Who’s Who in the Teen Titans

In this WHO'S WHO "best of" special, we celebrate the history of the TEEN TITANS! To coincide with the premiere of THE TITANS season 3 on HBO Max, Shag and Rob present a titanic look back at the Teen Titan-related entries from various incarnations of WHO'S WHO!

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36 responses to “Who’s Who in the Teen Titans

  1. Since I listened to this last night, I’ve had something Shag said rattling around in my head. Shag, you mentioned that you’ve owned a collection of the Wolfman/Perez Titans series for years and that you’ve tried to read it more than once and had only gotten 6 issues in before stopping. And that you will have to try it again.

    And I just wanted to say, it’s okay to not like something enough to finish it. It’s okay to not really be into a work of art that people saying is great, or a classic, or important to its medium. And we can’t force ourselves to like something by repeated exposure. Even if we *respect* something’s merits, it’s possible to still not love it. And that’s totally okay.

    It’s okay if this run of comics just isn’t for you.

    A few years ago, I bought a big expensive handcover omnibus of the Lee/Kirby Fantastic Four run. One of the big universally praised and historic runs of comics in the superhero genre. The Jack Kirby art is undeniably gorgeous. And I WANTED to love it. I felt that it was an IMPORTANT, SEMINAL WORK that I SHOULD love, and SHOULD own, and SHOULD appreciate and cherish….

    …But I didn’t. And I ended up selling the FF omnibus to a used bookstore. And then that sense of silly obligation to what I SHOULD own and SHOULD love got the better of me again. And I bought the omnibus again, at full price. But I still didn’t love it. And I ended up selling this second copy to the same used book store.

    This was not a healthy behavior from me, and a tremendous waste of money that I could have spent on something that I ACTUALLY liked. And no matter how much I tried, I just can’t force myself to love any Silver Age superhero comics outside of the Amazing Spider-Man, which I legitimately love.

    I have the feeling that this run of New Teen Titans, is doing the same thing to you. You know a lot of people who love it, and think it’s important, and historic and influential. But maybe you don’t like it as much as you feel you’re supposed to.

    That’s okay. Don’t force feed yourself if you don’t truly love it.

    1. Great point. I had the Jack Kirby Jimmy Olsen books for years but never read them. Deciding I needed to encourage myself, I forked out many pounds sterling for the Fourth World Omnibus a few years back. It’s still on the shelf, looking gorgeous, but unread.

      Now, if I’d managed to get myself put on hiatus during The Covid…

      In other news, I think I picked up some subtext in this fun episode… at some point Marv Wolfman had writer’s block, and there was a Titans Hunt?

      1. Titans Hunt was where I stepped off the Titans Express and booked escapist passage elsewhere. As for having difficulty cracking the Wolman/Perez run, I think it took some time for that team to get really cooking. If you want to give it one final go, I recommend starting with issue 20 and moving forward from there.

        My first Wolfman/Perez Titans comic was #21 and I was instantly hooked. When I went through back issue bins, I found the earlier stories less enthralling. Issue #1 was a confusing, off-putting mess of a story that I genuinely disliked. The Trigon arc from 1981 was nowhere near as epic as the Trigon arc from 1985.

    2. I’m not one of those people that swears off any movie made before I was born, but the simple fact is that the majority of the stuff I truly adore and respond to was made to be experienced within that period. There’s also a clear demarcation point between old and new Hollywood, stage and method acting, so on and so forth. The Wizard of Oz is an undeniable classic, but ask me to name another film from 1939, or if I’ve seen another Judy Garland flick, or how many musicals I love that weren’t produced in the 1970s. I’ve read a lot of Golden Age comics for research purposes, and gotten a kick out of some of it, but for pure reading entertainment could recommend very, very little (especially with regard to a “DC” and “Marvel” that didn’t truly exist yet.) I’ll be edgy and controversial by saying that I think the Silver Age was the worst extended period in comics; a suffocating era of pandering conformity and trivial commercial juvenalia that only occasionally stumbled across something approximating artistry. It’s corny formulaic tripe, the way Elvis and early Beatles are only mindblowing in a whitebread world dominated by Perry Como, rockin’ the suburbs. I feel like T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents and the Ditko/Gill Charlton Action Heroes are about the only material I get a kick out of from that period. Again, I’ve tried, both for research and fun, but it’s almost invariable a drag, man. I’m at an age where I’m seeing once broadly acknowledged and appreciated works fall into irrelevance, especially ones that broke boundaries and made advances now taken for granted. Upon reappraisal, setting aside the period accomplishments, they are often found wanting in retrospect.

      I guess what I’m saying is that I saw Citizen Kane the one time, and I’m good. Ditto The Godfather and Scarface, much more popular and modern pieces that just aren’t my bag either. It doesn’t mean that they’re unimportant or that there’s any value judgments to be made regarding a person’s level of appreciation for them. It’s just that once you’ve reached an age where you don’t feel the need to prove anything to others, once you’re confident enough that you’ve given essential works a fair chance to have a proper perspective, you’re also aware that you’ve got a limited allotment of hours left to do something with that education and personal preference. Brian DePalma would be nothing without Alfred Hitchcock, but in the still too rare instance that I watch a film for pure gratification, I’d prefer one by DePalma. Plus, I still haven’t seen Phantom of the Paradise. I need to get around to that sometime…

      1. “I’ll be edgy and controversial by saying that I think the Silver Age was the worst extended period in comics; a suffocating era of pandering conformity and trivial commercial juvenalia that only occasionally stumbled across something approximating artistry. It’s corny formulaic tripe, the way Elvis and early Beatles are only mindblowing in a whitebread world dominated by Perry Como, rockin’ the suburbs.”

        I don’t think this is as transgressive a statement as you may fears others may take it. Because it’s true.

        I have a lot of love for the fruits of the Silver Age of American comics. Well, I love what they were allowed to BECOME in subsequent decades, as the stranglehold of the Comics Code Authority loosened its fingers a bit, and the comics industry slowly crawled out of the genre-killing creative bottleneck of the late 50s/early 60s and the medium was allowed to breathe a bit easier. Not easily. Just easier than previous decades.

        But of the stuff actually published in the Silver Age, most of it hasn’t aged well. Both because of the retrograde social politics of the time, the enforced conformity of the CCA, or because what had been an experimental and frequently daring medium in the mid-50s with the explosion of horror, crime, science fiction and romance comics was funneled into mostly stodgy traditionalism shot through the prism of just superhero whackiness, funny animal books or Archie books which felt old even back then.

        It pains me to see how much farther ahead of us the Japanese and European comics industries are in the genres and types of stories told, the wide range of target audiences, or in their ability to win much more mainstream readership outside of a niche collector’s market. With the British invasion/Vertigo waves, the increasing availability of manga, the current YA comics explosion, and the popularity of web comics, American comics have only slowly clawed their way out of the pit they were tossed into at the beginning of the Silver Age.

        Most Silver Age comics are just a chore to read for me. The dialogue is stiff and often unnecessary, the stories compressed to the point of squeezing much of their charm out and not letting their innate whimsy breathe at all. It’s not just that they were written for kids, it’s that they were written for kids in 1959. I’ve found that I much prefer hearing Silver Age comics about a zebra-garbed Batman or Jimmy Olsen getting turtle powers DESCRIBED to me, than to actually read them myself.

  2. So, you’ve been doing movie toe-in flashback episodes, which means that the week before the new Suicide Squad movie full of obscure DC characters comes out you do one…
    About the Teen Titans.

    (I mean,I sort of get it, there’s a good chance there’ll be a bunch of short-lived characters that haven’t been in the promotions where you’d want to wait for, but it’s still amusing.)

  3. I was upset when dove died!
    1. after 1982 they lived in my city (san Francisco)
    2. THey TOOK the only superheroes that were about being brothers and turned it into “bad man redeemed by love. That could be Wolverine and Jean gray, that could be namor and whover or deathstoke or hex. bargh.

  4. 1) I like that you guys went to the trouble of doing a custom Titans Who’s Who bullet for this episode, and it works very well.

    2) What a scam. Just keep rearranging your binder why don’t you?

    3) Just to piss off the Titans fans, how about an all-killer, no-filler, ruthlessly essential reading list to get you through the actual really good stuff?

    ➧ The New Teen Titans (1981) #9-10: Deathstroke two-parter with perhaps the greatest example of Dick Grayson as an exemplary team leader.
    ➧ The New Teen Titans (1982) #19: One-and-done featuring Hawkman with the best George Pérez art of the period.
    ➲ The New Teen Titans (1982) #21-22: Solid introduction to Baron Blood before he gets ruined by interminable follow-up arcs.
    ➲ Keebler Company Presents DC Comics’ The New Teen Titans: Nostalgia is also a hell of a drug. Pérez interiors with Giordano instead of *ugh* Tanghal.
    ➲ The New Teen Titans (1983) #34: Breather issue with nice art and Deathstroke setting up…
    ➧ The New Teen Titans Annual (1983) #2: intro of Vigilante, vanguard “dark age of comics” crime/violence, & a top 10 Robin moment.
    ➧ The New Teen Titans (1984) #38-40 & Tales of the Teen Titans #41-44: The peak para-Judas Contract streak with Donna Troy & another quick Brother Blood.
    ➧ The New Teen Titans (1984) #1-5: The only Trigon arc that matters, with career high Pérez full art chores.
    ➲ The New Titans (1990) #62-65: “Titan Plague” grimdark proto-Hunt with Deathstroke, Tom Grummett & Al Vey,

    I could easily double the length of this list with worthwhile material, but if you’re looking for the greatest hits, that’s my mixtape.

    1. Excellent mixtape! My only addendum is The New Teen Titans (1988) #39 “Loving You”: A story about relationships and emotional maturity that emphasises just how much the various memebers of the Titans really do love one another with absolutely gorgeous Eduardo Barretto artwork.

      1. Not quite the last addendum! I also want to mention Tales of the Teen Tittans (1985) #55: Changeling and Deathstroke come to understand one another through a heartfelt talk when fisticuffs fail to solve old wounds.

        Apparently I like my Titans best when the stories deal in interpersonal relationships and emotional growth.

  5. Did Lillith/Omen NEVER get a Who’s Who profile of her own? That seems strange to me since I’ve been looking at the older Teen Titans series after reading the DC Rebirth Titans Series and Lillith was such a huge part of both. Granted she didn’t have the biggest presence during the Wolfman/Perez era, But she was a part of the Titans-centric Secret Origins Annual. (The First place I ever saw her btw)

  6. Personally, I run very hot and cold with the Teen Titans. While I am pretty indifferent to the original team, I positively love the Wolfman/Perez reboot. I felt the Baxter series wallowed too much in the soap opera melodrama and was dragged down by it until the series came to an ignominious end right after Zero Hour. I have great deal of for the Jurgens/Perez Teen Titans book from the 90s, but Devin Grayson’s reboot of the team in The Titans needs to be erased from existence, preferably with fire. I loved the team again when it started focusing on the Young Justice heroes, but the coolness was not meant to last unfortunately. Since then, I’ve not been too keen to get back into reading the team’s adventures, contenting myself with back issue reads.

    Anyway, thanks for another stroll down memory lane, guys!

  7. Love the Titans up through the end of the Titans Hunt. Of course my favorite periods are the original 60s issues written by Haney with art (at least inks) by Cardy, and then the initial Wolfman/Perez run up through the end of the first Baxter series arc. For me that series still holds up. Sure, the dialog is a bit more flowery than modern comics, but the characters, relationships and action are still top-notch. Personal tastes aside, it totally deserves the hype it still gets.

    I have only watched bits and pieces of the Titans show, mostly because the darkedy-dark-dark emo trailer is the antithesis of what I want out of Titans entertainment. My son swears the show improved greatly over the course of the series, particularly Season 2. But the adult nature kind of keeps me at bay because I usually like to watch these super hero things with the family. With the insane popularity of the two animated series, It’s kind of ridiculous that WB would make a live-action Titans show that isn’t accessible for everyone, but that problem goes much deeper than the Titans, me thinks.


    1. I agree with your take on the issues underlying Titans (and DC in general). I so wish I could watch a live-action Titans show with my daughter, but just watching the trailer by myself made me feel uncomfortable.

  8. My daughter is a Teen Titans fan, in general, and a Raven fan, in particular, primarily by way of Teen Titans Go! I’ll have to track down some classic New Teen Titans issues for her, so she can experience the source material.

    Me? I’m a Protector fan, all the way. Receiving the New Teen Titans Drug Awareness Special #3 in school jump-started my comic book collecting career. I remember being quite disappointed when I learned that he wasn’t a regular member of the team.

    Thanks for another amazing episode.

  9. Impresive podcast most impresive. ah night Wing king of the butts. Most strait women and gay men tend to agrea on Night Wing having the greatist butt in DC comics. So in a way he does have that comment with Capt. America is in Marvel movies. Well you have had this up like maybe three days he rang at 21 comments on it. I’m thinking the Titans are well-liked on this board. This Diana Troy. Yet her origin is a bit confusing, but let’s remember before Bob Haney took it upon himself to make up for the teen Titans. She was a filmstrip. Well a home movie of wonder woman and her teenage years that fought alongside her, her child version called wonder taught and her mom. Going on adventures. There is not one origin that she is had since then but has been that bizarre. This is stuff Bugs Bunny looks on this new. The mask and Loki would look at this concept and saying are you kidding me? So you have anything Haney did her a favor. Marv Wolfman however when he created crisis kind did her a disservice. He didn’t mean to of course. But, that’s what happened. Still at this point she’s fine.

    Best remembered as the den mother as well as a real mother to a child within DC comics. Much like Nightwing she, for better than her predecessor.To Land O Lakes just Diana Troy has it together a bit better. And on the other end their speedy, a.k.a. Arsenal. I’m not even sure where to start. It is interesting before he went back to marvel at one time in the 50s of all things Jack Kirby did do a run on green arrow. He’s the one that first created that origin were all he was lost on a desert island. And after he learned his training and thought the smugglers and they are before coming back to the mainland and becoming the green arrow you do too much changes to more Harper. But, then again enough people do if weird things Troy it didn’t really matter. They did a collection of Zachary’s work on green arrow I loll back when the arrow TV show was first announced. It was kind of fun. I’m saying this because I really don’t want to get into all the screwed up things that happened to speedy. As for the arrows. They’re not cheap specifically trick arrows. Having done some more checking to you it is not a cheap hobby.

    So that’s probably why he keeps the green arrows instead of getting yellow ones are red ones. Moving on to Tempest yeah I’m not calling rock letters straight Tempest. That was his best look and for sidekick he wasn’t bad. This is not much is been done with them other than becoming Tempest. He was fine in the teen Titans cartoon. But, I can’t think of any real big story that was done with him. His replacement got a little out of. I was on a black mamba became Aquaman’s second sidekick. Now his costume is the worst, but he definitely got an upgrade when when he got a red version of Aquaman’s old blue costume. That said the Aquaman holy war that would miniseries. I like the girl he dated. Whom was used to much better effect in the young justice videogame. Which I assume is close to the continuity of the young justice court I don’t really know.

    Kid flash Wally West DC’s current favorite kicking boy. Jesus they have done damage to this guy. In the 90s he was the flash of mistreated world and then for whatever reason when Barry was brought back they decided to just step all over Wally West. I’m just glad I’m not reading in the current comics run I’m hearing oy. And I will leave it at that cyborg is cool, a decent enough character. I haven’t seen this letter So from the only movie entry I’ve seen he was done fine but not great. Same with Harry was retreated elsewhere. Except for the cartoon. He seems for the good that cartoon as well as the 80s run of teen Titans. Or during the early 2000’s. Where he became a mentor to beast boy. That wasn’t bad either. But while he has been in the justice league. It hasn’t really been the best runs. In my opinion. There’s so much more that could be done with this character. Raven she was filed cartoon that’s all I have to say about her.

    *Fire is awesome I liked her in the comics as well as the cartoon. And the DC direct cartoons. Those movies that they put out there. Though I do find it funny that people thought she was based on Naomi Campbell. Since WinStar Farm was created Naomi was like 10 years old. Probably makes her feel old geez people. Success Frank pointed out she looks Puerto Rican. And from what I hear her appearance is based upon a well-known Puerto Rican singer from the 70s. Well, well-known enough I guess. I had never heard of her an chance to life me remember her name. I’ll have to look up later. I didn’t have any problem per se for the I am not Star fire book pages came out at the wrong time. But all is other weird ass books are being made like when he took a dump on Nubia. But, for the reviews I’ve seen that were being down the middle it was a decent enough bulk. Though I don’t think Nightwing was the kids father. Probably Jason Todd since there was some sort of limits quite large WinStar fired him in the one book. Chairman of the title of that they hang out with Arsenal. Since Nightwing doesn’t spend a lot of time with the kids. Thus it does not seem like you’ve been the father. That’s just not a style is in the book is around the family so now not buying it. Changeling kind of a cool character not sure why in the world he finds a good idea to bring back sprinkle beast boy.

    This is a much better game call he has been given a much better personality. In recent years. It’s the was just kind of shags many be in the 80s. Sorry shag. Jericho other than looking like the blonde version of that one guy from comic geek speak. I can’t think of anything to say about this man. They turned him into a villain because of his lack of popularity he was decent in the cartoon movie for Slade. This power is kind of useful he just hasn’t been used to its fullest potential. Moving along Hawk and Dove I’ve always liked talking to. Specifically when Rob left the book and Karl Kesel took over the book. The Sutherlands served that right now Karl has a comic coming out. But he’s funding through one of those websites. Looks like that could be fun. And now Firebird I like her she was good in the beast boy miniseries. Which was a certain mainstay at DC’s first stab at the Titans. Before he got the flash book. At any rate she became kind of a bad ass batgirl type character in that book. Subpanel think anyone’s done anything with her like that since. Though I kind of like there is the ultimate Nightwing fan girl. Though her being a competent superhero with that on there could avert much better. Or they could have made her a female version of Star Lord where no one knows who the heck flame bird is. And she’s kind of goofy but she’s good at what she does. This Titans themselves are fine. As it is black fire. Brother blood, well he’s there. Rob will be happy about his height and weight being close enough. Since I’m 2 inches shorter than him and weigh about 2 pounds more. On a good day. So close enough. Chesser… What was that old Muppets movie song? Moving along. So click the perfect song for this entry.

    The fearsome five they did much better within the Titans cartoon than here. Dr. light was still in the goofy boat before identity crisis brought him back. There is this team is fine. I did once use jinx the one from the comics not the one of the cartoon when making a doctor fate and creeper fanfiction. Where I met her the new Dr. fate and have them on a reality show where they fought crime don’t ask I must’ve been drinking too much that day. Slade. He’s a decent enough character I’ve enjoyed him in the TV shows the cartoons comics and the many different adaptations he’s been good. As well as his brief appearance within the Batman games. Tara I liked her better in the 90s. As well as when she was on the teen Titans cartoon. That’s pretty much all I have to say a bout her. Tighten towers looks cool and decent info on it I’m not sure I would try to build adult. I did once try to build out of cardboard boxs the G.I. Joe headquarters from the first comic book. It was fine this however looks like it would take a lot of work still the blueprints are not bad. Can’t wait till the next episode I am also still on U tube.

  10. The TT never clicked for me like it did for so many of my contemporaries. I loved the art and some of the plotting, but it was just so damn soapy to me… Just didn’t hit it for me. But I did learn, repeatedly, that Wolfman suffered from writer’s block! Was this something he admitted about his work or was this just fan assumption?

    Always good to hear the OG’s together again, even if it’s only for a bookends.

    1. Wolfman sometimes seems to talk more about his writer’s block than the stories he wrote. I think there’s some confusion on when he was actually “in” this mental state, but I think it’s actually after Perez first left the books the first time, and right before The Titans Hunt. The ongoing, seemingly never-ending Brother Blood saga (where Nightwing becomes a member of the cult as mentioned in his first Who’s Who entry) being the prime example. Basically the issues drawn by Eduardo Baretto, which is unfortunate, because they are great looking comics at least. But the book did become very stagnant, once the excruciating Blood story was over.


  11. Hey Rob and Shag ( or Shag and Rob), it was great to have a new episode of Who’s Who (even if it was a clip show). With so many fun episodes of Who’s Who it is hard to remember all of the past entries so pulling the entries into these themed shows is a terrific way to once again experience it.

    Since finishing Who’s Who I’ve been enjoying and working my way through both the JLI and the Invasion podcasts. Keep up the great work!

  12. This was fun look at past Who’s Who entries! It is fun to see these spotlight episodes to connect with some show/movie that’s coming out. Though I do agree with Jeff R. and ask, where’s the Suicide Squad clip show?! I want to hear about Polka-Dot Man again, dang it!

    Unlike a lot of the community, I don’t get the Teen Titans at all. In the few stories I’ve read, they all seemed like whiny teenagers. Even as a teenager, I didn’t want to hear about other whiny teenagers! I even went out of the way and started buying Team Titans just because of the Maguire covers and the “extreme-ness” still couldn’t save the team for me. And then there’s all the confusing titles; Teen Titans, New Teen Titans, Tales of the New Teen Titans, Son of Teen Titans, House of Titan-stein.

    Having said that about my dislike of Titans, I had so much enjoyment listening about the Tians from you guys! The Who’s Who show is always a must listen for me to hear your takes on these characters and, since my memory isn’t great, clips shows are great for me because they seem like new!

    Well done!

  13. I love the flashback episodes! Although I have listened to every past episode I keep finding myself saying “ah..” when one of you says something interesting.

    In 1980 I was 15, and while I enjoyed many DC and Marvel books at the time, I was getting closer to dropping comics. I had bought the re-boot of the Titans in the late 70s but found it just OK. But then came the New Teen Titans and to this day I credit that book with keeping my interest in comics. By the time the mid-80’s came around I was hooked for life. So I will always have a special place in my heart for the Titans (especially drawn by George Perez and later JLGL PBHN).

    During the pandemic I have re-read all TItans comics from the Silver Age and Bronze Age Omnis. Some of these were pretty rough. But knowing where it is going really helps. Marv and George bringing the “X-Men” and Marvel aesthetic to the title was a shot in the arm for DC.

    Regarding the show, I agree with you guys that it is not the show I wanted, or would have made. But I am strangely compelled to watch it – I have to say it is pretty well done. It is cast really well and the suits are amazing, as you mention in the segment about Dove. They are getting to that “family” status – we will see. So let’s see how Season 3 goes… (holding out hope for Donna).

    As always, Who’s Who is the best. Take care guys.

  14. Hey guys,

    That was nice. It was pretty heavy on the Wolfman/Perez era, but that’s the period best known and probably most loved. If y’all were looking to get/generate traffic based on the new Titans season 3 debut, that makes sense.

    It’s nice to have Titans stuff together. But even a clip show should should have something new, if just to justify the investment of time by the listeners who have listened to ALL the Who’s Who podcasts thus far.

    1. I don’t know about that.

      The boys were clear about what this was gonna be, so there’s a choice. Do I want to indulge in nostalgia (and at my age, I’ve forgotten everything that was ever said, we ARE talking about episodes first aired YEARS ago), or do I feel I don’t need to revisit older material? If the former, doesn’t matter. If the latter, I can just decide to skip and I’ve missed little. If it’s a hybrid, then I’m resenting the clips while I wait for new content. I don’t think Rob and Shagg did it wrong.

  15. Shag has said again and again how great The Titans Hunt is and I never believed him. After Perez left the Titans, it was really bad for Wolfman. So I finally jumped in after hearing the Marv had a writer’s block during the bad times. Wow, Shag was right. The Titans Hunt is very good and I didn’t even know that version of the Titans ever got good again. I was happy to read it! Thanks Shag.

  16. Just a quick note that I was listening to this episode through Castbox and it was all screwed up. Halfway through the Raven entry, it started over from the beginning and then cut out mid sentence.

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