Creating a shared superhero universe in 2017 is a bold move.

Obviously, Marvel and DC have, over decades, managed to turn theirs into revenue-generating, vertically integrated marketing machines, while Valiant also has quietly perfected the art, especially in recent years.

So if you’re going to build a new one, you’d better have something to say.

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That’s not a concern with Lion Forge’s Catalyst Prime line. Since launching with “Noble” in May, Catalyst Prime has sought to show readers how to build a diverse superhero universe from the ground up, both on the page and in the bullpen.

“Noble” features a black astronaut who lost his memories but gained telekinesis while in space. “Accell,” which launched in June, features a Hispanic speedster. And “Superb,” which launches this week, features a superhero with Down syndrome, and reportedly was written with consultation from the National Down Syndrome Society. More titles are scheduled to launch through December, at a pace of one a month.

As for talent, Catalyst Prime’s creative teams include writers such as Joe Casey (“Uncanny X-Men”), David F. Walker (“Power Man and Iron Fist”), Amy Chu (“KISS”) and Alex de Campi (“Archie vs. Predator”), and artists like Larry Stroman (“X-Factor”), Pop Mhan (“Ghost Rider”) and Jan Duursema (Dark Horse’s “Star Wars” comics).

And they’re all overseen by Joseph P. Illidge, a writer and editor who got his start at DC’s 1990s Milestone imprint, which focused on black characters.

So if you’re looking for comics that walk the walk when it comes to matters of representation, of seeing characters and creators from a range of cultural backgrounds, genders, sexual orientations, physical and developmental abilities, etc., you’d be hard-pressed to do better than this young Catalyst Prime universe.

Also out this week

Astonishing X-Men #1: A team of fan-favorite heavy hitters — Old Man Logan, Gambit, Rogue, Psylocke, Bishop, Mystique, Archangel and Fantomex — takes on the baddies in a new X-series written by Charles Soule (“Daredevil,” “Letter 44”) and featuring a rotating cast of artists, starting with Jim Cheung (“Young Avengers”).

Sisters of Sorrow #1: Kurt Sutter, the creator of FX’s “Sons of Anarchy,” brings nuns with guns to BOOM! Studios in a new series about four women who run a women’s shelter by day and stalk abusers at night. Co-written by Courtney Alameda with art by Hyeonjin Kim.

Archie #22: Betty Cooper is clinging to life in a hospital bed, and the solicit text promises: “The end has come for one of Riverdale’s most beloved residents.” Writer Mark Waid (“Avengers,” “Flash”) and artist Pete Woods (“Deadpool”) bring tragedy to Archie Comics — unless this is all a feint or something.

Bettie Page #1: Presented as the Secret Diary of Bettie Page, Dynamite Entertainment spins an allegedly declassified tale of the real-life pinup model in 1951 Hollywood, written by David Avallone and drawn by Colton Worley with covers by Terry and Rachel Dodson.

DuckTales #0: Nostalgia-sense tingling! Before Disney XD revives the late 1980s cartoon featuring Huey, Dewey, Louie and Uncle Scrooge, whet your appetite with a new comic from IDW. Written by Joe Caramagna and drawn by Gianfranco Florio.

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Contact: 609-272-7234 Twitter @danielpgrote MorningQuarterback

Press copy editor since 2006, copy desk chief since 2014. Masters in journalism from Temple University, 2006. My weekly comics blog, Wednesday Morning Quarterback, appears Wednesday mornings at

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