Marv Wolfman on Teen Titans Animated
I can’t talk about it for many reasons, but I ‘ve just seen the Titans bible. The show is being worked on even as we speak.
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.
As for the new version, to date i’ve had no involvement with it at all. There’s always a possibility…
From what I understand – and this isn’t confirmed – is that Peter did do a development on the Titans but they then brought in another writer to develop it in a different fashion. Again, as far as I know, the Titans series does not take place in the future, despite what has been reported. As for my working on it, I have spoken with the story editor and there is a possibility of that. If it happens I’ll let folk know.
Companies like to keep their development under wraps so at least for the present I won’t be discussing the show outside of whether or not I do any work on it.
Peter [David] did do a development but it’s not the one they went with. David Slack has done the final development as is the story editor. David has asked me to submit a concept for an episode which I did. We’ll see if it passes muster at Warners.
Most of my work is outside comics these days (not my decision – can’t help it if editors forget their phones can dial out ). As for things you might be able to see – I am however lined up to do a He-Man mini series in comics. I’m also writing an episode of the Teen Titans animated series.
Marv Wolfman On Writing Aqualad Episode: Deep Six
courtesy of http://www.marvwolfman.com
posted November 25, 2002
From left to right: Me, Wil Wheaton (Aqualad), Greg Cipes (Beast Boy), Tara Strong (Raven), Scott Menville (Robin), Dave Coulier (Tramm), and Hynden Walch (Starfire). Not pictured: Khary Payton (Cyborg).
They were recording “Deep Six,” an upcoming episode Teen Titans animated show over at Warner Bros.TV Animation today and I was invited to watch the procedings (see photo). The show is based on the DC comic George Pérez and I created back in 1980 and features many of our characters, villains included.
There are changes, of course. While our Titans was written for a teenage and older comic book reader, this show is written for the younger TV audience. Several of our characters have origins that are a little excessive for the Kids WB where it will be shown (along with The Cartoon Network). For instance, in the comic, Raven’s mom was raped by an inter-dimensional demon and Starfire was sold into slavery by her father. Not exactly kiddie fare. This show emphasizes action and fun. All the Titans favorites are here: Robin, Beast Boy (I still prefer the name Changeling) Cyborg, Raven and Starfire. I hope people will like the show when it airs sometime next year.
The people at Warners have all been great. Most of my conversations to date have been with story editor, David Slack, who I finally got to meet. I also spoke with producer Glen Murakami and most of the actors. The actor playing Cyborg was, unfortunately for me, in Romania working on a film so they were going to record his voice later on. Although I had not heard of many of the actors – voice people are often sadly overlooked – I knew Wil Wheaton who played this episode’s guest star, Aqualad. Wil, of course, was on Star Trek: Next Generation. As a Trek nut – I’ve seen every episode of every Trek – it was great meeting him, and the fact that he turned out to be a nice guy and a comics fan helped a lot.
All the actors were wonderful and they all asked me to autograph their scripts which felt very strange. I mean, I’m the writer, they’re the actors. It’s supposed to go the other way. Several asked questions about their characters and I answered best I could, but I don’t think I could provide a lot of help; these Titans are very different in so many ways and I didn’t want to confuse them with the comic book versions which they weren’t playing. I’d like to thank David for inviting me, Glen for being so kind as to let me watch, and all the actors for being so wonderful.
“Letter, We’ve Got Letters!”
by Marv Wolfman
From: Bill Walko [email@example.com]
How was it writing the Aqualad TEEN TITANS episode? How do the animated characters compare and contrast with the way you wrote the comic book? Did anything in the series bible surprise you? Was anything done to Titans characters that you either liked or disliked, from a personal writer’s standpoint [knowing these characters for 16 years]?
The Teen Titans animated show, which I believe begins late May, stars all the heroes and villains George Pérez and I created way back when. Trigon, Deathstroke, Komand’r, and so on. But despite that, the series is not at all like the comic in any way. Where the comic was for High School to college age people and up, the Titans show is for very young kids. Because of this, I actually have no “creator’s” opinion on the show at all. Although it is, it’s also not my and George’s Titans, and thus has its own life and purpose and approach. I’m of course hoping it will be lots of fun and successful and last for several years at least. I want everyone to support it and buy all the toys which I hope they’ll make as George and I will see a small percentage of every buck spent.
Starfire is still an alien who flies and fires starbolts. Cyborg is the swiss-army knife character he’s always been. Raven is still the daughter of Trigon, Changeling the joker and Robin the leader. But their attitudes and beliefs come from a different sensibility so when I was asked to write an episode, I approached the show as I would any animation assignment as opposed to writing my Titans. Because of this, even though the characters didn’t sound like my characters, I had no problem writing them. I used, as best as I could, their speech patterns and not the ones I set up. If the show had been closer to what I did but different it would have been harder to write it. Because it was so far away from the comic I wrote, it was actually easier to do.
I briefly met the people behind the show and they, I’m sure, were at first worried about what I, the creator, would have to say since they changed the series so much. I think they were relieved when I said this is their show and the comic is my comic and though they share some common ground it doesn’t mean that I’d come in and tell them they were doing everything wrong. They have a definite view point for the show they are creating and, as I say, I’m hoping when it’s all put together, that it works on their level. If it succeeds, we all succeed. If it fails, well, it won’t affect the hundreds of issues of the Titans I wrote. They’ll still be out there exactly as I did them.
Would I have wanted to see a series that 100% reflected what I did? Sure. If I was the story editor and head writer and had control over the show, which would never happen. I think my Titans can be done, but it would have to be done for a very different audience than the one they are aiming for or, frankly, that they’d be allowed to do. The series as I’d envision it would probably be a prime-time show written for an older teen and adult audience. It would owe more to anime than to Batman Adventures.
So, like everyone else, I’ll watch and hope for the best. As I said, the guys there have a viewpoint, which immediately puts them ahead of 80% of the other people doing animation out there in cookie cutter style. Because the show is so singular in concept and execution, if it works it’s going to be big. If it fails, you’ll be able to hear the explosion on Tamaran. I’m hoping for the former.
That’s it for this week. Keep your cards and letters coming.
See you in seven.
Marv – firstname.lastname@example.org
TEEN TITANS Q & A
by Marv Wolfman
posted july, 2003
Q: So, considering how different it is from your series, what do you think of the Teen Titans animated series?
Marv: I enjoy it, and that’s the truth. No, it’s not the series George Pérez and I created, and I don’t like all the episodes (I was sent the first 13 scripts to read), but the show has its own personality and its own voice, and I appreciate that they tried to do something that they cared about instead of just trying to mimic what George and I had done.
Also, beneath the anime center of the show, they are actually faithful to the concepts of all our core characters. Robin is the gung ho leader, Starfire, the naive alien, Raven, the dark and somber child of Trigon, Cyborg, the man trying to become comfortable in his own skin, and Changeling – oops – Beast Boy as comedy relief, with real personal problems beneath the jokes.
I really enjoy the banter between Changeling – oops! – Beast Boy and Raven. Raven is, in fact, hysterical. Also, I have to say the theme song is absolutely infectious. The tapes I’ve been sent primarily have the theme song in English, but one episode actually has it in Japanese. If I knew how to digitize the theme song and put it here on my website, I would.
TEEN TITANS: Success Story
by Marv Wolfman
posted august, 2003
Ratings on the Teen Titans TV Show seem to be going through the roof, which is pretty gratifying. I always felt that the people who followed me on the Titans needed to do something that was as personal to them as the original comics was to me. As I didn’t look back at the Teen Titans I grew up with and enjoyed, wanting instead to “do my own thing,” I always hope those who followed me would do their own thing, too. The TV Titans crew are certainly doing what they believe in. From what I can tell, reaction to the show is evenly split between those who love it and those who hate the fact that it’s not the comic George and I did. I take that as the extremely high compliment it is meant to be. We did a good book and I’m extremely proud of the work, even when, near the end, it truly stumbled. Although not every show tickles my funny bone, I think on the whole it’s a really cute young kids’ cartoon show, which is the audience it was aimed for.
Visit the Teen Titans Animated Series Guide for more information. Titans Go!
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