You’re all gonna hate
me by the time this is done.
Y'know, sometimes comic book fans make my head hurt.
They snivel about the state of the industry, and then I see dozens of people just reading books in the shops and not buying them.
They cry about the condition of their favorite character, but keep buying the book anyway.
And franky, they just don’t make sense.
On Wednesday, as I was picking up my usual stack of books, there was a heated debate over the Teen Titans cartoon. One of the debaters was your very heavily stereotyped comic book nerd. He had lot of useless trivia up in the noggin, but not much common sense. He also had a gut that indicated that his attempt to duplicate the powers of Matter-Eater Lad had considerably backfired, and had left him more Chuck “Bouncing Boy” Taine-ish instead.
Yeah, we all know the type.
I was the other debater.
He kept insisting that: “Okay, the Teen Titans cartoon is good, but it got the basic concept all wrong!”
“Yeah. It needs Wonder Girl! It needs Kid Flash! It needs Speedy! The Teen Titans were all about faaaaammmmiiiilllllyyyyyy!”
At this point, I believe the guy behind the counter was grinning so widely his head threatened to fall off. He knew what was coming.
“Okay. So you say the Titans are all about family, right? Who do you consider to be part of this ‘family’?”
“Speedy, Kid Flash, Robin, Wonder Girl, Aqualad.”
“You know. The original team.”
“…you do know that the original team was only Robin, Kid Flash, and Aqualad, right? Wonder Girl didn’t join until their second appearance?”
“You also know that Speedy didn’t make an appearance with the Titans until their own series was well underway. And didn’t even join the team until many issues later. It was, like, three years since he met them.”
At this point, someone else chirped in with their opinion that the guy I was debating with was right. The Teen Titans were all about “faaaaammmmiiiilllllyyyyyy!” He started quoting the Wolfman/Perez run on the title to me, with Cyborg, Beast Boy, Starfire, and Raven.
Someone. Was quoting comics. To me
It was on
“So, what does it take to make a good Titans comic?” I asked, trying to hide my smile.
“You gotta have the family there. The core guys,” commented Geek #1.
“The new guys, too. They belong just as much as anyone,” commented Geek #2.
“So I take it we’re just going to ignore Dan Jurgen’s Titans series?” I asked.
They shifted uncomfortably.
“Oh, and are we also going to ignore when the series became “New Titans”? Or wait, I know. “Team Titans!” With the ‘brought back from the dead’ Terra!”
They blinked. Apparently, they had forgotten that at one point, the “family” had also included “Baby Wildebeest” and “Pantha.”
Yeah. “Baby Wildebeest.” “Faaaaammmmiiiilllllyyyyyy!”
The two kept insisting that if the book could just get back to its “roots,” as it were, then everything would be wonderful.
So, I picked up a copy of Devin Grayson’s run on “The Titans.”
You could hear a pin drop.
“Okay. So, we’ve got the original core members and the new crew, with a few other interesting personalities tossed in to add to the mix.”
“Damage.” What the hell was DC thinking? Anybody whose power requires them to literally blow up
doesn’t make for good storytelling!
“Did you two buy this book?”
“Why not? It has your precious ‘faaaaammmmiiiilllllyyyyyy’ in it.”
So, then the gauntlet was tossed by one of them.
“Fine, then. Who would YOU put on the Titans?”
It’s a good thing I’ve been using those Crest Whitestrips lately. I’d hate for anybody to have not been dazzled by my grin just then.
See, here’s my outlook.
Sure. Back in the day, it worked having Wally West, Dick Grayson, Roy Harper, Donna Troy, and Garth on a team together. But think of it this way. If Wolfman and Perez had held to that “faaaaammmmiiiilllllyyyyyy” concept, you’d have never gotten Cyborg, Beast Boy, Raven, or Starfire.
…three good out of four isn’t bad.
Keep in mind that during this time, the ratio of “Old-School” to “New-School” was three-to-four. You had Robin, Wonder Girl, and Wally next to the four new kids.
This team has been the most popular
and the longest running
version of the team to date.
Stick that in your “faaaaammmmiiiilllllyyyyyy” pipe and smoke it.
Now, I’m just as much a fan of looking back as anybody for how to make a team work.
Heck, look at my Defenders line-up.
But, in this case…maybe change is a good
Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you:
“If I Ran The Teen Titans.”
Let’s establish some ground rules first of all.
1) We’re not bringing anybody back from the dead.
Which means no Donna “I have a new codename every week!” Troy on this team, kids.
That’s right, start your sniveling now. It builds character!
(Of course, if I had my way, we’d still have a certain blonde earth-mover still buried six feet under. Thanks SO much for completely ruining the whole point of the “Judas” storyline, you guys.)
2) We’re not going to take away from what a character has become just for the sake of my storytelling, unless there’s actually a chance of it happening
This means no Dick Grayson. Wally West now plays with the Big Leagues in the Justice League, so he’s out. Arsenal shoots people. With guns. He’s out.
Starfire? Once a Mort, always a Mort.
Yeah, just keep screaming. Just makes it easier for me to hunt you all down.
3) The team will have no more than the standard 12 members. Any more than that, and we’re dipping into Legion of Superheroes territory.
Coming up next, I’ll start our little team construction, and believe me, folks. It’s gonna be a bumpy ride.
Bring popcorn. I’m gonna have fun