The New Teen Titans

The New Teen Titans
New Teen Titans Tor Books review
  • North American Publisher / ISBN: Tor Books - 0-523-49019-4
  • Release date: 1982
  • Contains adult content?: no
  • Does this pass the Bechdel test?: yes
  • Positive minority portrayal?: yes
  • CATEGORIES: Superhero

A bit of an oddity, this, and not the best way of enjoying these stories.

In the 1970s and 1980s, Marvel and DC were experimenting with various formats for reprinting their back catalogue. One adopted by Marvel was the pocket-sized paperback collection. Most of those printed one original comics page per book page, which made them a bit hard to read. For three volumes of Conan The Barbarian, however, the comics pages were broken up into their individual panels and reformatted, so that those panels could be reproduced at a larger scale. This first collection of Marv Wolfman and George Pérez’s 1980 hit teen superhero team adopts a similar strategy, with Bob Rozakis and Albert DeGuzman breaking up Pérez’s detailed panels so that each original page takes up two or three pages of the reprint. Where there was once a full-page splash, the page is cut back and the speech balloons re-arranged. The difference from Marvel’s Conan series is that those were reprinted in colour, where this is black and white.

It  isn’t very satisfactory. The stories themselves, showing the teams’ formation and their first encounters with Gordanians, the Terminator and the Fearsome Five, are fine, though this collection of the preview from DC Comics Presents and the first three issues of the regular series shows Wolfman and Pérez still getting settled in to the title. Pérez’s pencils are excellent, especially once Romeo Tanghal comes in on inks. But the loss of Pérez’s full layouts is to be regretted, and it’s not always easy to know which order to read panels in. Worse, some panels are missing, and it is noticeable when someone reacts to something that hasn’t been said. To cap it all, the collection ends on a cliff-hanger.

Back in 1982, when reading these stories otherwise necessitated searching the back-issue boxes at comic stores and paying whatever inflated price the owner had come up with, a collection such as this might appeal. These days, however, these comics are reprinted in a far more satisfying format, in New Teen Titans volume 1 and Omnibus 1.