One might argue that the heroes who run DC are the ones present in Justice League. Interestingly, recently an argument has come up where Harley Quinn is seen as the fourth pillar of the DC universe. This isn’t about these guys: it’s about the fourth most important brand of DC, Teen Titans. To be honest, these guys saved the company at its darkest hour and they do deserve recognition.
DC ruled over the comic book world from the 1930’s till 60’s. DC survived the hunt in 50’s where a lot comic book publishers were taken down thanks to its popular characters like Superman and Batman. It was later when Stan Lee along with Jack Kirby created the Marvel Universe. The start was cool and came out as a more hippies option for teenagers and young adults but DC was still the king in terms of sales.
Marvel slowly started to plunge deeper into the scenario but DC seemed untouchable; it was an established brand trusted by both kids and parents. Teen Titans made its debut in 1966 around the Batman starting to create hype among fans. Teen Titans minted sidekicks like Robin, Boy Wonder in the DC universe.
By the time we reached 70’s, Marvel became the more preferred option and Spider-Man and Fantastic Four became popular among the masses. Even Marvel’s flopped out comic, Uncanny X-Men sold more copies than DC’s Justice League. This continued throughout the 70’s and by the end of that decade, DC started seeming old and stale.
Things were at their worst for DC in the beginning of the 80’s. When Jenette Kahn stepped in as the DC President, she started recruiting Marvel writers like Marv Wolfman and artists like George Perez (The Avengers) and gave them freedom to chose a character. They chose Teen Titans and at first it all seemed like a joke but when it’s first issue came out in 1980, everything about it felt more like Marvel. It was during this time that new Titans like Starfire, Raven and Cyborg were added. The issues got sold four times more than any DC comic at that time and became an instant sensation.
When Wolfman took the job, he shifted Dick Grayson from a boy into a man and he managed to seem like a more balanced version of Batman. He went on to become Nightwing, who is one of the most popular heroes in the modern day. Kid Flash was another character who got popular among the fans for his role in the Titans. Titans was way ahead of all other comics by DC at that time and pushed the genre expectations higher. From interracial relationships to pre-marital sex, these comics had everything to offer. These traits also offended a lot of readers who started expressing their hatred towards their standards. But the sales didn’t stop and kept soaring.
X-Men also came back in 1975 with an upgraded artwork and storytelling after being cancelled earlier in 60’s due to low sales. It went on to become Marvel’s best selling title and their journey can be termed similar to the Titans. Even after Titans did really well, the comics didn’t get a sales bump and this started worrying their parent company, Warner Bros. They made a lot of money by selling licensed toys and bedsheets. However, by 1984, Marvel had outsold DC with their sales.
Marvel even proposed to DC to acquire all its characters and create a different line of comics for them but this plan died in its tracks. Instead, DC applied the New Titans in magic in all their comics. Plans for Infinite Earths reshaped the future and it was Wolfman who was yet again the mastermind behind it. Titans and Crisis shot its sale higher than ever. Superman was given a makeover with Man of Steel and Daredevil was introduced by Frank Miller. After applying the Marvel style to DC, finally their sales were again up by 1986.
After this, the Titans did seemed to get ignored by the publishers and they lost their popularity in the 90’s and Superman and Batman came into the limelight. Titans was tried to revive by DC but it failed until Young Justice in 1998, which is one of the most popular comics by DC ever. It’s animation series came in 2003 which was made by Geoff Johns and was a hit among fans. Finally, Teen Titans had become household names. Today, Teen Titans are seen as an important aspect of DC and Cyborg has even gone on to become the part of the mainstream DC. We all are aware of these characters and well, we all loved the Teen Titans theme song, didn’t we?
With a series on Titans around the corner, now is the best time for DC to capitalise on the characters which once saved them from bankruptcy. What do you think about the Titans? Comment below and let us know.