retold, they did want to make sure that the visuals of the comic were easily recognizable by fans. As some test interior pages were brought up, it was clear that Andolfo was the best person for the job, capturing the supernatural and action of the series even without color.
To wrap up their coverage of RWBY’s new comic, the team explained the story at a high level. Taking place post volume three, this series will be focused on the time the girls spent apart. This time period was chosen because it wasn’t explored in depth in the animated series.
With the importance of bringing in new fans while also satisfying old fans, the team explained that the DC’s comic will use flashbacks for some of the more exposition-heavy elements in order to introduce readers to the world of RWBY. That being said, the flashbacks will be from new perspectives, and as the entire comic series, will be focussing on expanding and exploring new settings and people in the world of RWBY.
And the best part? It’s all canon.
RWBY is scheduled to release in late August later this year and will begin as a twice-monthly digital comic before being collected into monthly printed issues.
Kate is co-founder, EIC, and CCO of BWT. She’s also a Certified Rotten Tomatoes Critic, host, and creator of our flagship podcast, But Why Tho? and Did You Have To?. She also manages all PR relationships for comics, manga, film, TV, and anime. She has an MA in Cultural Anthropology and Religious Studies focusing on how pop culture impacts society.