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DC’s superheroes are getting new biographies designed to inspire kids

Ordinary People Change the World series meets fictional people

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A child-sized version of Batman stands proudly on a rooftop with lightning behind him on the cover of I Am Batman. Christopher Eliopoulos
Susana Polo is an entertainment editor at Polygon, specializing in pop culture and genre fare, with a primary expertise in comic books. Previously, she founded The Mary Sue.

Writer Brad Meltzer and cartoonist Chris Eliopoulos’ Ordinary People Change the World books have been entertaining kids and satisfying parents for a decade, even inspiring the PBS cartoon series Xavier Riddle and the Secret Museum. But the duo are about to take their biographies of historical figures for the five-to-eight-year-old set somewhere they’ve never gone before: the DC Comics universe.

Polygon can exclusively announce DC Comics’ and Warner Bros. Consumer Products’, partnership with Penguin Random House to produce Stories Change the World, a series of biographical picture books based on the lives of DC superheroes. Meltzer and Eliopoulos will kick things off with the Trinity itself, Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman.

“My life was changed by Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman,” Meltzer said in a statement. “They’re part of the American mythology — and like Abraham Lincoln, Amelia Earhart, Muhammad Ali, or any other hero we’ve featured, their stories persist because they reveal something about us. This new line of books lets us feature the characters and creators, reminding kids about the true power of imagination.”

A kid-proportioned Superman soars above a city on the cover of I Am Superman. Image: Christopher Eliopoulos
A child-sized version of Batman stands proudly on a rooftop with lightning behind him on the cover of I Am Batman. Christopher Eliopoulos

It might seem like an odd leap for a series about the real-life achievements of figures like Martin Luther King Jr., Jane Goodall, or Neil Armstrong to branch out into full fictional characters like Bruce Wayne, Clark Kent, or Diana Prince. But when Polygon spoke to Metzler via email, he said it all fell under the same headings of wanting to inspire kids as they get entertained.

“These books exist because I want my kids to have better values than what society seems to be feeding them online,” Metzler says. “I am Superman is all about the power of kindness and being a good person, I am Batman is about determination, I am Wonder Woman is about justice and the power of strong women. Sadly, these are values that seems to be under attack these days. Speaking for myself, those values are what the characters gave me as a kid. It’s an idea that’s endlessly powerful.”

The Ordinary People Change the World formula didn’t need much changing to adapt to superheroes, according to Metzler, who says “A good story is a good story.” And each book concludes by featuring the comics creators — many unsung — who crafted that story over the decades. “I love that kids get to see that,” Metzler tells Polygon.

I Am Batman and I Am Superman will hit shelves in September 2022, with I Am Wonder Woman following in 2023.