A New Legacy Taking Flight: Simone Talks “Teen Titans”
by Dave Richards, Staff Writer – Posted: May 31, 2005 – courtesy of http://comicbookresources.com
The heroic legacy of Hawk and Dove began when the Lords of Chaos and Order gave two brothers super abilities to save a loved one. This August two sisters continue the legacy of Hawk and Dove in a special two part story of DC Comics “Teen Titans” written by Gail Simone with art by Rob Liefeld. CBR News spoke with Simone via e-mail about this new duo and what affect they will have on the Teen Titans.
Simone credits her fellow DC writers for her assignment on “Teen Titans.” “I believe Dan DiDio talked to Rob and it coincided with a break Geoff Johns needed to take to finish ‘Crisis,'” Simone told CBR News. “Jeph Loeb and Geoff Johns have been incredible supporters of my stuff and I think it was their idea for me to do this arc, for which I’m very grateful. It’s the ‘Teen Titans,’ one of the all-time greatest books this company has ever had. So, I couldn’t resist”
The Dove character in Simone’s two-part story is Dawn Granger, who was first introduced to readers back in the “Hawk and Dove” mini-series written by Karl and Barbara Kesel and drawn by Liefeld. The Hawk character is Granger’s sister introduced to “Teen Titans” readers in issue 22. “Hawk is Dove’s estranged sister, who was raised in England,” Simone explained. “She’s not quite so enraged as previous Hawks, but is more impatient and impulsive. I love characters like that, because their actions are always in question. Wisdom isn’t their strong suit.”
The story also features another returning character for the Kessel and Liefeld’s “Hawk and Dove” series, the villainous Kestrel. However, Kestrel won’t be the only villain Hawk, Dove and the Titans must face. “Kestrel’s back as well as some characters who might be the exact opposites of the Titans…angry, super powered kids who really believe in nothing,” Simone said. “It’s fun stuff.”
In addition to exploring the legacy of Hawk and Dove, Simone’s story also examines the Titans as a team. “Part of this story is about what each Titan gets out of the team. It’s a different dynamic than any other team in comics,” Simone said.
Simone’s story features all of the current Titans members, but showcases one member in particular. “This story is very Robin-centric. There’s a very good reason why Robin’s one of the world’s best comic characters,” Simone said. “Even without Batman, Robin’s got the star power, intelligence, and skills to make a story sing.”
The tone of the story differs from Simone’s usual work. “It’s darker than a lot of my stuff, but there’s some black humor in there that people who like, say, my ‘Villains United’ stuff might really enjoy,” she said.
Simone’s artistic collaborator on “Teen Titans,” Rob Liefeld, is a controversial figure known for an art style that many comic readers have strong gut level reactions to. That was one of the reasons DC’s VP Executive Editor of the DC Universe Dan Didio asked Simone to work with Liefeld on “Teen Titans.” “Dan DiDio’s very, very smart, and he understands people– he knows that the more dangerous a job sounds, the more I can’t resist it,” Simone explained. “So working on a beloved book like this that the readers feel so strongly about, with a lightning rod artist, that’s just the kind of thing I like.”
Simone understands and appreciates Liefeld’s style of art. “The thing about Rob’s art is, it appeals on a visceral level,” she explained. “So I’m obviously trying to fit the story to match that kind of energy. I like that some of Rob’s pages reach out and slap you in the face– I find that vastly preferable to the sedate, slumbering style that so many superhero comics have fallen into.”
Liefeld’s art had a surprising effect on a person Simone knows very well. “My son, who loves manga and has no interest in superhero comics, came into my office while I was looking at Rob’s sketches and he asked who drew them,” Simone explained. “He’s never done that before and he specifically asked when this book was coming out. One look and he was hooked.”
Regular “Teen Titans” writer Geoff Johns has been very helpful with and supportive of Simone and Liefeld’s story. “He knows we want to treat his babies right, and do the right thing by the readers and the characters,” Simone said.
Getting a chance to write the “Teen Titans” has been like a dream come true for Simone. “Ah, dang, for me, it’s just a sheer joy. Like golfing with Tiger Woods, or playing b-ball with Michael Jordan. To me, these are superstar characters in one of the best books on the stands. I just want to do a ‘Titans’ story that has the kind of Tabasco on it that my favorite TT stories of the past have had. I think we’re succeeding!”
Bill Walko is an author and artist and the man behind titanstower.com. He's been reading and drawing comics since he was 5 years old and hasn't stopped since.