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Adam Beechen: A New Titan In Town

Adam Beechen: A New Titan In Town
by Frederik Hautain, posted February 02, 2007 – courtesy of http://brokenfrontier.com


Earlier this week, Geoff Johns unveiled that he’s leaving DC’s Teen Titans after Titans East storyline has ended. Robin writer Adam Beechen will be taking over the series with May’s issue #47.

BF spoke to the new Titans scribe to find out what he’s got planned…

BROKEN FRONTIER: How did you land the job? Did Geoff hand-pick you as his successor?

ADAM BEECHEN: All I know is, I got a series of phone calls in late summer of last year — first from Geoff, then from Editor Eddie Berganza — asking if I would be interested in taking over writing the book if Geoff were to leave. I said yes both times, then hyperventilated for weeks until I got another series of calls — again, from Geoff and Eddie — saying it was a done deal, Geoff was departing, and I was being officially offered the book. So I’m not sure whose official hand anointed me, as it were… I’m just glad to be here!

BF: Geoff has been the only writer the current volume has seen. What are some of your favorite Johns stories on Teen Titans?

AB: I gravitate to the character stuff. I love the crash-bang as much as the next comics fan, but when I get a peek behind the mask to see how a character really thinks and feels, it makes the action that much more immediate and personal to me. So I think of #7, “Wednesday,” where we spend time with a few of our characters individually — the stuff with Superboy and Krypto really made an impression on me.

The “Titans Tomorrow” issues where the kids met their possible future selves also was a great window into the team. And “Titans Around the World” I loved because suddenly there were all these new characters that the Titans had experience with but I didn’t, and I had to work to put the pieces together, and I had a sense I was being taken for a ride by creators who knew what they were doing, and that’s the best feeling to have, as a reader.

BF: Are there any similarities in how the two of you approach writing the Titans? I mean, although you have huge shoes to fill, is it a smooth transition?

AB: Geoff and I got together for a few dinners to plot out a couple of the “Titans: East” issues…I was nervous and excited about doing that, because I’d never really worked that way in comics before and really wanted to give it a shot. I also really admire Geoff’s plotting and structure, so I was hoping to learn a few things along the way.

I wound up feeling like I got a master class in comics writing that accelerated the learning curve I’d been on with “Robin” by a factor of three. And I found that Geoff’s and my ideas were really pretty simpatico, from how the characters operate to the plot beats. We both think of the characters first, and let them drive the stories, rather than the other way around.

So, while Geoff and I are pretty different writers — he’s noted elsewhere that I’m probably a “lighter” writer than he is, and I think that’s probably true — hopefully readers will feel the transition’s pretty smooth.

BF: Your run on Robin has generated a lot of critical acclaim. It’s one of the best in years because you’ve cast Tim Drake as a strong, beyond-his-years character—especially after all he’s been through recently—while at the same time, you’ve never lost track of the ‘lighter’ aspects of teenage life. Are you looking to handle Teen Titans in a similar fashion?

AB: Well, first, thanks for the kind words. Heaps of credit for any reasons you might like Robin are due to Freddie Williams II, who has done such a killer job illustrating most of the issues (although Frazer Irving knocked the Klarion two-parter out of the park), and to Editor Peter Tomasi, who has kept the ship running smoothly, given us great input, and surrounded Freddie and I with a bunch of extremely talented people whose names have also appeared in the credit boxes.

I do think my “Titans” will be a little lighter in tone, but that doesn’t mean the stories won’t still be action-packed, have high stakes and keep people turning pages. It won’t become a comedic romp, by any means. These are kids who have huge responsibilities and deal with huge issues, but that doesn’t mean they can’t act their age as well, some of the time.

BF: When writing Teen Titans versus Robin, is it more difficult to find Tim’s voice amid other team members and as the squad’s leader?

AB: That’s a really good question, and one I’m interested in exploring. Why, exactly, is Robin the team leader? As for me, as a matter of writing, I’m most comfortable right now when Tim pops up in a panel because I know him best, and I just keep in mind that he’s interacting with his friends when I have him acting in a leader’s role, so his voice hasn’t been hard to find.

The challenge — and it’s been a fun challenge — has been in learning the voices of the other characters. I don’t think it’ll take too long before I feel at home with them.

BF: You’re stepping in right after “Titans East” wraps. Although it’s much too early to give away how that arc will play out, what can you tell us about the direction the title is headed in with you at the helm?

AB: I’m actually in on “Titans: East” itself, and will be writing the conclusion solo. After that, the Titans will be deeply involved in something for a few issues that’ll affect the entire DCU, and then we’ll be doing a story that was the last arc Geoff conceived before he left. I asked if he wouldn’t mind if I went ahead and did it, and he didn’t, so Geoff’s presence will continue to be felt for a while. And the membership at the end of “Titans: East” might look a little different by the time we get around to Geoff’s final arc idea.

BF: Looking at the broader scope, what are some of the intricacies that make the Titans click that you’ll be putting forward to your run?

AB: They’re kids. I think, in the midst of all the action, crises and drama they face, it can be easy to lose sight of that fact. These are unique kids dealing with very specific, unique circumstances, and the only ones who could possibly understand what they’re facing are the other kids standing next to them on the team. That’s a very particular — and fascinating — bond to explore.

BF: Do you have a fondness for any characters in particular, or any you’ll be putting in the limelight specifically?

AB: I really like a lot of the characters Geoff and Tony introduced, and am anxious to dig into them. One plan I have is to break up longer arcs with single issue stories that spotlight individuals or relationships within the Titans — at the same time giving readers crucial information that leads directly into the next arc.

BF: If you had your way, which would be your ideal Titans roster?

AB: I’m happy to say, I’m going to be writing them!

BF: Can you unveil who the new artist is going to be?

AB: I cannot. I can, however, quash the rumor that Pablo Picasso will be doing four issues — his page rate was just too high. I pushed hard for another noted painter, Joseph (Jericho) Wilson to illustrate a few issues, but apparently he wasn’t available.

BF: Back to Robin for a second: now that the two-part adventure with Klarion has completed, what’s next for Tim Drake?

AB: At the moment, he’s getting ready for a big date, that should be a lot of fun for all concerned, but not in the way anyone expects. Then he’s going to be doing some down-and-dirty street-level crime fighting on the streets of Gotham, followed by the return of some old villains and the introduction of a few new ones. It’s never dull for the Boy Wonder!

 


End of titanstower.com transmission. About this author:  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. Read more from this author