I've been sitting on this for a couple of weeks now, trying to see what I could find out myself and these questions may be more speculative than factual. Still the Original Teen Titans always get shunted aside for the New Teen Titans so here's to Comics' Fab Four (or Five) (or Nine):

Above is the first true appearance of the Teen Titans. The previous year in Brave & Bold #54, Robin, Kid Flash and Aqualad teamed up but not as the Titans. Now Wonder Girl is a member and they are organized. So I ask:

  • Did they ever mention how the guys met Wonder Girl? It seems that there are missing adventures. Technically this is the debut of this Wonder Girl though you would never know if you read it. How did readers react to her? Was DC called out for putting a teenage Wonder Woman on a current team? Did anyone care?
  • All kidding aside, why was Speedy left out? In both TEEN TITANS #4 (Au'66) and TT #11 (O'67), his appearance is a big thing but when he joins for real in TT #19 (F'69), there's little fanfare.
  • Aqualad was phased out for Speedy. Yet Aqualad was a big part of the Aquaman cartoon show. Were the writers simply tired of trying to fit him in the stories?
  • They introduced the Ant in TT #5 (O'66) and the Russian Starfire in TT #18 (D'68). Were they ever intended to become members? They seem such oddities now.
  • There seemed to be little contact with the Justice League and never in a good way like TT #25 (F'70). Did the JLA supervise the Titans in any way? Why didn't the two teams join forces? What did the Titans think about Snapper Carr?
  • How careful were Kid Flash and Speedy about their secret identities? Mister Jupiter knew them thus he was privy to the Flash's and Green Arrow's as well. Did he know Batman's?
  • Mal--was there any justification to him joining the team besides diversity? And what's your favorite Mal persona? Tan suit? Hornblower? Guardian? Herald? Can anyone add scans please? I seem to have lost that ability.
  • Was Lilith patterned after Marvel Girl? Psychic redhead in a green mini-dress? Was she really Juliet/Esmeralda? Was there a Silver Age origin for her?
  • Did Bat-Mania affect the Teen Titans?
  • Was Speedy's drug use brought up? Robin going to college?
  • Were the Titans brought up much in Batman, Detective, Flash and Aquaman?
  • Could Kid Flash have gotten his own book? Technically he was the most "super" Titan and was featured a lot there and in Flash.
  • Was Wonder Girl ever mentioned in Wonder Woman as the Separate Version?
  • Why did Aqualad get several solo stories in Teen Titans, not Aquaman?
  • The Five Teen Titans vs the Original X-Men: Who Wins? My money's on the Titans! Your pick?

The Teen Titans are a favorite of mine for the longest time but until 1980, DC treated them like second class citizens. Hopefully you all share my feelings and will be kind enough to respond.

Meanwhile,

TITANS GO!

 

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As much as leaving Speedy out seems like a no-brainer in retrospect, I can see the case having been made that he was not only visually too similar to Robin (same mask, similar short-sleeved red tunic, yet another red & yellow color scheme...), but having a team member named "Speedy" and a team member with super-speed (Kid Flash) would have seemed, to the editors at the time, to invite confusion!  Aqualad may not have brought much to the table, but he didn't have the potential drawbacks that Speedy did, at least on paper.  Add to the fact that during the time period the Titans were formed, the Filmation cartoon had brought Aquaman & Co. to what had to have been the peak of his popularity ever, while all the signs were that Green Arrow was on a one-way trip to oblivion.

It should also be noted that, while they were all grouped together as "sidekicks", the original (plus Speedy) Titans represented different types of subsidiary characters: Robin was an assistant/apprentice, having Batman's back in the field and occasionally handling cases on his own.   Kid Flash & Wonder Girl, on the other hand, were more like spin-off characters, like Captain Marvel Jr. & Supergirl, who occasionally helped out their respective heroes, but most often operated on their own.  Aqualad was actually a throwback to the pre-Robin type of sidekick, who was basically just there for the hero to have someone to talk to, and to make the hero look smarter, braver, and more powerful in contrast to him.  While Dick Grayson & Roy Harper brought certain Olympic level skills to the table when they met Batman & Green Arrow, Aqualad not only wasn't an exceptional Atlantean teen, he wasn't even up to the level of an average one, which was why he'd been banished to the surface in the first place.  Aquaman was pretty much stuck with him because he'd never survive alone on the surface or underwater without someone watching out for him.  Speedy was similar to Robin, only with a better costume and much less gumption--in the Green Arrow feature, Speedy was so subordinate to GA that there was barely a character there at all!  No wonder the Titans' creators ignored him, and when they did finally bring him on board, the brash young archer we saw in the TT bore a closer resemblance to the Avenger, Hawkeye, than to Scarlet Cipher DC had published previously.

Or to summarise, Aqualad was useless.  :D

Dave Elyea said:

As much as leaving Speedy out seems like a no-brainer in retrospect, I can see the case having been made that he was not only visually too similar to Robin (same mask, similar short-sleeved red tunic, yet another red & yellow color scheme...), but having a team member named "Speedy" and a team member with super-speed (Kid Flash) would have seemed, to the editors at the time, to invite confusion!  Aqualad may not have brought much to the table, but he didn't have the potential drawbacks that Speedy did, at least on paper.  Add to the fact that during the time period the Titans were formed, the Filmation cartoon had brought Aquaman & Co. to what had to have been the peak of his popularity ever, while all the signs were that Green Arrow was on a one-way trip to oblivion.

It should also be noted that, while they were all grouped together as "sidekicks", the original (plus Speedy) Titans represented different types of subsidiary characters: Robin was an assistant/apprentice, having Batman's back in the field and occasionally handling cases on his own.   Kid Flash & Wonder Girl, on the other hand, were more like spin-off characters, like Captain Marvel Jr. & Supergirl, who occasionally helped out their respective heroes, but most often operated on their own.  Aqualad was actually a throwback to the pre-Robin type of sidekick, who was basically just there for the hero to have someone to talk to, and to make the hero look smarter, braver, and more powerful in contrast to him.  While Dick Grayson & Roy Harper brought certain Olympic level skills to the table when they met Batman & Green Arrow, Aqualad not only wasn't an exceptional Atlantean teen, he wasn't even up to the level of an average one, which was why he'd been banished to the surface in the first place.  Aquaman was pretty much stuck with him because he'd never survive alone on the surface or underwater without someone watching out for him.  Speedy was similar to Robin, only with a better costume and much less gumption--in the Green Arrow feature, Speedy was so subordinate to GA that there was barely a character there at all!  No wonder the Titans' creators ignored him, and when they did finally bring him on board, the brash young archer we saw in the TT bore a closer resemblance to the Avenger, Hawkeye, than to Scarlet Cipher DC had published previously.

Richard said: I never understood why Green Arrow was left out of the original JLA. He was in a backup feature just like the Martian Manhunter and Aquaman, and had been around since 1940. Leaving out Speedy also made no sense.

Well he was in by issue 4 so whatever was going on - or not - it didn't last long.

Andy

O.K., I finally had time to go through the letter columns of Teen Titans, to determine if there were any editorial comments with regard to (1) whether Speedy was considered for Titans membership; and (2) any early efforts to reconcile the existence of Wonder Girl as a separate character from Wonder Woman.

 

I checked every "Tell It to the Titans" letter column from the first one, in Teen Titans # 2 (Mar.-Apr., 1966) to # 21 (May-Jun., 1969)---the issue which carried letters of comment on # 19, the issue in which Speedy became a regular participant.  Unfortunately, my research was almost, but not quite, comprehensive.  A couple of the stories (# 4, # 19) I have only in reprint form and could not consult the letter columns from those.

 

In general, both George Kashdan and his replacement, Dick Giordano, tapped danced around both questions.

 

First, I want to begin with some educated guesses.  I don't know if the Robin-Kid Flash-Aqualad team-up in The Brave and the Bold # 54 (Jun.-Jul., 1964) was intended as a deliberate pilot to see if a team of junior super-heroes would fly.  Or if it was just another entry under the title's new team-up format, and it proved to be so popular that DC then decided to turn the idea into an on-going series.

 

Either way, there are some logical reasons why Speedy and Wonder Girl were left out of the mix in B&B # 54.

 

At the time, the senior partners to Robin and Kid Flash and Aqualad---Batman, the Flash, Aquaman---all had their own titles, in which the junior partners appeared regularly (or, in the case of Kid Flash, semi-regularly).  On the other hand, not only did the Green Arrow not have his own title, his own series had folded a couple of months earlier---cancelled after World's Finest Comics # 140 (Mar., 1964).

 

Additionally, a sub-plot of the tale in B&B # 54 involved Kid Flash and Aqualad underestimating Robin's abilities, as they had super-powers and the Boy Wonder did not.  If Speedy, who also did not possess a super-power, had been included, it would have complicated that sub-plot.  (Not only would the script have had to ultimate justify Robin's capabilities, it would have had to have done so for Speedy, as well, but in a different manner.)

 

For those two reasons, I suspect Speedy was omitted from B&B # 54.  As to why there was no Wonder Girl, I can only theorise that B&B editor Murray Boltinoff was aware that, at the time, there was no separate Wonder Girl character---a remarkable attention, for Boltinoff, to continuity.  Or perhaps he just didn't want to step foot in the whole Wonder Woman/Girl/Tot mish-mash that Robert Kanigher had wrought.

 

However, when sales of B&B # 54 proved healthy enough to justify trying out a regular team of junior heroes, editor George Kashdan had no qualms about inserting the teen-aged Wonder Girl.  Either Kashdan wasn't aware of the spurious nature of her existence in Wonder Woman (quite possible) or he didn't think the readers would notice or care (also quite possible).

 

First, as to the matter of Speedy and Titans membership:

 

I found no comment by either Kashdan or Girodano in any of the letter columns which stated why Speedy was not in the original Titans line-up that debuted in The Brave and the Bold # 60 (Jun.-Jul., 1965).  In the first two Titans letter columns, appearing in Teen Titans # 3 and # 4, at least half of both columns featured letters clamouring for Speedy being added to the Titans roster.  Kashdan responded by saying, essentially, "We'll see ."

 

The requests for Speedy tapered off until his guest-star appearance in TT # 4 (Jul.-Aug., 1966).  That instigated another wave of Speedy-as-a-Titan requests, appearing in the letter column of issue # 7 (Jan.-Feb., 1967).  Despite the readership's apparent groundswell desire to see the Boy Bowman in the Titans, editor Kashdan replied thusly:

 

We're still awaiting the readers' final verdict . . . .  If enough of you want Speedy as Titan number five, he'll string his bow, sling on his quiver, and zing right back onto the Titan scene.

 

While occasional requests for Speedy and other DC teen characters continued to appear in the subsequent letter columns, a letter from Chris B. SIbley, of Alderwood Manor, Washington, argued that the Titans should not become an army.  He was fine, however, with boosting the membership to five or six.  This letter appeared in TT # 12 (Nov.-Dec., 1967).  Kashdan replied:

 

For the time being we'll keep the TT's at their present strength of four---with occasional guest shots.  Of course, if the last issue, featuring SPEEDY, brings a flood of requests to make him a full-timer, well, we may have second thoughts on the matter.

 

TT # 13 (Jan.-Feb., 1968) carried the comments on that second guest-appearance by Speedy in issue # 11, and it was, indeed, a deluge of requests to add the Boy Bowman to the Titans' ranks.  But Kashdan continued to tap dance around the matter:

 

Who knows?  [Speedy] may yet turn out to be a permanent TT . . . but we're making no promises!

 

Teen Titans # 15 (May-Jun., 1968) was the first issue edited under Dick Giordano (although the story itself was one from Kashdan's inventory).  The letter column contained one letter arguing that Aqualad was fairly useless to the team and another letter insisting that Speedy be made a Teen Titan.

 

As to the point that Aqualad did not contribute to the Titans, Giordano stated:

 

I must admit that it is a point well taken; we DO have to reach at times in order to have Aqualad utilize his powers. but I'd hate to hear the voices in anger, if we dropped him from the Titans.

 

In response to making Speedy a Titan, he said:

 

ALL RIGHT, ALREADY!  SPEEDY WILL . . . make another guest appearance . . . soon!  I know, I know, everybody and his brother wants more members for the TT's (with the overwhelming majority favoring SPEEDY).  But please, fellas, give me some time to think it out!  I'm new here . . . .  The best I can promise now is another guest shot for Speedy . . . .

 

TT # 16 (Jul.-Aug., 1968) brought more requests for Speedy, and Giordano countered with:

 

Believe it or not, we get quite a few letters that ask that Speedy not be included as a regular.

 

A letter in TT # 18 (Nov.-Dec., 1968) iterated the notion that Aqualad was too difficult to use in stories and suggested replacing him with Speedy.  Apparently, by then, Giordano had had time to "think it out", for he replied:

 

We won't replace Aqualad with Speedy, but from now on, we won't force the plot to fit Aqualad's power.  If water is a natural element in our plot, Aqualad will be made to utilize his power.  If not, he will join in the action in whatever capacity he can or be given a vacation for an issue.

 

 

That seemed to settle the issue.  The next issue---# 19---included Speedy in another guest-shot, and the ending gave no hint that it was Aqualad's last issue as a regular Titan or that the Boy Bowman had taken over his locker in the Titans' gym.  In issue # 20 (Mar.-Apr., 1969), Speedy was simply there and Aqualad wasn't.

 

It wasn't until issue # 21 (May-Jun., 1969) that Speedy's status was confirmed, both within and without the fictional conceit of the series.

 

On page 20, panel 5, Wonder Girl chastises Speedy for a hot-headed, impulsive action (italics mine):  "I think the newest member of the T.T. needs a lesson in teamwork!"

 

And in the letter column, Dick Giordano announces:

 

Speedy's in!  For the time being, anyway!  Speedy will be, more or less, replacing Aqualad until the Wet One is finished fighting monsters and things in the mag he shares with Aquaman.

 

And of course, Speedy's stint as a Teen Titan turned out to be as "temporary" as when Uncle Charley filled in as housekeeper at the Douglas house until Bub got back from Ireland, over in My Three Sons.

 

 

As to the matter of Wonder Girl's existence as a separate character from Wonder Woman, George Kashdan at least made an honest reply, in TT # 7, when M. Hutcheson of Ottawa, Canada, wrote:

 

TEEN TITANS is the greatest thing in Comic History.  But one question:  if Wonder Girl was disposed of in the WONDER WOMAN mag [a reference to the story "The End---or the Beginning?", from Wonder Woman # 158 (Nov., 1965)], what's she still doing in this club?  It's not that I don't like her, but I'm all mixed up.

 

Said Kashdan:

 

It's like this:  Robert Kanigher, who edits WONDER WOMAN, figured it was time to return to the "Golden Age" concept of the Amazing Amazon and eliminate such later creations as Wonder GIrl.  But good old TITAN editor, George Kashdan, liked our Wonder Chick and stuck by her.  Confused?  We'll add another note.  Originally, Wonder Girl was supposed to be Wonder Woman when she was younger.  But our W.G. is an up-to-date 1967-model teen-ager.  So what's her relation to W.W.?  That is something we're still trying to dope out.

 

Following that mea culpa, fans would occasionally write in with their ideas for Wonder Girl's origin, and they pretty much received a pat on the head and a "That's nice" from Kashdan.  As we all know, Wonder Girl didn't receive a real origin or explanation for her separate existence until Marv Wolfman wrote it in the second story appearing in Teen Titans # 22 (Jul.-Aug., 1969).

 

 

Whew!  Hope that helps.

 

 

Dave Elyea said:

I can see the case having been made that he was not only visually too similar to Robin

I don't know if it was the case earlier, but when I started reading Green Arrow stories in the late 50s, GA and Speedy were an obvious (even to a 10-year old) copy of Batman and Robin. They had an Arrow-Car, an Arrow-Cave and (I think) an Arrow-Plane.

There were many similarities between the Caped Crusaders and the Ace Archers but I never thought that Robin and Speedy looked that much alike. They gave Speedy a personality that he never had before. In fact, the Speedy of Teen Titans would never have used drugs like the Speedy of Green Lantern/Green Arrow. That Roy Harper was lost while the "hip" Roy found a home in TT.

Other questions:

  • The Good Commander already gave us a rundown of when the Titans first saw Robin's unmasked face and then his real name HERE. Did the Titans learn Robin's secret identity, and thus potentially Batman's before the JLA (except for Superman) did?
  • It always seemed to me that Kid Flash and Speedy never were that careful with their own secret identities. Were there ever any consequences?
  • After Teen Titans #26, Wonder Girl's powers were virtually ignored for a few years. Was that so she wouldn't be considered stronger than the then-depowered Wonder Woman?
  • Did the Hawk and the Dove fit in with the other Titans? They took "THE VOW" of non-violence, then quickly vanished not to reappear until Teen Titans #50 where we learned that Hank (Hawk) Hall had joined the Navy, probably with Commander Benson! ;-)
  • Was Lilith's debut the sexiest of the Silver Age?
  • Gnarrk was actually the second caveboy revived in Teen Titans. What's up with that? Weisinger-style recycling?

 

Richard Willis said:

I don't know if it was the case earlier, but when I started reading Green Arrow stories in the late 50s, GA and Speedy were an obvious (even to a 10-year old) copy of Batman and Robin.

Didn't Roy Thomas point out how obvious this was in an issue of All-Star Squadron?  I think the story featured the first full meeting of the Squadron, with dozens of Golden-Age heroes getting together.  While the adults are comparing crime-fighting techniques or whatever, the sidekicks argue over who has the best partner.  During the dispute, Robin flat out tells Speedy that Green Arrow is just a copy of Batman.  The two of them almost have to be dragged apart by their respective responsible adults. 

Of course, that was the younger, Golden-Age versions of the characters.  I'm sure that more mature Boy Wonder of the Silver Age and later would never have been such a brat!

There was a Green Arrow two-parter in World's Finest Comics ##248-249 in which GA was blackmailed into helping the man who stole his fortune. The gag of the story was, he had found the Arrowcave and the remains of its installations and realised Queen was really

-Batman!

 

The plot involved Hellgrammite offering people the chance to be made young again. I strongly suspect it was inspired by the 1966 movie Seconds, which I haven't seen.

I'd always taken Aqualad's farewell  (such as it was) at the end of Teen Titans #19 as leading in to the events of Aquaman's "Quest for Mera" arc in his own title, during which Aqualad was either too busy or too hospitalized to take part in any of the Titans' adventures.  Still, anything was better than the way he was kept unconscious in a fish tank the team couldn't even be bothered to keep filled during the late 70's revival of the Titans...

Philip Portelli said:

Did the Hawk and the Dove fit in with the other Titans?

The Hawk and the Dove's time as active Teen Titans was quite brief---only five issues, Teen Titans # 25-9 (Jan.-Feb. through Sep.-Oct., 1970).

 

To the credit of writers Robert Kanigher (who wrote the first three of them) and Steve Skeates (the last two), they preserved the personalities of the two Hall brothers and their antagonism toward each other in their TT scripts.  As to the Titans' vow of non-violence, that was really only an issue in "A Penny for a Black Star", from TT # 26 (Mar.-Apr., 1970).

 

In "Penny", Mr. Jupiter assigns the Titans---having foresworn their costumes and super-powers---to ingratiate themselves in Hell's Corner, a tough, inner-city ghetto.  Right off the bat, Our Heroes run afoul of a local gang of unwashed punks calling themselves the Hell's Hawks.  Because of their vow of non-violence, the Titans let themselves get shoved around by the Hawks, and they even stand around and do nothing when the hoods demolish a little girl's lemonade stand.  (Notably, Hank Hall wants to wade in and smash the thugs, but Wally West restrains him.)

 

Instead, the little girl's big brother---Mal Duncan, though we don't know it, yet---intervenes, duking it out with the gang all by his lonesome.  It's only when the punks start pounding Mal into hamburger that the Titans take action---although Wally reminds them not to use their super-powers.

 

In the two-panel vignette depicting the battle between the Titans and the Hell's Hawks, the Hall brothers are shown adhering to their individual beliefs; we see Hank slamming away with his fists, while Don simply dodges and weaves around being struck by the hoodlums.

 

The last issue to include the Halls as active Titans---# 29---actually serves as a showcase for them.  This tale, "Captives", is the second half to a plot that involves Aqualad returning to warn the Titans of an alliance between old Aquaman foe, the Ocean Master, and an invasion force of aliens, bent on the usual conquest of Earth.

 

In the first half, the Titans wienie out of lifting a finger to stop the aliens---"We took a vow!"---leaving Aqualad to do what he can on his own.  (For those of you who keep regarding the Junior Marine Marvel as useless, he actually acquits himself quite well in combat with one of the alien squads led by the Ocean Master, even though he's out of the water through most of it.)  Ultimately, though, Aqualad gets conked over the head and tied to a tree, left to die when his hour out of water elapses.

 

"Captives" opens with Kid Flash, Speedy, and Wonder Girl finally finding the balls to put on their costumes and rescuing Aqualad.  (I guess they figured untying their old teammate from a tree and dropping him in the nearest river was sufficiently non-violent.)  Some expositionary dialogue reveals that Hank and Don Hall's summer break was over and they had to return to Elmore.

 

At least, that's what the brothers told the other Titans.  Actually, they decided that the situation was serious enough to toss the non-violence vow out the window.  Or at least Hank decides that and drags his little brother along.  As the Hawk and the Dove, they locate the aliens' hidden stronghold and do a little invading of their own.

 

Even though the pair are initially captured and imprisoned---allowing a scene for the usual hawk-and-dove squabbling that went on in their own short-lived series---they manage to escape and take the fight to the aliens.  The numbers are against them, though, especially since the Hawk is doing all of the brawling.

 

In this moment of crisis, the Dove has an epiphany:  a philosophy of non-violence is all nice and noble, but it doesn't do much good when the Earth is about to be overrun by alien hordes.  With that realisation, the Dove finally grows a pair and wades into the bad guys with all he's got, much to his big brother's approval.

 

Even so, they're still overrun by the aliens and on the verge of defeat.  But the Dove's newfound aggression has kept the enemy at bay long enough for the other Titans to arrive, using their super-powers left and right.  SInce there's only two pages left in the story, the aliens and the Ocean Master are trounced handily.

 

After that, Hank and Don really do return to Elmore, and they are not seen as Titans again for the rest of the title's original run.

 

Hope this helps.

 

 

I've been reading Showcase Presents: Teen Titans Volume 1 & 2 and I have to say I never got the impression that Aqualad was "useless". He was always involved in the battles and fistfights even if they weren't in the water. Not that it would have mattered to the Titans, the quality of the villains they fought were awful! The Scorcher. Punch. Ding Dong Daddy!! Okay the Mad Mod had panache but still....

I think the reason that Hawk and Dove left the Titans so quickly because they belonged in the world of the late '60s and the 70s were coming!

One of the things I always liked about the original Titans series was the way the characters acted differently with each other (their peer group) than the way they did with their adult counterparts--just as Speedy didn't dare act so brash (for lack of a better word) around Green Arrow, Aqualad somehow seemed more confident around the Titans than he did with Aquaman-- maybe it was because he enjoyed being around people who didn't know he'd been  banished from Atlantis for being such an embarrassment, or maybe, relieved of his original function of making Aquaman look good, he was able to blossom a bit on his own.

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