DC Comics has published some great original stories through the Earth One series of graphic novels. Jeff Lemire talks about his new take on the team, their history, and writing a brand new chapter for the Titans.
Q1: You mentioned before that “The New Teen Titans” by Marv Wolfman and George Pérez was your introduction to comics as a child. Was this a factor in your decision to do a Teen Titans original graphic novel?
Jeff Lemire: Absolutely. I loved Wolfman and Pérez's Titans in the 80's as a child. It was the first comic book I truly became a fan of. So there was already a deep seeded affection for these characters when the book was offered to me.
Q2: Did you choose this roster of Titans based on your love of that series? How did you decide which members would found the team?
JL: I loved how Marv and George revamped the TITANS in the 80's by bringing in a brand new cast of young heroes to mix, heroes that were unique characters and not sidekicks or variations on existing superheroes.
For my purposed here, I wanted a fresh and clean take on a teen super-team without having to rely on other heroes or continuity. So I gravitated to these unique teen characters Marv and George had created, and re-envisioned them through my own sensibilities along with artist Terry Dodson, who really helped them come to life.
Q3: What was it like taking on these characters that you love? A dream come true or nerve-wracking?
JL: Dream come true. It's exciting and challenging, but I really felt I had a story and a take on these characters that was new and unique, but still kept some of the aspects I loved.
Q4: The Earth One line of original graphic novels is free of continuity from the rest of the DC Universe. Can you talk about what was different/what you enjoyed about working in this format?
JL: It's fantastic. I can literally create my own work here, without worrying about what anyone else is doing or what has come before. It's like writing the Teen Titans movie in that I can make it accessible to new readers and tell a self-contained story.
Q5: You’ve mentioned that there are no adult superheroes in the “Teen Titans: Earth One, Vol. 1” universe, which means no sidekicks. How does this change the roster, and how will this affect the Titans if they’re in a world with no adult superheroes?
JL: A soon as you introduce a sidekick or a variation on an adult superhero (Robin, Wondergirl, Kid Flash etc.) you then need to also establish the adult hero, since this world is free of any previous continuity. That adds all kinds of backstory and complications. Approaching it the way I did, it keeps the concept totally clean, and it makes these young characters totally unique in a much more grounded world. They are the only ones with powers and abilities. This is totally new and overwhelming to them and the world at large. It suited the story I wanted to tell much more.
That's not to say some of the characters I mentioned won't appear in subsequent volumes, however. But if I do a Nightwing or a Wonder Girl it would have to make sense within the perimeters I set up here.
Q6: If you could have hung out with any superhero in high school, who would it have been?
JL: I don't know about High School, I've tried to wipe that period of my life from my mind. But as a kid reading Teen Titans, I had a major crush on Donna Troy.
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