Marv Wolfman Interview by titanstower.com
A Marv Wolfman Interview – conducted by titanstower.com 4.10.01
Marv, first, thank you for taking some time to answer some questions. Much appreciated! I thought I would concentrate more on some Titans eras that have not been as well documented. The articles transcribed from the 1980’s cover much of your run on the title.
Q: The Titans was a phenomenal piece of work; Looking back, what were some of the high points you recall?
Marv: Primarily being able to create a number of really good characters and for a long time being allowed to do with them exactly what I wanted to. Out of the 16 years I wrote Titans I’d say there were at least 12 great years.
Q: Did you find it hard to adjust to losing George Pérez as a creative partner?
Marv: George was, of course, invaluable. Both as an artist, a co-creator and more importantly as a friend. I do think we did many, many great issues after George left, but probably no run of great issues as we did together.
Q: You and George had planned to do the Titans Graphic Novel: GAMES. Can you tell us about it? Will it ever see print?
Marv: Bombard DC with demands to see it and it will be finished.
Q: How did you envision what the Titans ‘should be’ as a team?
Marv: Titans were a group of people who found themselves coming together to form a family. Above all these were people who cared for each other and tried to help each other as they were growing up to become their own persons.
Q: Let’s talk about TITANS HUNT. How was the storyline conceived?
Marv: I don’t recall. Sorry. All I remember was working it out with Editor Jonathan Peterson. Beyond that I can’t remember much of it.
Q: The storyline featured the deaths of a few members of the team [most notably, Jericho]. How did you decide who would be on the chopping block?
Marv: The death of Jericho was a mistake. I believe he was the ONLY one who died, though. Cyborg never was supposed to die and didn’t. But what did happen to Cyborg I know wasn’t my idea. He was supposed to be brought back – in changed form, yes – within 2-3 months instead of many years later. The end of the story didn’t work out for many, many reasons.
Q: Danny Chase also perished and merged with Phantasm ? whose idea was that? And how did you envision Phantasm fitting in with the team?
Marv: Danny was supposed to merge with Phantasm so he didn’t die. That was the plan. He continued to live in another form.
Q: Did you ever intend to kill Aqualad, or any other members?
Marv: No. Never.
Q: What was your original idea for the Wildebeest? [it seems doubtful he conceived him as Jericho].
Marv: He wasn’t conceived of as Jericho. The entire storyline simply didn’t work.
Q: Let’s talk about the introduction of the Team Titans. How did that come about?
Marv: Jonathan Peterson asked me to do a one-shot annual featuring these alternate universe characters. I came up with them for a one-shot only and somehow they get put into their own book. Had I known that was going to happen I would have spent a lot more time working on them so they could sustain a book. I never thought they should be their own title as they were a one-note concept.
Q: The Team Titans initially seemed rather different from the incarnation that made it into their own book (i.e., Killowat as a being of pure light, etc.) Why the changes?
Marv: I didn’t remember we changed any of the characters. Sorry. Memory glitch here. The Team Titans title was not one of my favorites. I did like the individual members, though and I really liked what I did with their origin stories. It’s just the book itself never should have been published.
Q: The ‘return’ of Terra was quite a shocker. How did that come about? And why the later ‘tease’ that she may be the real one?
Marv: Terra 2 is NOT and was never conceived of as Terra. The villain was playing on the old Terra to con the Titans the same way she originally had. The second Terra was someone whos memory was tampered with and was given the powers. Terra – Tara Markov is and should always be dead.
Q: It is rumored the original Team Titans leader was Danny Chase [it was later revealed to be Monarch]. Why the change?
Marv: I got off the book. The next people decided it was Monarch.
Q: The Team Titans were wiped out after Zero Hour… were they deemed disposable by DC? Why ‘save’ only Mirage and Terra?
Marv: I had nothing to do with that. Sorry.
Q: I’d like to touch on some Titans projects that never made ‘lift-off’: Titans West? You and George were planning that [and it seemed set-up with Chris King, Sarah Charles moving to the West Coast, etc.] – what what the line-up and plans for that?
Marv: I sadly don’t remember. It was one of many ideas that got shot down. Why, I don’t remember.
Q: Rob Liefeld’s Titans’ proposal?
Marv: Never saw it.
Q: The Hybrid ongoing series?
Marv: I was no longer involved and had already moved out of NY so I don’t know.
Q: Your Raven mini series? [mentioned in 1998, I believe]
Marv: I was told there was no room on the schedule for it. I still wish we could do it, though.
Q: Nightwing/Starfire/Mirage. How did you see that playing out? It seemed that Mirage was a way to break up Nightwing/Starfire and have them be on their own for awhile…
Marv: I intended to break up Dick and Kory all along and slowly introduce Donna back into Dick’s life.
Q: Cyborg. His storyline seemed to drag on longer than planned, since no one seemed to enjoy his ‘robotic vegetable’ stage. How did you plan on resolving that?
Marv: As I said this story kept going and I wanted it to end as fast as it came. The editor who came onto the book decided he didn’t want Vic back. I thought that was a major mistake. As I said, the last four-five years of the Titans is something I’m not particularly proud of.
Q: The post-ZERO HOUR Titans, led by Arsenal, seemed to have some potential; how did you approach that team compared to the Nightwing-led team?
Marv: See above.
Q: Donna Troy. You’ve told her origin story about 3 or 4 times [Including her first origin in Teen Titans #22]! Looking back, what worked best? And what do you think of the current revisions like Byrne’s changes, where Donna is a mystic avatar of Diana?
Marv: The Byrne revisions were ludicrous. The best origin was in Who Is Donna Troy, the story George and I did which incorporated the original story I did way back in the original Titans #22. It should have been left alone.
Q: What was it like to work with different editors, some who had their own conception of what to make the book? There was a period where you and George even edited yourselves – was it hard to adjust to editors on TITANS after having free reign?
Marv: See my answer [above]
Q: Would you like to ‘go home’ again and write Titans characters?
Marv: I’d love to write the individual characters again but probably not the book. On the other hand I’d love to do an occasional Titans Graphic novel. Just not a monthly.
Q: Any regrets with your Titans stint? Anything you wanted to do but didn’t get a chance to before you left?
Marv: I wish I quit right after Titans Hunt. I love the Titans and feel that had I quit then there would not have been four years of sub-standard stories.
Thanks for taking some time to chat. And thanks for some exciting Titans stories!
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.