Preparing for the new show or just brushing up on The Teen Titans?
We’ve got you covered!
Our format on DFSG is simple:
One essential version of the character or team’s origin, one that will give new readers the information they need to move forward.
Three tales that not only entertain, but give the new reader a comprehensive view of character or team.
One alternate reality tale that exemplifies the character or team’s versatility.
Teen Titans: Year One #1-6 (2008)
Written by Amy Wolfram
Art by Karl Kerschl, Serge LaPointe, John Rauch and Stephanie Peru
Though not as serious as some of their later adventures, Year One gives readers new and old a fun look at the early days of the team. Many of the original stories now suffer from age, but this series outlines everything one would need to start. Karl Kerschl’s cartoony compliments Wolfram’s writing, as she was one of the contributors to the Teen Titans animated series. This series acts as a nice bridge for those fans, while managing to introduce many distinctly comic book concepts.
The New Teen Titans #1-12 (1980)
Written by Marv Wolfman and George Pérez
Art by George Pérez, Curt Swan, Romeo Tanghal, Frank Charamonte, Pablo Marcos, Jerry Serpe, John Drake and Adrienne Roy
“Starter Guide” couldn’t be more appropriate here.
When I say the first twelve issues, I mean that those will drive your interest to read the entire Wolfman/Pérez run. Here you will find the most beloved line-up, the most interesting characters and, especially if you continue past issue twelve, the most well known tales of the Titans. Wolfman and Pérez crafted a run that holds up against any other in comic book history, and maybe is only rivaled in momentum by the Lee/Ditko run on The Amazing Spider-Man. Nearly every issue plants the seeds for the next and, though he misses a few issues here and there, Pérez crafts the definitive visages of the characters within. The team of Pérez, Tanghal and Roy have an especially noticeable synergy. The New Teen Titans are seen by many as the only ones that really matter and for good reason. It’s something very special, and you’ll know that from the first page.
Young Justice #1-6 (1998)
Written by Peter David
Art by Todd Nauck, Lary Stucker, Jason Wright and Digital Chameleon
You might be thinking “Hey Vinny, that doesn’t say Teen Titans…did you screw this up?”
I did not.
Young Justice took the next generation of DC heroes and, after years of clamoring, brought back a more traditional Titans team. I mean, traditional outside of the face that they weren’t called Teen Titans.
Tim Drake -the wildly popular third Robin who took the mantle on his own.
Bart Allen – Wally’s version of Kid Flash who came from the future and went under the moniker of Impulse.
Connor Kent – the clone of Superman who absolutely was not called “Superboy“, until he decided he was okay with that.
Regardless of their wild origins, fans immediately took to the trio. Soon, a new Wonder Girl, along with some new female heroes, joined the fray. Young Justice leads into the next great era of Teen Titans, and is a book not given enough credit for its innovation.
Teen Titans #1-12 (2003)
Written by Geoff Johns
Art by Mike McKone, Tom Grummett, Marlo Alguiza, Jeromy N. Cox, Nelson, Norm Rapmund and Kevin Conrad
Not unlike The New Teen Titans, the first twelve issues of this seminal series will provide great incentive to keep reading through the run. Johns and company finally unite the most beloved members of The New Teen Titans with Young Justice, creating the dream team that the title deserved. Johns finds an uncanny balance between nostalgia and innovation, showing great attention to detail when handling these now classic characters. Fan-favorite villains return to challenge The Titans, all while we learn more about the younger generation of DC heroes. Be on the look out for one big change in codename, it really brings the story full circle.
An Alternate Universe
Teen Titans: The Lost Annual (2008)
Written by Bob Haney
Art by Jay Stephens, Mike Allred and Laura Allred
The last Teen Titans story written by their Co-Creator Bob Haney is a trip, and it should be. Acclaimed cartoonist Jay Stephens pencils with ink and color from the every groovy Allreds. Originally solicited as the Teen Titans Swingin’ Elseworlds Special in 2003, the bizarre tale would not see release for another five years. Inside, you’ll encounter a swinging romp through the Silver Age where the terrific teens must rescue a very special guest. A perfect creative team and tribute to the original tales.
I could gush over The New Teen Titans for a whole article, and might find an excuse to do so in the future. The big point is that, when presented well, The Teen Titans encapsulate everything cool about superhero comics. Legacy, adventure, youth and innovation should all bleed from a good comic, and these heroes were brought together to embody those elements. I debated adding the recent issues of Teen Titans (2016) as an intro into the contemporary DCU, but it is just a little too early to assess their impact. That said, I’ve really been enjoying the current run. The Teen Titans are an evergreen property and can lead the DCU into the future.
And boy oh boy, does DC know that.