So far, 2014 has been a rough one for DC’s Teen Titans, with their ongoing series never really clicking with readers, and now coming to an end with issue #30. But 2014 is still the team’s 50th Anniversary year, and DC plans to commemorate it with a Teen Tians: Earth One original graphic novel this coming Fall by writer Jeff Lemire and artists Terry and Rachel Dodson.
In an exclusive with Comic Book Resources, writer Jeff Lemire (Animal Man, Justice League Dark) explained his love for the most popular version of the team, Marv Wolfman and George Perez’ New Teen Titans, which was DC’s biggest seller for most of the eighties: “I’ve always said that those two guys and that book, in particular, was my introduction to comics. Marv Wolfman and George Pérez were the first creators whose work I followed avidly. The New Teen Titans from the ’80s was like my Bible as a kid. I read every issue over and over and over again. It’s really what got me into comics, and DC Comics, specifically. So for me, to get to take those characters and concepts and put a modern spin on them and try to recapture the feeling that I had while reading those books, without just redoing those stories, is something really challenging.”
Like the previous Earth One OGN’s for Superman and Batman, this one also exists in a continuity-free world, allowing readers a fresh start coming in without any baggage. In Teen Titans: Earth One, one major departure is that these kids aren’t sidekicks; in fact, there are no adult superheroes in their world. Because of this, Lemire has chosen to make up his team of the non-legacy characters who made up the bulk of the team in the eighties, Cyborg, Starfire, Raven, Changeling, Jericho, and Terra. So no Robin/Nightwing, and no Donna Troy/Wondergirl, at least not yet, although future installments could find a way to work some of those characters in: according to Lemire, “That doesn’t mean that moving forward, in Volume 2 and onward, new versions of characters like Robin or Aqualad or whoever might work their way in, in a new way. But for the start, anyway, there are definitely no sidekicks.”
As for who the villain will be, Lemire will be going with the Titan’s #1 baddie, Deathstroke, a villain with deep ties to members Jericho and Terra. Lemire hopes that this will be volume one of a trilogy, with one new installment each year. Although no Earth One OGN’s were released in 2013, DC remains committed to the idea, with both the Superman and Batman hardcovers having sold well. Dan Didio says much more is on the way: A third volume of Superman, with returning writer J. Michael Straczynski and new artist Adrian Syaf, and a second volume of Batman: Earth One from Geoff Johns and artist Gary Frank. The highly anticipated Wonder Woman: Earth One by Grant Morrison and Yanick Paquette is also coming along, but it won’t be seen till late 2015 at the earliest.