Upcoming Young Adult Graphic Novel by New York Times Bestselling Author E. Lockhart
and Acclaimed Artist Manuel Preitano Introduces Readers to an All-New “Paw”-some DC Super Hero
Book Hits Stores May 11, 2021
Available to Preorder Now
Today DC unveiled the cover and new details for Whistle: A New Gotham City Hero from acclaimed young adult (YA) novelist E. Lockhart and illustrator Manuel Preitano. The upcoming YA graphic novel debuts an original superhero with an ulti-“mutt” set of abilities and is a moving coming-of-age tale about perseverance, heroism, and finding your voice to make change in your community.
Set in a reimagined Gotham City, Whistle follows 16-year-old Willow Zimmerman as she struggles to make ends meet during her mother’s cancer treatments. A series of odd jobs leads to a life-altering accident that leaves Willow with a “sixth sense” that is as much a blessing as a curse.
Lockhart is best known for her New York Times bestselling novels Genuine Fraud and We Were Liars. Her novel The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks was a National Book Award finalist and Printz honor book. Lockhart brings her authentic storytelling to DC for the first time in this powerful debut graphic novel that introduces teen readers to an original heroine inspired by her Jewish heritage.
“Whistle is a hero like me. Like you, maybe. She’s an ordinary person who sees what’s wrong in her city and feels powerless to right it—until she isn’t,” said Lockhart. “Whistle is a social activist, a secular Jewish person, and a teenage girl working to support her mother through sickness—all elements I haven’t seen so much in superhero comics. The story explores the dark, ethically compromised side of a superhero’s life as well as the empowerment. There’s the thrill of corruption and the lure of riches on the one hand, versus an activist’s belief in the rights of her community members on the other.”
In addition to creating a new hero for Gotham City, Lockhart is also excited to put her unique spin on a few iconic characters from Batman’s mythos.
“Whistle has to ally herself with the best of Gotham’s criminal underworld in order to understand the forces that threaten her home neighborhood. DC let me pick from the incredible gallery of Gotham rogues—characters I grew up reading about. It was a thrill to write Killer Croc, the Riddler, and most fun of all, Poison Ivy.”
Joining Lockhart on Whistle is Manuel Preitano, an Italian illustrator and graphic designer. Preitano is no stranger to Gotham City, having recently illustrated DC’s critically acclaimed YA graphic novel The Oracle Code, written by Marieke Nijkamp, which reimagined Oracle’s origins.
“Designing a new character is always a great challenge,” said Preitano. “Emily and I had great synergy in bringing Willow and her supporting cast to life. I also loved being able to draw so many dogs! I hope readers enjoy discovering Gotham City’s Down River, a new neighborhood we created for this book, and its inhabitants—cute dogs included! I also hope readers enjoy following the adventure of this new heroine, her friends, and the world we created.”
Whistle: A New Gotham City Hero is available to preorder now and will hit stores and online retailers everywhere books are sold on May 11, 2021. See below and above for more details and imagery revealed today.
Whistle: A New Gotham City Hero
Written by E. Lockhart
Illustrated by Manuel Preitano
Colored by Gabby Metzler
Lettered by Troy Peteri
On sale everywhere books are sold on May 11, 2021
From New York Times bestselling author E. Lockhart (Genuine Fraud, We Were Liars) and artist Manuel Preitano (The Oracle Code) comes a new Gotham City superhero in this exciting YA graphic novel.
Sixteen-year-old Willow Zimmerman has something to say. When she’s not on the streets advocating for her community, she’s volunteering at the local pet shelter. She seeks to help all those in need, even the stray dog she’s named Lebowitz that follows her around. But as much as she does for the world around her, she struggles closer to home—taking care of her mother, recently diagnosed with cancer. Her job as an adjunct professor of Jewish studies does not provide adequate health insurance—and Willow can see that time is running out.
When in desperation she reconnects with her estranged “uncle” Edward, he opens the door to an easier life. Through simple jobs, such as hosting his private poker nights with Gotham City’s elites, she is able to keep her family afloat—and afford critical medical treatments for her mother.
Willow’s family life quickly improves through the income provided by these jobs, but it comes at the cost of distancing herself from the people she truly cares about. Her time is now spent on new connections, such as biologist and teacher Pammie Isley. And when Willow and Lebowitz collide with the monstrous Killer Croc outside the local synagogue, they are both injured, only to wake up being able to understand each other. And there are other developments, too...strange ways in which they’ve become stronger together. Willow’s activism kicks into high gear—with these powers, she can really save the world!
But when Willow discovers that Edward and his friends are actually some of Gotham’s most corrupt criminals, she must make a choice: remain loyal to the man who kept her family together, or use her new powers to be a voice for her community.