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Golden Eagle

Alias: Charley Parker

Titans Member
Joined:
Teen Titans [first series] #50 [1978]
Related Links: Hawkman

Golden Eagle Quick Bio: When teen slacker Charley Parker was mysteriously gifted with Thanagarian battle armor, he thought it would be a good way to earn easy cash as Golden Eagle. After escaping death at the hands of the evil Wildebeest Society, Golden Eagle learned his true identity as Ch’al Andar, son of the Thanagarian outcast, Fel Andar.

Recent File Photo:


Archived File Photos (in chronological order):

Hero History


Son Of A Thanagarian

Alien Fel Andar was sent from Thanagar to Earth as a spy to garner information before an impending alien invasion. Once arriving, Fel lived the life of an Earthman with the intention of one day assuming the guise of Carter Hall Jr., the son of Carter and Shiera Hall, the Golden Age Hawkman and Hawkwoman. As part of his ruse, Fel Andar needed to find a Hawkwoman – and he found the perfect candidate when he met and fell in love with Sharon Parker.

The two were married and later had a son, whom Fel named Ch’al Andar. But the presence of a child threatened to betray his mission. Fel quickly covered his tracks by giving his son up for adoption under the name Charley Parker. Charley spent most of his youth in foster homes, where he started to develop deep psychological issues due to his abandonment. One day, Charley’s father returned and gifted the lad with Thanagarian battle armor. Unaware of its alien origins, Charley decided to use the powerful suit for profit.

Charley Parker’s true lineage revealed
in HAWKMAN #45 [2005].

Hero For Hire

Its true Thanagarian lineage lost to him, Charley utilized his newfound armor to become the high-flying Golden Eagle. The winged wonder initially appeared over the Northern California sky, where he rescued a family of campers trapped by a raging forest fire.

After receiving much praise and gratitude, Golden Eagle stunned the populace by insisting on a financial reward for his services. Then he handed out business cards that read: “Golden Eagle – Loved Ones Need Saving? I Fly in the Face of Danger. All Major Credit Cards Accepted.” As Golden Eagle soared off triumphantly into the sunset, the town residents promptly tore up his cards. And so, a slacker-hero’s career got off to a shaky start.

Golden Eagle’s history is detailed in SECRET ORIGINS ANNUAL #3 [1989],
which retells the origin of Titans West.

Being Golden Eagle was the closest thing to steady work Charley Parker ever had. Chronically unemployed, Parker’s idea of a meaningful, fulfilling lifestyle was sunbathing on Malibu Beach, working on his tan while waiting for the right wave to roll in. Unfortunately, no one was willing to pay him to do that. Golden Eagle was supposed to be Parker’s ticket to financial security.

Charley’s super-heroic guise led him to be linked to Hawkman – who even, at times, mentored the young hero. Ironically, neither winged wonder was aware of Charley’s true Thanagarian genealogy.

Charley was “between jobs” when Mr. Esper used his Mental helmet to cause disasters in California, prompting the formation of Titans West – with Lilith, Beast Boy, Golden Eagle, Flamebird, Hawk and Dove. The crisis united Titans West with the just-reorganized East Coast Teen Titans, as both teams defeated Mr. Esper, who was causing double damage in New York as Captain Calamity. Golden Eagle saw the team as good way to make money, by monopolizing the super-hero market in California. It’s no surprise that the lack of real levelheaded leadership caused Titans West to unceremoniously disband before anyone ever really noticed that the team had existed.

Golden Eagle, like, totally vies for leadership of Titans West
in SECRET ORIGINS ANNUAL #3 [1989].

A photo flashback of Titans West, from HAWK & DOVE ANNUAL #1 [1990].

Year later, Titans West was briefly reassembled when S.T.A.R. Labs’ San Francisco branch discovered a mysterious portal that bridged life and death. Hawk, Dove, Flamebird, Bumblebee, Mal, Lilith, Golden Eagle and Chris King braved the portal and prevented a group of super-villains from returning to the land of the living. Charley still sought reimbursement for his heroism, but no one was paying.

Feathers Ruffled

Meanwhile, after the Golden Age Hawkman and Hawkman disappeared into limbo, Fel Andar assumed the identity of Carter Hall Jr. – leading him to successfully become Hawkman while his wife Sharon flew by his side as Hawkwoman. Working as a spy within the Justice League, Andar allied with the Dominators, Khunds and Thanagarians in an attempt to destroy Earth. When Sharon overheard Fel Andar’s treachery, he was forced to kill her. But with her last breath, Sharon revealed Andar’s duplicity to the Justice League. Andar retreated back to Thanagar, where he was later regarded as a pariah and a traitor.

Sometime later, current and former members of the Titans were hunted and captured by the Wildebeest Society. Golden Eagle and Aqualad responded to a summons from Deathstroke to help track down the captured Titans. After they met up on the coast of Long Island, they were both brutally attacked by a Wildebeest Agent. The Wildebeest took out Aqualad and left Golden Eagle for dead. Indeed, the Titans assumed Charley Parker had died that day.

The Golden Eagle was one of the first Titans to fall
during Titans Hunt – from NEW TITANS #72 [1991].

But fate intervened. Fel Andar visited his son at that moment and saved him from certain death. It was at this time that Fel Andar also told Charley of his own true mission as a spy for Thanagar. Upon learning his father’s tale, Charley developed a hatred for Hawkman, who he deemed a ‘pretender’ to Thanagarian blood – while he regarded his father as the one true Hawkman. Fel and Ch’al had only one week together before the Thanagarian police brought Fel Andar back to Thanagar where he was imprisoned once again.

The Eagle Has Claws

His misguided hatred for Hawkman now intensified, Charley Parker sought revenge against the man he once emulated. Once a directionless slacker, Charley saw this misplaced mission of vengeance as a way to finally become his own man. Charley spent a few years traveling the globe and established his own aerospace company known as Ethon Enterprises. Living in seclusion, Charley kept his “resurrection” a secret for years. He later relocated to St. Roch and made his presence known as Golden Eagle.

Charley Parker lives to fly again in HAWKMAN #38 [2005].


Secretly, Charley had masterminded Hawkman’s foes to converge and conspire against him. He had also tried to brainwash Hawkman into murdering Hawkgirl. When Hawkman faked his own death to learn who was behind his constant assaults, Charley even assumed the identity of Hawkman – professing to be “Hawkman’s true son.” But Charley’s charade was shattered when the real Hawkman returned to challenge his pretender’s identity.

Parker confessed his vengeance campaign against the winged hero, announcing himself as Ch’al Andar – the son of Fel Andar. Once Hawkman bested Charley Parker in battle – leaving him scarred and blinding his left eye – he sent him back to Thanagar with a recorded confession. Presumably, Ch’al Andar would not receive a warm greeting once he arrived on Thanagarian soil.

Charley revealed as the son of Fel Andar in HAWKMAN #45 [2005]

Charley Parker tries to exact revenge on his former mentor in HAWKMAN #45 [2005].

A New Nest

But while Golden Eagle was en route, Thanagar was destroyed in the midst of the Rann/Thanagar War. Ch’al reunited with his fellow Thanagarians and became a captain in their army. When Hawkman entered the fray, Battle-scarred Golden Eagle once again sought vengeance. But as fate would have it, that moment also reunited Ch’al Andar with his long-believed dead father, Fel Andar. Once an outcast on Thanagar, Fel had embraced a spiritual path. Fel pleaded with his son to end his vendetta – and convinced Golden Eagle to fight for peace rather than power or glory.

Just as father and son made peace, Fel Andar was murdered by Blackfire. Ch’al later buried his father on New Thanagar, pledging to protect the surviving Thanagarians in his father’s name.

Golden Eagle later came into conflict with the Monarch’s alien agent known as Forerunner. Challenging Golden Eagle to honorable combat, Forerunner bested the Thanagarian warrior and claimed him as her traveling consort.

ABOVE: Battle-scarred Ch’al Andar gives up his vendetta in HAWKMAN #47 [2005].
BELOW: Fel Andar is killed by Blackfire in HAWKMAN #48 [2005].


Powers & Abilities


Charley Parker is a superb athlete and a fairly good hand-to-hand fighter, despite his limited combat training the sharp metal talons on his gloves provide Golden Eagle with a formidable assault weapon. In addition to the power of flight, The Golden Eagle has incredible vision, which allows him to see objects from great distances, even in near-total darkness. Whether these powers are attributable to Charley Parker or the Golden Eagle costume itself has yet to be revealed.

 

Essential Reading


Justice League of America #116 [1975]: Answering the Justice League mail, Green Arrow investigates a letter from an orphaned teenager, who claims to have powers like those of his idol, Hawkman, and to have become a crime fighter in Midway City. GA arrives in Midway City just in time to help young Charley Parker, alias Golden Eagle, escape a trap set by Hawkman’s old enemy, the Matter Master, who has mistaken the youth for the real Winged Wonder. Batman, Elongated Man, Flash, and Aquaman join Green Arrow to battle a series of threats unleashed by the Matter Master’s Mentachem wand, while Golden Eagle finds himself transported to the villain’s hideaway, where the Matter Master sits in a state like suspended animation while causing his wand to engage the Justice League heroes. Awakening to the realization that Golden Eagle is not the real Hawkman at all, and that his wand is responsible for Charley’s acquiring super-powers (in unconscious anticipation of the villain’s wish to battle and defeat a hero resembling Hawkman), the Matter Master is about to destroy Golden Eagle when the JLA intervenes and defeats him. As the case is closed and Parker returned to normal, the real Hawkman unexpectedly returns. First appearance and origin of Golden Eagle (Charley Parker). The events of this issue have been negated by the Crisis on Infinite Earths.
Justice League of America #117 [1975]: Charley Parker appears in his civilian guise as several Justice League members are ambushed by a space attacker who resembles Katar Hol (Hawkman), and find their super-powers scrambled as a result. Charley stays behind, thrilled at the opportunity to serve monitor duty at the Justice League satellite. The Hawkman who had returned earlier (as seen in the previous issue) proves to be a mere message-image from the real Hawkman, but before the heroes can investigate further, they must overcome their altered-abilities handicap. Their attacker, who actually is Hawkman, has been the victim of a plague initiated by a space villain called the Equalizer – a plague which has caused all of Thanagar to become “average,” each person exactly equal in power and ability to every other. The heroes drive off the Equalizer, and cure themselves and Hawkman of the disease, and Hawkman resumes his relationship until such time as the rest of Thanagar (including Hawkgirl) can be cured, and he can return home. Charley Parker is about to be made an honorary Justice League member in this story; appears next as Golden Eagle, in Teen Titans #50.
Teen Titans #50-52 [1976]: Titans West, comprised of Golden Eagle, Flamebird, Hawk, Dove and Beast Boy, is formed by Lilith; Captain Calamity/Mr. Esper battles the two Titan groups. First appearance of Titans West in issue #50. First appearance of Beast Boy, Bat-Girl [Bette Kane] and Golden Eagle as Titans.
Tales of the Teen Titans #50 [1985]: Donna Troy and Terry Long wed this issue. Appearances by just about every Titan, past and present.
Secret Origins Annual #3 [1989]: Dick Grayson’s dream are invaded by the Antithesis, who seeks to break Dick’s spirit so that he will remain in Limbo; The Special gives a post-Crisis history of the Titans, including some revamps and revisions. Includes: First Appearance of Flame-Bird (Post-Crisis ret-con of Bat-Girl); First Appearance of Herald (Post Crisis Ret-con of Hornblower and Guardian); First Appearance of Golden Eagle’s new costume; Includes Who’s Who entries for Flamebird, Golden Eagle, Bumblebee, The Herald, Antithesis, and Gargoyle.
Hawk & Dove Annual (second series) # 1 [1990]: featured a brief reunion of Titans West. A mysterious note to Dawn Granger leads to Hawk and Dove teaming up with the old Titans West crew, with Hawk, Dove, Flamebird, Bumblebee, Mal, Golden Eagle and Chris “Dial H” King forming a rag-tag Titans West team. Flamebird suggested reforming the team, but no one was interested.
New Titans #72 [1991]: The Wildebeest attacks Golden Eagle and Aqualad; Golden Eagle is slain and Aqualad is injured badly. Deathstroke and Dayton begin the search for the Titans. Death of Golden Eagle.
Hawkworld #22-25 [1992]: Fel Andar revealed to be posing as Hawkman. Sharon Parker Hall killed by Fel Andar. Fel Andar and Sharon “Hall” later revealed as the parents of Golden Eagle in Hawkman #45.
Hawkman #37-45 [2005]: Golden Eagle returns! Charley Parker resurfaces alive, settles in St. Roch and resumes his role as the Golden Eagle. In a press conference, Charley announces his identity to the public. Hawkman seemingly dies and Golden Eagle assumes the Hawkman mantle, claiming to be Hawkman’s son. Eventually, Charley Parker is revealed as the son of Fel Andar [the Hawkman who betrayed earth to alien forces]; Charley traveled to St. Roch and engineered a vengeance campaign against Hawkman. The real Hawkman returns to confront Charley Parker – and is revealed as the mastermind behind Hawkman’s woes. Hawkman defeats Golden Eagle and sends him back to Thanagar. Charley’s false origin is told in issue #43; Charley’s real origin is told in #45, where he revealed as Fel Andar’s son.
Hawkman #47-48 [2005]: Golden Eagle resurfaces as a member of the Thanagarian army. He tries to kill Hawkman, but his father, Fel Andar, convinces him to end his vendetta.
Countdown to Adventure #1-8 [2007-2008]: In the 8-page backup, from the pages of COUNTDOWN, it’s a tale of Forerunner! Find out more about this awesome new character and her relationship with the Monitors. Golden Eagle comes into conflict with the Monarch’s alien agent known as Forerunner. Challenging Golden Eagle to honorable combat, Forerunner bests the Thanagarian warrior and claims him as her traveling consort.

Crisis Conundrums


In 1985, DC Comics attempted to streamline and modernize their characters with the Crisis On Infinite Earths. Within the 12-issue mini-series, time and space twisted, forever altering the histories of various heroes in its wake. This gave DC an opportunity to go back and revise some of the more out-dated elements of the DC Universe – but it also introduced a host of unforeseen continuity problems.

Many Titans characters had their origins and histories altered. Most notably, Donna Troy, Dick Grayson, Lilith Clay, Mal Duncan, Duela Dent, Gnarrk, Betty (Bette) Kane, Charley Parker and Kole. In 1989, Secret Origins Annual#3 detailed the Post-Crisis history of the Teen Titans, which has remained more or less intact since then. In the same year, New Titans #50-55 told Donna Troy’s new origin with the Titans of Myth. And New Titans #56  featured a flashback tale with Titans West, which completely revised Gnarrk’s back-story.

With Secret Origins Annual #3, Golden Eagle’s costume was retro-actively revised along with his origin. Rather than receiving his gear from Hawkman (as detailed in Justice League of America #116-117), the origin of Charlie Parker’s Golden Eagle armor was a mystery. No one really knew where Charley acquired the elaborate costume. It took 16 years for the mystery to be solved, in the pages ofHawkman #45 in 2005.

Golden Eagle debuts in JUSTICE LEAGUE #116 [1975].

Golden Eagle Pre-Crisis History

First Appearance: Justice League #116
Essential Reading: Teen Titans (first series) #50 -52

As a teenager, the orphaned Charles Edmond Parker idolized Hawkman. Charley claims that he accidentally gained the same powers as Hawkman from the Mentachem Rod, prime weapon of the Matter Master, Hawkman’s archenemy. Apparently, Matter Master was unaware that Hawkman was off-planet at the time, and the wand attempted to grant the villain his wish for revenge by supplying him with a new “Hawkman.”

In return for his help in the JLA case that resulted, Hawkman supposedly gave Charley a set of wings and a helmet. Apparently, Charley had some modifications made later on.

Golden Eagle’s involvement with the Teen Titans started when Mr. Esper at tacked California. This soon caused Charley to join Titans West, where he served with some distinction until its dissolution.

Titans West forms in TEEN TITANS #50 [1977].

 

Golden Eagle Chronology


The Original Origin of Golden Eagle

Charley Parker’s original origin was told in Justice League of America #116-117 [1975]. An orphaned teenager who idolized Hawkman, Charley accidentally gained the attributes and powers of his hero through the agency of the Mentachem Rod weapon of Hawkman’s arch-enemy, the Matter Master. In return for his help on a Justice League case, the real Hawkman made Charley a gift of a duplicate of his wings and anti-gravity belt.

Golden Eagle next appeared in Teen Titans #50-52 [1978], where Titans West – Hawk, Dove, Lilith, Gnarrk, Beast Boy, Golden Eagle, and Bat-Girl – made its triumphant debut. The evil Mr. Esper attacked California, prompting Charley to join Titans West, where he served with some distinction until its dissolution. It was also in this story that Charley was established as a slacker-hero, often unemployed and down on his luck. Writer Bob Rozakis explains how the Titans West line-up developed: ” I took pretty much every other teenage hero that was available!” It was as simple as that.

Charley Parker appeared next as a guest of Donna Troy’s wedding in Tales of the Teen Titans #50 [1984]. There was some talk of reviving Titans West, but nothing ever came of it.

A Golden Eagle commission by former Hawkman artist Richard Howell.

Post-Crisis Revisions

In 1985, DC Comics attempted to streamline and modernize their characters with the Crisis On Infinite Earths. Within the 12-issue mini-series, time and space twisted, forever altering the histories of various heroes in its wake. This gave DC an opportunity to go back and revise some of the more out-dated elements of the DC Universe.

In 1989, Secret Origins Annual #3 detailed the Post-Crisis history of the Teen Titans, which has remained more or less intact since then. The story’s writer, George Pérez, remarked, “I’m writing a Secret Origins Annual of the Titans, while Marv writes the Titans Annual. My origin will establish the post-Crisis origin of the middle Titans; the one with Golden Eagle and Bumblebee. I’ll establish who existed and who didn’t, what powers they had, and how visually they might be different.”

Golden Eagle was retooled as a Californian surfer dude, unable to hold down a job. George Pérez also gave his costume a complete overhaul. In place of his cosplay looking Hawkman costume, Golden Eagle received a sleek suit of his very own. Also gone was the Hawkman connection. According to the Who’s Who bio included in the issue, no one knew where the costume came from. Also unrevealed was whether some of Golden Eagle’s abilities were due to the costume, or some meta-human abilities of Charley himself. But where would a beach bum acquire such a high-tech, high-flying super-suit? That mystery would have to wait another 16 years.

Golden Eagle appeared next in Hawk & Dove Annual (second series) # 1 in 1990, where Titans West was briefly reassembled when S.T.A.R. Labs’ San Francisco branch discovered a mysterious portal that bridged life and death. Hawk, Dove, Flamebird, Bumblebee, Mal, Lilith, Golden Eagle and Chris King braved the portal and prevented a group of super-villains from returning to the land of the living. Charley still sought reimbursement for his heroism, but no one was paying.

Titans West by Bill Walko

Golden Eagle Becomes Extinct

In 1991, New Titans #71 kicked off the bold Titan Hunt storyline, as team members were hunted and captured by the mysterious Wildebeest Society.  “One of the problems the Titans have had for many years was playing to the status quo,” recalled New Titans scribe Marv Wolfman, “We weren’t doing anything. I was bored with it. And so were the readers – we just weren’t pushing.”

New Titans #72 was ominously titled “Death of a Hero” – that hero turned out to be Golden Eagle. As the Titans were hunted by the Wildebeest Society, Golden Eagle and Aqualad responded to a summons from Deathstroke to help track down the captured Titans. After the heroes met up on the coast of Long Island, both were brutally attacked by a Wildebeest Agent. The Wildebeest took out Aqualad and strangled Golden Eagle to death.

New Titans editor Jonathan Peterson recalls the death of Golden Eagle, “Then we had the lower rung characters like Golden Eagle,” Peterson remembered, “I mean, the perfect fodder for killing off. Essentially, we also knew that we wanted to add some new characters… that was on the burner as well.” And with that, it seemed Golden Eagle had breathed his last. But in comics, nothing is for certain. Not even death.

Golden Eagle Flies Again

Charley Parker resurfaced alive in the pages of Hawkman #37 [2005] after appearing briefly as a mysterious shadowed figure in Hawkman #34. Writers Justin Gray and Jimmy Palmiotti had far reaching plans for Golden Eagle – including some major new revelations concerning his back story. Justin Gray reveals some of the thought behind bringing Charley back: “From what I read on your great web site [titanstower.com], not even Golden Eagle’s editor thought much of him, that worked for us because we knew “Who is Golden Eagle and why should we care?” would be a fun question to answer.”

The circumstances of his survival – and Hawkman’s role in it – remained a mystery at that time. Charley claimed his miraculous ‘rebirth’ was a second chance, prompting him him to make a promise to become a better man.  Leaving his slacker days behind him, Charley spent a few years traveling the globe and established his own aerospace company known as Ethon Enterprises. Living in seclusion, Charley kept his ‘resurrection’ a secret… until he decided to announce his identity to the world and fly again as Golden Eagle in Hawkman#38.

Meanwhile, Hawkman’s rogues gallery of villains seemed to be conspiring against him. Golden Eagle witnessed Hawkman’s death at the hands of the Manhawks in Hawkman #41. And in that same issue, at Hawkman’s funeral, Charley Parker announced that he is Hawkman’s son. Pledging to honor his father’s memory, Charley Parker donned the Hawkman costume in Hawkman #42.

Hawkman #43 promised the “secret history of the Golden Eagle” told by Charley Parker himself. Charley told his story as an orphaned street rat who was rescued by Hawkman – and later given Thanagarian armor by Carter Hall. Some of Charley’s recollections raised some suspicion, both within the comic tale and among comic fandom. Justin Gray teases, ” Jimmy [ Palmiotti ] and I both wanted to mess with the readers, give them misdirection, play games with the continuity glitches and generate a lot of speculation about what was happening, while at the same time building a logical blend of what we know and what we don’t know about Golden Eagle. In the end we still don’t know exactly who he is or what his past was like. We can choose to believe all, part or none of his story in #43.”  So readers were left wondering: Just who was Charley Parker anyway?

Golden Eagle returns in the pages of HAWKMAN in 2005.

The Real Charley Parker: Ch’al Andar

The big revelation finally arrived in Hawkman #44. Having faked his own death with the help of Dr. Fate, Hawkman secretly attacked each of his foes until only one suspect remained: Golden Eagle. Meanwhile, Charley Parker invited Hawkgirl back to Thanagar as he made amorous advances towards her. After rebuffing Charley, he declared, “I’m sorry – I just thought Hawkman and Hawkgirl, y’know? We’re supposed to be together. All Carter Hall did was loot Nth metal from a Thanagarian battleship that crashed on earth centuries ago. His blood isn’t pure. He has no claim to the uniform or understanding of what it signifies” Growing more angry, Charley pronounced, “Hawkman is my father. The one true Hawkman!” At that moment, Hawkman arrived for a final confrontation.

Charley Parker’s real history was divulged at last in the pages of Hawkman #45. Having deduced that Golden Eagle was the mastermind behind his attacks, Hawkman demanded to know who Charley Parker really was. Engaged in battle, Charley finally revealed himself as the son of Fel Andar. Back inHawkworld #22-25 [1992], Fel Andar assumed the identity of Carter Hall Jr. and became Hawkman. Secretly a Thanagarian spy, Andar conspired with the alien alliance to destroy earth. Once found out, he was sent back to Thanagar in disgrace.

Charley revealed he is Ch’al Andar, son of Fel Andar and Sharon Parker. Charley told Hawkman he had been planning his downfall for some time, after discovering the true identity of his father. Charley also revealed that he met his father twice: Once when he was given the Golden Eagle armor – and a second time when Fel Andar saved him from certain death at the hands of the Wildebeests.

After Hawkman defeated Golden Eagle, he decided to record a confession from him and send him back to Thanagar – where he would be greeted with contempt.

So how exactly was Golden Eagle re-imaged from slacker hero to Thanagarian mastermind? Justin Gray reveals how the story developed: ” The story just came together when we were discussing the “big bad” and for me Golden Eagle seemed to be the least obvious choice and with the recreation of Hawkman at Geoff Johns’ talented hands, we couldn’t just tell a story, we had to tell a big story that would get people thinking.  Having said that, almost all of these questions are answered in #45, but the real truth behind Golden Eagle will still be somewhat open to interpretation and speculation because that’s the nature of the character… in my mind anyway. I wanted to leave a certain amount of mystery to be explored, hopefully, by others in the future.”

“I see him as a sort of tragic and enigmatic figure, caught between hero and villain, human and alien,”  Justin adds, ” Charley is flawed and he was a directionless slacker with deep psychological issues related to being an orphan, being abandoned, being everything but his own man. That doesn’t go away on its own. Even when he discovers the truth about his father he still has no sense of closure and blames Hawkman (Cater and Katar) as a source and a reason his father was taken away a second time. Because of the other Hawkmen, Fel Andar was never able to stay on earth and be a father. Now Charley has the opportunity to do the right thing in St. Roch, but he is still misdirecting his power/anger/sense of right and wrong in an attempt to ret-con his own existence – reinventing himself and his own continuity as a mechanism for dealing with his issues.”

“Charley was not aware of his lineage at the time when he was a Titan, but the speculation and theories are one of the great things about comics and history so I left a lot of doors open for people to debate. It is all about lingering questions.”

 

Those 70s Titans


From Amazing Heroes #2, 1981
“Teen Titans History” by Tom Burkert

 

A 1976 house ad for the Teen Titans’ new direction.

The First Revival

Though gone, the series was not forgotten. The issues ofDC SuperStars and Super-Team Family reprinting Teen Titans stories sold so well that Managing Editor Joe Orlando convinced DC’s new publisher, Jeanette Kahn, that, the team deserved a second chance. In late 1976, the series resumed with #44 (November) featuring a story by Paul Levitz and Bob Rozakis.

The team consisted of Robin, Speedy, Wonder Girl, Kid Flash, Mal (as The Guardian) and, with #45, Aqualad. In the revival issue, it was revealed that the group had broken up when Mr. Jupiter “closed up shop.” (This was the new series’ only mention of him.)

As Robin stated, “those of us with individual careers had to pursue them.” The boy wonder had remained in college, Wonder Girl still lived with Sharon Tracy, Speedy had recovered from his addiction to heroin (Green Lantern #85-86), and the others had continued life as usual. The whereabouts of Lilith, Gnarrk, and The Hawk and The Dove were said to be unknown.

During the period the group was disbanded, Mal had checked weekly on the equipment that had been donated to the Titans by Mr. Jupiter. It was during one of those checks that the Titans’ emergency signal was activated and so brought the group together once again. The signal, it turned out, had been part of a trap laid by Dr. Light so that he could capture the Titans and use them as bait in a scheme to destroy the Justice League.

The Teen Titans, as depicted in DC’s 1977 calendar.

Mal Gets Super

‘With an exo-skeleton (first seen in Batman #192) and the original Guardian’s costume (both from the Titans’ souvenir collection), Mal became The Guardian. In his new super-heroic identity, Mal easily defeated Dr. Light and rescued his fellow Titans. This was a highly effective story. It reintroduced the characters and simultaneously rekindled interest in the series. By having the Titans battle a mainstream DC villain, Levitz and Rozakis gave the story a more realistic feeling as well.

With the next issue, Julius Schwartz took over as editor with Bob Rozakis, by himself, as the book’s regular writer. This series, the second reincarnation of the Titans and the fourth major editorial shift, emphasized characterization and continuity more than any series previously. This is also the most maligned Titans sequence – unjustly so, I feel.

The 70s Revival Line-Up.

Teen Titans #45 continued to develop the characters, especially Mal. He was given a girlfriend, Karen Beecher, and a superpower of his own. In a battle with Azrael, the angel of death, Mal won the ram’s horn, or shofar, of the angel Gabriel. He was told that by blowing It he would become the equal of any opponent, but that he should use it only when the odds were against him.

In his first outing with the Titans, the Hornblower (as he came to be known) helped to prevent the Wreckers, an adult street gang, from blowing up the Wayne Foundation building. Bruce Wayne’s reward was the financing of a new headquarters for the Teen Titans.

Heroes Galore

Teen Titans #46 was another notable story because it introduced the Joker’s daughter (from Batman Family), reintroduced the Earth-Two Fiddler on Earth-One, had a cameo by Jack Ryder (a.k.a. The Creeper) and further revealed that the new Teen Titans headquarters was slated to be a disco/restaurant in Farmingdale, New York (the hometown of writer Rozakis).

Each of the succeeding issues also added interesting details to the Teen Titans story. In #47, Martha Roberts (of the Freedom Fighters series) and Two-Face made cameo appearances. Two-Face was the biggest name-villain the Titans had yet crossed paths with. He was featured in the next issue, which also told the origin of Duela Dent. Duela is Two-Face’s daughter, but she called herself the Joker’s Daughter to repudiate her father. She changed her name after joining the Titans and, as the Harlequin, was the newest member. The Bumblebee (Karen Beecher) was also introduced in #48.

In Teen Titans #49 (August, 1977), the Titans’ disco, Gabriel’s Horn, finally opened. Mal switched back to his identity as The Guardian, saying that “too many people know that Mal Duncan – alias The Hornblower – is a member of the Teen Titans,” but secretly thinking that he couldn’t tell the others, “the real reason for the change – that my horn has been stolen.” That plotline, though, was never resolved.

The next three issues (#s 50-52) made the Titans into a 20th Century Legion of Super-Heroes. The Titans East (Robin, Speedy, Wonder Girl, Mal, Bumblebee, Kid Flash, Aqualad, and Harlequin) met the Titans West (Hawk, Dove, Lilith, Gnarrk, Beast Boy, Golden Eagle, and Bat-Girl). Only The Golden Eagle (Charley Parker) and Bat-Girl (Betty Kane) were new to the series.

Titans West meets Titans East in TEEN TITANS #52 [1978].

The Golden Eagle had previously been featured inJustice League and Betty Kane, the original Bat-Girl, decided to come out of retirement to handle an emergency (her senior partner, Batwoman, had recently reappeared in Batman Family #10).

Beast Boy had been starring in a science fiction TV series, Space Trek, 2022 and Hank Hall (The Hawk) had joined the Navy. Don Hall (The Dove) already lived on the West Coast and Gnarrk stated that he and Lilith had moved to California to get away from the Titans.

But the budding plans for the Titans East /Titans West were nipped; #53 (February, 1978) was to be the final issue. As previously noted, it revealed the origin of the Titans and so did not follow up the theme of the two groups of Titans.

Len Wein has stated that Teen Titans #44-53 sold well but DC was too embarrassed about the book to continue it. Writer Rozakis said he felt management had decided that a book about junior super-heroes just wasn’t a good idea. Faced with the title’s imminent demise, Rozakis and new editor Jack C. Harris decided to do something special in the final issue.

“Every other book starts out with an origin,” Rozakis said wryly. “We ended the book with an origin.” The framing sequence for the origin tale also featured the break-up of the group. In Speedy’s words, “We’ve outgrown that Teen Titans shtick! We’re not a bunch of kids playing super-hero anymore. Someday we’ll have to replace the Justice League and we’ve all got to be ready… as individuals!”

Titans from both coasts pose for a picture in TEEN TITANS #52 [1978].

Origin of the Titans

The untold story of how Wonder Girl joined with the others to found the Titans was never explained until Teen Titans #53 (February, 1978)  – and ironically, this was their last appearance in their own book for more than two-and-a-half years.

“In the Beginning…” revealed that DC’s five most prominent junior super-heroes (Robin, Kid Flash, Aqualad, Wonder Girl, and Speedy) were first brought together to solve the mystery of why their adult partners had suddenly turned criminal. It turned out to be the work of Antithesis, an alien who forced the heroes to commit crimes in order to absorb “the energy created when [they were] successful in deeds of a criminal nature.” Afterwards, the teens decided to form a loose union in which members could participate when they wanted to.

For continuity buffs, the story helped explain an “untold” Titans tale featuring Speedy that appeared in Teen Titans#4 (August, 1966) which was set at the 1964 Olympics in Tokyo-about the same time that Robin, Kid Flash, and Aqualad’s first team-up appeared and a year before they were first called the Teen Titans. That benefit from the tale, though, was unintentional, according to its writer, Bob Rozakis.

“As far as we (he and editor Jack C. Harris) were concerned, Speedy was a member of the group from the beginning,” said Rozakis. “I think he was a much more useful character than Aqualad.”

“We kind of felt sorry for him because we had done to him what had been done to Green Arrow in the early days of the Justice League: he was ignored. So, rather than let him be an also-ran, we established his presence as an original member of the group and tied it in with his attitudes and personality as they had been established in the Green Lantern drug issues.”

Nonetheless, Speedy was not an active member of the group for the first few years of the series. Why? No strong reason, apparently. Neither Haney nor Kashdan could remember, although Kashdan suggested that it may just have been that Green Arrow didn’t have his own strip at the time and therefore Speedy’s power to draw readers may have been considered negligible.

“Once Upon A Time”, a George Pérez Pin-Up.

Creators on Golden Eagle


Marv Wolfman: “It’s not to shake things up,” he says, “outside of Golden Eagle’s death. He was a useless character in many ways-nobody was using him, and he was replicated elsewhere. It tells the reader that nothing is sacred. That first death may have been tenuous, but the future ones aren’t- this is the direction it had to go once we set the story in motion.”

Jonathan Peterson, Titans Hunt editor: “Then we had the lower rung characters like Golden Eagle. I mean, the perfect fodder for killing off. Essentially, we ALSO knew that we wanted to add some NEW characters as well…that was on the burner as well.”

Justin Gray, Hawkman writer: “From what I read on your great web site [titanstower.com], not even Golden Eagle’s editor thought much of him, that worked for us because we knew “Who is Golden Eagle and why should we care?” would be a fun question to answer.”

“I see him as a sort of tragic and enigmatic figure, caught between hero and villain, human and alien,”  Justin adds, ” Charley is flawed and he was a directionless slacker with deep psychological issues related to being an orphan, being abandoned, being everything but his own man. That doesn’t go away on its own. Even when he discovers the truth about his father he still has no sense of closure and blames Hawkman (Cater and Katar) as a source and a reason his father was taken away a second time. Because of the other Hawkmen, Fel Andar was never able to stay on earth and be a father. Now Charley has the opportunity to do the right thing in St. Roch, but he is still misdirecting his power/anger/sense of right and wrong in an attempt to ret-con his own existence – reinventing himself and his own continuity as a mechanism for dealing with his issues.”

 


Sources for this entry: Secret Origins Annual #3 [1989], The Official Teen Titans Index [published by ICG in 1985], The New Titans Sourcebook [Mayfair Games, 1990],supplemented by titanstower.com


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


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