Tonight on the McLaughlin Group: The Titans' Golden Age

TALES OF THE TEEN TITANS #60, DC Comics, December 1985
Like the Legion of Super-Heroes, the New Teen Titans of the mid-80s were shunted off into a Deluxe series with better printing, slightly more adult subject matter and limited availability in comic book shops, while their old, standard format series continued as "Tales of..." and 16 months later started simply reprinting the Deluxe series for us small town hicks. TOTTT #60 is the first of these reprints, and good place to start examining the myths regarding the 80s Titans. Let me do so McLaughlin Group-style...

Issue One! The Deluxe series had advantages over the standard series!
First, we're told that Deluxe has better colors and more dramatic artwork. Well, George Perez would kick serious ass even if he drew comics on toilet paper, so that's neither here nor there. Now I realize that reprinting Deluxe in standard format is the equivalent of watching HDTV on an old black and white tv, but does it account for the first page's quality?
Thankfully, the rest of the issue doesn't suffer from such an extreme coloring error, and I just can't tell if Perez' rich, lush, detailed artwork clogs up at times because of the cheap paper or because he inks his stuff with mascara. The second reason to go Deluxe is to offer "more adult content", which basically means being blatant about Nightwing and Starfire doing the inter-species dirty.
Oooh, I can't believe the Comics Code Authority approved that panel when reprinted! It's not so much the implied nudity as the notion of Nightwing using sex toys on fellow Titans. "I'll buzz the others..." Brrrr. Ok, and they've got shots of the resident mute member getting his face melted by Raven's demonic dad, Trigon. Unfortunate that it's all an illusion... And speaking of Jericho:

Issue Two!! Jericho isn't gay as gay can be, says Wolfman!
There has always been much speculation about Jericho's sexual orientation, though creator Marv Wolfman never intended him to like the boys. Well, we've got a "sensitive" character that is into art. He wears that puffy shirt and a pink chainmail vest. And a big gemstone on his belt. I won't even comment on the perm/chops combo. And as a last bit of evidence, his power - to enter your body - is triggered by looking deeply into an opponent's eyes...

Now, it's a good thing the DC Universe is a bit more enlightened than the real world about such things (they don't frown on inter-species sex, for example). In the real world, we've got silly little homophobes who are afraid of gays jumping their bones while they're drunk and unable to resist. I guess. It's pretty stupid if you give in any thought. I've known hundreds of straight girls who have somehow managed to resist sexually assaulting me all my life. Anyway, imagine the real world with Jericho in it. He can enter your body and control it as if it were his. And he's gay for your best friend! Now THERE's a reason to be paranoid! End parentheses.

This particular issue doesn't help Jericho's case. In a training session, Perez catches him in this compromising pose with Nightwing (the former Robin if you're looking for another gay connection):
Oooh, bondage! Considering that the comic also features Raven not wanting to be touched by a boy, and that both characters wind up tortured in a hell that can only be described as a religious zealot's wet dream... plus the idea that their leader is called Dick, and Cyborg calls x-rated flicks "borin' garbage" (it IS possible he's missing some crucial body parts), Titans may just have been one of the gayest comics out at the time!

Issue Three!!! The Titans are DC Comics' X-Men!
Not a fair cop, surely! No mutants, nowhere near the same level of angst, a headquarters on the waterfront... Well, it's true that they are teen heroes, and there's a heavy soap opera vibe, and it takes place in a real city, Marvel-style. But other than that...

Truth be told, with the new Deluxe series, Marv Wolfman fully embraced his inner mutant. Man, aside from the slightly more epic nature of the stories, which is just the natural order of things in the DCU, this is very close to an X-Men story. For example, it starts with a training session. No Danger Room for the Titans though, just their back yard basically (did I say it was epic?). Then the rest of the thing is about Raven becoming swayed to the dark side and becoming, in essence, Dark Raven. Nothing like the Dark Phoenix Saga in any way, shape or form. A phoenix isn't even a real bird. A raven is. So there.

Final Thoughts!!!! Yeah, well, despite all that, it's hard to fault a Wolfman/Perez comic. Any book that features this crazy two-page spread just Rocks with a capital "R":
The only thing freakier than "the [4-eyed] unholy visage of Trigon" is his dimension's tendrils of rock and suffering human bodies. Yow!

1 comments:

SinlessTouch said...

AHAHHA..."It's not so much the implied nudity as the notion of Nightwing using sex toys on fellow Titans."

I would like to see a cartoon with a vibrators
!

 

Blog Archive

Category

5 Things to Like Activities Advice Alien Nation Aliens Say the Darndest Things Alpha Flight Amalgam Ambush Bug Animal Man anime Aquaman Archetypes Archie Heroes Arrowed Asterix Atom Avengers Awards Babylon 5 Batman Battle Shovel Battlestar Galactica Black Canary BnB 2-in1 Books Booster Gold Buffy Canada Captain America Captain Marvel Cat CCGs Charlton Circles of Hell Class Comics Comics Code Approved Conan Contest Cooking Crisis Daredevil Dating Kara Zor-El Dating Lois Lane Dating Lucy Lane Dating Princess Diana DCAU Deadman Dial H Dice Dinosaur Island Dinosaurs Director Profiles Doctor Who Doom Patrol Down the Rabbit Hole Dr. Strange Encyclopedia Fantastic Four Fashion Nightmares Fiasco Films Within Films Flash Flushpoint Foldees French Friday Night Fights Fun with Covers FW Team-Up Galleries Game design Gaming Geekly roundup Geeks Anonymous Geekwear Gimme That Star Trek Godzilla Golden Age Grant Morrison Great Match-Ups of Science Fiction Green Arrow Green Lantern Hawkman Hero Points Podcast Holidays House of Mystery Hulk Human Target Improv Inspiration Intersect Invasion Invasion Podcast Iron Man Jack Kirby Jimmy Olsen JLA JSA Judge Dredd K9 the Series Kirby Motivationals Krypto Kung Fu Learning to Fly Legion Letters pages Liveblog Lonely Hearts Podcast Lord of the Rings Machine Man Motivationals Man-Thing Marquee Masters of the Universe Memes Memorable Moments Metal Men Metamorpho Micronauts Millennium Mini-Comics Monday Morning Macking Movies Mr. Terrific Music Nelvana of the Northern Lights Nightmare Fuel Number Ones Obituaries oHOTmu OR NOT? Old52 One Panel Orville Outsiders Panels from Sheena Paper Dolls Play Podcast Polls Questionable Fridays Radio Rants Reaganocomics Recollected Red Bee Red Tornado Reign Retro-Comics Reviews Rom RPGs Sandman Sapphire & Steel Sarah Jane Adventures Saturday Morning Cartoons SBG for Girls Seasons of DWAITAS Secret Origins Podcast Secret Wars SF Shut Up Star Boy Silver Age Siskoid as Editor Siskoid's Mailbox Space 1999 Spectre Spider-Man Spring Cleaning ST non-fiction ST novels: DS9 ST novels: S.C.E. ST novels: The Shat ST novels: TNG ST novels: TOS Star Trek Streaky Suicide Squad Supergirl Superman Supershill Swamp Thing Tales from Earth-Prime Team Horrible Teen Titans That Franchise I Never Talk About The Prisoner The Thing Then and Now Theory Thor Thursdays of Two Worlds Time Capsule Timeslip Tintin Torchwood Tourist Traps of the Forgotten Realms Toys Turnarounds TV V Waking Life Warehouse 13 Websites What If? Who's This? Whoniverse-B Wikileaked Wonder Woman X-Files X-Men Zero Hour Strikes Zine