First Published: April 2006
Contents: The Brave and the Bold #54 (June-July 1964) and #60 (June-July 1965), Showcase #59 (November-December 1965), and Teen Titans #1 (February 1966) to #18 (November-December 1968)
Key Creator Credits: Bob Haney, Nick Cardy, Bruno Premiani, and Marv Wolfman
Key First Appearances: Donna Troy/Wonder Girl, Mad Mod, Leonid Kovar/Starfire
Story Continues In: Showcase Presents Teen Titans Vol. 2
Overview: After working in the shadows of their mentors for years, the teenage sidekicks get together to form their own super-hero club. Robin, Kid Flash, and Aqualad are brought together by chance. Add in Wonder Girl in the second appearance of the teenage heroes, and a new team is formed, the Teen Titans.
Teenage super-heroes have the same issues as any other teenagers of the 1960s. Boys don’t understand girls, and girls don’t understand the boys, and the grown-ups don’t understand the teen-agers. A lot of these stories have similar plots where the Teen Titans are called in to help settle a dispute between the adults and the teens of some unheard town. The generic villain of the month will show up, never to appear again in any DC comic.
The strength of this volume is the featured characters in Robin, Aqualad, Kid Flash, and Wonder Girl. These four formed the core of all versions of the Teen Titans to follow for the next fifty years.
Why should these stories be Showcased?: I will be the first to admit that I give a pass to any story written by Bob Haney. As seen with his stories in The Brave and the Bold during the Batman team-up era, Bob Haney gave the reader a fun read with each and every issue. Continuity was only observed when it benefited the story. He often broke the fourth wall to address the reader directly. And he would do his best to work in the then-current slang of the time. The Bob Haney Teen Titans were teenagers first and super-heroes second. If you like Bob Haney stories, by all means pick this up. If you are a continuity nit-pick, this volume may not be your cup of tea.
Footnotes: The name “Teen Titans” was not introduced until their second appearance, in The Brave and the Bold #60. For their first appearance in The Brave and the Bold #54, it was billed as “Kid Flash, Aqualad and Robin”.
Teen Titans #18 was co-written by Marv Wolfman in one of his first published stories for DC Comics. In 1980, he and George Perez recreated the Teen Titans, making it one of the most popular titles of that decade.
While Speedy makes a few appearances in this volume, he does not officially join the team until Teen Titans #19, which is collected in Showcase Presents Teen Titans Vol. 2. At the end of the 1970s series, Speedy is retconned into the origin story of the Teen Titans, making him one of the original founders of the team, along with Robin, Aqualad, Kid Flash, and Wonder Girl.
So who is Wonder Girl?: OK, this can be really confusing, not only for readers but even within the offices of DC Comics. In the late 1950s and early 1960s, a favorite story to tell in the Wonder Woman comic was an adventure where Wonder Woman would team up with earlier versions of herself as first Wonder Tot and then Wonder Girl. The key to remember is that Wonder Girl was just a name that Diana used as a teenager, before growing up to become Wonder Woman. In the 1960s, Bob Haney wrote Wonder Girl stories as a back-up feature in Wonder Woman. However, his stories were written as if Wonder Girl and Wonder Woman were two separate people. So when it came time to do a second issue of the teenage sidekicks, Bob Haney naturally decided to include Wonder Girl, who was now considered to be Wonder Woman’s younger sister, in the team that would become the Teen Titans. As a result, The Brave and the Bold #60 is considered to the be the first official appearance of Wonder Girl. Sad to say, Wonder Girl’s origin story would only get more complicated in the years to come…
If you like this volume, try: the 2003 Teen Titans series, originally launched by Geoff Johns and Mike McKone. This was a fresh take on the Teen Titans concept, using the next generation of teenagers using the code-names of the legacy characters (the Tim Drake Robin, the Conner Kent Superboy, the Bart Allen Impulse/Kid Flash, and the Cassie Sandsmark Wonder Girl). Beast Boy, Cyborg, and Starfire (three of the four new members of the Wolfman-Perez Teen Titans of the 1980s) serve as the adult mentors to this new generation of Titans. There is a lot of fun energy found in the early issues of the series, but it quickly grew up as outside influences, from DC editorial and from the real world, changed the direction of the series. All of Geoff Johns’ Teen Titans stories have been collected into one large, 1,400+ page omnibus, but there are smaller trade paperbacks available as well.