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Teen Titans Lost Annual: The Swingin’ Elseworlds Special

TEEN TITANS LOST ANNUAL: THE SWINGIN’ ELSEWORLDS SPECIAL
BY JENNIFER “Groooovy” CONTINO
courtesy of http://www.comicon.com/pulse and newsarama.com – posted 04-29-2003 12:21 PM


NOTE: Originally planned as an Elseworlds Special in 2003, the TEEN TITAN SWINGIN’ SPECIAL finally saw print in 2008 as a “Lost Annual”; Trace the strange history of this trippy project below….

TEEN TITANS: THE LOST ANNUAL
Written by Bob Haney
Art by Jay Stephens & Mike Allred
Cover by Nick Cardy
Don’t miss the TEEN TITANS LOST ANNUAL, featuring the original Teen Titans: Robin, Kid Flash, Wonder Girl, Speedy and Aqualad! Classic Teen Titans writer Bob Haney sends the Titans into space to rescue President John F. Kennedy in this story illustrated by Jay Stephens (The Land of Nod) & Mike Allred (Madman, X-Statix)! Meet new alien races, witness a startling betrayal, and more! It’s a secret space adventure that couldn’t be told…‘til now!
On sale January 9 • 64 pg, FC, $4.99 US

Take the original hep-cat responsible for those rockin’ teens called “Titans” Bob Haney, throw in two of comics mod artists Jay Stephens and Mike Allred, and the end result is going to be one classic creation! The Teen Titans Swingin’ Elseworld special is hitting stores this fall. Scribe Haney’s voice has been vacant for comics for many years, so this project is a fantastic chance for those who’ve heard about the original Teen Titans, but never had the chance to “experience” the good vibrations of the series to get wise to it now.

Stephens was no stranger to the original fab five, Robin, Speedy, Aqualad, Kid Flash, and Wonder Girl. “I knew more than enough about the originals before beginning this assignment,” said Stephens. “Though I’m much more familiar with the ’80s incarnation of the New Teen Titans, I’m a big fan of early ’60s DC, and of Bob Haney in particular. I’m a casual collector of the more bizarre silver age DC stuff … Doom Patrol, Metal Men, Beware … The Creeper, Deadman (Strange Tales), Manhunter from Mars (House of Mystery), Eclipso (House of Secrets), The Brave and The Bold …. it’s all so wonderful. [inker] Mike Allred and I are huge fans of the original Teen Titans artists, Bruno Premiani (from the first appearances in The Brave and The Bold) and Nick Cardy. I definitely had both in mind, and was aiming for a sort of all-round ’60s DC vibe … that stiff, illustrative ‘sci-fi’ house style running full tilt into the more bombastic, abstracted superhero approach that Jack Kirby and Steve Ditko were laying down over at Marvel. So I was haunted by memories of Ramona Fradon, Carmine Infantino, Gil Kane, Neil Adams, and all the rest, really … not that I’m anywhere near capable of matching that kind of skill, but, it was fun to try!”

“Who wouldn’t want a chance to revisit DC’s groovy past?” continued Stephens when asked about his involvement with this project. “Superhero comics today take themselves so seriously, it just makes me laugh at them all the harder. It’s always more fun for me to dig out a nice silver age book and delve into that crazy, dynamic stuff … full of bright colours, weird new ideas, and more than a little tongue-in-cheek. And giant heads … and talking gorillas … Haney’s writing (and the old Batman TV show based on the then-current work of Haney and his contemporaries) appeals to kids who enjoy it for it’s surface kicks, and adults who dig the subtext. Not unlike the Simpsons, really. And I think that pop entertainment that works on two levels simultaneously is always more interesting and lasting than niche stuff.”

When asked about working with the legendary creator, Stephens joked, “It was great! Best mainstream script I’ve seen in ages. Bob needs a new typewriter ribbon, though. It got pretty faint in places, there.”

The story is set in 1963 and features themes and issues relevant to that point in time. Stephens faced some unique challenges working on this Elseworlds. “Some of the toughest things were all the JFK and White House references,” stated Stephens. “Sheesh! And trying to suppress my natural drawing style enough to make the book look ‘right’ for 1963. The story is about tolerance in times of war. What it takes to be a good leader. Love. Peace … oh, and an alien brain housed in a giant space temple that kidnaps President Kennedy. Did I mention the kissing part? Far-out!”

“Robin, Wonder Girl, Kid Flash, Speedy, and Aqualad, although Aqualad plays a (mercifully) smaller role, are all present in this story,” continued Stephens. “Bob’s cheating a bit by making Speedy a full member at this point in real history, but, well … he’s the creator, and it IS an Elseworlds. One of my favourite things about Haney is his total disregard for the evil known as ‘continuity’. My favourite character in the story is Wonder Girl. She’s just so … ’60s! But my favourite to draw was Speedy. He’s so grumpy and serious.”


Teen Titans Graphic Novel Announced

courtesy of http://www.comicon.com/newsarama
Preview art courtesy of http://www.comicon.com/newsarama

At last summer’s Comic-Con International San Diego, DC Comics announced original Teen Titans writer Bob Haney would make a return to the DC property he helped put on the map with a brand new Elseworld’s Teen Titans project.

And now Newsarama has learned artist Jay (Atomic City Tales) Stephens has been given the task of bringing Haney’s vision to the page. “It’s pure, undiluted Haney,” penciler Stephens said of the 48-page Teen Titans-Elseworlds one-shot script, which will be inked and colored by Mike and Laura Allred. “Nobody else would dare write a script like this… it’s radical in a weird, backwards way. Was Haney ahead of his time… ? In any case, it reads exactly, nostalgically, like his old Brave and the Bold and Titans stuff… the situations and dialogue are Adam West camp. Star Trek meets the Twilight Zone crossed with The Impossibles. It promises to be a genuine flashback to the fab days the early sixties, and guest stars none other than… President Kennedy. I’m absolutely jazzed to be working with the co-creator of my all-time favorites, the Doom Patrol!”

Stephens reports he be done with the pencils at the end of May, and expects the project to possibly be released in the fall.


TEEN TITANS Elseworlds Still On Track

update from january 29, 2003
courtesy of http://www.jaystephens.com/stephens.html

At last summer’s Comic-Con International San Diego, DC Comics announced original Teen Titans writer Bob Haney would make a return to the DC property he helped put on the map with a brand new Elseworld’s Teen Titans project.

This project has been in the works for over a year.

From the Jay Stephens website: “TEEN TITANS: ELSEWORLDS! Jay Stephens has completed pencilling this 48 page flashback to the ’60’s, written by original TITANS creator (and bona fide groove-scribe!) BOB HANEY! Oh, yeah… inks by deadly Doc Allred, too! Comin’ soon from DC Comics, of course!”

I asked Jay when we might see this project, and he replied: “Mike Allred is wrapping up inks in his spare time as we speak (I’ve seen the first half finished), and expects to be done by the end of next month. DC will likely solicit the book once they have those final pages in hand. I really can’t predict when that might be.”


Teen Titans Swingin’ Elseworlds Postponned Indefinitely

BY JENNIFER M. CONTINO
posted August 6, 2003

THE PULSE learned earlier today that the Teen Titans Swingin’ Elseworlds one-shot, solicited for an October release, has been postponed.

Jay Stephens sent us a statement about the “missing” Titans.

“Hi All, I just learned from editor Steve Wacker this morning that the TEEN TITANS SWINGIN’ ELSEWORLDS one shot, recently solicited for October, has been cancelled.

Steve tells me Dan Didio and co. decided that the success of the new Titans series shouldn’t be jeopardized by our ‘weird’ story, written by Teen Titans CREATOR Bob Haney. Apparently, the art (pencilled by myself, inked by Doc Allred, and coloured by Laura Allred, with a stunning cover by original Titans artist Nick Cardy) passed muster, but the bigwigs were just too uncomfortable with the story to let it run.

When I speculated that the 48 page books’ clear anti-war statement might have something to do with DC’s sudden squeamishness, Steve assured me it wasn’t so. Ditto on the fact that former President John F. Kennedy appears alongside the Titans, which immediately brought to mind pal Doc Allred’s recent troubles with another publisher regarding the late Princess Diana. It was insisted that the shelving of the book was strictly due to it being ‘weird’ and running contrary to the efforts of the regular Titans monthly.

I was told the book was ‘uncommercial’ despite the fact that a Teen Titans comic will never sell more than right now while the name is hotter than it’s ever been. That a successful series ought to kill tie-in product is news to me. I’m extremely disappointed to see my inaugural long-form pencilling job at DC go down the drain, but I couldn’t possibly be as upset as Mr. Haney must be. The creator of the team that’s bringing in so much money for DC at the moment can’t even get one lousy comic book published. DC let Haney got unceremoniously once before, so I guess the old guy’s used to it. ”

–Jay Stephens

When contacted for a comment on this, a spokesperson for DC said the special, “had not been cancelled and is just postponed for a while.” Reasons for this were not supplied to THE PULSE.


Titans Swingin’ Special Released as “Lost” Annual

Monday, October 15, 2007: At the 2003 Comic-Con International San Diego, DC Comics announced original Teen Titans writer Bob Haney would make a return to the DC property he helped put on the map with a brand new Elseworld’s Teen Titans project. The Teen Titans Swingin’ Elseworld special would feature art by Jay Stephens and Mike Allred. For reasons never quite made clear, DC has shelfed the book.

The Pulse reported: “Steve tells me Dan Didio and co. decided that the success of the new Titans series shouldn’t be jeopardized by our ‘weird’ story, written by Teen Titans CREATOR Bob Haney. Apparently, the art (pencilled by myself, inked by Doc Allred, and coloured by Laura Allred, with a stunning cover by original Titans artist Nick Cardy) passed muster, but the bigwigs were just too uncomfortable with the story to let it run.

Recently, Newsarama asked Allred about the story:

NRAMA: Now, your name often comes up in connection with the unpublished Teen Titans project you did with DC. Have there been any developments regarding its publication?

MA: Well, I actually had a good phone conversation with (Dan) DiDio about three weeks ago, and it went very well. He was saying that they might be able to release it as a “lost annual.” So, I’m hopeful that that’s what’s going to happen. Fingers crossed.

It’s amazing to me that that book has sat dormant. It’s completely done – completely done. It’s penciled, inked, colored, lettered – there’s a cover by Nick Cardy! There’s no reason in the world this shouldn’t be out – it’s a one-shot! Let it get out there and let people have it!

I do comic books because I love comic books. It’s not just a paycheck. It’s an opportunity for expression and creation and the final performance in this process is for people to see it! And so, there’s this understanding with the publisher that you want to see this on the stand. And for Bob Haney, he’ll never have that. He’ll never see it on the stands, at least not as a mortal being.

It’s frustrating – maybe I have no tact about this. I’m just the inker on the book, for crying out loud! But it’s just not right that this isn’t out there and available to the public. Even if the publisher were to argue that it isn’t a standard story – well, I can’t object to that. It isn’t typical. It’s near insane! But it’s also brilliant in that way.

And the talent involved – the original Teen Titan creators, along with Jay Stephens, who is one of the great talents, who won an Emmy on his cartoon series…and I got to ink it, and Laura colored it, and our son even did some amazing coloring work on it with Laura, and like I said, Nick Cardy did a cover, a wonderful cover…there it is.

Dan told me he’s going to try to make this happen, and I’m hopeful that he can. So, there we are. I’m on the verge of getting people together and picketing with protest signs outside the DC building (laughs), but I’m trying to be cool about this, and reasonable about this. But it’s been…I don’t know how many years since we finished. And I’m just waiting to see it released.

(sighs) I don’t know. It’s one of the things I just don’t get. I hope one day DC does the right thing and puts this book out. It deserves to be seen.

And it will be – according to the publisher, the Special, now a “Lost Annual,” will ship in January. The solicitation for the book now reads:

TEEN TITANS: THE LOST ANNUAL
Written by Bob Haney
Art by Jay Stephens & Mike Allred
Cover by Nick Cardy
Don’t miss the TEEN TITANS LOST ANNUAL, featuring the original Teen Titans: Robin, Kid Flash, Wonder Girl, Speedy and Aqualad! Classic Teen Titans writer Bob Haney sends the Titans into space to rescue President John F. Kennedy in this story illustrated by Jay Stephens (The Land of Nod) & Mike Allred (Madman, X-Statix)! Meet new alien races, witness a startling betrayal, and more! It’s a secret space adventure that couldn’t be told…‘til now!
On sale January 9 • 64 pg, FC, $4.99 US

 


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