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Jericho

Alias: Joseph Wilson

Joined: Tales of the Teen Titans #44 [1984] (unofficially)
Tales of the Teen Titans #58 [1985] (officially)

Related Links: Deathstroke (Slade Wilson) •
• William Randolph Wintergreen •
• Adeline Kane Wilson •  Ravager I (Grant Wilson) •
•  Wildebeest SocietyRavager IV (Rose Wilson)

Jericho Quick Bio: As son of Slade Wilson, Joe Wilson was born with the mutant ability to possess people once he made eye contact. The gentle mute hero known as Jericho joined the Titans despite his familial ties. Long believed slain during an encounter with the Wildebeest Society, Jericho’s fractured spirit survived and his body was mystically reborn.

Recent File Photo:

Archived File Photos (in chronological order):


 

 History


Brothers and Arms

Joseph William Wilson is the son of Slade Wilson and Adeline Kane Wilson.

Joseph’s parents met while in service to the United States Army, where Adeline had been Slade’s instructor in guerilla warfare. Sparks ignited immediately between the two, and they quickly fell in love and wed.

As Slade was called into service, Adeline gave birth to a son, Grant. Slade continued on active duty, and volunteered for a medical experiment in resisting truth serums. The experiment had an unforeseen side effect: it gave Slade enhanced strength and heightened reflexes. Shortly after this, Adeline gave birth to a second son, Joseph William Wilson.

Slade soon was discharged from the army. He took up hunting for awhile, but it failed to quench his thirst for the life he once led. To the world, Slade Wilson became a celebrated hunter. Unknown to even his wife and family, Slade secretly became a mercenary known as Deathstroke, the Terminator. Although Slade was gone for weeks a time, he was a good father. He was closest to Grant, who idolized him. But Slade also loved Joseph, who preferred music over fighting and painting over guns.

Adeline Kane relates the Wilson family history in TALES OF THE TEEN TITANS #44 [1984].

One one of his assignments, Slade assassinated a Colonel from the country of Quarac. The president from Quarac sent a terrorist known as the Jackal to find Slade, and find out who hired him to kill the Colonel. To gain leverage, the Jackal kidnapped a young Joseph Wilson.

This forced Slade to admit to his Adeline that he was secretly the mercenary known as Deathstroke, the Terminator. Adeline and Deathstroke together confronted the Jackal in an alleyway in Tangiers. Slade refused to give the Jackal the information he requested, because it would violate his professional code of ethics. Slade gambled he could react fast enough to save his son; He saved Joseph’s life, but not before one of Jackal’s men had begun to slit his throat. Joseph was now mute. Slade always needed to be the best. But now, his own son suffered for his monumental ego.

Adeline – furious at Slade’s betrayal and the risking of her son’s life – confronted Slade at gunpoint. Only Slade’s quick reflexes saved his life, but he lost his right eye due to the gunshot inflicted by his wife. Adeline then divorced Slade and raised her two sons by herself. Grant followed in his father’s footsteps and attended military school.

Joseph, however, was quite different from his brother; He was a kind, gentle soul who flourished in the arts. Joseph was both a talented artist and musician. Adeline nurtured this side of Joseph, and he grew up to be a fine young man under Adeline’s care.

Joseph is tragically maimed, as retold by Adeline
in TALES OF THE TEEN TITANS #44 [1984].

First Contact

When Joseph was young, his mutant power unexpectedly manifested when his young friend was in danger. To save the boy’s life, Joseph possessed his body when they locked eyes. Unknown to his parents, Joseph’s DNA had been altered due to the biological experimentation that was done to his father. He was gifted with the power to possess others through eye contact. Initially traumatized by the experience, Joseph’s powers would lay dormant until his late teens.

Sometime after her divorce from Slade, Adeline established her own organization, Searchers, Inc. As he grew older, Joseph worked closely with his mother, apparently receiving combat training and tactical fighting maneuvers from her. Searchers, Inc. provided espionage services for a number of clients.

On a mission for the U.S. government, Joseph and his mother separated briefly for reconnaissance. Joseph spotted his mother in danger from an assassin she did not see. Joseph wanted to scream, but couldn’t. The assassin laughed and prepared to fire at Adeline. Joseph intensely stared at him across the room, desperately wanting to stop him. It was at this moment that his mutant power manifested for the first time since childhood; Joseph felt his body separate and enter into the assassin, controlling the man’s motor skills.

Now older, Joey embraced this newfound abilities and used them to aid his mother and Searchers Inc. on their stealth missions.

Adeline tells Joseph’s tragic tale in TALES OF THE TEEN TITANS #44 [1984].

A New Titan

Shortly thereafter, Adeline discovered the Terminator’s latest activities involving the Titans. With the help of Terra, Slade had finally fulfilled the H.I.V.E. contract to deliver the Titans into their hands.

Adeline and Joseph surveyed Slade’s activities, and approached Nightwing, offering to help rescue the captured Titans. At this time, Joseph first adopted the name Jericho, and fashioned a costume for himself. Nightwing and Jericho successfully freed the kidnapped Titans and brought Slade Wilson to justice. Adeline was quite pleased with herself; It appeared she wanted Joseph to become a member of this team of young adults from the beginning.

Jericho joins the Teen Titans in TALES OF THE TEEN TITANS #44 [1984].

It took awhile before the Titans fully trusted Joseph and offered him membership to the team. Joseph was, after all, the Terminator’s son. And the Titans had just been betrayed by Terra. Changeling in particular was still hurting from this and convinced himself that Joseph was duplicitous as well. It didn’t take too long for Jericho’s true colors to show through: he proved himself a loyal friend and teammate.

Joseph was a caring and sensitive individual who reached out to anyone in need. He found a sad quality in Raven and sought to ease her troubled spirit. Unfortunately, this would ultimately end in tragedy. When Raven felt Trigon’s presence grow within her, Joseph entered her soul, and was immediately thrown into a state of shock. This, however, brought him to the attention of Trigon. Shortly after that, Raven’s dark side took over and Trigon returned. The elders of Azarath gathered their strength and souls together; this force proved powerful enough to enter and overcome Trigon.

Jericho tries to reach out to Raven in NEW TEEN TITANS (second series) #1 [1984].

Unknown to the Titans, however, the souls of Azarath – now tainted by Trigon – needed a vessel to survive. They sought Raven, but she was protected by her soul self. The souls of Azarath were aware of Jericho, and his powers made it easier for the souls to enter him. The souls of Azarath resided in Jericho, but were still quite weak. They would lay dormant, and build up strength as time passed.

In the meantime, Jericho continued to be a valuable asset to the team. Joey befriended Kole, a confused crystal spinner who joined the group for a short period of time. Joey was later crushed when he discovered that Kole had died during the Crisis on Infinite Earths. When the Titans team became fractured after the Crisis, Joey decided to join Searchers, Inc., the worldwide information network owned by his mother, Adeline Kane Wilson. The group claimed to be a detective agency, but once Jericho realized that the methods used by Searchers, Inc. were not always legal, Joey opted out of the company.

Joey says goodbye to Kole – unaware it’s for the last time…
in NEW TEEN TITANS (second series) #14 [1985].

Titans Hunt: A Man Possessed

As time passed, the souls of Azarath regained their strength and merged with Jericho. The souls now needed powerful vessels for each of them to survive. Now possessed by this force, Jericho sought to acquire superhuman beings as vessels for the souls of Azarath. Jericho also acquired new abilities to help in his mission: a savage and powerful soul self that took the form of a lion and a healing ability that repaired his throat and enabled him to speak.

Jericho found a unique opportunity: He invaded and took over the Wildebeest Society, a petty group of villains made up of former H.I.V.E. operatives. Using them as a front, he abducted current and former Titans to act as vessels for the souls of Azarath. The remaining Titans Nightwing and Troia – along with new allies Arella, Phantasm, Pantha, Red Star and Deathstroke – found the Wildebeest lair and came into conflict with Jericho. During the soul transfer process, Jericho resurfaced briefly, begging his father to kill him. To spare his son any more pain and save the remaining Titans, Slade Wilson was forced to drive a sword through Jericho, seemingly killing him.

ABOVE: Joey is revealed as the Wildebeest leader in NEW TITANS #75 [1991].

ABOVE: The original Wildebeest leader relates how Jericho took control
of the Wildebeest Society! It all happened in NEW TITANS #82 [1992].

ABOVE: Deathstroke is forced to do the unthinkable in NEW TITANS #83-84 [1992]

Resuming Contact: The Return of Jericho

Years later, Deathstroke discovered the spirit of his son, Jericho, had actually survived and taken refuge deep inside his body. With the help of Wintergreen, Deathstroke attempted to exorcise his son from him, but was quickly overpowered. Jericho murdered Slade’s faithful manservant, Wintergreen, and embarked on a hunt for the newly-formed Teen Titans.

Jericho confused the new team when he confronted them as Deathstroke, vowing to prevent kids from becoming costumed adventurers. During the battle, Jericho revealed himself to the Titans and body-jumped from Titan to Titan, until his corrupted spirit was absorbed by Raven. During a battle with Brother Blood, Jericho’s damaged spirit was transferred into a computer file by Cyborg.

Deathstroke later hired the meta-human known as Bombshell to infiltrate the Teen Titans and retrieve the Jericho computer disk. Once in the tower, Bombshell stole the Jericho disk, only to have it stolen from her by Raven. Raven successfully brought back Jericho by using one of Brother Blood’s resurrection rituals, cleansing him of any evil influence. Once the team located Raven and Jericho, Bombshell was revealed as a the real traitor and apprehended. At this time, Jericho rejoined the Teen Titan and met his sister, Rose, for the first time.

After a battle with Deathstroke’s nefarious Titans East team in New York, Jericho was forced to possess the body of Match, Superboy’s bizarro clone. Unable to separate from the dangerous and unstable powerhouse, Jericho was forced to take a leave of absence from the Teen Titans.

ABOVE: Contact! Jericho returns – in TEEN TITANS (third series) #5 [2003]
BELOW: Joey meets his sister for the first time in TEEN TITANS (third series) #41 [2006]

Family Reunions

While Jericho’s soul was restored, his psyche was another matter altogether. After years of melding with individuals, many of them deranged, Jericho’s mind began to fracture. Under this psychosis, Jericho attempted to assassinate the presidential candidates in a series of suicide bombs. Once the Justice League exposed Jericho and prevented his mad scheme, the once gentle hero planned a bizarre deathtrap for his former friends – the Titans and Teen Titans.

Meanwhile, the mysterious new Vigilante hunted Jericho, intending to kill him for his crimes. After promising Rose Wilson that he would spare Jericho’s life, Vigilante stopped the threat without resorting to murder: He cut out both of Jericho’s eyes. Unable to make eye contact, this left Joseph Wilson powerless. Tragically, this did nothing to cure Jericho’s deep psychosis, leaving the once-hero in a world of utter darkness.

Like his father, Joseph’s mutagenic physiology included a bizarre healing factor. This caused Joey to regrow his lost eyes as his sanity began to return. He located Deatshtroke and Ravager in time to help them stave off a zombie attack of Black Lanterns. After this encounter, Joseph elected to remain at his father’s side.

Deathstroke then established a new team of Titans to suit his own mysterious agenda. He exploited this collection of lost souls – including Cinder, the Tattooed Man, Osiris, Cheshire and Arsenal – as meta-humans for hire. The team’s true purpose was later revealed, as each mission served to create a life-restoring Methuselah Device.

Deathstroke used the technology to restore his son, Jericho, and offered Cheshire and Arsenal the opportunity to try and resurrect their deceased daughter. Cheshire was willing to accept the devil’s bargain, but Arsenal was reluctant to use the macabre machine. Arsenal then rallied Tattooed Man, Jericho and Cinder to challenge Deathstroke’s leadership and dismantle the Methuselah Device.  While Deathstroke fled, Arsenal and Jericho vowed to restart the Titans and restore their good name.

Together, Roy and Joey vow to restore the Titans’ good name in TITANS #38 [2011].

 Powers & Abilities


When eye contact is made, Jericho is able to enter another’s body and control their motor functions (except their speech). If the person is unconscious when Jericho enters, he can also speak through them, but retains any speech patterns the person may have (such as an impediment, lisp or accent). Jericho prefers solving things through nonviolent means, but he is an above average fighter, having been trained by his mother, Adeline Kane.

Jericho communicates with sign language when not possessing someone or when his victim is conscious. If Jericho can use his victim’s voice, he will speak with the possessed’s speech patterns. Sometimes, when Jericho is entering many different foes in the heat of battle, he will make the “J’, sign to let his friends know who he is currently possessing.

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 Essential Reading


Tales of the Teen Titans #42-44, Tales of the Teen Titans Annual #3 [1984]: Terra gives her collected information on the Titans to Deathstroke, who captures each of the teen heroes and delivers them to the H.I.V.E., except Dick Grayson. Joseph and Adeline Wilson confront Dick at Titans’ Tower, telling him of Terra’s association with the Terminator, who brings the Titans to the H.I.V.E.’s Rocky Mountain headquarters. Dick Grayson learns the origin of The Terminator and about the accident that made his son Joseph a mute; Dick becomes Nightwing and agrees to let Adeline and Joseph accompany him to the H.I.V.E. base after Joseph takes the identity of Jericho and “possesses” him. They help free the Titans, but not before Terra kills herself. This event is catalogued as “The Judas Contract.” First Dick Grayson as Nightwing in issue #44. First appearance of Joe Wilson in issue #42, as Jericho in issue #44. Origin/Histories of Deathstroke, Wintergreen, Adeline Kane and Jericho in issue #44. Death of Terra in Annual #3.
Tales of the Teen Titans #51-52 [1985]: President Marlo of Quarac hires Cheshire, who abducts Adeline Wilson, Jericho’s mother, a former agent of his who had stolen information on the military strength of Kyran, a bordering nation which he intends to invade. Jericho travels to Quarac with one of his mother’s agents, a young woman named Amber, to rescue Adeline. Jericho uses his powers to help them get free and to defeat Cheshire.
New Teen Titans (second series) #10-11 [1985]: Jericho and newest Titan member, Kole Weathers, become close friends; Kole and Jericho discover that Kole’s father has turned her mother into a mutant; The Titans gather to battle Dr. Abel Weathers’ mutants.
Teen Titans Spotlight On: Jericho #3-6 [1986-1987]: Adeline worries when a woman from Joseph’s past resurfaces – a former girlfriend named Penelope. Joseph met Penelope Lord while working with his mother – they fell in love and were engaged to be married. Penelope’s father was a former HIVE agent who convinced Adeline he wanted to turn over a new leaf. Adeline helped him and his daughter fake their deaths, which broke Joseph’s heart. Later, Lord and Penelope resurface, and it is revealed that Joseph and Adeline are being played for fools; Lord is attempting to revive the HIVE in Japan. Penelope’s romance with Joseph is part of the plan. It is obvious through her actions, however, that Penelope is truly in love with Joseph. She later blames Joseph for forcing her to shoot her father, leaving him paralyzed. As the two part once again, the bitter Penelope swears revenge on Joseph and his mother.
New Titans #55 [1989]: Donna Troy becomes Troia. Titans members relax after their adventure on New Chronus. Joe Wilson is established as a ladies man, judging from the amount of female admirers calling him. Danny Chase is asked to leave the Titans by Nightwing, who will not take responsibility for someone so young on the team.
New Titans #66-67 [1990]: Eric Forrester romantically pursues Raven. Raven had just begun exploring her emotions, now free from Trigon’s evil influence. Shortly afterward, Raven agrees to a more physical relationship with Eric. Before their relationship could be consummated, Jericho intervenes, and prevents Forrester from absorbing Raven’s soul-self, which he needed to sustain his humanity. This also ultimately destroys Eric Forrester as well.
New Titans #75-76 [1991]: Nightwing is brought before Wildebeest Society. Deathstroke, Dayton, Arella, Pantha & Phantasm track down the Wildebeest Headquarters. The group discovers Jericho is the Wildebeest leader. Nightwing watches the monitor as a rocket containing one of the Titans explodes over the USSR. Nightwing and company are shocked as an evil Jericho speaks and manifests a lion soul-self. They escape and reconnoiter at the Titans Tower, which is attacked by Wildebeest agents and is destroyed!Jericho revealed as Wildebeest leader in issue #75.
New Titans #82-84 [1991]: “The Jericho Gambit” Jericho begins the transference procedure. Nightwing meets the original Wildebeest leader in a holding cell. In the cell, the Wildebeest tells Nightwing about how he created the Wildebeest, and how Joe Wilson appeared and immediately took over. Jericho reveals that he is/are the Souls of Azarath, looking for mortal forms to host the Trigon-tainted souls. Jericho pleads with his father to end the madness, forcing Deathstroke to drive a sword through his son, seemingly killing him.
Teen Titans [third series] #2-5 [2003]: Deathstroke mounts the severed head of his trusted friend, Wintergreen before hunting down the latest group of Teen Titans, vowing to prevent them from putting young people in danger. “Deathstroke” reveals himself as Jericho, whose spirit was dormant within Deathstroke for years. Jericho battles the Titans, but disappears after attempting to possess Raven. Death of Wintergreen revealed in issue #2. Jericho revealed alive in issue #3.
Teen Titans [third series] #11-12 [2004]: the 5-part “Raven Rising!” The Teen Titans seek out the Cult of Brother Blood in an attempt to learn where Raven is being held against her will. The Titans encounter Jericho inside Raven’s soul self. Jericho is trapped while trying to possess Cyborg; Cyborg absorbs his essence and converts it into a computer file.
Teen Titans #40-41 [2006]: Bombshell accuses Ravager of betraying the team, while Raven successfully brings back Jericho by using one of Brother Blood’s resurrection rituals. Once the team locates Raven and Jericho, Bombshell is revealed as a the real traitor and is apprehended. Jericho gets a new costume and rejoins the Teen Titans. Jericho also meets his sister. Rose, for the first time.
DC Universe: Decisions #3-4 [2008]: The villain behind a series of suicide bombings which targeted presidential candidates was none other than ex-Teen Titan Jericho.
Titans #12-13, Teen Titans #69 (prelude) and #70, Vigilante #5-6 [2009]: “Deathtrap” Crossover: Completely unhinged, Jericho continues his assault upon his former teammates. As if that wasn’t enough, he also draws the Teen Titans into his twisted plot. And the Vigilante makes it his mission to stop Jericho – permanently! After promising Rose Wilson that he would spare Jericho’s life, Vigilante stops the threat without resorting to murder: He cuts out both of Jericho’s eyes, leaving him powerless. Tragically, this does nothing to cure Jericho’s deep psychosis, leaving the once-hero in a world of utter darkness.
Teen Titans #77-78 [2009]: Ravager is forced to team up with Deatshtroke when they are both attacked by their dead friends and relatives – now risen as zombie Black Lanterns. Miraculously healed and seemingly sane, Jericho makes a surprising return to aid his family – and elects to remain at his father’s side. Ravager is convinced her mother is still alive, since she was the one family connection that did not return as a Black Lantern. With this new information, Rose Wilson vows to find her missing mother.
Titans #38 [2010]: The team is split over whether or not to use the Methuselah Machine to bring back their various loved ones, as Arsenal challenges Deathstroke for leadership. Arsenal then rallies Tattooed Man, Jericho and Cinder to challenge Deathstroke and dismantle the Methuselah Device. In the wake of these events, both Cheshire and Arsenal gain a sense of closure regarding the death of their daughter. Arsenal and Jericho vow to restart the Titans and restore their good name.

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Jericho’s Who Who page, by George Pérez.

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 Jericho’s Original Profile


Below is an excerpt from Marv’s letter in TTalk #6, talking about the newest Titan – Jericho! TTalk was an Titans fan club by-mail that lasted ran from about 1982 to 1996; Marv Wolfman and George Pérez were very supportive of the club — George contributed 3 covers and Marv used to contribute letters in the early issues.

Before I move on to news, let me say something about the Titans story Len and I did that never saw print. [Marv is referring to Teen Titans #20, where DC nixed the original story featuring a black hero named Jericho.] There is NO difference of opinion on it between Neal Adams and us. The story was done. Carmine Infantino decided for whatever reasons he had not to run it–we heard from reliable sources it was because we featured a black super-hero named Jericho. As Neal said, the story was very hard hitting, perhaps too much so. We were young then and thought we could help change the world with a single comic book story. However, the story was not bad, just overdone. Neal’s rewrite fixed the problems but Carmine still didn’t want to do it, indicating it was the very presence of the black hero, not our writing that he objected to.

Nick Cardy’s art was among the best he ever did. Some of it was printed in the finished book that Neal redrew and rewrote. I secretly plotted part two of Neal’s story – at that point most of DC wouldn’t use Len or me, however Dick Giordano and Joe Orlando tried to feed us small jobs that would be overlooked by the bosses until the stigma of being liberals passed over us. There are no records that I can find up at DC about the story. No stats seemed to have been made, no xeroxes exist. The art is gone. I have a hunch it might still exist but the person I believe who has it won’t say anything. I don’t even have a copy for myself. I do have a copy of our script, but by itself its useless. Frankly, if the art ever did show up and we could print it, I’d rewrite the whole thing. Believe me, I’d love for the job to see print. I’d love to have a copy–just for my files. I hope that ends all speculation and question.

And yes, the name Jericho for the new Titan is pretty much my way of saying you wouldn’t let us do it then – I’m doing it now! Of course, the management at DC is completely different. Dick Giordano is in charge of editorial and gives me complete freedom. Jeanette Kahn is a wonderful publisher who never reigns us in. Having lived through three administrations at DC – the original one, Carmine’s rule and Jeanette’s, I can truly say this is a NEW DC.

About the Titans. Well, George and I have had times to figure out what we’re doing… to some degree. You have, most likely, seen pictures in the various fanzines of Nightwing and Jericho, Dick Grayson and Joseph William Wilson. Good costumes by George – of course – but unless I’ve figured things badly you won’t have seen either Nightwing or Jericho in action. As I’ve mentioned I work on a computer. Therefore, due to the miracle of little green letters on a TV screen, I’m letting you see exactly who Jericho is – as I wrote it up for DC based on everything George and I discussed. You may be interested in knowing that Jericho’s powers were conceived by George as we both were hitting our heads against the wall to come up with something a tad different. One other thing. As with most characters, what you read is only a hundredth of what you’ll get. Type is cold and emotionless. When we actually work out story after story, Joe W.W. will then come to life. Anyway, here is Jericho…

The original Jericho character designs, by George Pérez.

JERICHO

Name: Joseph William Wilson
Age: 17
Height: 6’3″
Weight: l80 lbs.
Hair: Blond
Eyes: Light Green. They turn black when his powers are in use.
Father: Slade Wilson a.k.a. “The Terminator”
Mother: Adeline Wilson

Joe Wilson, Jericho – is, a mutant, his genes affected by the experiments Slade Wilson underwent to become The Terminator. Wilson is mute and we will attempt to avoid giving him thought balloons. His personality will come through his ‘body language’ and his deeds. Jericho is a warm loving person – he feels no hate for anyone including those he has to go up against in battle. He uses his powers quickly to avoid pain.

His powers: Jericho has the ability to ‘walk’ into another human being and take them over physically. To do this he has to make eye contact–‘lock on’ to the person. They go rigid as he moves into them. If the person he takes over was conscious Jericho can only control their physical movements. The person can still speak. If Jericho takes over an unconscious figure he can utilize their vocal cords and actually speak for himself… the only time he can. However he speaks in the voice of the person he controls–with all their accents, slangs, etc. Logical? No…but it keeps Jericho from having a specific speech pattern of his own. He can remain in control of the voice just as long as the figure remains mentally unconscious. He can feel them awaken within him. After which he continues to control them physically.

Jericho is also a physical fighter, having learned his art from both his father and his mother. But unlike his father he does not wish to use his powers to hurt. He recognizes he has a job which must be done and Jericho does his best to do. it… while causing as little pain as he can.

He truly cares for his fellow man. He is, if it isn’t too corny to put it this way, a good person. Mute, he listens and people find him easy to talk with. He will be the first Titan Raven feels comfortable with.

Jericho is into all the arts. He paints, dances, writes. He has an artistic soul, a caring soul, a warm loving soul. He is cultured and knowing.

Yes, Jericho is a mutant. If George and I were doing some other book we wouldn’t have waited so long to introduce a mutant – long a stable of SF and comics. But because of the expected Titans/X-Men comparisons we waited and waited. But now we have one, too. Big deal!

Jericho is introduced in Titans #44. The four-part story concludes in Titans Annual #3. We intended it to be concluded in Titans #45, in a double-sized issue, but after the story was worked on we were told we couldn’t make that specific issue double-sized because it came out at the same time as the first of our Baxter books and DC didn’t want two dollar+ books out there with the Titans.

above info courtesy of TTalk #6, January 1984.

A 2009 Jericho commission by George Pérez.

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 Marv & George on Jericho


Creating Jericho

George Pérez on creating Jericho: “Then there was Jericho. Marv wanted to introduce a new member to the Titans to replace the departed Kid Flash. However, he had the character’s name (an unused character who was to have appeared in the original 1960s Titans series) and the notion that he would be an offspring of the villainous Terminator, but nothing more. After weeks of pounding our heads against the walls, we had all but given up. We couldn’t think of anything for Jericho. Then it hit me. Overnight, I came up with the concept, personality, and design for Joseph William Wilson, the newest Teen Titan. Joseph, or Jericho, was the first Titan I ever designed solely and as such, he was more of an artist’s character than a writer’s character. By making him mute (and forbidding poor Marv the use of thought balloons for the character), I was forced to convey Jericho’s personality through body language and facial expressions. Such subtle nuances would have been unthinkable for me when I first started the series in 1980, but Marv was so confident in my improved abilities that he accepted my version of Jericho, who was a lot tougher for him to write. ”

Jericho’s Personality

“Partially because he is mute, he has developed the ability. and the actual interest, to listen to people,” Wolfman says. “He is one of those types who, because of the kind of nature he has a very easy, caring nature- people unload their troubles to him. There are people like that, and he’s one of them. The fact that he’s a listener, since he can’t talk, makes hint a very good person for people to care about. Raven finds that she is drawn to hint, because he’s one of the few people who has spent most of his life listening to people, as oppose to just hearing what they say. He likes people.

Joseph has the soul of an artist, a warm, loving, caring He does not harbor grudges, nor is he someone who enjoys the concept of fighting (though he will when he has to). He’s someone who’s inspired by a loving soul more than by anything else. He paints, is a musician, is into the Arts. He’s very bright, and not at all naive. He knows what’s going on; he’s just a person who very much believes that there can he good in people, sees good when there is, and does not necessarily hate people because they are not good. He knows the score, he just chooses to walk by himself in many ways, though he is with the Titans.”

Jericho Without George Pérez

“Jericho, on she other hand, is a character I created, and Marv was having a hard time handling the character when I wasn’t there. He was an artist’s character, designed for one specific artist: me. Jericho was initially being considered as an ouster from the Titans, but now that I’ve come back and have some ideas for Jericho, Marv is in love with the character again. I take the burden of Joey, since it is an artist’s character. He doesn’t have to do as much explaining because I take care of that visually.”

Joey the Ladies Man

George Pérez talks about developing Jericho: “We’re going so begin dealing with Joey as an artist. We’re taking him beyond the Arts that we’ve shown him doing already. He also takes ballet training and is a dancer. He also has a very, very healthy libido. Let’s face is, if he’s as a ballet practice or an art evens or a Renaissance Faire, when he makes eye contact with a girl, he really makes eye contact. (Laughs) For that one brief instant, they’ve shared an existence. What a turn-on! This guy s got it made.”

“He’s not a nasty person, nor a love’em-and-leave’em type. He makes it the girls’ choice, but he’s always straight ahead with them. He enjoys sex. He enjoys loving women. If they want that type of lifestyle, he’s willing so give is so them, and if not, he won’t desert them. He’ll still be their friend, and a good friend as that.”

“He does have a very healthy sexual appetite though. The one thing I would like so show, if we go in that direction with him, is that I’d like to do one scene in which he’s carrying a condom in his wallet. I don’t want so call attention to is, just establish it. If people object to it, to hell with them, because this is being responsible. If he’s going so be promiscuous, he’d better have the responsibilities involved with that. I don’t believe that a super-hero’s sexual desires make them any more or less a hero, bus Joey’s feeling of responsibility to those he’s involved with does make him a hero. To me, if he’s going to do that, then he had better be responsible.”

A 2006 Jericho commission by Eduardo Barreto.

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 How Jericho Was Targeted for Death


Titans Editor Jonathan Peterson on The Death of Jericho [from The Titans Companion, 2005]

TTC: The storyline featured the deaths of a few members of the team. How did you decide who would be on the chopping block?

JP: Now at the one point, we had to decide who lives, who dies, as you asked. And basically…what we soon realized was “Well, we DO like these characters…we hate to see anyone go.” I mean, running down the list, NIGHTWING had to stay. I mean, that was a given. He was the leader, he was the star (to me)…plus, unbeknownst to Marv, in my back pocket I had plans for Nightwing. I just wasn’t ready to spring them on him yet.

Donna Troy… okay, another one I wanted to see stay. Though I was mad Marv had married her off. I wanted her hubbie [Terry Long] to go. Personally, I thought the hubbie was a whiner. He needed to be upgraded or tossed out.

TTC: No argument here!

JP: yeah, so he was always on the block [laughs]. Month to month we kept running a vote saying “Should we kill him now? He’s really annoying me this month!”

Victor…well, I wanted Cyborg to stay. Good character, and Tom liked him…but wanted to redo the costume. Which I agreed with. I thought a change was in order there. The good thing about a mechanical guy: he always needs new parts. Perfect reason for a perpetual redesign till you find one you like. [laughs]

Okay, then…dang! Who am I leaving out? Oh! Well, there was Kory. Had to stay…was part of my top secret Nightwing plan. Still hadn’t told Marv about that one yet. I was still putting the pieces together. [laughs]

And then there was Joey.

TTC: Yes, Jericho…

JP: Jericho we decided was sort of expendable. So if Jericho was to die, I think Marv was the one that decided to make it symmetrical. Let’s have Deathstroke be the one to do it; then we have the whole pathos of Deathstroke killing his own son. I mean, it was just too perfect. So by process of elimination, we all agreed he could go. Especially since, much like Terry Long, I thought Jericho was a bit too soft-edged. I mean, I know he has his fans and all, I just wasn’t one of them. [laughs]

Then we thought, “Well, why would he kill him? Let’s bring it back to Raven and Trigon. Let’s have him be possessed,” and someone else tossed out the idea of having a big moment where suddenly he can talk. That will freak people out! [But] we couldn’t just have him show up talking. [Since] we liked the Wildebeests and wanted to bring them back, we decided to make Jericho the leader of the Wildebeests. Then we brainstormed the notion that as part of their experiments, they end up creating an actual Wildebeest! So I get my Wildebeest!


Marv Wolfman on The Death of Jericho [from The Titans Companion, 2005]

TTC:  You’ve mentioned that Jericho was mainly George’s idea, but as far back as the second issue when you introduced the Ravager, you mentioned that he had a brother.

MW:  I did not have any idea of who that brother would be. I knew that he would come in eventually, but George came up with the idea of him being a mute, and I don’t remember who came up with the powers, or [if] we both did, but the whole idea of this mute character [was George’s]. He wanted to really make it difficult and would not let me use thought balloons. That was part of it. Obviously, I could’ve, but he didn’t want that because you should only [just] get through it, and I totally understood and agreed with him. The beauty of the relationship with George and myself was we were very much equal. We didn’t mind saying what we honestly felt, and the other person would almost always go along with it. So George really wanted to tax himself by creating a character that had to express himself through body language. Obviously, I gave him the name because I used the name from the old comic, but the feel of the character, the concept of the power of the muteness, the body language and the personality came from George.

TTC:  What do you think Jericho brought to the team in terms of the group dynamic?

MW:  This is going to sound very strange, but a quietness, and I don’t mean that because he couldn’t talk. He was one hundred percent comfortable in his own body. He had a quiet wisdom, and a very sweet personality. I think he brought an innocence that came out of the weirdest background in the universe, having been the son of the Terminator and Addie, and with his brother being crazy, too, yet he somehow escaped and became this really angelic type character.

[…]

TTC: That was the storyline in which Jericho died. Do you regret killing him now?

MW: Oh, it was the stupidest thing in the world. That whole storyline was stupid. What happened with him? Utterly a mistake.

TTC: Now that you’ve got some perspective on that decision, what do you chalk it up to?

MW: We were trying to shake up the book. I could tell you exactly what was happening. We were trying to shake up the book in some fashion, and we made a wrong choice. A disastrously wrong choice.

TTC: Would you agree with the statement that the death of Jericho made Deathstroke a better character?

MW: No, because it was a mistake to do.

TTC: But didn’t it give Deathstroke more depth?

MW: It did that, but we could have accomplished that differently. It was wrong. It was just wrong. I don’t want to justify it because something else may have gotten stronger, or weaker, or whatever. It was a mistake, pure and simple. Never should have happened. Easily can get out of it. Later on, I knew exactly how, and I tried to pitch the idea to DC, but they weren’t interested. I know it’s different from the way that Geoff Johns got out of it, though I don’t read the Titans. I’ve been told the story, [laughs] so I’m very familiar with it.

A 2009 commission by Mike McKone.

TT

 Geoff Johns on Jericho & Deathstroke


Geoff Johns on Deathstroke & Jericho
[from Titans Companion 2, by TwoMorrows Publishing – 2008]

TTC: In your second issue, you used Deathstroke as the villain, just as Marv and George did over twenty years before. Was that intentional? 

GJ: I felt that the first arc of Titans had to have Deathstroke as the villain. He’s the best Titans villain there is, so if you want the Titans to launch off big, they should face off against their biggest villain.

TTC: Who is Slade Wilson to you?

GJ: Slade Wilson is a guy who, since the beginning, has tried to be the emotionless, straight contract killer that we saw him first portrayed as, and then he lost his son, and it became personal to him. Even though he says it’s not, he’s gotta finish his son’s contract and take out the Teen Titans, and since that point, his family has always interacted with the Teen Titans, whether it be Jericho or his daughter Ravager. Deathstroke is somebody who’s intertwined, and his family’s become intertwined, with this group, so he’s somebody who’s always going to feel a connection to the team, even if he doesn’t want to.

TTC: You also used your first storyline to bring back Jericho. Did you see his death as a mistake?

GJ: No, I never saw it as a mistake. I thought it was a great storyline. I know Marv has said some different things about it, but I thought it was a great storyline. “Titans Hunt”to me was fantastic when I was reading it, but Jericho’s death never felt like it was the wrong thing to do. I did think, though, the reason I used him [was] because it fit right in with the story. He had motivation for the story.

He had a great power to have the Titans fight off against each other which I really liked, and eventually when I brought him back into a new body, I did so strictly because I felt that Ravager would have somebody great to bounce off of on the Titans group. She would have an older brother who would suddenly be this calming force on this wild kid, and a brother and sister on the Titans, I thought, would be a really interesting dynamic. I left the book, unfortunately, almost as soon as he came back, and they decided to move the character onto somewhere else.

TTC: Did you have those plans in mind when you first brought him back?

GJ: Well, no. When I first brought him back, I knew I was going to use him again because I thought, again, his power makes him such an interesting force, because he can be anybody, and then when Ravager became a mainstay in the Titans group, and she had her attitude and really got in there, and just got down and dirty, I had plans on bringing Jericho back then because I thought it would really be an interesting foil for her. We could have some great character interaction.


ABOVE: Jericho by Eddy Barrows from the collection of Tarcísio Aquino.
BELOW: It’s all about family, in a commission by Steve Erwin,
from the collection of Tarcísio Aquino.

Geoff Johns on Rose Wilson as Ravager
[from Titans Companion 2, by TwoMorrows Publishing – 2008]

TTC: You mentioned how you used Titans # 1/2 to bring in Ravager. What is it about that character that appeals to you?

GJ: That’s one character, like Superboy, I always [liked. I always] had ideas for Superboy, even when I was reading comics. Rose Wilson was another character I always liked in comic books, and I always thought she’d be a great Titan. I always wanted to see Deathstroke’s daughter, a la Deathstroke Jr., in a costume on the team. I just thought she’d bring some real good dynamics to it, and I think she has.

TTC:You ended that storyline with her cutting out her own eye.

GJ: Yup.

TTC: What was the reaction when you told Eddie and Mike that was what you wanted to do?

GJ: They were like, “Awww!” Their reaction was cool. It was exactly what I wanted. I wanted people to turn away, and show how far this girl had gone, how messed up she really was.

TTC: Was it always your intention that her father was drugging her?

GJ: Yeah.

[…]

TTC: The villain of “Titans East” was also Deathstroke. He was there at the start of your run, and he was there at the end. Was that intentional symmetry?

GJ: You know what? Not really, because I had him in the Teen Titans, and I had always intended to go through fifty. So I set Deathstroke up for “Titans East,” and

I had actually planned to do “Titans East” all by myself, and then, again, things got so hectic, I felt that it would be better to pass the baton off to somebody else, and let them finish the storyline and take over the book.

TTC: Deathstroke’s entire motivation for Titans East centered around the idea of family.  Is that what the Titans are about to you?

GJ: Yes. Most of these teams are, to me, about family, ’cause you can’t hang out with a bunch of people and not [get close]. You know, it’s really friends. I mean, the Titans [are] friends, but to Deathstroke, it’s family, and like I said before, his family’s completely intertwined with the Titans. He did all this, and at the end, I always knew the reveal was Deathstroke just wanted to ingratiate his son and daughter into the Titans even further, because he felt that they were a good place for them, because he couldn’t be the father they needed.

 

TT


Sources for this entry: DC Who’s Who Series, DC Who’s Who Binder Series, The Official Teen Titans Index [published byICG in 1985], The New Titans Sourcebook [Mayfair Games, 1990], DC Universe Role-Playing Games: Sourcebooks and Manuals [ West End Games], DC Secret Files, 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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