The TOP 13 TEEN TITANS Covers — RANKED

TEEN TITANS WEEK: Who has more — Cardy or Perez…?

Welcome to TEEN TITANS WEEK — an anniversary celebration of comics’ greatest (or at least most entertaining) superteam. The term Teen Titans was coined 55 years ago this year and The New Teen Titans #1 debuted 40 years ago Aug. 14. So all week long here at 13th Dimension, we’ll be featuring a variety of tributes to Robin, Wonder Girl, Speedy, Cyborg, Starfire and all the rest. For the complete index of columns and features, click here.

Hey, TEEN TITANS WEEK wouldn’t be complete without a 13 COVERS ranking, right? Right.

So here are THE TOP 13 TEEN TITANS COVERS — RANKED. And let me tell you, this wasn’t easy:

 

13. The Brave and the Bold #54, by Bruno Premiani (1964). Technically, this isn’t a Teen Titans cover because this team-up predated the team’s name. But it is the proto-Titans and so for sheer historical importance, it has to be included. Nice image by Bruno Premiani, too. As one reader pointed out, Robin must have eaten his Wheaties that day.

12. Teen Titans #50, by Rich Buckler and Jack Abel (1977). I have a real soft spot for the often-maligned, late-‘70s Titans reboot. It’s kitchyness is a real selling point and the most enduring aspect was the addition of Titans West, giving you a real smorgasbord of often mismatched heroes. So much fun.

11. Tales of the Teen Titans #44, by George Perez (1984). It may surprise you that it’s this low on the list but looking at it dispassionately, the image of Nightwing’s first appearance doesn’t age as well as it could have. The background panels fit the style of the surrounding issues of The Judas Contract, but all things considered, Nightwing’s debut is woefully underplayed. That was a HUGE landmark in comics history but here it’s presented as just another aspect of the story. And he has to share the stage with Jericho! Jericho!

10. The New Teen Titans #36, by George Perez (1983). Thunder and Lightning weren’t the greatest Titans villains but this is one of the moodiest, most dramatic and badass covers produced by Perez. Titans didn’t come to play.

9. Teen Titans #5 (2014). The most recent entry on the list, this is Darwyn Cooke’s purely whimsical variant cover and one of his best. (Which is saying something.) It’s fun and funny (even if the late, great artist muffed Kid Flash’s chest logo and the color of Speedy’s cap.)

8. Teen Titans #4, by Nick Cardy (1966). The first Nick Cardy cover to make the list. Don’t worry, there’s plenty more to come. Speedy wasn’t a team member yet, by the way, but I have always loved the perspective and airiness of this one.

7. The New Teen Titans #22, by George Perez and Romeo Tanghal, DC (1982). A classic, poster-style cover that makes the Titans’ newest villain utterly terrifying. The yellow background really makes the foreground colors pop and despite its brightness, it’s a really unsettling image.

6. The New Teen Titans #39, by George Perez (1983). A remarkably spare cover, especially by Perez standards. It’s one of his most emotional pieces, signaling substantial changes looming for both Dick Grayson and Wally West. The Eisner-esque, fourth-wall breaking logo only adds to the mood.

5. Teen Titans #16, by Nick Cardy (1968). Another Eisnerish cover, this one by Cardy. It’s inventive and creepy – especially since it’s Wonder Girl who’s getting grabbed by the swarm of green men. One of the most memorable Teen Titans covers of the team’s original run.

4. Secret Origins Annual #3, by George Perez (1989). Perez loved jamming as many characters as he could into his covers and here he surveys the first three iterations of the team – plus Titans West — complete with multiple versions of different characters. Too bad he had to include Cousin Oliver Danny Chase, though.

3. Teen Titans #14, by Nick Cardy (1968). The most dramatic and personal of Cardy’s Titans covers, this one also made our TOP 13 ROBIN COVERS ranking during March’s ROBIN WEEK. (Click here.) Cardy gets plenty of credit as a first-rate artist but people frequently forget just how often he played with surrealistic imagery – to great effect.

2. Teen Titans #23, by Nick Cardy (1969). The new Wonder Girl bursts onto the scene, having made her debut at the end of the previous issue. It’s startling, sexy and stunning. A Cardy masterpiece.

1. The New Teen Titans #1, by George Perez and Dick Giordano (1980). Sometimes the most obvious really is the best. This cover, which has been homaged a zillion times, perfectly captures the excitement of the new team. The launch was a bona fide risk at the time, but this brilliant shot begs you to keep reading – especially if you want to find out more about those new guys. The series preview in DC Comics Presents #26 worked its magic and got me intrigued by the New Teen Titans. Issue #1 sealed the deal. There was no going back.

MORE

— The Complete TEEN TITANS WEEK Index of Features and Columns. Click here.

— How THE NEW TEEN TITANS Auditioned New Members. Click here.

Author: Dan Greenfield

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6 Comments

  1. Nick couldn’t do a bad cover.

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  2. TT #4 & #23 and Tales #44 are three of my favorite covers too–so much so that I have the comics on display in my den. Just can’t get enough of them! Love how on the cover of #4 Wonder Girl is bending the metal while the boys aren’t getting anywhere. And Speedy taking aim…awesome!

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  3. Nice list! It would be easy to just divide this evenly between Perez and Cardy, because the Titans were blessed with two of the greatest comic artists of all time. NTT #39 was a very personal comic for me, since I was such a huge Robin fan. I was so happy to get George to sign it for me about 20 years ago. TT #14 is my favorite issue of the original run, and my favorite cover. It looks like it belongs to the more horror-tinged covers of a few years later.

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  4. Not a clunker on the list… and, amazingly, there are so many more incredible covers! Hard to pick favorites! I’m kind of partial to #27.

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  5. I’m a huge Nick Cardy fan and TT #23 is one of my all time favorite covers. I think Cardy tends to get overlooked when compared to some of his DC contemporaries like Swan, Infantino, & Kubert, but he was a great artist and produced some of DC’s most iconic covers. It didn’t matter whether it was Teen Titans, Wonder Woman, Aquaman, or his horror covers – Nick Cardy could do it all great.

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