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The End Of An Era: When Teen Titans’ History Was Obliterated And No One Noticed

The End Of An Era: When Teen Titans’ History Was Obliterated And No One Noticed

“If a continuity tree falls in the multi-verse and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?”

While everyone was concerned with the recent announcement that Tim Drake was always “Red Robin”, never just “Robin,” a larger announcement seems to have escaped everyone’s notice. That is, the confirmation that the Teen Titans did not exist in the DCnU until just recently – effectively wiping out the team’s history as we know it since its 1965 inception.

From the San Diego 2012 Comic-Con Young Justice Panel Report: ”The issue of how the classic Nightwing/Starfire/Cyborg Titans could exist if Red Robin’s team is the first, [Teen Titans writer Scott] Lobdell said that in his mind, those young teens hung out but never formally formed a Teen Titans team. He admitted this slightly contradicts what he said at the panel last year in San Diego, but plans for the series and how its mythology worked changed in the past year.”

When DC announced their bold “New 52″ initiative, many fans were concerned over the implications of de-aging the iconic heroes and creating a compressed “5 year timeline” – from Superman’s debut to present day. This was especially problematic for youthful characters all co-existing in the revamped DC Universe, including four Robins (Dick Grayson, Jason Todd, Tim Drake and Damian Wayne). So, where would the Teen Titans fit in all this?

Contradicting stories emerged from San Diego Comic-Con 2011, putting the team’s history into question and raising major continuity issues.

According to Comic-Con reports in 2011, DC Comics Publisher Dan Didio told fans that the Wolfman/Pérez era would be “wiped out” and “eventually be gone.”

In contrast,  Scott Lobdel confirmed that the DCnU Teen Titans wouldn’t be “first time” a Teen Titans has appeared: “Q: With Starfire in the Red Hood series and no Donna Troy, did that Teen Titans team ever come together?” Lobdell “There are groups in the mythology that were called the Teen Titans before.”

But alas, that seems negated by the evolution of the DCnU since the September relaunch. It looks like Didio’s version of the New 52 has come to pass, since Terra’s debut as a would-be Ravager eliminates the classic “Judas Contract” storyline, while the revised histories of Cyborg and Starfire seem to leave little room for Titans membership somewhere along the line. Lobdell’s recent comments only seal the deal – confirming Didio’s answer from exactly one year ago.

This change is massive for Titans history. The original Crisis on Infinite Earths preserved much of the Titans’ rich tapestry, altering mostly secondary Titans like Flamebird and Joker’s Daughter. The most “major” changes concerned Donna Troy’s origin and the new wrinkle in which Dick Grayson’s retirement as Robin was more acrimonious. I suppose the smaller changes can be attributed to the massive popularity of the series at the time… Why would DC mess with success?

But with the DCnU, I’m surprised this latest news hasn’t been reported or analyzed. Fans were dismayed at the changes to “Red Robin,” which are fairly cosmetic and in line with the “modernizing” remit of the New 52. The wiping away of Titans history – from the original Fab Five to the Wolfman/Pérez New Teen Titans to the Johns/McKone Teen Titans – has a domino effect on all the characters involved.

For many of those characters, their coming-of-age stories happened in the context of the Teen Titans (Nightwing, Beast Boy, Raven, Cyborg) – often propelled by the confidence and friendship brought about by the team (Superboy, Starfire, Arsenal). This not only wipes away half the character histories in one fell swoop, it also fundamentally changes who these characters are, especially in relation to each other. Indeed, may of them were “born” within the context of the Teen Titans (Jericho, Rose Wilson, Kole, Lilith Clay, Bumblebee and many others).

Lobdell seems willing to keep the door cracked open, with the statement “those young teens hung out….” But honestly, when you start removing their origin stories, Deathstroke’s ties to the team, “The Judas Contract”, the “Terror of Trigon”, “Titans Hunt,” the entirety of Young Justice, and so on… what’s really left other than a slight semblance of camaraderie?

Goodbye, dear Titans. You’ll be missed.

Hello, DCnU Titans… You’ve got big continuity shoes to fill.


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


13 Comments

  1. avatar

    Titans have been my favorite DC book since TNTT 1st came out.I do not mind some things in the reboot but wiping out every thing I loved about the Titans was not one of them. Because of this, I no longer buy DC comics, I used to buy every single one for over 20 years but that loyalty is gone when the Titans history was wiped out.
    I think it is funny that it was so easy for them to do this but keeping Wonder Women in paints was to hard a decision,lol.Even after we saw her 1st pics for the new 52, it was later changed back to shorts, but keeping anything Titans.. no, get ride of it.
    I am glad that the new TT has an audience, but for the 1st time since I was kid, its not me.

  2. avatar

    pants not paints, sorry. I shouldn’t type while drinking wine,lol

  3. avatar

    Excelent article, Bill.
    Everyone knows that most of former fans are sad with this new DCnU thing. I am one of them. Like darylwing1, I used to buy all Titans issues, even some featuring. Anyway, I do not do it anymore. I rather to keep what enjoy me with me…
    In my opinion, these new characters are not the same… So, my read won’t be the same.
    And the fact that the writer or editors keep cheating us is very bad. I got tired!
    Hope a day that we can see them together again. So, “Titans Together”!

  4. avatar

    I confronted Didio at the Mega-Con in Orlando, and when i brought up the point of the growth Dick and the rest of the characters experienced in Titans, he pretty much dismissed the comment and said that All of Dick’s important “Life Experiences” happened in the Batman books and characters like Donna, Wally, Garth and no major impact on his growth as a character…Didio is a jack-bag!

  5. tamaranorbust

    Nightmare. Again: Titans fans should say something about this, by writing real letters and sending them to real offices.

  6. tamaranorbust

    It is not a question of no one noticing, but the fanbase has become so beaten down that no one is responding. But this is important: if we don’t try to tell DC that the Titans matter, the damage could last for decades, the way the original Doom Patrol was flushed out into limbo for 40 years.

    Will Titans Tower please provide fans with the name(s)/address to write to about this?

    Everything I have seen on comics industry forums states that real letters do have some weight and mean something to TPTB. It is not right that, from this reporting, one man’s vision of how the Batverse will be should erase 50 years of Titans’ continuity.

    • avatar

      You can e-mail them here:
      http://www.dcentertainment.com/contact

      Or Mail to:
      President: Diane Nelson
      DC Entertainment Inc.
      1700 Broadway, 7th Fl.
      New York, NY 10019-5905

      It’s a tough sell, because the New 52 Sales on TEEN TITANS are up from the Pre-New52 era… so who do we appeal to?

  7. tamaranorbust

    Thanks. Will write something.

  8. avatar

    Long time lurker, first time poster.

    I can’t begin to describe my feelings for the DCnU. To say it is a mismanaged, misguided mess would be kind. The disservice these people have done to the fans and these characters we care about is just unbelievable.

    The Titans seemed to have suffered worst of all. Having their history destroyed just to make Batman appear younger (yet they saddle him with a biological son?) and Cyborg a founding member of the JLA.

    In general the line features some rather disturbing and distasteful things, although DC was headed in that direction long before Didio hit the switch.

    I refuse to support any new DC project connected with this mess.

    Chris

  9. avatar

    I TRIED to support the new DCU. I really did.

    I bought the issues, and kept hoping for something to keep me a fan. But honestly, I’m not sure I can keep trying. The new DCU, especially in regards to the my favorite team, the Teen Titans is such a mess. And what’s more, the editorial at DC doesn’t seem to think that matters. I mean, fans have been complaining about these issues since they started. Every convention has fans asking questions of the DC editorial about continuity particularly in regards to the Titans, and many times they get dismissed or ignored or the information they are given are drastic contradictions to what was previously established by writers, editors or the comics themselves.

    I don’t feel like there is any respect left to the fanbase of these comics anymore from editorial. There are times where it seems DC actually dislikes their fans and are trying to push us away from the books. I mean, the writers come up with things, and they they change them at the last minute. Tim Drake as Robin. The Titans existence. Stephanie Brown as Nightwing in Smallville. They keep promising stuff, and then immediately going back on things, and essentially telling the fanbases “tough”.

    DC can’t have its cake and eat it too. They want new fans. Great. But is it really worth the cost of the old fans?

    I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. The worst thing DC did was a soft reboot. Trying to keep SOME stuff but removing tons of other stuff, just doesn’t work. You create continuity confusion, timelines over-stuff, and create massive plot holes to those stories they want to keep.

    If DC wanted to make things easier, they should have done a hard reboot. Erase ALL the history, and start everything over from scratch. At least then there would be no confusion about what did and didn’t happen before.

  10. avatar

    I hadn’t heard it was official, because I don’t read any DC anymore, but I expected that was the case. Diddo doesn’t get the Titans, never has. Writing letters sounds good but if they are making money that’s what matters to them, but they don’t make money from me. I still read comics, just not DC, and even though they don’t exist anymore I miss the Titans!

    ~ Rick

  11. avatar

    What’s worse is there is so many contradictions in the new 52. Early in Batwoman’s run Flamebird mentions her time in the Titans. Red Robin also makes a mention of the former Titans.

    I would seriously have to avoid Dan Didio if I ever see him in person. Had to resist the urge to punch him. His comment about Dick’s development is bull. If it wasn’t for the Wolfman/Perez Titans run he would have never become Nightwing.

    Even in the Nightwing Year One (which not totally a fan of because of this one thing.) he gets fired as Robin because he is spending too much time with the Titans and not there for Batman.

  12. avatar

    I hate the new 52 wanna be titans. There confused x-men or young avengers that didn’t make the cut. Raven was the final straw for me. Catch u later fake titans or confused xmen u won’t b getting any more of my money .

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