ABOVE: Original model sheet from the Teen Titans Ant-Drug commercial.
BELOW: A cel from the commercial, featuring the team.
[click images to enlarge]
Hanna-Barbera New Teen Titans Series Plans
In 1983, Hanna-Barbera was developing a New Teen Titans cartoon series. The series would have featured Wonder Girl, Raven, Starfire, Cyborg, Changeling and Kid Flash. Robin would not be in the series, presumably because he was busy as a member of the Super Friends. Wonder Girl would be leader in the series and villains would include Trigon and Blackfire.
The Proposed Series[from Comic Scene Magazine #11, 1983]
[The networks announced] schedules for the fall season, beginning September 17 , and for the second year in a row, adventure shows were replaced by programming favoring ‘cute’ characters. A glance at the three different schedules shows the 10 new shows are predominantly filled with loveable people – a move to counter the phenomenal success of NBC’s The Smurfs.
Correspondent Darrell McNeil reports; “The Teen Titans series would have been produced by Hanna-Barbera for ABC but was aced out in favor of the continuing search for a Smurf-like success story. A shame too, because the series’ story proposals promised a real treat for Titans fans, Basically, all the Titans would be present, except for Terra and Robin (who’s on detached service to Super Friends). Wonder Girl would have been group leader and storylines would have promised appearances from Trigon and Blackfire.
The proposed X-Men show from Marvel almost made NBC’s schedule and would have featured Storm, Colossus, Nightcrawler, Cyclops. Ariel, Lady Lightning (an animated version of Ms. Marvel which has been kicking around for years), Thunderbird (back from the dead and able to change into any animal-form) and Videoman(???). Also, the action would have them as students at Professor X’s high school.”
Above: Proposed Model Sheets for the group’s civilian identities. [click to enlarge]
Marv Wolfman on New Teen Titans Animated
Marv on the status of the proposed New Teen Titans animated series by Hanna Barbera in 1983: I don’t know how far the 80s Titans show went. What I remember was I went to H&B with Len Wein and Jenette Khan and I pitched both Titans and Dial ‘H’ For hero. I pitched the concepts and characters and then I went home. I THINK it was later developed by Jeff Scott and, possibly, Alan Burnett. I wasn’t consulted after the original pitch.
Marv on the New Teen Titans animated anti-drug commercial in 1983: As far as the drug spot goes, I wrote that. I assume it was on the air somewhere because I’d seen the finished animation – although I don’t have a copy. I had never seen it on TV but did up at DC.
1984 DC Marketing Video, with live footage of the commercial:
The New Teen Titans Anti-Drug Commercial
1983 saw the publication of a very special Teen Titans book. It made its debut, not on newsstands, but as part of a kit distributed to schools around the country. The kit was co-produced by DC Comics, Inc., and the Keebler Company for use in President Reagan’s drug awareness campaign. Its goal was to inform schoolchildren (in particular, fourth graders) about the dangers of drug abuse.
Originally, the head of the White House drug program approached DC because he had wanted to use one of their better-known characters such as Superman, Batman, or Wonder Woman. But those characters were tied up in other projects at the time. Instead, DC recommended The New Teen Titans, the company’s best-selling title. The program heads were shown Wolfman’s two-issue story dealing with runaway children and were impressed. Best of all, they realized The Titans would appeal most strongly to the age group they wished to reach.
One problem cropped up with the book as Wolfman and Titans artist George Pérez began work on it: Robin, the leader of The Teen Titans, couldn’t be used. “This book was being sponsored by Keebler, and Robin was already licensed by Nabisco. So I came up with a new character, The Protector. We already had the art done, so Dave Manak did all the corrections to turn Robin into The Protector. He looks pretty much as I envisioned him, except where his costume is purple, I had originally wanted black.”
Hanna Barbera produced a 60-second anti-drug spot in the early eighties using these six characters. It was the only animated appearance of the New Teen Titans.
Marv Wolfman, from New Teen Titans #41 letter’s page: “Sometime this season you’ll be seeing The Titans all over the TV tube. Tying in with our special anti-drug comic, Hanna-Barbera will be unleashing a one-minute Titans anti-drug cartoon spot which should be shown on all three networks, most likely during Saturday morning. There will also be 30-second and 20-second version of the public service announcement. We received a call from their design department, asking for a whole slew of George’s designs, so the Titans should look just about perfect.”
The commercial also included the Protector, who appeared in the anti-drug comic book.
Screen Caps From The New Teen Titans Anti-Drug Commercial:TT
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