Friday, April 1, 2011

DP02-10 Teen Titans solo appendix 1973-1976

.....For readers, the length of time between the demise of the Doom Patrol (the first time) and the return of Robotman for the New Doom Patrol was nine years. According to narration at the time it was "mere months". By contrast, the discorporation of the Teen Titans within that same time lasted just under four years for readers but took two years for the characters. Of course, it's generally accepted that fantasy heroes don't age as we do. That's been a long-forgiven conceit that allows generations to share common characters and icons rather than regularly replacing them like professional athletes. But the huge disparity between the two gaps probably has less to do with retroactively changing the relative order of the events and everything to do with the relative interim activity of the principles. The latter half of the Teen Titans roster (Hawk, Dove, Lilith, Mal and Gnarrk) may have been no more visible than the presumed-dead Doom Patrol, but the original five (Aqualad, Kid Flash, Wonder Girl, Speedy and especially Robin) kept busy individually.

.....Visibility, it's helpful to remember, is not the same as activity. Case in point: Adventure Comics #416 (05/72) was part of the DC 100-Page Super Spectacular series of specials (#DC-10, to be exact). It had an all-female theme with a new cover including Wonder Girl and Lilith, the only female Teen Titans. Trouble is, they didn't appear in any of the stories. In a way it was the opposite of Mal's dilemma of rarely appearing on the cover of Teen Titans. Robin didn't have either problem after the title folded. Although no longer a regular supporting character in World's Finest Comics as he had been in the 1950's and 1960's, Robin continued to appear periodically with Batman and in solo features in both Batman and Detective Comics and eventually Batman Family as a lead, alternating and teaming with Batgirl. He even made a (presumably) non-continuity appearance in Plop! #5 (05-06/75). He had already become a Mego figure as well, something the other four original members wouldn't experience until the ten-issue revival was under way. That could be because DC took only tentative steps to see if they, individually, could be reintegrated into existing titles.
  1. Flash #220 (02-03/73)- 221 (04-05/73) No longer in solo stories, Kid Flash becomes a guest star for Uncle Barry.
  2. Wonder Woman #209 (12/73-01/74) Donna becomes inserted into a remake of a Golden Age story originally written with a teen-aged Diana. As with anything concerning Donna, whatever tenuous claim this story may have to canon is up for endless debate.
  3. Action Comics #436 (06/74) Roy Harper appears in the Green Arrow back-up feature.
  4. Adventure Comics #436 (11-12/74) Aqualad appears in the Aquaman back-up feature.
  5. Justice League Of America #114 (11-12/74) Kid Flash helps the JLA with a telethon, answering phones in exactly one panel. There's no dialogue and no acknowledgement from the other characters.
  6. Justice League Of America #116 (03/75)- 117 (04/75) Charlie Parker becomes Golden Eagle. This was his first appearance; his only other pre-Crisis appearances were the three-issue "Teen Titans West" arc in the revival and Donna's wedding in 1985.
  7. Flash #232 (03-04/75) and #239 (02/76)- #240 (03/76) Kid Flash is a supporting character in the main feature, and in #232 he's also the topic of a two-page article narrated by the Flash.
  8. Adventure Comics #446 (07-08/76)- #452 (07-08/77) Aqualad drops into the Aquaman feature, which replaced The Spectre as the lead in #441. When Aquaman moves back into his own title, Superboy becomes the lead feature while his own series is retitled [Giant] Superboy And The Legion Of Super-Heroes. An Aqualad origin story written by Paul Kupperberg becomes the first back-up feature, in Adventure Comics #453 (09-10/77)- #455 (01-02/78). At the time Kupperberg was also writing a three part Mera back-up feature in the Aquaman title before taking over the main feature from David Michelinie just before cancellation. He worked in Aqualad for the last two issues, Aquaman #62 (06-07/78)- 63 (08-09/78). Despite being published after the end of the revived Teen Titans series, these stories are thought to occur before the team reunites. In fact, there's a scene in Adventure Comics #446 where Robin calls Aquaman in order to locate Garth, unaware that Garth and Tula are working undercover. Robin doesn't mention his reason for calling and it would be four months until readers would see the team reunite, sans Garth at first.
  9. Batman Family #6 (07-08/76) The first appearance of the character who came to be known as Duela Dent, Joker's Daughter or Harlequin (and other names and disguises) came shortly before the Teen Titans series returned. Both were written by Bob Rozakis and he soon brought her into the group.
.....For what would eventually be a team of fifteen characters, that's not much of a showing for four years. Gar Logan's and Mal Duncan's absences here don't seem so dramatic. They're no more absent than Lilith or Hawk and Dove. Or Gnarrk. Robin's presence, had it been documented here, would have nearly tripled that list. There also seemed little point in trying to ascertain the chronology for the appearances of Dick and Roy's Earth-2 counterparts:
  1. Adventure Comics #438 (03-04/75)- #443 (01-02/75) An unused 1940's script for a Seven Soldiers of Victory story is newly drawn by various artists. Earth-2 Speedy appears with Green Arrow in the first and last chapters and are the focus in #439 (05-06/75).
  2. Justice League Of America #123 (10/75)- #124 (11/75) The adult Earth-2 Robin is part of the annual JLA/JSA Crisis, this one leading into the return of a JSA series with All-Star Comics #58 (01-02/76)- #74 (09-10/78), continuing after the Implosion in Adventure Comics.
.....In addition to the ten characters listed in the first paragraph and the two introduced in the above checklist (Golden Eagle and Duela), the remaining three characters who would have been the focus of this were: Betty Kane (the other Bat-Girl, not Barbara Gordon), who had not been seen since before the Teen Titans formed in 1964; Gar (Beast Boy), who had not been seen since before the Doom Patrol 'died' (technically, he wasn't in the last issue); and Karen Beecher (Bumblebee), who would be introduced in the revival. Next, Mal and Gar return in Part 6.


  1. Thanks for this list, pblfsda. I've been combing ebay to complete my collection. It's good to get a run down on these more obscure issues. I wish that DC would reprint the original TT series and crossovers with other titles like Brave and the Bold - plus these bridging issues pre NTT in a series of collections. I know a lot of new fans have never seen the original TT series at all because it's not available in reprints and they don't go to the trouble of tracking down and collecting the original individual issues. Anyway, your run down is much appreciated!

  2. There is (or was, since it's probably out of print by now) an archive with the three tryouts From B&B and SHOWCASE and the first five issues. There's more available in SHOWCASE PRESENTS... if you don't mind black and white. I have the first volume. Supposedly there's a second volume containing the WORLD'S FINEST appearance but I haven't found it. I believe it covers everything up to Haney's return. I have seen SHOWCASE PRESENTS... for Robin as well as Kid Flash. An enormous number of consecutive solo stories and random guest appearances manage to squeeze in there. At the end of June there is scheduled to be the first reprint (in color) of AQUAMAN: DEATH OF A PRINCE, collecting all the ADVENTURE COMICS and AQUAMAN stories I've listed above. The details are in Diamond Previews #270 (03/11) on page 113. The numbers the give mean that it would include the Aqualad origin. (Hope you haven't paid full price for those!)

  3. Ebay is a buyer's market right now, even for vintage comics. I don't understand why DC doesn't reprint all the early Titans stuff. That would let younger fans understand how the characters started and be a bonus for older collectors. I guess DC's heart is not in promoting the Titans right now. They've been getting the short end of the stick for years.

  4. For the longest time I assumed that the reason that many of these older titles were neglected was because of conflicts with contemporary continuity. Although DC has recently resurrected the practice of 'in print' letters' pages, those started to disappear about a decade into post-Crisis continuity and were gone completely in another five(?) years. With little coherent consistent communication with new readership, fielding questions about the discrepancies between the "pre-" and the "post-" would be left to the whims of comment boards and out of editorial control. So they just did Golden Age Archives and current trades.

    That just seemed more likely to me than the "out of sight, out of mind" dynamic, which might explain the absence of Metamorpho or Rip Hunter trades, but certainly not the Teen Titans, who've been more prolific since 1980 than before.