Thursday, November 27, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Even heroes want to spend time with each other (and turkey), as show in this cover to JSA #54 (January, 2004) by Carlos Pacheco and Jesus Merino!

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Cowboys and Aliens, Kryptonian style

A bit of a cheat with this article…but not really.  You’ve might already have been told that Cowboys & Aliens was a comic, but the idea of cowboys fighting aliens started even before the 2006 Platinum Studios graphic novel, created by Scott Mitchell Rosenberg, written by Fred Van Lente & Andrew Foley, with art by Luciano Lima (or before Jon Favreau’s 2011 Cowboys and Aliens movie).

But, in a bit of twist, what will be covered here is how the alien was the good guy, and it was the cowboy who was evil.  The time was 1972, and Superman (that alien son of Krypton) was fighting his most devastating foe….lagging sales.  In an effort to spice up sales, Superman was to fight new villains, very loosely based on popular movie series, and in this case it was Clint Eastwood’s the “Man with No Name” (from movies “A Fist Full of Dollars”“For A Few Dollars More” and “The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly”).

Dirty Days

Thus came Terra-Man in Superman #249 in March 1972 in “The Challenge of Terra-Man”, by Cary Bates, Curt Swan and Murphy Anderson (as you can see from the cover by Neal Adams; Terra-Man’s appearance on the inside is a little different).

Now, Terra-Man’s story really started in the Old West (and in the back up tale, “The Origin of Terra-Man”, written by Cary Bates, with art by Dick Dillin and Neal Adams) of the 1880s, with a ten-year old Tobias Manning stealing gold from a stagecoach.  As his father, Jess, praises his thievery, an alien ship steals the Manning’s ill-gotten golden booty.  This blue skinned alien currency collector is shot by Russ Manning, and returns fire, killing the man in front of his boy.  Not having planned to kill the man, and thanks to a telepathic link formed with Jess at this death, the spaceman decides to adopt the boy, wiping Toby’s mind of how he killed his father and instead telling the lad “The law what done it, boy!”.

The alien plans to make a great thief out of young Toby, who, due to his planet of origin, is dubbed “Terra-Man”.  The collector outfits young Terra-Man with an oxygenator-thermostat, which will allow Tobias to breathe and be comfortable in any environment and in space, and Toby gets an energy lasso, with which Toby catches an Arguvian space-steed (a winged horse, who he’ll call Nova).  Using his own type of “chewin’ tobacco” to induce hallucinations, the mounted marauder steals coins from a planet and brings his haul to the collector.  Terra-Man then kills his alien mentor, as Toby figured out a message from his pa that the alien was really Jess’ killer.  With that, Terra-Man returned to Earth to take on Superman (as seen the first story of the issue).  In that story, Terra-Man faced Superman with enlarging bullets, a cheroot (cigar) with ultra-toxic vapors, atomic bullets, and a spur made of zanoite – the hardest substance in the galaxy – which he fires at the action ace as a bullet.  Superman beats and captures Terra-Man, but Nova remains free.

Harry Situation

Terra-Man returns in the very next issue, Superman #250 (April 1972, by Cary Bates and Curt Swan) in a story called “Have Horse, Will Fly!”, where Terra-Man whistles for Nova to free him from prison solitary.  Superman shows up to stop the western wizard, but Tobias incapacitates the Kryptonian with his tooth of gravita-gold, which sticks to Superman and allows Terra-Man to escape.  Terra-Man attracts Superman by attacking out of western movie in a theatre, and the sagebrush satan uses a special branding iron on the Man of Steel.  This brand makes Superman hyper-age whenever he uses one of his super powers.  The man from Krypton tries his super-vision on Terra-Man, but it was mostly reflected by Terra-Man’s poncho.  Still, Superman got some information from his gamble, and after facing down Terra-Man’s power glove (which magnified Tobias’ strength), was able to capture the outlaw again.

Sudden Impact

Terra-Man returned again in Superman #259 (December 1972, also by Cary Bates and Curt Swan) with “The Kid Who Knocked Out Superman!”.  The cosmic cowboy uses a “T-M” brand on his arm to teleport his prison away from him, and thus escape by standing still.  A quick battle with Superman (and wrestling Terra-Man’s lasso, fighting Nova’s hoof-blasters, and watching Terra-Man disappear using his stardust).  Terra-Man figures out something was wrong with Superman and with using his own limited telepathic abilities, fixes on an image of a lynx.  Tobias has Nova track (yes, the winged steed seems to also have “space-tracking abilities”) track the lynx belonging to Clark Kent’s neighbor, a kid named Billy Anders (the lynx is a focusing image which allows Superman to recall his strength from Billy, as Superman has lost the ability to control his super-strength – long story).  Well, Terra-Man figures this out, and traps Superman where only his strength can save him and wipes all memory of the lynx from Earth.  Billy eventually remembers the critter due to scratches he has, and Superman frees himself, tricks Terra-Man (and Nova) into an exile dimension by turning Tobias’ teleporting bullets on Terra-Man himself, and gets his strength back from Billy Anders (it was the Silver Age, just let it go….a lot happened in comics those days!).

Magnum Force

In the “Master Of The Moon Rocks!” from Action Comics #426 (August 1973, by Cary Bates/Curt Swan), Terra-Man returns secretly to lead a cult to rid Earth of “evil moon rocks”.

The wizard of the west attacks Superman with a strangling scarf, which Superman easily defeats.  But Terra-Man has a special six-gun to absorb the lunar particles…which Superman easily takes from the outlaw.

Turns out Superman was to trigger an explosion by holding Terra-Man’s gun…and figures it out in time, disposing of the gun-bomb.

Good for Superman!

The Dead Pool

Terra-Man gets his first cover appearance in his usual look with Superman #278 (August 1974, by Cary Bates/Curt Swan) in a “Super-Showdown At Buzzard Gulch!”.  Terra-Man teleports Superman and his friends (which includes Clark Kent, allowing Superman to be there really quick) to Buzzard Gulch, a town Tobias created with his super-science.  Terra-Man makes them all think they belong in the Old West, and plans to kill them all with a special bullet for each.  But first, Terra-Man tries to take down Superman with a six-gun attack – from SIX GUNS that remotely fire, a giant bull, and a constricting lasso.  Still, Superman uses Terra-Man’s lack of knowledge of his identity as Clark Kent to beat Terra-Man (and revive his friends).

The Enforcer

Then, Terra-Man returns along with eight other Superman foes in Superman #299 (May 1976, by Cary Bates with Elliot S! Maggin and Curt Swan on the art) in “The Double-Or-Nothing Life Of Superman!”.

Terra-Man teams with the Prankster and the Toyman, and was the first villain team to be defeated in a plan by a master manipulator that involved using Superman’s own abilities to trigger the end of the Earth (strangely similar to Tobias’ own plan from not so long ago...and about as successful here!).

Still, at least Tobias was a part of a bigger group for a time!

Every Which Way But Loose

These little appearances were too little for Terra-Man, who returned in force (and with Nova for the first time since Superman #259) in Action Comics #468-470 (February-April 1977, all by Cary Bates/Curt Swan), during which Terra-Man planned a television show to face Superman in (and this stunning Neal Adams cover)!  During this run, each issue ends with a cliffhanger, so this seems to be a great place to hang a cliff, to have more Terra-Man coming soon!

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Words With Wells on Wonder Woman Part 1

For all the fans of Wonder Woman, a rare treat.  An interview with noted comic historian, John Wells, one of the authors of the Essential Wonder Woman Encyclopedia, who was kind enough to share a few of his thoughts on Wonder Woman!

DM: Where did you first become aware of Wonder Woman? What was the first Wonder Woman comic you read?

JOHN WELLS: The first time I saw Wonder Woman was, believe it or not, on an episode of the Brady Kids cartoon in 1972. 

And afterwards on the Super Friends cartoon that started a year later. The first issue of the Wonder Woman comic that I ever bought was issue #212 in 1974.  

DM:  I came in towards the end of the trials (#220), so they are a favorite of mine as well, as are the Super Friends, who were my first exposure!  What is your favorite era/run of Wonder Woman?

JW: The Julie Schwartz-edited two years (#212-227). Issue #212, as I mentioned, was the first issue I ever bought and was coincidentally ground zero for a re-launch of the character after several years as the plainclothed Diana Prince and a stodgy return to costume under Robert Kanigher. With Len Wein on script, that one issue told me everything I needed to know about Wonder Woman, introduced a new career for Diana Prince, began a series of trials monitored by the Justice League, and even had room for a fight with the Cavalier. In twenty pages. I look back on this issue now with shock at how badly Curt Swan was inked on this story but it’s to his credit as a storyteller that his greatness shines through.

I liked the fact that this run dispensed with the notion that Diana Prince was a meek female Clark Kent and I really loved the forward momentum that Marty Pasko brought to the table once the trials were over. It killed me when the series abruptly shifted back to the 1940s with #228 to reflect the TV show. I wound up enjoying that run, too, but I often wonder how different the present-day Wonder Woman might have been had Pasko been allowed to continue in the direction he was headed.
DM: Speaking of the Wonder Woman TV show, do you have a favorite episode, and what did you think of Lynda Carter's Wonder Woman?

JW: I loved Lynda Carter as Wonder Woman! One of the greatest bits of superhero casting EVER! As campy as it is in retrospect, the pilot movie is still wonderful in the way it brings scenes from the first two Golden Age stories to life. The whole World War 2 season was great fun but the Wonder Girl two-parter is my absolute favorite.

DM: What was your favorite Wonder Woman appearance outside of a regular Wonder Woman comic?

JW: I’m fond of the scene in Steve Englehart’s first JLA-Manhunters battle where Diana located an alien “menace” called the Dharlu and demonstrated compassion towards an entity that was simply a pregnant female trying to protect its offspring.

And I loved the scene in Len Wein’s GREEN LANTERN where an evil Congressman named Jason Bloch was mortally wounded and tried to spill the beans on GL’s true identity to a passerby in the Pentagon. Who, the last panel revealed, was Diana Prince. Oops!

DM: Now that the DC Universe has a philosophy of "it's all good", what character from Wonder Woman's long past would you like to see revived now?

JW: Maybe Paula Von Gunther or Diana’s best friend Mala or the Duke of Deception, all of whom have been seen fleetingly in the past fifteen years.

DM: When Roy Thomas took over Wonder Woman, he made a MAJOR change to Wonder Woman (involving her costume) that survived even a few Crises and brought back some of Diana's history, including Steve Trevor.   What did Roy and those who followed him add to the Wonder Woman mythos? 

JW: Actually, it was Gerry Conway who revived Steve and Roy was strictly a hired gun when it came to the new costume.  

In the case of the latter, DC wanted a logo they could merchandise like Superman and Batman’s and it would’ve happened regardless. Still, Roy did effectively revive Doctor Psycho for the 1980s and created a good new villainess in the form of Silver Swan.

All the old villains who were rebooted in Perez’s series were characters who received entries in Who’s Who.  

Had Roy not dusted off Psycho, it’s debatable whether he’d even have received an entry.  And Circe--who fought Wonder Woman only once in the 1940s--would NEVER have been in Who’s Who if Dan Mishkin hadn’t revived her in 1983.

How different would the post-Crisis Wonder Woman’s history have been without its own version of Circe?

DM: Extremely!  It did seem that every time a new person took over Wonder Woman, they had to do their own variation of Wonder Woman, and sadly, this had distorted the character of Wonder Woman over the years.

Soon after this, Diana Prince and the entire DC Universe underwent a metamorphosis and, this seems like a great place to break, but don’t worry, I’ll have part two of my interview with comic historian, John Wells, which will deal with the changes that happened to Wonder Woman’s history post-Crisis on Infinite Earths coming in December.

If any of this history of Wonder Woman interested you...

...and you’d like to learn more, feel free to look for the Essential Wonder Woman Encyclopedia...

...not to mention John's Back Issue Wonder Woman article in issue #37 (on Wonder Woman's return to World War II in the 1970s ), and Jim Ford's article in #41 for the trials of Wonder Woman!.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Justice Society of America Charter Members Part 1

It all started in November 22nd, 1940, when the heroes first gathered for a meeting in All-Star Comics #3 (Winter 1940-1941)...and the Justice Society was born!  Long before the Suicide Squad, Teen Titans or Justice League of America!

True, that first gathering was just the heroes recounting individual took until their next issue for them to start working as a team.  With a story by Gardner Fox and art by Everett Hibbard, Sheldon Moldoff, Bernard Baily, Chad GrothkopfHoward Sherman, Ben Flinton, and Martin Nodell, the first super-team was gathered.

But who were the members of the team?

Darknight Detective

Batman...Bruce Wayne, the criminal crimefighter of Gotham City, putting all his mental resources to stop the villain who killed his parents.  Starting with Detective Comics #27 (May, 1939 by Bob Kane and Bill Finger), Batman began his unrelenting war against crime...and, hey, haven't we heard this before?  Well, this was the original, coming out of the earliest part of the Golden Age (also called the "Earth-2" Batman, more on him here!).

True, this Batman didn't have much to do with the JSA in the Golden Age (appearing only in All-Star Comics #7 and #36, as back then, being in three magazines a month (Detective Comics, Batman and World's Finest Comics), too many appearances for Batman to be in the group), but in the 1970s, this older Batman was a major focus of All-Star Comics (though more as the Gotham Police Commissioner...), and both Robin and a new character, the Huntress, were active in the Justice Society, and in the 1980s, "retroactive continuity" from the All-Star Squadron and Secret Origins gave the 1940s Batman a few more new tales.

Scarlet Speedster

Flash had a few more appearances with the JSA, and had a much more well defined Golden Age.  Jay Garrick was a university student who was exposed to chemical fumes which gave him super speed in Flash Comics #1 (January, 1940) in a story by Gardner Fox and Harry Lampert.  Flash was also the first of the JSAers to move up to his own title (All-Flash Comics), and because he appeared in two books, Flash was moved to honorary status in the JSA (like Superman and Batman, starting in All-Star Comics #6), until he came back as a regular member in All-Star Comics #24, and resumed full membership in All-Star Comics #25 (both in 1945).

Flash stuck around with the Justice Society until their Golden Age end with All-Star Comics #57 (February-March, 1951), which was past the end of All-Flash (with #32 in 1948, and this title introduced many of Flash's main villains, like the Thinker, the Shade and the Fiddler), appearances in Comic Cavalcade (ending in 1948 with issue #29) and the end of his own title of Flash Comics (with #104, in February, 1949).  Still, Flash had a legacy, and when the next Flash came back, so did Jay, and Jay then brought the whole Justice Society with him!

Emerald Gladiator

Flash's friend (and a co-star in Comic Cavalcade), Green Lantern, was also a pretty successful hero on his own.  Engineer Alan Scott survived a train wreck he was in by holding onto a mystical green lantern he had, and fashioned a ring from the lamp, and took on his super-hero identity as Green Lantern starting with All-American Comics #16 (July, 1940) in a story by Bill Finger and Martin Nodell.  This ring gave Alan the power to make anything out of green energy using his will, and was only stopped by wood.  Many of Alan's villains, like Solomon Grundy, the Icicle, the Sportsmaster, the Harlequinn, the Gambler and the Vandal Savage also went on to menace the JSA as well!

Alan was also a victim of success, getting his own Green Lantern title in the Fall of 1941 (which lasted for 38 issues, ending in May-June, 1949), appeared with Flash (and Wonder Woman), in separate stories in Comic Cavalcade until issue #29, and in All-American Comics until #102 (October, 1948).  Green Lantern became an honorary JSA with All-Star Comics #7, appears in a few issues here and there as an honorary member, then returns in All-Star Comics #24, becoming a regular member again in All-Star Comics #25, and stays until the end with All-Star Comics #57, and returns with the team in Flash #137 (June, 1963).  Alan even finds out of a tie to the more modern Green Lantern (Hal Jordan) and the Guardians of the Universe as well!

Man of the Hour

Time is ticking down, and Rex Tyler would be the man to call.  A research chemist who came up with a chemical called Miraclo, when taken, would give Rex super-strength, speed and stamina, and allow him to become Hourman (starting in Adventure Comics #48, March, 1940 by Ken Finch and Bernard Bailey).  He also gathered a team of kids to help him (the Minute Men of America, including Thorndyke and Jimmy Martin), and was featured on a few of the covers of Adventure Comics.

Sadly, Miraclo wasn't all that good for Rex, and he gave up being a JSAer for a time after All-Star Comics #7 (to be replaced by the original Starman, who also took his place as a JSAer), and Rex didn't even get his own title or be featured much outside of All-Star Comics, the second New York World's Fair comic and ended his Golden Age run in Adventure Comics with #83 (February, 1943).  Rex was part of the JSA revival starting in the 1960s with Justice League of America #21 (August, 1963), getting close teaming up with fellow charter member Dr. Fate for two issues of Showcase (#55 and #56) and like most of the JSA, part of a Crisis ever since (even working with Uncle Sam and the Freedom Fighters for a time in the "retroactive continuity" of All-Star Squadron)...even messing around with time (as a android "descendant" of his proved, as did his son and successor, Rick Tyler!).

Master of the Mystic Arts

Kent Nelson was the son of an archeologist and watched his father die as he opened up the tomb of Nabu (an ancient Lord of Order).  Nabu took the boy under his wing, and trained him as his replacement, Dr. Fate, starting with More Fun Comics #55 (May, 1940, by Gardner Fox and Howard Sherman, though fellow charger JSAer, the Spectre, ended up with that cover).  For a time, Dr. Fate fought very powerful mystic menaces like Negal, Wotan and Ian Karkull, but as later revealed, it was found that Nabu rested in the helmet of Fate, and took over Kent Nelson's body, so Kent dumped the helmet for a time (wanting to spend more time with his girl, Inza), and was only a strong, invincible and flying hero with a half helmet (starting in More Fun Comics #72 in October, 1941) facing villains like Mr. Who! 

Dr. Fate's Golden Age adventures ran from More Fun Comics #55 to More Fun Comics #98 of July/August 1944 (all of which are reprinted in the Golden Age Dr. Fate Archives #1), and as a JSAer until All-Star Comics #21 (and then getting revived with Justice League of America #21 in August, 1963, along with the rest of the Justice Society).  Dr. Fate also proved pretty popular, sharing two Showcase issues with Hourman, getting his own First Issue Special, crossing from Earth-2 to Earth-1 to team with Batman, Superman and the Flash, as well as being a major player in the Crisis on Infinite Earths...and well beyond (with at least the identity of Dr. Fate, though not quite Kent Nelson all the time) getting a few series of his own!

These are all of the original JSAers we have time for now, but check back as we cover the rest of the charter members (like Hawkman, Atom, Sandman, the Spectre and Superman, and beyond!)...

...and you can see how the past helped to shape the future!

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Teen Titans In Time

It was a time for Titans. Teen Titans actually.

The team first appeared in Brave & the Bold #60 (June-July 1965, by Bob Haney and Bruno Premiani), but, as I’ve mentioned before, it felt like the Teen Titans had already been around. Robin, Kid Flash and Aqualad had already worked together, and, with B&B #60, they added Wonder Girl. Now, before we get too far into the team, let’s go back and look at Wonder Girl’s history.

Well…that’s where the problem starts.  Wonder Girl’s adventures in Wonder Woman’s title…were stories of Wonder Woman as a girl!  Great Hera, has there been some trickery here?

Wonder Trouble

Well, kind of. Wonder Woman had shown readers some of her adventures of her younger self (going all the way back to Wonder Woman #23, May-June 1947). With Wonder Woman #105 (April 1959, by Robert Kanigher and Ross Andru), her origins were more fully recounted, and adventures of young Diana on Paradise Island were set up, and she was called Wonder Girl at that time. Wonder Girl became a regular feature in the Wonder Woman comic, taking the cover with #107.

Like Superboy (the adventures of Superman, when he was a boy), this was a look at the forming of a hero, and was in Wonder Woman issues #106, 107, 109, 111…and, then a young girl named Bonnie won a contest in Wonder Woman #112, and part of her winnings was to get a chance to meet a young Wonder Girl by travelling back in time! In WW #113, to further Wonder Girl’s story, Wonder Tot was introduced (the adventures of Wonder Girl…when she was a tot!). All three versions of Diana continued to have tales…and in #117, “Wonder Girl Meets Wonder Woman”. Not impossible…as Superman and Superboy had travelled in time and met each other...

…but, the Wonder Woman chroniclers took it a little further with ”The Impossible Day!” of Wonder Woman #124 (August 1961, by Kanigher and Andru), where Wonder Woman, Wonder Girl, Wonder Tot and “Wonder Queen” (Hippolyta, Wonder Woman’s mom), all worked together (thanks to Hippolyta splicing together film of them all). Seems simple enough, but these “impossible tales” kept happening...

…in Wonder Woman #129, 133, 135, 138, 140, 142, 145, 150, 153 and 155…until Wonder Woman #158 (November 1965), when Robert Kanigher had to bring in the whole Wonder Family to the DC offices, and fire them! 

This confused everyone....

Don’t feel too bad about that though, Wonder Girl had been picked up by the Teen Titans at that point (though she didn’t have an alter ego…

...and, if anyone had thought about it, she really couldn’t have been around…but then, she was the one that gave the team the Titans part of their name!).

Teen Titans #1 (January-February 1966, by Bob Haney and artist Nick Cardy) had the four kids start their wild adventure together (after a brief tease for the Teen Titans in Showcase #59 in November-December 1965, and a cameo for Wonder Girl with Wonder Woman in Brave and the Bold #63 in December-January 1965/1966). Still, this fab four had quite a few adventures together…all the way to Teen Titans #22 (July-August, 1969), when writer Marv Wolfman and artist Gil Kane came together to give us “The Origin of Wonder Girl”, establishing her as an orphan that Wonder Woman had rescued from a burning building, and taken back to Paradise Island where she was exposed to the Amazon’s Purple Ray to be given powers, and was now living in the Titans cavern, as the Amazons had left Earth’s dimension.

Wonder Girl got another identity of Donna Troy, changed her costume (stunningly show on the next issue cover), and stayed a major part of the Teen Titans for years, even coming back after the team split a few times. More of Donna’s history came to light in New Teen Titans #38 (January, 1984, by Marv Wolfman and George Perez)….and that stood until the Crisis on Infinite Earths erased Wonder WOMAN from history… 

…but not Wonder Girl (though Wolfman and Perez explored that in New Titans #50-54, with Donna becoming Troia and showing off her new look as a trainee of the original mythological Titans in New Titans #55). Donna later lost her Titan powers, but became a Darkstar (a galactic peacekeeping force, think interstellar sheriffs, similar to the Green Lanterns), and later lost those powers.

Still, with the help of Wonder Woman and Flash (Wally West, her Titan friend grown up), Donna’s real history came to light in Wonder Woman #133-134 (June-July, 1998, by John Byrne), where we found out that a demonic Dark Angel, in trying to get revenge against Hippolyta (who thwarted Dark Angel back in World War II, while traveling in time to establish herself as World War II and the Justice Society’s Wonder Woman) had taken a magical duplicate of young Diana and tortured her by making her live out terrible lives as Donna Troy.

So, Donna was Diana after all...

...more or less!  

Donna got reacclumated to reality with a starry variation of her individual Wonder Girl costume and remained to work with the Titans for a time…until her supposed death, and the revelation that she had had many infinite lives and that ALL her histories were true (and thank Phil Jimenez and Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez for the four issue DC Special: The Return of Donna Troy in 2005 for trying to save Donna!). After that, she was even a part of the Justice League of America for a time….at least until Flashpoint. Donna hasn’t returned yet in the New 52, but…could she be Pandora, the lady of mystery?

Boy Bowman

With all that complexity, we need a little straight shooting, so we’ll get to the fifth charter member of the Teen Titans, Speedy. Speedy started as young Roy Harper, the junior sidekick of Green Arrow in More Fun Comics #73 (November, 1941, by George Papp). Well, that was the Earth-2 Speedy (read: World War II era, he was a partner to Green Arrow since their first appearance…who was a member WITH Green Arrow of the Seven Soldiers of Victory, so “a” Speedy beat Robin to membership in a group!). The Speedy who was Green Arrow’s partner first appeared in Adventure Comics #218 (November 1955), and got a slightly different origin with Adventure Comics #262 (July 1959, by Robert Bernstein and Lee Elias) with “The World’s Worst Archer”, wherein an already operating Green Arrow ended up taking in by Roy Harper from Brave Bow (who had been watching over the boy after his ranger father had died).

But, Speedy, like Green Arrow hadn’t been on many comic covers until later in Silver Age.
Then, Speedy worked with the Teen Titans in Teen Titans #4 and in Teen Titans #11, eventually taking the place of Aqualad in Teen Titans #19, wherein he was a regular member of the team.
This included being a part of 3 Titans team-ups with Batman in Brave & the Bold and one with Superman in World’s Finest Comics #205).

But…wait a minute. Didn’t I say earlier that Speedy was one of the charter members of the Teen Titans? Well, yes, Speedy did make the team a “fab five”, but that wasn’t revealed until Teen Titans #53 (February 1978), wherein the team’s origin was finally given to us by Bob Rozakis and Juan Ortiz. In this issue, it was revealed that all the heroes the sidekicks worked with had gone bad…and it was up to the kids to stop them! The bunch joined together and stopped their mentors (who were under the control of the alien Antithesis). Afterwards, they decided to form a team, not a “Junior Justice League”, but with Wonder Girl giving them the name Titans….and Aqualad added the Teen. Still, Speedy wasn’t quite a joiner at the time, so he opted out, and only came back when needed. Roy stuck around quite a bit….at least until the original team had expanded (and then disbanded) in Teen Titans #53.

Still, Roy Harper had taken some time off from the team, thanks to events in Green Lantern #85-86 (by Denny O’Neil and Neal Adams in later 1971), where Roy was revealed to have a problem….that still has haunted him. Green Arrow (Oliver Queen) had gotten a new costume, taken up a relationship with Black Canary, worked full time in the Justice League, lost his fortune…and Roy Harper had lost his way. Roy recovered, and worked for the government more (rebelling still…becoming more of the establishment, as his mentor became less, even finding out about Guardian – Jim Harper, and his Cadmus clone…and his relationship the original, a beat cop), helping to save kids who had taken the wrong path. Still, while Roy was doing this, he had met Lady Jade, the assassin known as Cheshire, and the two of them had a daughter, Lian. Lian was a great motivator for Roy, and he kept working with Checkmate!, and to stop Cheshire from destroying the world. Roy eventually adopted a new identity, that of Arsenal (with New Titans #99, July, 1993, by Wolfman and Tom Grummett), and continued to work with the Titans after (including a stint as leader, reformed the Titans under Sarge Steel as a government-backed team of heroes, including Donna Troy in her Darkstar days).

Still, those Titans disbanded, and Roy was on his own for a time…and changed his look again, taking up a red version of his mentor’s costume and working with a new batch of Teen Titans. Roy then helped the original Titans reunite for a time…and they stayed together until the death of Donna, wherein he went to work with the Outsiders until Donna returned. Then, Roy moved up and joined the Justice League of America, eventually becoming Red Arrow…

...and worked with them until another feud between him and his mentor (started by the destruction of Star City, and Roy’s loss of an arm, causing Roy to regress, and retake the name Arsenal.

He even worked with Deathstroke and Cheshire in a villainous grouping that called themselves Titans for a time…

...until Flashpoint restarted the universe, and now he works with Red Hood and Starfire (with some of his history altered…as Donna doesn’t seem to be, nor were the Titans formed until recently).

War And Peace

Seems time is not a friend of the Teen Titans, or any of their later members, either. The first two to join the team were the teenaged heroes Hawk and Dove, and this duo premiered in Showcase #75 (June, 1968, by Steve Ditko with script by Steve Skeates). They were Hank and Don Hall, two sons of a judge who had gotten in trouble trying to help their dad against the mob, and were isolated…

...until a mysterious voice gave them the power to change into super powered being, when they said the names of the symbol which they represented, aggressive, war-like Hank became the Hawk, and peaceful, thinker Don becoming Dove.

The two continued with 6 issues of adventures, fighting crime (and each other) until June-July, 1969, and met the Teen Titans along the way (for issue #21).

The boys joined the Teen Titans in #25, just as the team failed an important mission, and nearly disbanded, but instead reformed under philanthropist Mr. Jupiter, who helped the kids on missions (albeit, without costumes for a time, but more on him later…as he brought in a few new members as well). The plainclothes adventures didn’t last long, the two left after facing Aqualad’s foe, Ocean Master.

The boys had grown up and tried to establish themselves, but briefly rejoined the team to help form Titans West (Teen Titans #50-52, 1977), and even helped out during one case involving many heroes (including the Teen Titans) in Showcase #100 (May, 1978).

Then, times got tricky for this duo…though they were teenagers during the 1960s….they should have aged like everyone else, but in Brave and the Bold #181, (December, 1981, by Alan Brennert and Jim Aparo), they were shown as 1960s characters who had aged thru 1981 (and the voice came back to take their powers, as the two brothers made peace with each other). A great tale, but one that had problems (if they went from teenagers to late-20s, why wasn’t Robin at least as old? ). Don’t think too hard on this one. In Tales of the Teen Titans #50 (February, 1985), Hank and Don attended Donna Troy’s wedding….at the same age as the rest of the guests, confused as to why everyone thought they were older. The two reunited one last time, during the Crisis on Infinite Earths, wherein Don died saving a person from the events there.

The Hawk and Dove team remained split, until Hawk found the new Dove….a lady, who had the same powers of strength and endurance and look as his brother, and she got those powers at the same time Don died in the 1988 mini-series (that ran 5 issues, and was by Karl and Barbara Kesel, and Rob Liefeld).

Dawn Granger was the new Dove, and got her powers from the voices (voices…yes, there were more than one, and that was explained with a little help from their foe, Kestrel) during issues #14-17 of that duo’s regular run, seeing that Hawk embodied chaos and Dove, order).

Sadly, time ran out for them as well, due to a variety of issues…one being a problem of their regular series ending after 28 issues (and two annuals), and the other being Armageddon 2001.

That made Dove unavailable for a time...

…and Hank took on a series of villains' identities until things were set right in the JSA.

Briefly, there was another Hawk and Dove (no relation), and later, Dawn’s sister, Holly, took over as Hawk until Hank returned in the Brightest Day.

Strangely, Hawk & Dove continued into the New 52, seemingly without any changes (though much of their Titans history had become…history), and lasted 8 issues until that run was cancelled.

So, all of this was a long winded way of saying the Teen Titans formed, and took on a few members.  More members were to follow, like Lilith and Mal, Bumblebee...

...and so many Titans joined they had to keep some of them on a separate coast. But, time enough for that later!