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Jay’s Titans Departure

Jay’s Titans Departure
information courtesy of http://www.slushfactory.com
from an Interview by Zack Smith


Slushfactory: Okay, here’s best as I can figure it…. I hope this isn’t too personal, but about a year and a half ago, you made comments to Slush’s Ed Mathews to the effect of “Andy [Helfer, his editor on TITANS] doesn’t know a lot about the Titans, and my goal is that if it’s a comic he understands, then I know the reader’ll understand it.” Now you’re leaving the book for very similar reasons. Without overstepping my bounds here, I was wondering if you’d like to comment on any plots or storylines that didn’t work out the way you’d planned as a result of editorial conflict.

Jay: Sure, I’ll try and clarify that. When Andy came on the book, he was coming from a place of not knowing ANYTHING about it. He’s not really a “super-hero” guy, and had never read the Titans before. He still thought of them as Robin, Aqualad, Speedy, etc. — literally, he still called them that, from time to time. So the first thing he did was read my run thus far — my work with Pelletier on #s 21-25. You may remember that #s 23-25 were drowning in Titans continuity, with Hypertime thrown in just to make things interesting. Andy couldn’t make heads-or-tails of it, and I don’t blame him. Andy was kind of at the opposite spectrum of the previous editor, Eddie Berganza, who was just as big a Titans fan as I was, so Eddie and I had no one to pull us in — I think we made the stories too continuity-heavy. They weren’t accessible enough.

So Andy’s first “mandate” was to tone down all the continuity stuff. Andy HATES continuity, and hates having to reflect the rest of the DCU (which is part of the reason we never crossed over into Our Worlds at War). So Andy took a look at the book, and was left wondering what its PURPOSE was. The “family” thing didn’t hold water with him because ALL team books are about “family” — and he’s right, it’s become a clichÈ. So we talked and talked and talked about a “new direction” for the book; something to give it a distinct reason for being. I threw out a number of ideas, none of which he liked. Then one night, on the phone, he threw out this idea of mysterious kids showing up on the Titans’ doorstep, and the Titans have to care for them, thus giving the Titans a specific purpose.

I really didn’t want to do it. I didn’t want to introduce a “Power Pack” into the book. I was a Titans fan. I wanted to write about the Titans. This, to me, felt like making the Titans guest stars in their own book. So I argued against it as best I could — not that we ARGUED. We didn’t yell or get nasty. I just kept voicing my reservations. But the more we talked, the more confident he became, and I finally realized it was useless trying to argue with him. Plus, Andy’s a smart guy with a VERY impressive resume. He’s been doing this for 20 years. He launched the Giffen/DeMatteis JLA. In fact, he told me that no one wanted to use Guy Gardner — they thought the fans wouldn’t be interested in that jerk. But Andy insisted, and look at what happened — a GREAT character.

So I thought, “well, maybe I’m a dope — maybe this WILL work,” and decided to give it a try. And it didn’t work. The DEO kids just never gelled, and I never really felt comfortable writing them. It just wasn’t the book I wanted to write. After over a year, I decided it was time to leave. (whew!)

That was it. There are two sides to every story, of course, but I think that’s a pretty fair account of what happened.

To me, it’s pretty bittersweet. I just think of all the stuff I WANT to do with the characters, and how little of it actually happened. Especially now when my friends Devin and Geoff write NIGHTWING and FLASH. We could do really fun stuff together

Slushfactory: That would have been a fun crossover…

Jay: Sure would have.

Slushfactory: Well, there’s always your future stuff, which sounds very exciting.

Jay: Oh yeah, it’s not like I’m crying myself to sleep at night! I’m VERY happy where I’m at.

 


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