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DC COMICS PRESENTS #26 (Oct 1980) DC Comics

cover:  Jim Starlin
(with George Perez/Dick Giordano inset)
DC COMICS PRESENTS #26
Date: Oct 1980
Cover Price: $0.50
Publisher: dccomics.com

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    Credits
    "Between Friend and Foe" (17 pages) /"Where Nightmares Begin" (14 pages) 
    writer:  Jim Starlin
    Marv Wolfman 
     
    art:  Jim Starlin
    Steve Mitchell
    George Pérez
    Dick Giordano 
    colors:  Jerry Serpe
    Adrienne Roy 
    letters:  Ben Oda 
    editor:  Len Wein
    Julius Schwartz
    Related

    DC COMICS PRESENTS #26 (Oct 1980)
    DC Comics

    DC COMICS PRESENTS #26 (UK) (Oct 1980)
    DC Comics
    xxxx  
    News: Teen Titans at 25, Crisis at 20

    September 16, 2005 05:49 pm
     From scoop.diamondgalleries.com
    Teen Titans at 25, Crisis at 20
    The Main Event, Scoop, Friday, September 16, 2005

    Teen Titans at 25, Crisis at 20: The Enduring Duo of Marv Wolfman and George Pérez


    DC COMICS PRESENTS #26 (Oct 1980)
    DC Comics
    (excerpt)

    The legendary creative duos in comic books include two teams - Joe Simon and Jack Kirby, and Stan Lee and Jack Kirby - of whom it is generally safe to mention only their last names. Others may well someday be added to this pantheon and still others probably already belong to it, but while Simon & Kirby helped define the 1940s and 1950s and Lee & Kirby certainly defined the 1960s, another team defined the 1980s and in many ways helped set the groundwork for the superhero comics we have today.

    Writer Marv Wolfman and artist George Pérez, who this year celebrate the 25th anniversary of New Teen Titans and the 20th anniversary of Crisis on Infinite Earths, have impacted the superhero genre as have few other pairs of creators. Though both worked extensively with other partners before and since those efforts, there is undeniably something compelling and special about that period and their collaborative labors.

    [ Read more Teen Titans at 25, Crisis at 20 ]

    News: Teen Titans 25th Anniversary Panel

    July 16, 2005 09:34 am
     From www.newsarama.com
    SDCC DAY 2: TEEN TITANS 25TH ANNIVERSARY PANEL
    MattBrady


    DC COMICS PRESENTS #26 (Oct 1980)

    DC Comics
    Friday’s Teen Titans 25th Anniversary panel at Comic Con International: San Diego saw the room packed as Nick Cardy, Marv Wolfman, Geoff Johns, Glenn Murakami, and Barb Kesel talked Titans old and new, in print and animated.

    (excerpt)

    After introducing himself Geoff Johns praised Wolfman, saying that his writing has served as an inspiration and influence on him over the years.

    Murakami said that he, like Johns, was a fan of the Wolfman/Perez comic series growing up, and lept at the chance to develop the group of heroes as an animated series when the opportunity was presented to him.

    ...

    Asked about the progress of Games, the long-delayed in finishing original Teen Titans graphic novel by Wolfman and Perez, Wolfman said that it will happen when it happens, noting that Perez needs to finish it first, as it is something Wolfman said he doesn’t want to write in pieces. “It’s the best Titans George has ever drawn, though,” Wolfman said.

    [ Read more SDCC DAY 2: TEEN TITANS 25TH ANNIVERSARY PANEL ]

    News: Lein Wein Article in Wizard

    October 04, 2004 12:43 am
     From WIZARD #157 (Nov 2004)
    WHO'S YOUR DADDY??
    written by Richard Ho
    published in WIZARD #157 (Nov 2004)
    www.wizarduniverse
    Thirty years after he created Wolverine, LEN WEIN remains one of the most influential creators in modern comic history - even if you've never heard of him.

    (excerpt)


    DC COMICS PRESENTS #26 (Oct 1980)
    DC Comics
    PUTTING CLAREMONT ON UNCANNY X-MEN was simply one in an endless series of shining successes Wein enjoyed while wearing his "editor" hat. Another one? The critically acclaimed Marv Wolfman/George Pérez run on New Teen Titans, which Wein oversaw in 1980, after having moved to DC.

    "Working on Titans was a dream," recalls Wein. "With the X-Men being the hottest book at Marvel, we figured we ought to do something with DC's own version - the Teen Titans." He and Wolfman pitched the idea to DC President Jenette Kahn, who "looked at us like we were crazy. After all, the book had been terrible - the last time DC canceled it! We looked at her and said together, 'We'll do it better.' And she said okay! At that point in time, the two of us were either writing or editing the top third of their line, so she figured she had a pretty good shot with us."

    The team of Wein, Wolfman, and Pérez went on to make magic, guiding the title to X-Men-level popularity. Wein's formula for success? Stay out of the way. "My attitude as an editor was always hire the right people and get the hell out of their way," explains Wein. "Let them do what they do best. As an editor you stand on the sidelines, and if they start to veer off course, your job is to pull them back. But otherwise, if it ain't broke, don't fix it."

    "His main strength as an editor is his ability to see what's wrong," notes Wolfman. "I always said, and he agrees, that if there was a job that was essentially called, 'No no, don't do that,' that should be Len's job. He's able to see what someone else has done, and then make the suggestion very clearly as to how to make it better."

    Even if someone doesn't go along with Wein's suggestions.

     May 14, 2004 06:06 pm | Scoop's TT Article (May 14)
    From Scoop

    The New Teen Titans, The New Teen Titans or The *NEW* Teen Titans?
    Did you Know...?, Scoop, Friday, May 14, 2004


    DC COMICS PRESENTS #26 (Oct 1980)
    DC Comics
    For the purposes of this article, we're going to say that the truly authentic New Teen Titans were the ones that cropped up in the 1980s.

    See, the first Teen Titans appeared in the 1960s. Then they experienced a minor lull and underwent a semi-reinvention in the '70s, adding characters like the Joker's Daughter, The Bumblebee, Bat-Girl and Golden Eagle.

    But it wasn't until 1980 when DC Comics emerged under an official The New Teen Titans comic title that the transformation was complete. Previewed in DC Comics Presents #26, this fresh-faced crew fused the older standbys like Robin, Wonder Girl and Kid Flash with entirely original characters like Cyborg, Starfire, Raven, Terra and Changling.

    The major difference between this camp and its band of '60s predecessors was that, this time, the Teens were no longer sidekicks. They'd finally emerged from the shadows of their mentors (with the aid of gradual age progression) to become their own men... and women. This time around, they were confident enough in their own ability to bust the bad guys without having to play second fiddle or beg an assist from their older superheroic counterparts.

    Under this title, Wonder Girl married and Robin graduated college. Then, in 1988, the comic title evolved, dropping the "Teen" from its name to become The New Titans, and crimefighting business went on as usual for another eight years.

    But any channel-surfing animated series enthusiast knows that yet another group of New Teen Titans airs regularly on the Cartoon Network. So will the newest New Teen Titans one day become passe, only to be usurped by another newer New Teen Titans crew? Well, if history is any indication, we'd guess so....

     December 15, 2003 | Wolfman Interview on Pulse
    From Pulse

    MARV WOLFMAN ON THE NEW TEEN TITANS
    posted 12-15-2003 05:20 PM
    BY JENNIFER M. CONTINO

    (excerpt)


    DC COMICS PRESENTS #26 (Oct 1980)
    DC Comics
    It was announced at Wizard World Texas that Marv Wolfman and George Perez would be teaming up again to complete the ‘80s graphic novel starring the New Teen Titans. THE PULSE thought now would be the perfect time to ask Wolfman some questions about his original work on the series.

    THE PULSE: Back in the day, after the Teen Titans hadn't done so well in its second volume in the mid-70s, what made you want to bring them back again? Why did you think the time was right?
    WOLFMAN: When I moved over to DC from Marvel I was assigned a lot of crossover titles like World's Finest and Brave & The Bold and really didn't want to work on them. I hate those kinds of team-up books and had already done almost two years worth of Marvel Two-In-One stories that I felt were among my worst Marvel work, so I was desperate to get off them. I managed to get onto Superman and still needed one more title. Having written the Titans in the late 60s - I did the original origin of Wonder Girl story back then - and having a soft spot for the group, I thought it would be fun to redo the Titans, but in the more modern style at the time. I primarily wanted to create my own characters as well as finally get a chance to do super-hero stories in my own style - as I had been doing with Tomb of Dracula - as opposed to writing Spider-Man and Fantastic Four in a pseudo Stan Lee style. I had no expectations that the Titans would sell, even after George agreed to do the book, but we both knew we would have fun while it lasted. And it lasted. And lasted. And lasted.

    THE PULSE: At that point in time, how many teen hero comics were there on the shelves?
    WOLFMAN: I'm not certain if there were any Teen comics out in 1980 outside of Titans. The X-Men were certainly not teens but I'm not sure if the Legion was being done at that point or not. Titans was a risk for DC because Jenette Kahn, the publisher, really disliked the previous versions and wasn't sure DC should try a new one. But she went with [editor] Len Wein and me when we said we'd do it better. It was a leap of faith that I'm not sure is being done today in the same way.

     May 31, 2003 | TT Worth Checking Out
    From WIZARD #142 (Jul 03)
    TITANIC TITLES WORTH TRACKING
    written by Heidi Ward


    DC COMICS PRESENTS #26 (Oct 1980)
    DC Comics
    Be on the lookout for massive youth movement in the back issue bins this summer.

    With the highly anticipated relaunch of Teen Titans by Geoff Johns and Mike McKone hitting in July, collectors will be scouring bins looking for hot collectibles, and Wizard has the scoop on Titans back issues to watch!

    (excerpt)

    DC COMICS PRESENTS #26
    The New Teen Titans who would go on to star in DC's top-selling title of the '80s, make their first appearance here. The new series should spark interest in Marv Wolfman and George Pérez's beloved Titans lineup.
    CURRENT VALUE: $20

    NEW TEEN TITANS (vol 1) #2
    Marking the first appearance of Deathstroke the Terminator, fans will be searching for this issue as Geoff Johns has said that Deathstroke will return to his heinous nature and be a major thorn in the Titans' collective side in the new series.
    CURRENT VALUE: $7.50

     February 16, 2003 | Wolfman's "What The--?" (Feb 16)
    From Silver Bullet Comics

    WHAT THE--?
    Still More Letters!
    Sunday, February 16
    written by Marv Wolfman

    (excerpt)


    DC COMICS PRESENTS #26 (Oct 1980)
    DC Comics
    From: kpierc72@e....

    How did the entire concept of the Teen Titans came about? Was it DC's intention for it to complete with the X-Men or was it a surprise hit? Had you and George Perez always had the idea of Cyborg, Raven and Starfire, back in Marvel? Why did DC not include firestorm within the Teen Titians. Who had come up with the concept of Nightwing.

    You’re not asking for much, are you? Seriously, I get this asked a lot and I may have even answered a version of this before here, but since folk don’t generally go through the back date archives, here we go again: Titans came up because I had decided to leave Marvel and move over to DC. Back then you could only work for one company, not both. Len (see above) was an editor at DC at the time and though I was given a number of assignments when I got there, I really wanted to do my own thing. Len and I had written a Titans story way back in the first series (the Russian Starfire (later Red Star) story and I always had a love for the Titans concept. I came up with a bunch of characters – more on this in a moment – then Len and I pitched it to the Powers That Be. Unfortunately, they didn’t want a new Titans series because they didn’t like the previous one. They had no thoughts about doing a DC version of X-Men, no matter what people think. Nor did I, by the way. Despite Len – who created the New X-Men being my editor – I was never much of an X-Men fan and doing a DC version of that book never crossed my mind. I wanted to do a ‘family’ book. Frankly, in my mind I wanted to do a DC version of the Fantastic Four, which, as Stan Lee himself has always admitted, was a Marvel version of the J.L.A.

    Anyway, the Powers That be asked us why they should publish a new Titans book when the last series didn’t do well, and we replied, with no false modesty, “Because we’ll do it better.” I guess they agreed because they not only greenlit the book but an introductory story that appeared in DC Presents #26. At this point I ran into George Perez up at Marvel and offered him the book. He said yes thinking it would be dead 6 issues later. 16 years later I got off the title and it’s still running today, with most of the characters intact, albeit in a somewhat different form.

    As for how the individual characters were created, that’s harder to say. I gave the group a lot of thought. I knew I’d want to use original Titans members Robin, Wonder Girl and Beast Boy (with a new name) in the new group. Kid Flash would probably appear but I wasn’t all that enthusiastic about him. My feeling has always been that writers have to pull back on that character because if you use him properly in a group book he’ll not only get to wherever they’re going faster than the other can, but he will probably have already solved the problem. In short, he’s too powerful for a group dynamic. I also didn’t want to make Aqualad a regular member because if you use him you are forced to use water stories to fit him in.

    I prepared a list of new characters. I wanted an alien, and that became Starfire. I wanted an athlete and that was Cyborg and finally I wanted an empath which became Raven. Obviously, it wasn’t as simple as that, but the work to create those characters, and to come up with a back-story I could keep mining whenever I wanted to, would take much too long to explain. Suffice it to say I spent a lot of time working out the characters so they would blend together both emotionally and power-wise before I gave the character descriptions to George to design. One he did I refined what I wrote and, as they say, the rest is history.

    To continue on how the Titans were created…

    ***
    From: David Peattie


    DC COMICS PRESENTS #26 (Oct 1980)
    DC Comics
    1.) I'd like to see a series of columns describing how you came up with the new characters you introduced in NEW TEEN TITANS. Starfire, Raven, Cyborg, and the ones who came later like Deathstroke, Terra, Kole, and so on. What prompted the idea for each character, what was involved in fleshing them out as characters, and what kind of response you initially got from DC about them all. Did the finished, published product closely match what you'd originally intended? If not, how much different did the end result come out to be? I know you said you didn't want to spend a lot of time on "behind the curtain" stuff, but I am always curious about how much of a writer's ideas make it to the printed page, and when something is rejected or altered, why the editor felt that was necessary.

    2.) In a similar vein, I remember that some years ago, you and George Perez were supposed to do a TITANS graphic novel that never did show up. Since the odds of it ever being finished and published are about the same as my chances of becoming Miss Universe, I wonder if you might clue us in on what the plot would have been?

    ...

    Okay, continuing from the above – I came up with Deathstroke pretty much right after I came up with the Titans. I knew Deathstroke would be in issue #2 but his son would appear in issue #1. The genesis of Deathstroke came very fast. I wanted a very moral character who was also a criminal, a sort of Batman for the mercenary world, complete with his own Alfred. Unlike Alfred, however, I wanted his partner to be his mentor. That’s where Wintergreen came from. His name, of course, came from the gum, just as Princess Koriand’r’s name came from the spice, coriander. She was the spicy Titan, after all. I wanted Slade Wilson to be the kind of character that you never could fully understand. You would also never know which side he would be on because he operated by his own very strict code of conduct. Slade would be troubled by what he had to do, but he was also caught up in a web of his own creation and was unable to break free. Simply, I wanted to create an antagonist who would be as well defined as the Titans themselves. Only mistake I think I made with him is having him have a physical relationship with the 16 year old Tara Markov. That was wrong.

    Which leads to Terra. That was easy. George and I wanted a Titan who betrayed the others. We also wanted to play against every reader conception of who characters are. George and I knew her whole story before we began and we knew she would die. We set the story up with her trying to destroy the Statue of Liberty to show she was the bad girl, but we knew if George drew her as a cute kid everyone would simply assume she would be ‘turned’ from the dark side because that’s the way it was always done which is why that wouldn’t be the way we did it. Tara was insane and stayed that way right until the moment she died. By the way, she IS dead. I don’t know what other writers will do with her – if anything – but if they want to honor the original series they will leave her dead. The Terra from Team Titans was – as stated – some kid the villain kidnapped and physically and mentally altered her into looking and acting like the original. But she was NEVER the real Terra.

    One last note: I came into DC with Terra the same day Mike Barr came into DC with Geo-Force. Both had earth-shifting powers. It would have been unfair for one of us to get rid of our character, so we decided to make them brother and sister.

    Finally, Kole. Because other editors were not pleased that they were asked to come up with characters to kill in the Crisis, I realized I’d have to come up with somebody to knock off as well, if only to assuage their feelings somewhat. I came up with the crystal powered Kole who was named after and drawn to look like a real person we knew. The problem was, Jose Luis Garcia Lopez, who drew the Kole issues did a magnificent job and I grew to really like the character and wished I hadn’t created her to die. But if I were to play the game nicely, she had to weave her last crystal.

    As for “Games,” the graphic novel George and I began way back when. George drew about 80 pages of the best Titans work he ever did before going into artist’s block on the Titans. I kept trying to convince DC to let another artist finish the last 30 pages, but for reasons that have never made sense to me they have always refused to do so. Every so often I bring it up again and the answer is still no. Why? I can’t imagine. There are 80 pages done. I’d have to dialogue the job and much of it would need to be inked, but I think even if it now had to be an Elseworlds book – or at least a Hypertime story – that people would flock to buy a hardcover Perez/Wolfman Titans book. What do you think?

     October 7, 2002 | We've Got Letters (Oct 6)
    From Silver Bullet Comics
    Letters, We’ve Got Letters!
    Sunday, October 6
    By Marv Wolfman


    DC COMICS PRESENTS #26 (Oct 1980)
    DC Comics
    From: kpierc72@earthlink.net
    How did the entire concept of the Teen Titans came about? Was it DC's intention for it to complete with the X-Men or was it a surprise hit? Had you and George Perez always had the idea of Cyborg, Raven and Star fire, back in Marvel? Why did DC not include Firestorm within the Teen Titans. Who had come up with the concept of Nightwing?

    I will assume you’re asking about The New Teen Titans and not the original group. I don’t know who created that group – it could have been the editors or the writer, Bob Haney. Maybe someone out there knows? As for my group, I was leaving Marvel and coming over to DC (in those days you could only work for one company and not both) and was getting my assignments. My only request was no team-up books, so, naturally, I was assigned to DC Presents and Brave & Bold, both team-up books. Therefore, my first order of business was to get off those titles.

    Len Wein and I had written a story or two for the original Teen Titans way back in the late 60s, and I always had a warm spot for those characters, so I asked Len – who at this point had become an editor at DC – if we could revive the title. I went home and came up with the characters, so, no, there was not always a Starfire, Cyborg or Raven. You can read my introduction for the first Teen Titans Archives to see how they came about. Len and I went into publisher Jenette Kahn’s office and pitched my idea. Jenette said she did not like the previous version of the Titans and therefore wasn’t hot on the idea, but we said we’d do it better. Honestly, that’s all we said. Jenette, who trusted us, said fine.

    As I fleshed out the characters I ran into George Perez at the Marvel offices. I mentioned to him that I was working on a new version of the Titans and would he be interested in drawing it. George thought the book would last maybe a half dozen issues, and there was a chance he could also draw the Justice League, which was the book he really wanted to do, so he said yes. George then designed the look of each and every one of the characters.

    We showed Jenette what we had done and she liked it so much she decided we should do a 16 page original Titans story that they would put in free in DC Presents #26 to get people interest.

    [ Read more We've Got Letters (Oct 6) ]

     August 11, 2002 | We've Got Letters (Aug 11)
    From Silver Bullet Comics
    Letters. We’ve Got Letters!
    By Marv Wolfman


    DC COMICS PRESENTS #26 (Oct 1980)
    DC Comics
    (excerpt)

    The following came from someone whose name I stupidly lost. Tell me who sent this and I'll publicly apologize.

    What is your opinion of the different segments of your lengthy run on Titans? What was your best story arc? What was your worst? At what point did you realize you didn't want to write it anymore? Discuss generally your long run on the book and how it affected you as a writer and the concept of the team book in the comic medium. Also compare your run on Titans to the Claremont period on X-Men and the results on both books.

    The New Teen Titans was the best of times and the worst of times. I loved writing the book, especially the first eight to ten years where I was in charge of it, either unofficially or officially. Those were the issues where I did what I truly believed in. Once someone else comes in - even if they are a great editor - things change. Sometimes for the best. Sometimes not so for the best. There are a number comics where I truly believe the editor makes the series much, much better, but a very few series where I feel the creators should be left alone. For me those series would be Titans, Crisis and Tomb Of Dracula. Everything else I've worked on has been helped by working with good editors. I don't think it's at all surprising that things weren't quite the same on Titans once that control changed.

    Best runs: The first 50 issues. Or anytime I worked with the incredible George Perez. He wasn't just the artist. He was the co-creator. Favorite stories: "Who is Donna Troy?", the Terra storyline. And a story nobody ever brings up which is my all time favorite, "Shades of Gray," the culmination of the Changeling/Terminator story. There are dozens of smaller stories that I also love, especially "A Day In The Life," and "A Pretty Girl Is Like a Maladi." I loved the Kole stories and many others.

    Where did it go wrong? The last year or two. The reason? See my note in paragraph one above. Also, along the way I lost interest in the series and thought of quitting, but then Jon Peterson became editor and reminded me what I loved about the book. We did "Titans Hunt" together which was as close to the 'classic' Titans as I had done in a long time. It would have been a lot better if it hadn't had to be broken up by two maxi-series, turning what should have been a four-five part story where Vic Stone would have been rebuilt to a year and a half storyline where he got lost in the mix.

    I finally had it during that final year and decided to quit the book. I hated every story. Every issue. I wasn't even the plotter. So, at a DC Christmas out here in LA, I went up to DCU Editor-in-Chief Mike Carlin and said I wanted to quit and asked if DC would bring back Night Force and let me write that instead, but with a different editor. I thought there might have been a problem, but Mike said yes but asked me to stay on the Titans a few issues longer. He said he thought it would be best to cancel the Titans with my run rather than just hand it over to someone else. They would then restart it with new characters, concepts and a new number one, which I thought was a great idea. After sixteen years, a new voice and approach was needed. Mike assigned a new editor to my last four issues, and, with the exception of not being able to use Nightwing - who had been returned to Batman continuity - let me end the series pretty much the way I wanted. I still thank Mike for rescuing me from what had turned into a hellish nightmare.

    I still love the Titans and would love to do individual stories about them, but DC hasn't seemed that interested. I recently proposed a character-driven Titans-3 series featuring an approximately 24 year old Cyborg, Raven and Starfire trying to figure out what they are about when they aren't being super, but nobody seems to be banging down my door for it. I also have tried to jumpstart the Games graphic novel George and I started a dozen years ago - of which he drew 80 incredible pages that have never been seen - but again, no interest.

    [ Read more We've Got Letters (Aug 11) ]

     February 15, 2002 | Spotlight: Cyborg
    From Slushfactory (Cyborg, created by Marv Wolfman and George Pérez is one of the character spotlighted. Image looks like it was taken from HISTORY OF THE DC UNIVERSE.)
    Blacks In Comics
    By Dan Corbett

    (excerpt)

    Cyborg (Victor Stone)
    1st Appearance: NEW TEEN TITANS #1, 1980 [this is incorrect; his first appearance is DC COMICS PRESENTS #26]:

    Victor had the typical childhood. His parents were brilliant scientists at S.T.A.R. Labs who unwittingly opened a dimensional portal releasing a dangerous creature that killed his mother and left him with a mangled body and half a face. So his father used the technology that he was working on to save Victor’s life and forever making him more than normal, but in his mind, less than human. Typical, right? But Victor went on to become the Titan’s most respected and versatile members. His is a story of self-acceptance and relying on the support of those around you.

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