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Teen Titans

From Academic Kids

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The Teen Titans (also The New Teen Titans, The New Titans, and The Titans) is a team of comic book superheroes in the DC Comics universe. As the group's name suggests, its membership has usually been composed of teenagers.

Contents

Silver Age

The Teen Titans first appeared in The Brave and the Bold #54 (July 1964), portrayed as a junior Justice League consisting of Robin, Kid Flash, and Aqualad, joining together as had their mentors (respectively, Batman, The Flash, and Aquaman). They were soon joined by Wonder Girl, whose existence as a teenaged version of Wonder Woman had previously been established, but this character was new and separate from the adult character, and their link was not immediately clear (the mystery of Wonder Girl's background would linger in the series until finally resolved in the 1980s).

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Teentitans1.JPG
The original Teen Titans

The Teen Titans were popular enough to be awarded their own series, with issue #1 (cover-dated February 1966). The early issues were noted for their artwork by Nick Cardy. While Green Arrow's ward Speedy would naturally join (though would later be retconned to be a founding member despite not showing up for several issues), the series later introduced entirely new teenaged heroes, notably Lilith and Hawk and Dove.

The series' tone was often torn between the freewheeling excitement of the 1960s, and its darker side as keyed by the Vietnam War and the protests thereof. One memorable storyline beginning with #25 (February 1970) put the Titans in the middle of the accidental death of a peace activist, leading them to reconsider their means and goals, and leading to the temporary departure of Robin. The theme of teenagers learning to take on adult responsibilities was common throughout the series.

The series' popularity flagged heading into the 1970s, and it went on hiatus as of #43 (February 1973).

Notable Silver Age appearances

Silver Age members

First appearance with the team is noted.

Founding members

Later members

1970s revival

A few years later, the series was revived resuming with #44 (November 1976), but struggled to find focus, moving through a number of storylines in rapid succession. Notable among these were the mysterious Joker's Daughter, as well as the Teen Titans West, consisting of a number of other teen heroes from around the DC Universe. The revival was short-lived, and the series was cancelled as of #53 (February 1978).

Notable 1970s appearances

  • The Teen Titans #44-53

New 1970s members

The New Teen Titans/The New Titans era

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George Perez and Marv Wolfman's Titans. This is the most famous of the Teen Titans incarnations.

The Titans were again revived with a new series. Previewed in DC Comics Presents #26 (October 1980), The New Teen Titans #1 (November 1980) introduced a team of new Titans, anchored by previous members Robin, Wonder Girl, and Kid Flash. It re-introduced the Changeling (formerly Beast Boy), and introduced for the first time the man-machine Cyborg, the alien Starfire, and the dark empath Raven. Raven, an expert manipulator, formed the group to fight her demonic father Trigon, and the team remained together thereafter as a group of young adult heroes.

The brainchild of writer Marv Wolfman and artist George Pérez, it has been widely speculated that the book was DC's answer to the increasingly popular X-Men from Marvel Comics, and indeed both books involved a group of young adult heroes from disparate backgrounds whose internal conflicts were as much a part of the book as their combat against villains. In any event, both books were instrumental in moving mainstream comics in a more character-driven direction. The title also borrowed the use of long story arcs and having the characters swept up in Galactic battles and interdimensional conflicts. Much as X-Men made a fan favorite out of artist John Byrne, The New Teen Titans did the same for Pérez.

Even the villains' motivations could be complex, as in the case of Deathstroke the Terminator, a mercenary who took a contract on the Titans to fulfill a job his son was unable to complete. This led to the Titans' most complex adventure, in which a psychopathic girl named Terra infiltrated the Titans in order to destroy them. This story also included the original Robin, Dick Grayson, adopting the identity Nightwing. The series also made regular feature of The Monitor as a background character.

In 1982 there was a four-part mini-series by Wolfman and Perez that detailed the back stories of the Cyborg, Raven, Starfire, and Changelling. The series got some controversy in 1983 as, although it had been established for some time that they were a regular couple, Dick Grayson and Starfire were suddenly shown in bed together.

Other notable stories included "A Day in the Life..." which featured the personal lives of the team on one day. There was also the story "Who is Donna Troy?" in which Robin investigated Wonder Girl's true identity (#38), and "We are Gathered Here Today...", the story of Wonder Girl's marriage (#50 and noteworthy for being a rare superhero wedding in which a fight didn't break out).

The series underwent some numbering confusion when DC moved some of its more popular books from the newsstand to the direct distribution market (to comic book specialty stores) in 1984. The New Teen Titans became Tales of the Teen Titans for a year, while a new book named The New Teen Titans was launched with a new #1. The former book began reprinting the latter's stories for the newsstand a year later, and ran to #91, but the new stories were in the direct market book.

Pérez left the book after #5 of the second series, and the series seemingly went into a tailspin (at some point Wolfman reportedly suffered from writer's block, and other writers chipped in from time to time). José Luis Garcia Lopez followed Pérez, and Eduardo Barreto contributed a lengthy run. Then Pérez returned with #50 (the book again being renamed, this time to The New Titans, the characters effectively no longer being teens) to tell another origin story for Wonder Girl (her previous link to Wonder Woman having been severed due to retcons in Crisis on Infinite Earths), resulting in her being renamed Troia. Pérez this time hung on through #61.

Following this, the book introduced a number of characters, put others through some radical changes, and though it ran for another 7 years, the group which appeared in the final issue, #130 (February 1996), bore little resemblance to the one which had anchored DC's line-up in the early 1980s.

Notable New Teen Titans appearances

  • DC Comics Presents #26
  • The New Teen Titans vol. 1, #1-40
  • Tales of the Teen Titans #41-58, Annuals #1-3
  • The New Teen Titans vol. 2, #1-49
  • The New Titans #50-130, Annuals #1-11

Graphic Novels

Since 2003, DC has edited some graphics novels collecting the most well-known adventures of this era:

  • The Judas Contract: collects The New Teen Titans vol. 1 #39-40, Tales of the Teen Titans #41-44 and Annual #3
  • The Terror of Trigon: collects The New Teen Titans vol. 2 #1-5
  • Who is Donna Troy?: collects The New Teen Titans vol. 1 #38, Tales of the Teen Titans #50, The New Titans #50-55, Teen Titans/Outsiders Secret Files 2003.

New members in the New Teen Titans

  • Cyborg (DC Comics Presents #26)
  • Starfire (DC Comics Presents #26)
  • Raven (DC Comics Presents #26)
  • Terra (TNTT vol. 1, #30)
  • Jericho (Tales of the Teen Titans vol. 1, #44)
  • Kole (TNTT vol. 2, #9)

New members in the New Titans

Teen Titans (1996)

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Teen Titans v2 #5 cover, featuring the 1996-98 team

A completely unrelated group of Teen Titans began their own series later that year with a new #1 (October 1996). Led by the Atom, who had become a teenager following the events of Zero Hour, the series ended with #24 (September 1998). The entirety of this run of the title was written by Dan Jurgens.

New members in the Teen Titans, vol.2 (1996) series

Notable appearances

  • Teen Titans vol. 2, #1-24, Annual #1, 1999

The Titans (1999)

The earlier team was revived in a 3-issue mini-series, JLA/Titans, featuring nearly everyone who had ever been a Titan. This led into The Titans #1 (March 1999), written by Devin Grayson. This incarnation of the team consisted of a veritable grab bag of former Titans, including Nightwing, Troia, Arsenal, Tempest, and the Flash (from the original lineup), Starfire, Cyborg, and Damage (from the New Teen Titans era), and Argent (from the 1996 series). This series lasted to #50 (2002).

It was followed by the Titans/Young Justice: Graduation Day crossover, that led directly into the new Teen Titans series, and set also the grounds for the new Outsiders series.

New members in The Titans (1999) series

Notable appearances

  • JLA/Titans: The Technis Imperative #1-3 (collected into the graphic novel of the same name).
  • The Titans #1-50
  • Titans/Young Justice: Graduation Day #1-3 (collected later in prestige format)

Teen Titans (2003)

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Teen Titans #1, July 2003 by Geoff Johns and Mike McKone, cover art by Michael Turner

Writer Geoff Johns launched another Teen Titans series in 2003, again featuring a mix of previous and new members, many of whom had previously been part of Young Justice.

The original lineup of this version of the team was intended to mirror the lineup of Marv Wolfman's New Teen Titans series. Cyborg, Starfire, Beast Boy, and Raven return, this time as the veteran members, whilst new versions of Robin, Superboy, Wonder Girl, and Kid Flash (who, as Impulse, served very briefly with the New Titans before that series's cancellation) are portrayed as the rookies, inverting the dynamic of the earlier series.

Notable later appearances

  • Teen Titans vol. 3, #1-(ongoing)

Graphic Novels

  • A Kid's Game: collects Teen Titans #1-7 and Teen Titans/Outsiders Secret Files 2003 .
  • Family Lost: collects Teen Titans #8-12 and Teen Titans 1/2.

New members in the Teen Titans (2003) new series

Animated Series

Main article: Teen Titans (animated series)

In 2003 a popular Teen Titans animated series was launched, featuring slightly younger characters and an anime-influenced style. It appears regularly on Cartoon Network. The main characters team consists of Robin, the boy wonder, the Wolfman/Perez characters Starfire, Cyborg, Raven, and the Doom Patrol's Beast Boy. Many other original comic characters appear, including Aqualad, Speedy, Slade (Deathstroke the Terminator, renamed), and Terra. Many characters have been created for the show, including Mas y Menos, Mumbo and Mother Mae-Eye. The show is still in production, its fourth season currently airing, with its fifth season on the way. Although popular, the decision to use younger characters rather than the older teens-early 20s characters as established in the comic books has disappointed some fans.

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