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Teen Titans

The Teen Titans (also known over the years as 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. more...

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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 I, Kid Flash I, and Aqualad, joining together as had their mentors (respectively, Batman, The Flash II, and Aquaman). They were soon joined by Wonder Girl I, 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).

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 Clay 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

  • The Brave and the Bold #54, 60
  • Showcase #59
  • The Teen Titans #1-43

Silver Age members

First appearance with the team is noted.

Founding members

  • Robin I (Dick Grayson) (The Brave and the Bold #54) (later Nightwing)
  • Kid Flash I (Wally West) (TBATB #54) (later the Flash III)
  • Aqualad (TBATB #54) (later Tempest)
  • Wonder Girl I (Donna Troy) (TBATB #60) (later Troia)
  • Speedy I (Roy Harper) (TT #4) (revealed as founding member in Teen Titans #53) (later Arsenal III)

Later members

  • Hawk (The Teen Titans #21)
  • Dove (The Teen Titans #21)
  • Lilith Clay (The Teen Titans #25) (later Omen)
  • Mal Duncan (The Teen Titans #26) (later The Guardian, Hornblower, and Herald)

Honorary members

  • Aquagirl (The Teen Titans #30)
  • Gnarrk (The Teen Titans #32)

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

  • Joker's Daughter (Teen Titans #46) (later The Harlequin)
  • Bumblebee (Teen Titans #48)
  • Bat-Girl (Teen Titans #50) (Betty Kane, later Flamebird)
  • Golden Eagle (Teen Titans #50)
  • Beast Boy (Teen Titans #50) (later the Changeling)

The New Teen Titans/The New Titans era (1980-1996)

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 I, Wonder Girl I, and Kid Flash I. 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 I 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, Tales of the New Teen Titans, that detailed the back stories of Cyborg, Raven, Starfire II, and Changeling.

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).


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