Talking with the writer who’s giving us a new history of DC’s teen troupe.
I’ve pretty much always dug the Teen Titans more than the Justice League. This predates the classic New Teen Titans years of Marv Wolfman and George Perez, all the back to the original Silver/Bronze Age run.
The Titans were always more relatable. For one thing, they didn’t have Superman, whose presence in the Justice League always seemed to obviate the need for the rest of the team.
Most importantly, they were Robin’s team: The kid without the powers was the one running things. This made the Titans more of a Batbook to me than JLA ever was.
Over the last several years, though, I’ve been a much bigger fan of the Justice League. Since the New 52 launch four years ago, I haven’t missed an issue and I’ve found the book to be consistently entertaining. This is easily my longest uninterrupted League run since the Bwa-ha-ha Justice League International era of the ’80s.
The Titans? Well, let’s just say I was excited when DC announced Titans Hunt, a limited series by writer Dan Abnett and artist Paolo Siqueira designed to give us the “untold story” of the team post-Flashpoint.
The announcement has been met with some confusion, since DC insisted early in the New 52 that there had never been a Titans before the current incarnation. Whatever. I gave being a continuity nerd a long time ago. A story’s a story and I’m just glad we get to see the original crew back together, regardless of the circumstances. (Besides, Convergence has turned everything upside-down again, anyway.)
So there’s Dick and Roy and Donna and Garth — and even Lilith, Mal and the original Hawk and Dove.
But what about Wally …
Dan Greenfield: Give us the 30-second description of what to expect in Titans Hunt.
Dan Abnett: The secret history of the Teen Titans… and it’s a secret even to the members of the Titans! It’s a chance to explore the backstory of the team through the lens of the New 52, but with a very respectful nod to the book’s long history to delight long-standing readers.
Greenfield: What made you want to do this series in the first place? Did you pitch DC or did they pitch you?
Abnett: Actually, I was asked to do it. And how could I say no to a prospect like that? It’s the Teen Titans!
I’m a reformed continuity nerd myself, so I don’t particularly care how this story fits into the larger, modern DC canon. But it’s still a natural question, so, y’know, how does it fit?
It’s New 52, but it takes the Titans’ long and beloved pre-52 continuity and uses it as an inspiration and framework for what might have happened that we don’t know about. Lots of accessibility for “new” readers, but lots of references and Easter eggs for veterans.
Did you go back and re-read any of the original issues for inspiration? Because Bob Haney, man …
… Right. And Nick Cardy! I’ve gone back and looked at as much as I can to note the distinct flavors of the great periods and the work of the great creators. The joy of the early period, the sublime and often nightmarish imagery of Cardy, the wonderful dynamism and character work of Marv and George… a little of every flavor to build up this dish.
This is a 12-issue story but so far we’ve mostly seen glimpses of characters seen in the original 53-issue run of Teen Titans. Will you start touching on the New Teen Titans or is that off limits?
I think the line-up of key characters will please and surprise readers. There are some we’ve seen post-52, and some that have not yet appeared.
You’re playing with characters that have been ignored, unseen or underused for years. What kind of freedom does that give you as a writer?
DC has been kind enough to give me great freedom, but it’s a very important group of characters, and I’m being very careful to keep the flavors true. I’m having some great and very inspiring conversations with the editors about how to shape and craft this to the best effect.
You’re working with Paolo Siqueira on this one but, historically speaking, who’s your favorite Titans artist? Cardy? Perez? Someone else?
Can I say Cardy and Perez? Both brilliant, both so distinctive.
Your favorite Titans story from the original run is …
“A Day in the Lives” or “The Judas Contract” but there are so many great stories…