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Comics Journal #80: Marv Wolfman Interview

[from Comics Journal #80 – 1983]
<< go to part one

Marv Wolfman scripted Captain Marvel, Skull the Slayer, Killraven, Captain America, Sub-Mariner, Man-Thing, Spider-Man, Fantastic Four, Spider-Woman, and Nova. His most acclaimed work and the work of which he is proudest was Tomb of Dracula, drawn by Gene Colan and Tom Palmer. Wolfman also helped kick off Marvel’s line of super-hero noifels, co-writing the first Spider-Man and Fantastic Four novels with Len Wein.In 1979 Wolfman became embroiled in a bitter dispute with editor-in-chief Jim Shooter when Shooter refused to allow Wolfman to continue editing the Dracula title that Wolfman had scripted for 63 issues. The dispute resolved itself when Wolfman quit the company and joined DC Comics.

Upon his return to DC, Wolfman wrote Green Lantern, Superman, Brave & Bold, Superman Family, and DC Presents. He and George Pérez then created the New Teen Titans. And when Gene Colan left Marvel over artistic differences between ed itor-in-chief Shooter, Wolfman and his old collaborator on Dracula teamed up to create Night Force. But, it’s the New Teen Titans that has taken off and become DC’s best-selling title in the direct-sales market and that is the subject of the Journal’s second interview with Marv Wolfman.

– L. K. Speerloop

This interview was conducted by Heidi MacDonald (with occasional “help” from Gary Groth) in October, 1982. Part I of this interview appeared last issue. It was copy-edited by Mary Wolfman, edited by Gary Groth, and transcribed by Tom Mason.

MacDONALD: I’m sure you’re sick of this question, to start off…

WOLFMAN: Since I haven’t really been interviewed much about the Teen Titans, you can ask anything but how much money I make.

GROTH: Are you serious? You haven’t been interviewed much?

WOLFMAN: Not about the Titans. It’s a book that’s received no publicity. We are finally coming out with a poster with issue #30, but we received no advertising. We just appeared on the newsstands ando that’s it. And it’s become a success but there’s been no push either by DC or in the fan press. We’ve had no reviews, except for the year-end review in [Comics Feature] and it was one of 45 reviews. But considering the popularity of the book, I’ve been very surprised the book hasn’t been reviewed or dissected or taken apart or ripped to shreds or praised over or anything.

MacDONALD: I felt like it was almost virgin territory. I want to ask what you think is the main difference that sets the Titans apart from all other groups?

WOLFMAN: If there is a difference it’s just in the people who are doing it. My interests are different from other writers’, therefore I aim the book differently. Although everybody says it’s like The X-Men. I don’t see any similarities, and I never have. And in fact, if you go back far enough, you can say The X-Men was a rip-off of The Legion of Super Heroes, and the Legion was a rip-off of the Boy Commandos or the Young Allies; it goes right back to the past. I’m sure there were a bunch of teenage Greek Gods running around, too. I think it’s just the interests that George and I have that make the book different.

The heroes, as with any super-heroes that exist today, are fairly straightforward. There’s no intrinsic difference between Raven and Mr. Fantastic [laughter] in the sense that they are hero characters. What makes them different is the attitude that we take with the character, that we bring to each specific person. The way I handle the Teen Titans would be very different than if, say, Roy Thomas had written the same book and created the same characters.

MacDONALD: So it’s just you and George, there’s no real thematic difference?

WOLFMAN: Again, the thematic difference is something that is imposed on us by the title. Originally, we had talked about dropping the word Teen and making it The Titans, but the fact that we couldn’t because Neal Adams had a trademark or something on the word Titans by itself forced us to use them as teenagers. And that is the strength of the book now – they are now teens. The X-Men are all adults now. With the Legion, it’s never mattered one way or the other what age they are. But the Titans has been played very strongly on the fact that they are teenagers.

MacDONALD: With the X-Men meeting in X-men/Titans , there were so many differences…

WOLFMAN: And I think there was room for even more differences. And when George and I do ours next year, Christmas ‘83, we will try to bring our sensibilities to bear on the team-up.

MacDONALD: Did you have any input on the current one?

WOLFMAN: Yeah. I had a little bit, I suggested the Terminator and just a couple of minor things. They plotted the story. We were just trying to figure our how to get a Titans villains in there, and we went out to lunch one day and talked about it. Technically, we really can’t do too much mingling on these books so it was just sort of a friendly conversation. I was getting phone calls regularly from Chris and Walt to answer questions like “would the Titans do this?” “how would they react to that?” “what would they be wearing here?”

MacDONALD: Were you surprised to see your characters handled by someone else?

WOLFMAN: No. I’ve been in the business now for 15 years, and that sort of thing doesn’t bother me as long as they are handled correctly. Some of the dialogue wasn’t the way. I’d write it. Starfire did not sound at all like Starfire. She was the most different, strangely enough because Chris likes writing macho women, and I think he failed on that particular one. But I understand that ‘there are differences and I’m sure there are going to be differences when I handle the X-Men characters, because I see the X-Men the way it seems to be to me, rather than the way Chris writes it.

MacDONALD: It’s difficult to pin down, but just how old are the Teen Titans?

WOLFMAN: Let’s see, Changeling’s 16; Terra is 15 turning 16; Raven, oh, boy, I have this written down; Cyborg and Robin are 18, and the others I believe are 17. No, I’m sorry, Wonder Girl and Cyborg are 19.

MacDONALD: ln some ways it’s really kind of hard to believe that they are kids.

WOLFMAN: It depends. I’ve seen some teenagers who you would never know. I mean you look at the Playmates in Playboy and they’re 19, and they look older than the Teen Titans.

GROTH: Depressing, isn’t it?

WOLFMAN: Yeah. [laughter]. I used to look forward to being that age so I could meet them. Now, they’re half my age. And I cry. My time has passed; I have to wait for the geriatric version.

MacDONALD: I don’t know, the Titans all seem about 20 to me.

WOLFMAN: The differences between the ages 18 and say, 25, are pretty nebulous, I’d say. Kid Flash is obviously younger even though he’s the same age as some of the others. Robin because of his background thinks differently, he’s more logical. Wonder Girl, who’s my favorite character, was raised in the best situation and therefore probably has the personality and the wherewithal and understanding of herself that a far older person would have. Which is why her boyfriend is ten years older than she is.

GROTH: Hasn’t Robin been in college for about 10 years?

WOLFMAN: Oh, yeah, I’m sure he has [laughter]. But then again, that’s the way things age. I assume someday we’ll keep mentioning that they have birthdays and never refer to the fact that they are 19, 21, 22. But that will come with time.

MacDONALD They can stay within that nebulous region.

WOLFMAN: Especially if they drop in and out of college for awhile. They could be in college forever.

MacDONALD: Well, what can you do with Robin?

WOLFMAN: Now, a lot, but nor that much in the beginning. Let me rephrase that. In the very beginning I was able to do anything I wanted because 1 was also writing Batman. When I got off Batman and someone else was in charge of that, I couldn’t do it. Gerry [Con-way], however, is introducing a new character into Batman that will replace Dick Grayson as Batman’s partner, which means I now have total control of Dick Grayson. And that allows me to do what I want. We’re furthering the romance between Starfire and Robin and we’re pushing the character a little bit further and taking him where I couldn’t have six months ago. Where we will go with the characters is still a question. There are several places that I’ve outlined but George and I haven’t had a chance to talk about all of them.

MacDONALD: You don’t think he’ll be moaning for Batman? [laughter).

WOLFMAN: No, no. He has a very strange attitude in my mind. He was raised by Batman, taught by him, knows him, wants to be as good as the Barman and knows he never can be. Because he’s not psychotic and Barman is. Batman has this mission he has to do, Robin doesn’t. So no matter how hard he tries, he will never be that good. But as far as I’m concerned, he won’t think too much about wanting to go back there.

MacDONALD: I don’t understand why, in the beginning of one of the issues, after they came back from Tamaran, everyone was so upset about Robin and Starfire. It seems to me the other Titans were just busybodies [laughter]

WOLFMAN: People are gossips. I look at the way we talk up here about the risings and faIlings of various people, and I assume that other friends would too. More of it would be concern for the characters and whether or not they are making the right decision, than being against it. It’s very possible that Robin and Starfire are not very well suited for each other because they are very different in their thinking. Starfire is very quick to emotion and Robin tries to fight that, even though he is too.

MacDONALD: Well, Changeling always says, “Go for it guys!” [laughter).

GROTH: He’s young.

WOLFMAN: Well, Changeling is young, and we don’t have a lot of winners in the group, which is bothersome to me, outside of Wonder Girl, Starfire – Cyborg is getting there. Changeling puts on a big pretense because he wants to be like the others. He is three years younger than Cyborg and there is a difference between 16 and 18, where there isn’t much between 18 and 25. So he’s pretty much a braggart about most of the stuff he says. His romantic escapades are pure fiction. The Changeling mini-series story is the only one where I go out of my way to show that what he says isn’t really what happens. But that’s been my attitude from the very beginning. What he’s been saying for a 16-year-old kid is totally outrageous. And if it weren’t for the fact that everyone knew he was just talking through his hat and that he’s 16, they wouldn’t put up with it.

MacDONALD: If he’s only 16, why doesn’t he go to school?

WOLFMAN: He does. We haven’t shown it yet. It’s one of the problems of moving the stories along as quickly as we have, we haven’t lingered as much. I’ve tried to make no story last more than three issues, usually two issues, and one of the problems has been in not showing their private life enough. At least these characters have private lives. Very often in the team books, you don’t know what they do outside. We have to do a little bit more on Changeling and we have, to do a little bit more on Wonder Girl. We’re starting Wonder Girl now, finally. We’re moving her. In issue #30, Terry Long proposes to her and we are going to be doing some changes in her soon.

MacDONALD: And the guy who was running Changeling’s father’s company seemed to be coming to Changeling for advice…

WOLFMAN: The Questor character. The father was gone and by rights, by whatever they set up, Changeling was the next one to agree to things and he didn’t want to.

MacDONALD: Well, for a 16 year old kid…

WOLFMAN: I have to tell you, some of the stuff that we did in the very early issues I would love to forget because there were a lot of mistakes. You learn the characters as you go on, and you work out the story structure. You become more familiar with writing each character. I’d love to forget that happened. I’d love to forget that Starfire learned the language by kissing Robin [laughter]. It made things too convenient. But I don’t mind that they are there, and I wouldn’t edit them our, but I don’t think I’ll refer to a lot of that stuff ever again.

MacDONALD: What possible rationalization is there that Changeling cannot change into a human?

WOLFMAN: The fact that the people who created Changeling said that? [laughter]

MacDONALD: There is none?

WOLFMAN: There is none. George and I have talked about this and said that even if he could turn into a human, he’d turn into a human who was green, so unless he was becoming the Hulk, it wouldn’t make much sense. We’d rather just keep it to animals, for whatever reason. He was bitten by a monkey and he was injected with this monkey juice [general laughter].

Hey, we didn’t create him. The only thing I wanted to do when I used him was to change his name because I though Beast Boy was a really stupid name, and to handle the character for fun, with the underlying problems that he has, because he had this really awful origin. Every set of parents he ever had were killed. So we try to avoid that and put that away and say he only turns into animals and the larger the animal, the fewer changes he could make because it tires him out faster, but those are things that came about later.

George and I didn’t think in those terms. We had him turning into dinosaurs and all sorts of things in the early issues and he keeps changing into stuff. Later on, we decided that we would only allow him to change into certain mass and at that point, if it’s too large, he can’t make another change for 24 hours or until he recuperates. So again, these are things you learn. All series do that. I mean, in The X-Men, Moira MacTaggart began as a housekeeper and now she’s a doctor, so you get a complete change and it’s probably better for the strip. But you have to do those things.

MacDONALD: So Wonder Girl’s your favorite character and you’re going to be doing more with her?

WOLFMAN: Oh, yeah, I always intended to. The problem was that I didn’t want to center on the original characters up front. I wanted readers to understand who all the new characters were before we got to Robin, Wonder Girl, and Kid Rash. Kid Flash we probably did more with because he’s the character I like the least.

MacDONALD: To get the worst out of the way first?

GROTH: Why is Kid Flash your least favorite?

WOLFMAN: Because if you think logically, all he has to do is see the villain and the fight’s over. He moves too quickly. I like his personality very much because I like playing his middle class, Midwest personality against the others. But as far as his power goes, I don’t like it.

GROTH: Too inconvenient?

WOLFMAN: Much too inconvenient. If used correctly, he’s really too powerful.

GROTH: Have you thought of reducing his powers somehow?

WOLFMAN: We’re going to play some games with him. Probably move him out of the book for a few months and then decide what to do with him when we bring him back. But we haven’t yet decided how to handle him. And the best thing to do is to drop him for a few months in a logical fashion and fortunately the setup has been to do that anyway. And all the characters have been moving toward this one storyline. It will be about issue #40 or #41.

But the reason I played him up the most is that I tend to work harder on characters I don’t like or don’t feel comfortable with. When I was at Marvel, I was assigned Fantastic Four and Spider-Man, so I wanted the FF and didn’t want Spider-Man and I spent all my time on Spider-Man until I got to like him. And I didn’t care about the FF. So I was hoping by working very hard on Kid Rash, I’d be able to conquer the problems, resolve the problems I was having with the character. Unfortunately, I still haven’t.

MacDONALD: He’s a very sympathetic character…

WOLFMAN: He’s a good character. I like his personality. It’s just that his powers are a very big problem. He just moves too fast.

MacDONALD: Raven’s powers are very vague.

WOLFMAN: Not to me. She’s the empath who can cure some illnesses, some problems. She can’t cure death, or any major disease. She failed when trying to cure the Russian Starfire’s girl friend. If it’s small pains or hurts at least she can cure them, but it affects her. She can move through dimensions, which is the effect of teleportation

MacDONALD: How far can she go with that?

WOLFMAN: I would say about 100 miles. That’s about it. We really haven’t played with it or have her go more than 10 miles at any given point. But I’d say 100 is about the most. But it’s not really teleportation, I was trying to get away from that. If Raven comes from an interdimensional place, I wanted to play on her origin. What else can she do? Her soul-self, that’s the part of her that’s Trigon, her father, the evil part of her, and that’s also the part that’s the aggressor, the one that actually stops all the villains. She’s not able herself to fight. But the soul self does most of that for her, because it has all her aggressive tendencies.

MacDONALD And just what happens to those people when they get inside there?

WOLFMAN: Usually they are either sent away, teleported away, or they fall down and faint, or she learns something from them.

MacDONALD: lt’s nor very nice in there is it?

WOLFMAN: No. It’s awful (laughter]. In fact, in issue #29,1 believe, because of what happens to the Brotherhood of Evil, the character Phobia who sets up her greatest fear – she sees Kid Flash as her father and the soul self goes after Kid Flash and virtually kills him. Raven’s not very happy about that.

GROTH: lt’s like being trapped in a lawsuit with Michael Fleisher. Endless [laughter]

WOLFMAN: Somehow, I have a hunch that line’s going to be cut.


GROTH: Hell, no. I wouldn’t cut that for two million dollars [laughter].

MacDONALD. Okay, now this question goes back to the beginning when you didn’t know what you were doing.

WOLFMAN: We knew what we were doing, we just developed it further. I had all the origins worked out and I actually knew where they were going, but I didn’t have the characters firmly set in mind. I didn’t have any speech patterns in those early issues. I’ve got them all but two now – I still haven’t differentiated Wonder Girl and Robin. The only difference between them is what they say, not how they say it. All the others have very specific phrasings in my mind. I hear their voices. Wonder Girl and Robin are the only two that I can’t yet hear a difference.

MacDONALD: What I meant was that Raven was crying an awful lot and it seemed like she was crying every time she turned around.

WOLFMAN: Again, early developmental characters.

MacDONALD: And she cried recently I think. When Starfire almost died.

WOLFMAN: I’ll have to be honest, I don’t recall the incident. In my mind and in George’s she tries to suppress the emotions, and when she lets them come out, she releases Trigon. And that’s the one thing she fears the most. So she doesh’t want that at all.

MacDONALD: Yeah, but I didn’t think she’d really be crying all over the place.

WOLFMAN: Well, those are accidents. [Laughter] As I said, things we’d like to forget.

MacDONALD: And of course Trigon will come back?

WOLFMAN: Not until I find a story.

MacDONALD: You mean you don’t have it all plotted out?

WOLFMAN: No, I haven’t come up with something that’s worth it. I like the character so much that I don’t want to do one of these endless “Let’s bring back Galactus” stories. He has only appeared once as well as the mini-series – but that was a flashback. He will appear in images for awhile, but I haven worked our a story yet.

MacDONALD: You tend to plot a long time in advance though.

WOLFMAN: Rough plot, I should say. I know what’s happening with the characters for the next year and a half, but I don’t know who the villains are five issues from now. Actually, five I do, eight issues I don’t.

MacDONALD: But you know generally where they are going emotionally and so forth?

WOLFMAN: What you try to do is to create the high points and low points for each character, where they are going to be at various stages so that one person’s problems actually affect somebody else’s. And you’re trying to milk each person’s emotions the best you can. So you don’t want all the characters resolving their major crisis within four issues of each other. You want to build them as sort of stepping stones and so there are a lot of high points in the series. You just don’t end it at one specific point.

MacDONALD: Just like a soap opera.

WOLFMAN: Yeah, very much.

MacDONALD: When a soap opera goes wrong, all the plots end at once, and I saw it happen…

WOLFMAN: And that’s why the cast is changed, or the writers, or whatever.

MacDONALD: You had all the origins fleshed our from the beginning and I thought it meshed rather well.

WOLFMAN: That’s from the Dracula training. The book was plotted, every story specifically, two and a half years ahead of the book ever coming our. I had complete paragraphs on everything that was going to happen in the book including all the breaks, and I’m trying to bring some of that to the Titans. I just started about a month ago to outline the next year and a half very clearly, juggling things back and forth, taking things our of this issue, moving them to that one, so that each one paces, but that took a long time to plot out correctly.

MacDONALD: And now you’re going to have a new Titan, right?

WOLFMAN: Two new Titans. Terra becomes one of them. She becomes a member in issue 30. And we’ll be introducing another character, set for issue 38 or 40, but I may move him back because I ve got something else I may want to do first. I indicated who the character was way back when. It’s the Terminator’s other son. It was mentioned only once, but that will be the other character.

MacDONALD: Terra’s obviously the youngest.

WOLFMAN: She’s 15 and three-quarters. But should be turning 16, in the book.

MacDONALD: I don’t want to beat a dead horse [laughter), but now that you are bringing in a young girl…

GROTH: Marv leers…

WOLFMAN: I know what you are going to say. [Laughter]

MacDONALD: They are going to say it’s because the X-Men brought in a young girl.

WOLFMAN: I know. [Laughter] I can’t wait until they see what we have planned. I told Chris about this a while ago, before anyone knew we were doing Terra. “Wait until you see this, everyone’s going to say ‘Kitty Pryde.”‘ And just wait until you see, that’s all I’m going to say. I’m very pleased with what we are planning with her. Chris knows, and I hope he doesn’t say anything.

She was very well planned out in the beginning, and very specifically, I’ve been doing something for my own self. I’ve been leading readers for the last six, seven months to the typical comic book cliche that everyone expects, and then twisting it at the last second. Terra is one of those.

MacDONALD: What would be another?

WOLFMAN: Honestly, I can’t think at the moment, but I have like five or six of them, of leading you one way and taking you right back. Because very often, everybody as~assumes certain things in comics, and I’m trying to get the readers not to accept a status quo on the book. I have a very short attention span, so to keep myself interested, I have to keep playing games, and this is one of my little games to keep up my interest, and I think it will keep up the readers too. It will be revealed what happens to Terra about seven months after she finally is made a member. And I hope everyone accuses me or ripping off Kitty Pryde. [Laughter) Oh boy, do I hope it! [laughter]

MacDONALD: Getting back to killing off old characters, you didn’t have the guts to kill off Komand’r. (laughter)

WOLFMAN: No, I didn’t. I like her. It would have been simple, even obvious to make it look like we were killing her off. There were dozens of ways that we could have brought her back, but I opted to do something that was obvious in this particular case. Primarily because I didn’t want anyone to think that she really was dead. Readers know that. And I want the character used at least once more. I haven’t worked out the story yet. Because I don’t want to do another space story within two years of the last one. But the next time she appears, it will probably be on Earth. But I never wanted her dead. Other characters will die.

MacDONALD: And you didn’t kill off Ron, the guy who fell off the UN?

WOLFMAN: Actually, that was a mistake, because I intended him to die.

MacDONALD: Well, they haven’t found his skeleton…

WOLFMAN: Well, we may bring him back and then kill him off to make it clear.

MacDONALD: And also you didn’t kill off Marcy.

GROTH: If you worked at Marvel, you’d be killing all these people off.

WOLFMAN: I recognize the name but you’ll have to tell me who she is.

MacDONALD: Victor’s old girlfriend.

WOLFMAN: Oh, no, she’s dead. She was blessed and we saw her burial. She is pushing up daisies. [Laughter] Singing the last chorus eternal. [Laughter]

GROTH: For a second here, I thought Marv wasn’t reaching his kill quota.

[General laughter)

WOLFMAN: You don’t want to kill off everyone. I think killing off everybody is stupid, and it becomes “who are you going to kill off next?” I don’t want the big Titans epic to be “Who in the Titans is going to die?” I would like it to be based on something else.

MacDONALD: But isn’t it just a cop-out? If they are not really dead, why not show that they aren’t?

WOLFMAN: I thought by saying that they didn’t find her body that you’d know Komand’r wasn’t really dead. There are a lot of ways to artificially boost sales in comics today because the fans seem to want to buy everything.

GROTH: Is that why you think Marvel is doing it?

WOLFMAN: I think that’s one of the reasons.

GROTH: Which characters are you talking about specifically?

WOLFMAN: I’m thinking of all the publicity they gave Ka-Zar, and the fact that he wasn’t dead, that they were actually thinking of doing it. You can do double-sized issues as opposed to two issues of the regular comic.

And so far we’ve avoided that. We will have one double-sized issue and that’s it. And that’s issue 50. We’ve waited an awful long time. Considering that everybody in the office would love to have us do as many as we can.. they would love to have us go double-sized every month, because the Titans sells that well. But neither George nor I want to do that. And we don’t want to kill off every character. There are things you can do other than killing off characters. I resented Chris killing off Rachel Van Helsing for no apparent reason. I resented half a dozen deaths over there, for no purpose other than to kill off a character because “I didn’t like them,” whoever that “I” is. Or “we want better sales.” My view is that you can use a lot of these characters and if you can’t make them work, find other ways. But you can, indeed, kill them, when they absolutely have to be. If that’s the only place you can go.

MacDONALD: But, let’s face it, there are a lot of characters who really aren’t worth the space they take up. Although a good writer can change any character.

WOLFMAN: I think so. A lot of people seem to like what we do with Robin and The Teen Titans, who haven’t liked what’s happened to Robin in other books. Not every character can be saved. We didn’t bring back half the old Teen Titans because there was nothing we could do. But I don’t want to indiscriminately kill off everyone. I just think that’s a mistake. And I know George doesn’t either.

MacDONALD: How about those old Teen Titans? Will they just be popping up, or…?

WOLFMAN: None of the middle ground Titans will pop in and out because George and I don’t like any of them. [Laughter] We think that most of the characters are fairly silly.

GROTH: ones are you talking about?

WOLFMAN: Harlequin, and Bumblebee, and people like that.

MacDONALD: I have one old Teen Titans, from ‘72, and it’s just so embarrassing to read it. I don’t know who wrote it. It doesn’t have any credits on it, so they must have been pretty embarrassed too.

WOLFMAN: The one or two issues that I wrote have credits.

GROTH: Are these the hip, mod Teen Titans?

MacDONALD: Yeah, every other line the black guy (Mal) says “I’m black, I’m angry, get out of here you honky.”And the women all say “Get out of here you male chauvinist pig. l’m a woman.”

WOLFMAN: That’s one of the things that we were trying to avoid. As far as I’m concerned, I didn’t want to have Victor say “I’m black” in every story. In fact he never has. I mean, it’s obvious he is, his background is from a scientist so he’s not very street oriented. None of the women go around parading for any specific cause or whatever. They act like those characters should act. And I think that’s more important than whipping Out machine guns and all that stuff some of the other characters do.

GROTH: You said earlier that one of the reasons the Titans were different was because of you and George. Where do your interests converge on the Titans

WOLFMAN: Amazingly, we are very similar. There has been more than one instance where George has called me up and said he has a great idea and he wants to do this and I’ll say, “You’re not going to believe this, I just typed it up, it’s in our next plot.” We have done this constantly. First of all, our interest is to produce a fun comic book. One of the interesting things in your review was that you said we’re not blazing any new territory, but it’s just a good comic book. That’s all we ever intended to be. We’re not setting the world afire as far as new concepts in panel layout or story structure. Though some of the stories within the structure ate a little bit different, like the Brother Blood sequences, things like that, in terms of using religion, or runaways or thing like that. We just want~to produce a comic that is very professionally done that we have fun doing and getting involved with. We did not set our to change the whole face of the comic book world.

GROTH: But where do your interests converge so that you can accomplish that?

WOLFMAN: Where they converge is that we tend to have a lot of fun. We like the characters. Virtually everything I’ve wanted to do with the Titans, George has wanted to do as well and vice versa. In other words, if he’s just gotten in the mood to change something about a character, such as forget the fact that Wonder Girl has a magic lasso, and just make it a regular lasso. I hadn’t realized that he hadn’t been drawing the glow around Wonder Girl’s lasso for months, he had just dropped it. And I happened to write into a plot that somebody asks Wonder Girl if her lasso was magic like Wonder Woman’s. She said “no.” And when George got the plot, he said, “You didn’t notice that I had already done this?” and no, I hadn’t. So all the character bits are very similar. We keep wanting to do the same type of stuff.

GROTH: A very symbiotic relationship.

WOLFMAN: Incredibly so. It’s remarkable.

GROTH: But the two of you have vastly different backgrounds.

WOLFMAN: George is more street background and I’m very much lower middle class Jewish background from Brooklyn; he’s from the Bronx, and in that case, we’re both New Yorkers.

MacDONALD: That’s funny because his work is so idealized, and yours is more human.

WOLFMAN: I don’t know, some of the best sequences in the comic in terms of human emotion are George’s bits. For instance the scene that everyone comments on in issue #8, that had Cyborg and the kids, I just had him there with the kids and getting involved with them. And George came up with the little kid who picked up the ball. That was his. And it was such a human touch. George has a very very warm side to him. He’s this big burly bear and everyone assumes that all he’s good for is punching holes through brick walls. And he’s a hell of a fun person, hysterical to be with. He says all the things I’m thinking but don’t dare say. He’s outgoing. I’m nervously quiet.

MacDONALD: How about in the Runaways story? Was that both of you?

WOLFMAN: I tend to work, for the most part, with a fairly complete plot. You can always tell when George and I come up with a plot together, because the credit reads co-plotters. And there will be a separate credit that say co-creators. George gets the plots and does what he wants with them, takes away scenes, adds scenes. He never changes the story, but he will pace it his way, change the fight scenes around and whatever else and add what he wants. With the “Runaways” story he completely followed the plot. I don’t think there was a single change. He tells me that I caught without knowing it a relative of his very closely, and it made him care about the story even more. It’s the first issue of the Titans that he did full pencils, he used to do layouts on the book. And he liked the character Louis, it was very close to one of his relatives and very similar in a lot of the set-up, and I was just taking it from my own talks with runaways.

MacDONALD: Idetected either restraint or constraint in that story. Did you have any Code problems with that?

WOLFMAN: No. no. We were prepared to go without the Code symbol. We submitted into the Code as we always do, and assumed that they would reject, but they didn’t. The only correction they made was we misspelled a word that they spotted. I was very much surprised. Our idea was not to hit the readers over the head with the message. I don’t like those type of stories. I just wanted it to be there, where you judge for yourself and make your own decisions. The only concept that I wanted to get through was letting people know about runaway shelters. Otherwise it was a fairly straight story.

MacDONALD: Did you do a lot of research on runaways?

WOLFMAN: Yeah. Len [Wein] and I went to a runaway shelter here [in Manhattan]. They just loaded us down with material. And took the story from that point.

MacDONALD: You did it again, the bad parents and the kids.

WOLFMAN: You know, that is a problem because it is a problem with runaways.

MacDONALD: Yeah, even though it worked in that story…

WOLFMAN: I couldn’t avoid it there. We did try to have with Louis, good parents and a bad kid. So the parents were really loving and caring, but the kid wanted freedoms that the parents in all honesty knew he wasn’t ready for, as proven in the story. The parents were good there. One of the biggest problems we discovered with runaways is not kids running away, but kids being thrown out. So in the case of the girl who was pregnant, for instance, she was actually tossed out. So a throwaway is as much of a problem as a runaway. And we could not avoid the main concept, that most kids are running away because the situation at home is bad. They are not running away for fun. lt’s not taking to the rails like the bums.

MacDONALD: Maybe to avoid having two bad parents, Lizzie’s mom wasn’t around.

WOLFMAN: No, she wasn’t.

MacDONALD: Was there any reason for that?

WOLFMAN: Yeah, I wanted the father to be raising the girl by himself. Because fathers would have more of a problem understanding the problems of a girl if there wasn’t a mother to temper…

MacDONALD: Well, the father could kick her out and the mother could give her cookies. Teenagers do have conflicts with their parents.

WOLFMAN: Yeah, that’s why it had to be one of the themes. We overdid it in the early issues I think. But we couldn’t avoid it in “Runaways.” I wouldn’t have even dreamed of avoiding that subject.

MacDONALD: It just seems that when you are writing about teenagers, there is too much of it.

WOLFMAN: As I said, it was a problem and I recognized it about issue #20 and decided I wouldn’t do it again. I don’t think the runaways issue did it again, I think that was a separate type of storyline, and we haven’t done it within the main thrust of the story. But that was the special case.

MacDONALD: How come you write so many issues where one of the Titans is missing?

WOLFMAN: Because it’s real hard juggling seven characters. When you have the group fighting against a villain, it’s seven against one. And one of the things I’m trying to do now is to break up the group so that all seven characters aren’t in each issue. It gets very very hard. That’s why we tend to have them fight large groups of characters, the Fearsome Five, Brotherhood of Evil, and Trigon – but he had all the super powers. We’ve had to in the past, and I’m trying to avoid it by breaking up the group; there are just too many heroes and too few villains. And you can’t keep blowing apart the world, so if you want smaller stories and more emphasis on characters, we have to have the group not be in force all the time.

MacDONALD: Don’t you think it upsets the readers say, when Changeling or another character isn’t there?

WOLFMAN: I’ll avoid that in the future by not saying that they aren’t there, as opposed to just having them show up. Or as in issue #29, you watch the characters go apart so that when it comes time for the big fight, the only ones left are Speedy, Kid Rash, and Frances Kane, and they have to defend Titans Tower by themselves.

MacDONALD: One of the things about Titans Tower, do you suppose that if they all -ran over to one side, the thing would tip over? (laughter)

WOLFMAN: It’s not based on a real building but there is a building that looks like that. It’s in Flushing Meadow Park. It’s huge. What happened when I designed that – because I designed the Tower – I was just trying to get a double T shape, the outer shape of the building being a T and the windows forming a second T. Trying to be cute, “Teen Titans” and all that stuff. And after I drew the thing I realized that it looked like Terrace on the Park, which is in Flushing Meadow Park.

MacDONALD: What really bugged me was when Thia wasn’t there.

WOLFMAN: Okay, Thia wasn’t there for a story that I should’ve done by issue #22, and because we got involved in doing the runaways story in those specific months, since it was done in coordination with the National Runaways Association and September and October were crucial months we had to have it printed then. So we had to move, shift all our stories around. I will be doing the Thia story. There is a reason for that. Somebody actually guessed it, though went to the wrong conclusion, they assumed Wonder Girl’s mother was Thia. We’ll be doing a story about Thia and Wonder Girl very shortly, and it was very important that she not be there for that reason.

MacDONALD: You mentioned that you did the whole story about Starfire going back to her planet by phone.

WOLFMAN: Yeah, George handled most of the plotting…

MacDONALD: Because there were a lot of little gaps in there…

WOLFMAN: I wasn’t able to tie some of the stuff together. And I think George did a phenomenal job. At that specific point, I had just taken a staff job here, I was writing my full load of comics, I was doing a special project for DC that took 3_ months to do, and two or three other problems going on all at the same time. And I found that I had instantly backed up on everything. And that’s something I hate doing, because I write out long plots. As George says, my plots always have to be cut because I tend to cram 32 pages of material into them. So we worked virtually all of that over the phone, or in person, George lives about a half-mile from me. And George handled the majority of it and I think he did a phenomenal job considering the sketchy material I gave him.

MacDONALD: It hung together very well considering.

WOLFMAN: Oh yeah. George is the only person I’ve ever worked with that I trust to do that. He and I think so much alike about the group, that I would never give that open feeling. I would have been there for any other artist, but for George, I knew that he would be capable of doing it. He’s so strong and a good plotter. He’s a perfect pacer, for the material and I just love working with him.

MacDONALD: It must be a nice feeling to be able to trust someone.

WOLFMAN: It’s incredible, because I know he’ll change stuff, but he has never changed anything for the worse. Very often he has changed things for the better. Sometimes he’s not available and I won r know why he made a change and I’ll write it based on what I think he wanted. And we seem to have some incredible sort of mind-sync on this book.

MacDONALD: Maybe it’s from living so close together?

WOLFMAN: Oh, it’s very strange. The whole time we were both at Marvel we only did one story together. The Titans is the only time we ye actually worked together. I’ve known George, liked George, and since become a friend of George’s, but we really were nor close the entire time we were at Marvel. So I just find working with him an absolute dream. And if the story didn’t hold together as tightly as it might have, it’s because I wasn’t there all the time. George is not a writer, but he was able to take very sketchy material, like I did have the origin of that whole galaxy and X’hal all set, typed out, so he knew what I wanted there, but he did so much of that story himself that l’m just astounded that it did work that well. The mail reaction was phenomenal.

MacDONALD: I understand all that, but the one thing that really bothered me is that when Raven has the big breakdown from all the emotions and Kid Flash rushed to her side, and you wrote that, but there wasn’t a picture of him running to her side. And that would have been a very nice romantic thing.

WOLFMAN: I don’t know why. It’s too late. Very often when these things are being done, a lot of people will not tell you that deadlines are a major problem. We try to do the best we can. I am very happy that we can produce a book as good as it is, month after month, considering the rush deadlines that we have. The fact that we try to do even more helps. George and I and Romeo are very much dedicated to the book. And one of the reasons I’m leaving staff is so I can go back to spending more time as a writer. I just spread myself a touch too thin, and I don’t want to do that. George has cut down a lot of his outside commitments, he was doing an awful lot of special projects work and he’s not doing that any more. He still does some Atari stuff but that’s about it. We want to spend more time on the Titans, it’s the book that we cared about the most when we started it. And we don’t want that to drift just because it popular. You’ll notice, I think, in the whole batch of stories that are coming out now, that we’ve really recommitted to the book. Issues 29 and 30, I’m very very pleased with.

MacDONALD: Let’s talk a little about that. Terra…

WOLFMAN: Terra become a member with issue #30. Strangely enough, Mike Barr and I came in with identical characters, the same day. Mike is doing a book called The Outsiders and 1 wanted a new character for the Titans, and he came up with a guy who had earth powers [Geo Force], and I came up with Terra who has earth powers. And we both came in the same day so we couldn’t say who was first, and I came up with the idea of making them brother and sister. So Mike and I have cooperated to make these characters work between the two books. And Terra will be a regular character, for how long I will nor say, because that ties in with some of the things we have in mind.

Where we are moving is that Wonder Girl will be getting married, and, shock of shocks, she will nor be leaving the Teen Titans, and it will not affect her work in the Teen Titans. She’s marrying somebody outside the team, who’s not a super-hero.

MacDONALD: That’s probably a first.

WOLFMAN: Probably. He will never be a super-hero.

MacDONALD: I thought he was going to be Vigilante, that was my first guess.

WOLFMAN: No, I had determined from the beginning that he would be normal and stay that way. He will not get involved with any of the crimes or anything else. But George and I both thought that we would have one of the characters get married, without any affect. Just because somebody gets married, it doesn’t affect their job. And, essentially, the Teen Titans is their job. So why should it affect Wonder Girl to that extent? She does what she does, she has her photography work, and she’s married. She’ll be getting married in issue #50. That will be the double-sized issue. And, shock of shocks, there is nor going to be a big fight at the wedding. [Laughter] That’s another thing we determined nor to do.

Raven and Kid Flash’s relationship will come to an end. It can’t continue, because Raven can’t give Kid Flash what he wants, ever. And it’s going to change; as I said, she virtually destroys him. And at the same time, Frances Kane comes back – that’s the girl with the magnetic powers – and they’ll all get involved with the Brother Blood storyline for a few issues. But then Kid Flash will probably leave with Frances.

Robin has his own set of problems because of various things that are happening with the Titans that I set up, and working out at the same time in Batman so it worked out very well, introducing this new Robin character. Robin is pushing himself because he’s trying to be Barman. And he’s basically having a nervous breakdown. He can’t work to the extent that he wants to. He can’t do 12 different things. And he keeps thinking he can. How that’s going to affect Koriand’r is very very important to where we are going to go.

Wonder Girl will begin the tracing of her parentage. Where we are going to go on that I don’t want to say. Vic is having his own problems because he always assumes his relationship with Sara Simms is more than it is, and he meets her fiancee. He never expected that. So the characters will start moving and developing, and introducing other supporting characters. Again, we are only entering issue #30, we are very young in the history of the book.

The Fantastic Four didn’t start getting really good until about issue #50. I think that since I am leaving staff and George has been cutting down, and we’ve been spending more rime, and I’ve been setting down the next year and a half, two years worth of storylines, that we will actually get much better stories now, because we will be able to take a little more time on irIve been happy with some of the last six or seven months. I haven’t been happy with all of it. I don’t think issue 28 is as strong as it could have been. It’s too much character without enough plot mixed in. It’s just a bunch of characters sitting around talking.

MacDONALD: But that’s the best kind of story there is…

WOLFMAN: But there isn’t a story to go with it. Unlike issue #8, which had a story.

GROTH: “My Dinner With Robin.” [Laughter)

WOLFMAN: It just didn’t work for me. Also, that was at the worst point in my schedule and I did not like my copy on it, and I did not like my pacing of the plot or anything. That’s what finally got me to leave staff. I just could nor do all that I wanted to.

MacDONALD: What about Changeling?

WOLFMAN: Changeling will probably undergo the biggest change [laughter] because of what happens with Terra. We will probably be bringing back his old girlfriend. Despite the fact that I’ve had Changeling serious at times, I’ve been playing him more as a punctuation mark or point to the joke. And he’s been there to serve whatever I needed for that panel. As opposed to being more realistic in a superhero vein. So we’ll be making slow changes with him based on the Terra storyline. And he won’t be spouting off constantly, every line won’t be a Woody Allen one-liner or whatever else. We’re trying to lace that with some sensibilities.

MacDONALD: l’ve been meaning to ask you, you meant his humor to be terrible, I hope. [Laughter)

WOLFMAN: [Laughter] Oh, of course. A 16 year old kid has got to have bad humor. There are a couple of lines he’s done that are good, but most of them have been pretty bad.

MacDONALD: What’s the new character going to be like? Is she going to be a tough-guy or what?

WOLFMAN: Terra? To say too much about Terra would give away too much of our plans. By the time this comes out, people will have already written in saying we ripped off Kitty Pryde, so I want them now to know before we reveal what it is.

GROTH: You’re taking perverse pleasure in this.

WOLFMAN: Yes, I am. [Laughter] I have to have fun.

MacDONALD: You always have a lot of plotlines, there’s Thia…

WOLFMAN: There’s a guy up in space…

MacDONALD: Yeah, what’s going to happen to the guy in space?

WOLFMAN: What happened there.. that was a mistake in that everybody else didn’t pick up on it fast enough. I was creating a character for all DC to use, and I told everybody what it was, but they didn’t pass it on down to their writers. So I have to reintroduce him. I want a character who’s available, who’s called the Monitor, who keeps track of everybody and he sells information. And any writer could use it.

MacDONALD: You mean like The Watcher as a blackmailer?

WOLFMAN: Yeah. I had the character about 18 years ago. I called him the Librarian then because I didn’t have a good sense about names and thought that it would be a neat idea to do that. You know, one villain that the whole company could use. I didn’t have to sell it to Marvel, because they already had one universe, but when I came back to DC I indicated that I wanted to do it here. Everyone liked it but forgot to hand out the sheets I gave for their writers. So I have to redo it indicating how far you can take the character from month Ato month B. Like for three months you can only show this much and after six months you can show that much, and at the end of a year we can reveal who that character is and start getting into interesting stories that all the writers can pick up on.

MacDONALD: So he’s going to be all around?

WOLFMAN: Oh yeah.

MacDONALD: He’s not specifically Titans?


MacDONALD: One of the things that bothers me about comics is that when you have 27 guys in leotards come in they always say, “Joe is right. Tom, see what George thinks” and you solve that by just having the heads with the names underneath.

WOLFMAN: You have to occasionally do that. One of the things, the first time a character is introduced, I try to say their name, after that, I try to drop it from that point on because most people don’t talk to each other using their names. The main thing that I try with my copy is never have the copy refer to what’s happening in the picture. Nobody repeats what’s going on in the artwork. There’s no caption that says, “As Superman flies over Metropolis” and Superman saying, “I’m flying over Metropolis.” That’s the one rule that 1 have and insist that all my writers do as well. If they have copy that says what’s in the picture, I take it out. The only time I write copy that explains what the picture is is when I want to convey the scene correctly.

MacDONALD: But you save a lot of grief by doing that, because it’s so simple, so nice.

WOLFMAN: But I think even in copy they would at least mention each other by name once, the first time.

MacDONALD: One of the things that readers picked up on was when they were in the devolvo chamber Starfire turned into a cat.

WOLFMAN: And nobody noticed that Raven had four eyes. That was George’s bit. As was the four eyes on Raven. They were both his. That’s what I mean, he adds these little touches. And at no point has it ever nor worked our.

MacDONALD: You don’t like secret identities much, do you?

WOLFMAN: I think they are useless. I love playing with Wonder Girl because she makes no pretense at hiding her secret identity, but we never talk about it. So somehow nobody has ever spotted that this is Wonder Girl. And that’s okay with me.

MacDONALD: You don’t feel this burning need to have all these secret identity plots?

WOLFMAN: If you’ll notice, all the characters that I created don’t have secret identities. Kory, sort of, but if anyone thought twice, they’d know that she was an alien.

MacDONALD: Why do your characters say “God” so much?

WOLFMAN: Because I do. It’s a mistake.

MacDONALD: They never say “Jeez.”

WOLFMAN: Because I think “Jeez” is phony.

GROTH: You think “Jeez” is phony?

WOLFMAN: Yeah, because I’d want to go all the way and have them say “Jesus” and they wouldn’t let me.

MacDONALD: But you know what they are saying is “Jesus Christ.”

WOLFMAN: Of course, but I can’t get away with that. What I’m probably going to do is just cut the “God’s. One thing I can say about the Titans, and I’ve said this as a joke around the office about the Brother Blood stories, and that’s that the Titans is finally getting as good as the readers said it was. I enjoy it, George enjoys it and we’re having a hell of a lot of fun producing it. The first super-hero series that I’ve really loved writing. It’s nor, to me, the world’s greatest book, it’s nor the be all and end all of what comics should be. It’s just a good fun comic book.

I would love to see a ton of comic books produced with the dedication and professionalism that we have for the most part. We’re not trying to create new records in creating designs or stuff like that. We’re just trying to have fun and let the readers enjoy the book. And there aren’t enough books that are enjoyable to me. Three years ago I read every comic that came out and it turned my mind to mush. And I can’t enjoy three quarters of the comic books any more. There are few I like, very few.

GROTH: Why do you think that is?

WOLFMAN: Because most of the people who have been in the business have either tended to lose the ideas after a certain amount of time. After five, six, seven years you get real tired, and most of the top professionals have been in the business 15 years, about the same length I have. lf 1 have any strong points it’s that I didn’t learn what I was doing for the first six years. Other people began very good very quickly and now are just hacking it out. I didn’t know what I was doing for an awful lot of those years. So 1 am just now coming into my prime as a comic book writer. And I’m just learning super-heroes. For the most part my reputation has been on mystery comics.

Spider-Man was the first super-hero I thought I did well. Teen Titans is the first book that I’m really enjoying. I loved doing Spider-Man because it taught me an awful lot. But the Teen Titans is the first super-hero I’m feeling free on. And knowing what I’m doing and able to plan it, it’s nor all happening to me. I’m actually creating it and pacing it the way I feel it should be paced. A lot of the things I’ve done in the past just came crashing in on me and I didn’t know how to juggle it and all I did was keep throwing all these plotlines in the air. I know where I’m going with this book. We enjoy it. And I hope that the readers do. We’re enjoying it and now making a lot of money on the book, which is nice, but George and I put in all the effort before royalties so we were doing it for ourselves in this particular case and just having fun with it.

MacDONALD: Do you ever find the characters surprising?

WOLFMAN: Raven specifically because she was the one character I didn’t want to do originally. Len asked for a female mystic and I’ve been quoted elsewhere as saying that I came up with Raven to answer the problems. But I’ve never felt comfortable writing a mystic character despite the fact that I’ve done all these mystery books. So she surprises me. Who else? Cyborg, because every time I start having him go one direction, I realize he has a lot more depth in a different direction. We keep trying to Mickey Mouse him, in a sense. Mickey Mouse began as a troublemaker and he was made into this happy smiling character and we’ve been making him [Cyborg] too nice and too sweet and too happy, and we finding that he has a lot of strength pulling him back the other way now.

MacDONALD: I sense a lot can be done with that character.

WOLFMAN: Yeah, he’s a real strong character to me. Starfire hasn’t got as much surprise yet, but I’m working on that. That’s part of my plan to really make that character tick, and explode in my head, so that it works. The rest of them are fairly straightforward characters. Gar, as I said, I have to explore a little bit more, to make him work. And we’re going to take Kid Flash our for awhile until we come up with the best way of handling him.

MacDONALD: Break his legs or something.

WOLFMAN: When I was on Dracula, I removed Blade from the book. He was a character I’d created. I really liked him, he was my favorite character, but I took him our of the book for a year and half because I didn’t have a way of handling him correctly and letting him grow. I have yet to figure our how to let Kid Flash grow as a character and yet keep the essential strong points of him. So we’ll rake him our and when we come up with something we’ll do it. He may come back for a guest appearance here and there just so people don’t forget.

MacDONALD: Seriously, how could Starfire be a model? [Laughter)

WOLFMAN: That’s the silly side of me. She sees nothing wrong with it.

MacDONALD: She’s just not built like one.

WOLFMAN: I guess she is a little too zoftig. She’s been in jeans ads, so it’s okay. She has a good rear.

MacDONALD: That’s one thing that bothers me, the standard super-hero woman pretending to be a skinny model.

WOLFMAN: That’s just a little bit of fun. We’re poking fun at some things, and occasionally we throw in things that make absolutely no sense just for fun. The day George and I stop having fun I don’t want to do it any more. When it becomes a chore, it becomes boring.

MacDONALD: Are Starfire and Robin going to be continuing their relationship? Are they going to be fighting a lot?

WOLFMAN: Uh, no, right now… The interesting thing is that we’ve finally – I mean, should I say this, since the Code will see? – we had them go to bed in one of the issues. Robin couldn’t do much for Starfire and he sort of feels guilty right about now.

GROTH: How sad.

MacDONALD: That ‘II be cute [laughter).

WOLFMAN: Yeah, he’s nor a teen wonder on all occasions. No, it :sn r so much fighting. Robin’s having his own problems trying to be Batman. And Starfire can’t understand why he can’t be himself. She hasn’t got those problems. Whatever appeals to her. She really likes him, and she can’t understand why he doesn’t like himself.

MacDONALD: Brother Blood’s going to be coming back.

WOLFMAN: Yeah, I really like him. He’s the strongest character I’ve…

MacDONALD: He’s not very nice.

WOLFMAN: He gets worse. The Terminator is coming back. The only ones I haven’t got planned at the moment are the Fearsome Five, and I’ll have to throw them in some issue I just have to mark time with. You wanted death. I’m thinking of killing of Dr. Light and having someone female wear his costume. Since all his powers are in his costume, anyone could wear it. Unstable molecules. It’s skintight.

MacDONALD: Is it tough to write gods?

WOLFMAN: I almost never do. You’ll notice, the one book at Marvel I never touched was Thor.

MacDONALD: Well, Superman’s a god.

WOLFMAN: No, I don’t think of Superman that way.

MacDONALD: I just stopped to think the other day, what would really happen if there really were super-heroes.

WOLFMAN: We probably wouldn’t be in the situation we are today.

MacDONALD: These guys are gods!

WOLFMAN: You have to constantly come up with the reason why Superman doesn’t end all wars. If you want to play this seriously. John Byrne and I got into a real big “argument” – not a real argument – on Superman’s powers. He’s trying to give all these pseudoscientific explanations, I said it was fairy dust. As far as I’m concerned, you have fun with the material. This stuff is nor real. You make it as realistic as you can to give it enough for people to accept it, and you give the characters semi-real problems, because nobody has to face villains and worry about those things, so you have the human side of it, that’s probably the biggest difference between comics today and comics in the ‘40s.

MacDONALD: I was going to say, practically everything has been done with super-heroes. It’s been done seven, eight, nine, ten times.

WOLFMAN: More than that. I say that to all the Tyro writers coming in on the Tyro book, you’re not going to show me anything that hasn’t been done, so the only thing you can do is make the characters interesting. And if we try to analyze the super-hero’s powers, you bog yourself down in so many things that you can’t make the book enjoyable. I don’t care that Superman’s powers are psionic, robotic, or whatever. To me, fairy dust is a good enough explanation.

He can jump high, okay, red sun. Red sun to me is fairy dust. It means nothing. But that’s the explanation. Where does Barman throw his line when he’s swinging through the city? There are no buildings that tall. There was one story once where he was swinging past the Empire State Building, and the line was going up. To what? The thing is for fun. I take my work seriously, but I don’t take all the stories seriously. I take the stories to have fun with and to move them around. I don’t believe that giant robots are going to – come down or statues are going to turn into gods or any of the other stuff, but that’s where you put your super-heroes, you face them against that. Then you have the fun part of the story. The part that’s interesting to write is the characters, but the fun is the action. The real enjoyment is writing the character stuff.

MacDONALD: Superman was the first super-hero and he can do everything and every super-hero since then can only do one thing.

WOLFMAN: It’s one of my jokes about the Legion of Superheroes. Each character has to have one new power and I keep think that if I were in charge of an intergalactic police force I would want a hundred characters with superpowers. I would want a hundred Mon-Els because you could do anything. I don’t want someone who can eat metal. Who cares about him, let me have a hundred Mon-Els. But those are givens and I sort of accept it. I approach the stuff with a lot of fun because I still enjoy comics as a writer if not as much as a reader, unfortunately.

And if I’m enjoying it, it’s a nice way of making money. These days, finally. I’ve been in the business 15 years, 13 of which I was barely able to scrape enough up to survive and the last two years because of royalties now and being on the Titans. All the work that I did on Dracula, meant nothing financially. Because all I did was get my page rate. I didn’t even get paid for the movie that came out. But if the Titans is merchandised I’ll get money. George will get money.

MacDONALD: Usually, when something is as popular as the Titans you see it in every other book.

WOLFMAN: We’ve avoided that for the most part. there will be several guest appearances but they are being done very slowly. Roy asked to use the Changeling in Capt. Carrot, and that I couldn’t avoid. I thought it was so silly it had to be. There will be a crossover with Terra and the Outsiders because of her brother. And there will be a crossover with the Vigilante because he’s an outgrowth of the Titans. But for the most part, we’ve really kept it down. Wonder Woman, we couldn’t avoid that.


<< go to part one

End of transmission. About this author:  Bill Walko is an author and artist and the man behind He's been reading and drawing comics since he was 5 years old and hasn't stopped since. Read more from this author