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Marv Wolfman & Damion Scott on DC Special: Raven Mini-Series

Marv Wolfman & Damion Scott on DC Special Raven Mini-Series


Wolfman Returns To Write Raven
by Jeffrey Renaud, Staff Writer
courtesy of http://www.comicbookresources.com
December 19th, 2007

In 1980, celebrated writer/editor Marv Wolfman famously jumped from Marvel Comics to DC Comics to re-launch “The Teens Titans” as “The New Teen Titans” with superstar artist and co-plotter George Perez. The book was an instant and now legendary hit, teaming Robin, Speedy, Wonder Girl, Aqualad and Kid Flash while introducing four new characters to the mythos — a re-imagined Beast Boy as Changeling, the half human/half machine Cyborg, the alien princess Starfire and the dark empath Raven.Wolfman remained with the title with various artists until 1996, and now returns to one of his original creations for the first time in more than a decade in this March’s five-issue miniseries, “DC Special: Raven.”

The Jack Kirby Award-winning writer told CBR News, “Raven has always been my favorite of the Titans I created. Her origin is the strongest and she fits into the real world whereas the others are definitely more fantasy. She’s gone through the biggest journey and there are still endless possibilities for her.

“What was interesting here was picking up a character, who has been changed in the interim,” continued Wolfman. “She’s in a new body and younger than she was when I wrote her but she’s still the same character.”

Raven, twice possessed, killed and re-incarnated, currently exists in DCU proper as an 18-year old high school student. That basis is where “DC Special: Raven” picks up. “Essentially, Raven is beginning high school, which in itself is a time of emotional change,” explained Wolfman. “I was easily able to accept that Raven is younger because in many ways she never had a life to begin with. According to my and George Perez’s issues, she was kept from her mother, kept from emotions, kept from everything but total control over who she was. That means when the Titans began, way back in 1980, she was emotionally an infant even if intellectually and physically she was 18 or older.

“So now, allowing for my run and then Geoff Johns’ run on ‘Titans,’ she is emotionally about high school age, which means she has a lot to learn about. Take that and then add in a story about emotions running wild, literally not figuratively, the Psycho Pirate mask and a future murder mystery.”

Each book in the series represents one full day leading up to the murder on Friday, revealed Wolfman. “Raven picks up emotions that tell her someone on campus is going to be killed on Friday of that week, but that’s just the beginning of the story we’re telling,” said Wolfman. “On top of everything else, Raven has to figure out who is the victim and who is the killer.”

Wolfman says except maybe for Nightwing, Raven is the most grounded of all the Teen Titans, “despite being the daughter of an inter-dimensional demon and the woman he raped,” and that’s what separates her from the rest of her former teammates.

“Her existence is based on controlling emotions rather than allowing them to live,” explained Wolfman. “She is inhibited, unsure of herself, growing, changing and adapting, which is what every person does. She is afraid that was ever is inside her could hurt others. She is afraid of herself and is trying to learn to like herself. She is emotionally in turbulence but never knew how to express those emotions. I think she’s an incredibly powerful character and one who could easily spin off into her own comic, as well as even TV or movies.”

Wolfman said what he loves most about Raven is “the fact that despite her background and her concerns, she wants to be better.”

The writer admitted he wasn’t actually sure why Raven had such a loyal fanbase, but said, “The cartoon show played her as more goth and sarcastic and her voice made her irresistible. Truth to tell, I loved her cartoon presentation and added just a bit of that to this new interpretation while keeping her rooted to what I did, as well as what Geoff Johns later did with her.”

While, as explained, the Raven in “DC Special” is in many ways not the original Raven, Wolfman is currently writing that version of the character as well, working on the screenplay with Tom De Santo (“X-Men” and “X2: X-Men United”) for the forthcoming DCU animated direct-to-DVD film, “Teen Titans: The Judas Contract.”

“The Raven in ‘The Judas Contract’ is the comic book Raven and the character from that era,” confirmed Wolfman. “So I definitely enjoyed writing her. But Raven has evolved, so ‘The Judas Contract’ Raven is different from the earlier Raven and the later Raven even while being the same person.”

Wolfman, a veteran writer of television shows including “G.I. Joe” and “Transformers” in the 1980s, said, there are some major differences between writing comics and cartoons. “Cartoons are about movement, not about dialogue that can go on for much longer than the action portrayed,” explained Wolfman. “So you need to get a lot of emotion into the action of the character rather than just what they have to say.”

Recently celebrating his 40th year in comics, Wolfman said it’s hard to believe it has been that long. “The biggest change is audience. When I started we were aiming at 14-year olds. Today, we can do comics for all ages,” said Wolfman. “We can really exploit the medium of story-telling in words and pictures to tell stories for kids and for adults. We can also break free of the restrictive 32-page pamphlet and present comics in any size and shape we can gather up the money to do. The idea that there can be comics for everyone is long delayed, but man, am I glad it’s happened.

“I always tried to push the barriers even when our audience was 14. With ‘Tomb of Dracula’ and later ‘Night Force,’ I tried to write for the oldest readers out there even while I was doing books like ‘Man Called Nova’ for the youngest. I’ve always believed everyone can enjoy comics but we needed to do stories that would resonate with different audiences.”

At a young 61-years-old, Wolfman has no intentions of slowing down his career. Already announced as the writer for DC’s upcoming “Vigilante” ongoing series, Wolfman has a myriad of other projects on the go. “I’ve got my first non-fiction graphic book out there. It’s called ‘Homeland, The Illustrated History of the State of Israel,’ which is obviously about Israel. We’ve also won several awards for it. I’ve also been doing novels, and my last one, the adaptation of ‘Superman Returns’ won a Scribe Award for best adapted novelization. I’m writing video games, but I am not permitted to say what games at the moment. As soon as I can believe me I will as I’m really proud of the work I’ve been doing.

“I’m also doing some other short run jobs for DC which they haven’t announced yet so I won’t, either. Outside of DC, I’m doing a few graphic novels, but again I can’t talk about them. I’m sure there are a few other things in the works, but I can’t remember.”

As for further Teen Titans work in the style of “DC Special: Raven,” Wolfman hasn’t been contacted by DC to give his other creations, Cyborg and Starfire, similar treatments, but said he’d love the opportunity to do so. “I wasn’t asked to work on any of them so I don’t know if they’re in the works or not,” he said. “If they do them and ask me, I’d love to.”

For more on Wolfman, readers are invited to visit his website at www.marvwolfman.com or read his blog at www.marvwolfman.com/todaysviews.html


Marv Wolfman on DC Special: Raven
by Troy Brownfield
courtesy of http://forum.newsarama.com – 03-07-2008

Crisis on Infinite Earths. Dracula. New Teen Titans. And that’s just three. Obviously, we’re talking Marv Wolfman. The veteran writer and creator had a high-profile release hit comic shops this week with the first issue of DC Special: Raven #1, a new mini-series featuring the fan favorite character he and George Perez created for the New Teen Titans. What brings Wolfman back now, and does this book have any larger ramifications? Well, we asked.

Newsarma: You co-created Raven nearly 30 years ago. What’s it like to come back to the character now?

Marv Wolfman: In point of fact I wrote several Raven pieces in the past including one for the 9-11 tribute book DC did to raise money for the victim’s families. I love the Raven character and had proposed several ideas over the years. Finally, DC came to me about doing a mini-series and I jumped at the chance. I love the character; think she’s the strongest one of the characters George and I created for NTT who could sustain their own series.

NRAMA: Raven’s obviously been a consistently crucial component of the New Teen Titans. How much of her extended arc did you have envisioned from the beginning?

MW: I pretty much knew who she was, where she came from and what could happen to her from the beginning. Obviously the series was set up around Raven as she is the one who brings the Titans together in order to fight her father who appeared as early as issue 5. There’s no way either George or I could have known in advance everything we’d do, but the parameters were clearly set up in order to create a character who we could mine for backstory for a long time to come.

NRAMA: In that vein, Raven’s been through a number of physical and emotional changes (many under your pen). She’s been good, she’s been evil, she’s been intangible, she’s been tangible . . . what lends her to those variation interpretations?

MW: Raven is the daughter of a demon (Trigon) and a rape victim (Arella). That automatically sets up some personal conflicts as well a internal character problems. Also, from the moment of her birth she was trained to fight all emotions or she could unleash Trigon on the world. That, again, causes great conflict within a character. She is someone born with the seeds of good and evil, or pacifism and violence. She is in eternal conflict with herself. That is why she can move through many interpretations as long as they are consistent with who she is.

NRAMA: What did you think of how Geoff Johns and company brought Raven back in her corporeal, teen form?

MW: At first I wasn’t sure, but then I realized I would have brought her back into another body and by doing so in a slightly younger body you actually can take advantage of her emotional age vs. her real age. Since Raven was born in Azarath and kept away from others she did not have a chance to grow emotionally. She might actually be emotionally younger than even her current High School age, but it’s close enough since that’s what we’re playing with here.

NRAMA: What about this story demands an extra mini-series vs. a back-up or arc in the regular Titans series?

MW: Raven can sustain her own series and by concentrating a story on her alone demands she not be with the Titans. We really examine her in a way we could not do as one member of a large group. You need the pages to develop her correctly.

NRAMA: Over the years, fans have become accustomed to a variety of artists handling Raven, from George Perez to Tom Grummett to Mike McKone. In terms of the new mini, Damion Scott has quite a different style. In your estimation, what does that style bring to the project, and what do you say to older fans who might be unsure of that approach?

MW: When I wrote the first issue it was before I knew who was going to draw it. I had deliberately done it in a character oriented manga approach which is about moments of character from which the story is developed and told. As I say I had no idea who was going to draw it but when I saw Damion’s art I instantly loved it. It’s fresh and fun and lively and I think can help bring in a lot of the people who loved the Titans cartoon show and segue them into non anime-manga comics. I know a lot of pure super-hero fans may have a problem with it as it is very different from the classic George Perez style which you know I love, but I think this can open up the story to many non-regular comics readers. I hope the fans can get past the outward style and read the story and then go back and look at how solid the drawing is and how much fun i is as well. There’s a scene in the second issue where Raven goes bowling that is just so wonderful. When I wrote it I didn’t know if it would work visually since it required a real fun look and if handled wrong it could have played as dead, but Damion pulled it off 100%. I think this something can bring in new readers and different readers. And I can only hope if you’re an older reader that you can give something very different and very fresh a chance. Damion’s story telling is perfect. I wrote this full script and he even used the cameras angles I called for. I really, really think his art pops as well as telling the story.

NRAMA: I can’t help but notice the appellation “DC Special” added above the title for Raven. It seems to me that the last time a Titans family member had a mini flagged as a “DC Special”, that it was Donna Troy and her book was one of the drum beats leading to “Infinite Crisis”. Knowing your own history with Crises, the fact that Geoff Johns is involved in “DC Universe #0”, and that Grant Morrison has a history with the object shown on the final page of Raven #1, is it fair to say that this book might have some far-reaching implications?

MW: Not unless someone decides to do something else with it. This was not planned as anything connecting with any larger story. It’s a stand alone Raven only storyline. But I will say there are little things in it that if we do more Raven stories I can build on including a hint of some major villain I create long ago.

NRAMA: Turning to other media for a moment . . . a fan recently posted an email exchange with you at the DC Comics boards, wherein you mentioned that the New Teen Titans: Judas Contract DVD might be facing some speedbumps. Would you care to elaborate on that for us here?

MW: I really don’t know anything else. As everyone knows these things are always put on hold for various reasons and then are pushed ahead when it can actually be produced. It’s all about making sure the projects are released at the right time. It’s the natural course of Hollywood.

Troy Brownfield writes lots of stuff for Newsarama. Get the latest on Marv Wolfman at, where else, www.MarvWolfman.com.


Damin Scott’s Special Adventures With Raven
by Jennifer M. Contino
courtesy of http://www.comicon.com – posted 03-07-2008

Marv Wolfman and George Perez’s Raven first made the comic scene close to thirty years ago in the pages of DC Comics Presents # 26. The mystic with teleportation powers and a Soul Self, warned the world and gathered heroes to fight her demonic father, Trigon. A lot has happened since she first gathered that group of New Teen Titans. She’s been dead and back. She’s been good and evil. She’s gone through so many changes, you almost need a score card to keep it all straight. But, in this post-Infinite Crisis world, her spirit seems to have been reincarnated in the body of a teenage member of longtime Teen Titans foe, Brother Blood’s cult.

Now, a teenage Raven is getting the chance to experience some of the things she never did when she was originally growing up, like highschool, friends and the trials and tribulations of fitting in. In her new life as Rachel Roth, Raven is going through the paces thanks to co-creator Marv Wolfman and artist Damion Scott.

We already chatted with Wolfman about the five-part DC Special: Raven. Now Scott’s giving us the ins and outs of drawing the Teen Titans’ resident empath.

THE PULSE: When working on a character like Raven, it’s not hard to think you might be influenced by the artist who first drew her and co-created her, George Perez, but what other artists are influencing how you regard this character and how she should look on the printed page?

DAMION SCOTT: I looked at some of the George Perez work, just to get down the classic nature of the character. Aside from that, I’m just doing my own thing. Teen Titans has become popular due to the cartoon. So I wanted to create a style that was a three way bridge between the cartoon, the classic look, and my own style.

THE PULSE: What is it about Raven that you find the most intriguing as an artist?

SCOTT: The spirit aspect. She’s an ethereal character — ghostly, mystic. I have a personal fascination with the spirit world, so it was easy to get in to.

THE PULSE: You’ve worked on an eclectic mix of heroes in your career, how is Raven both similar and different from some of your higher profile projects?

SCOTT: Raven reminds me most of Batgirl. She has the same somewhat cold personality — a little dark, confused. There’s not as much action as I like to draw, but setting the moods and establishing a certain atmosphere for the story was really interesting.

THE PULSE: What are some of the challenges of drawing a character like this, especially since so many people have an idea of what she should look and be like due to her involvement in the New Teen Titans and animated series — even if this isn’t technically the same character?

SCOTT: I guess the only challenge really was figuring out what she’d be like as a regular teenager, What music she would listen to? How would she dress? Personally, I think she’s a little punk rock, a little goth. And she probably listens to Radiohead, Deftones, Alanis Morrisette, maybe a little Bjork. I can’t fulfill everybody’s interpretation of the character, so I hold to what George Perez did, and my own perception of her.

THE PULSE: How are you approaching the artwork for this? Are you picking specific places to start or just going from page one on?

SCOTT: Basically just going from page one. A lot of the story is about emotional build up, so you kind of have to ride the wave as the story progresses. No skipping ahead.

THE PULSE: How long have you been working on this? I think Marv Wolfman has had it written for several months now … how long have you had the scripts?

SCOTT: I started drawing it last year. I took my time in the beginning to just feel things out. I moved to Japan while I was working on it. So it’s been traveling with me for the last 10- 12 months.

THE PULSE: Who, aside from Raven, are some of the other stars of these issues? How many of her Titans pals will be making an appearance?

SCOTT: No cameos in this one. It’s pretty straight forward. But we do get to play with the Psycho Pirate Mask.

THE PULSE: Who wouldn’t love that! So you’ve been working on this for almost a year. When the first issue comes out in March, what issues interiors will you be working on?

SCOTT: Actually I’m all done. Right now, I’m just looking over some of the color work and doing final edits.

THE PULSE: What are some of the things you’re getting to draw for the first time in these pages?

SCOTT: Special EFX and transitions. A lot of the action is mind power, so I had to find creative ways to make fight scenes look interesting, even though no punches were being thrown.

THE PULSE: How did you decide the art style for these issues? What influenced you the most?

SCOTT: Early on working, the my biggest influence was Fillmore Poster art. That movement had a great Psycadellic mystic kind of feeling that I think lends itself well to Raven and comics. Japan’s been really inspiring, so there a few things I picked up here from manga and Hokusai. Plus, I’ve been getting back into Graffiti really heavy, so it really is a mix. I think the fun thing about the series is that with each issue, you’ll see the art transform a little depending on what I was studying at the time.

THE PULSE: What’s next for you after Raven?

SCOTT: That’s Top Secret for now.

 


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