Posts tagged ‘New Teen Titans’

October 21, 2015

I couldn’t say it better myself, Marv Wolfman!

I felt then and now that sometimes comic-book stories, in an effort to always raise the stakes, keep getting larger and larger until there is nothing left for the readers to identify with. If all the people a super-hero meets have super powers of their own, it takes away the fragile layer of reality that we depend on. That’s why characters like Sarah  Simms, Terry Long and others exist: to ground the heroes in some manner of reality and to make the readers believe this could be happening right now around the corner, if only you can get there in time.

Long-running series need to be like roller coasters, with stories that move along faster than a speeding bullet followed by others that slow you down and remind you what you like about the characters even as you are being set up for the next major thrill. If you are constantly being shouted at you will eventually be numbed to everything. You gain perspective and have time for reflection only when there’s some quiet.

Marv Wolfman, 2004 (from the introduction to The New Teen Titans volume two. DC Comics, 2015). Sadly, this kind of writing style has been ignored for far too long in most ongoing comic series.

October 18, 2011

Worth the wait

I hadn’t planned to run more comic reviews so soon, but a recent sick day let me catch up on some reading, including the long-delayed New Teen Titans graphic novel, Games, by series creators Marv Wolfman and George Perez. After all, if it took two decades for the book to finally see print, I figured it would wait until I could read it in one sitting, and I’m glad I did!

I always enjoy Perez’s lush artwork– as detailed as my own is simple– and content-packed pages, though Mike Perkin’s inks here weren’t always the best match for his pencils. It’s been a while since I read a Wolfman script (the 2008 Supergirl/Raven crossover from The Brave and the Bold), but he had written a lot of my favorite comics (Nova, Fantastic Four, New Teen Titans, Crisis) of the 70s and 80s. The pair had worked well together on projects in the past, and reteamed here very smoothly, merging artwork from the original project (read more about the ups and downs of this project here) with newly created art and a fresh script. It was a fast-moving action/suspense plot, while retaining elements of characterization that had made the series a fan favorite during its original run. None of the cast seemed out of character here, and each had scenes of character enrichment to round them out beyond their costumes and powers. Many of the supporting cast and past members made appearances, and there were two particularly moving scenes, one heartbreaking, one redemptive. My only quibble would be that the character’s powers (notably Jericho’s) weren’t always introduced well for new readers … but then again, this book isn’t for them, appealing mainly to 40-somethings who have fond memories of the original New Teen Titans comic of the 1980s. Or it could just be a sign, as Wolfman says in his introduction, of “the style of storytelling” that has changed since they last worked on these characters.

The best thing about this book’s long gestation period is the fact that it freed it from the continuity of the ongoing Titans comic of the time. Able to stand on its own as a single story, Games is able to highlight the best aspects of the characters, such that they still rang true for me, over 20 years since I last read an issue of their comic. While I suspect Games won’t be a big seller for DC, it shows the quality that can be achieved by letting creators loose on characters they care about, freed from a line-wide continuity. Of course if it does, maybe they’ll let Jerry Ordway have another shot at the Shazam! family …