George Pérez on the Classic Titans Stories
Who is Donna Troy
[From FOCUS ON GEORGE Pérez, 1985]
Pérez: A perfect example is the "Who Is Donna Troy?" story. Almost on the same day, we called each other with the idea of doing a detective story to find out who Donna Troy is, and doing it from Dick Grayson's point of view. It grew to the nice "detective/love story as I call it, from that. But the fact that we both had the idea of doing that, because it seemed logical for the character, meant that the characters were taking us over at that point.
For me, the biggest highlight was "Who Is Donna Troy?" Just to prove that a comic book didn't require a single fist or punch thrown in the entire story. I even had a sensation of having her, in anger, hitting the wall of the condemned building, and I resisted even that, because I did not want a single punch thrown. The worst it ever got was Dick Grayson menacing the guy in prison - Even then, he didn't grab him physically, he did it strictly through intimidation. Also showing Robin's reputation. But that was a proud moment. Because it was something That no one thought really could still be done in comics any more. The characters were out of costume most of the time. On the cover, Robin's costume was almost obscured. You really couldn't tell, without the little "R" on his chest, who he was. It was a totally different one.
We Are Gathered Here Today…
MacDONALD: Yeah, I was going to say, the wedding. Let's talk about the wedding a little bit. You were co-plotters there. How much of that was yours?
Pérez: That one was a lot more mine than usual. Only because Marv had never had a large wedding. My first marriage was a large affair. I remember all the political, familial, and other types of intrigues that go into a wedding. The nervousness. - the pain, even in the happiest occasions-
Pérez: I told Marv I was going to put the Harlequin in there because I knew the Harlequin was one character that Marv definitely wanted to disavow ever existed. And I said, "No, no, no, the greater challenge is to try to explain why this character is invalid, like maybe explain that she's not the Harlequin." Which is what we ended up doing-saying she's not Two-Face's daughter, but not saying anything else beyond that. Marv was not fascinated with this, because it wasn't his idea, it was my idea, and I didn't want to put him in a bind he didn't want to be in. But he also doesn't take the easy copout by saying, "She didn't exist."
The only thing we did change, in a scene that both of us demanded that we put in, was that Hawk and Dove were shown and "Boy, I thought you guys were older." [laughter] Little bits of dialogue, but I also did a lot of dialogue suggestions on that storyline, including that one. We both came up with the idea of how Mento was going to be our plot-ploy in order to explain why people are not worried about their identity being shown. And, since I knew more of the members of the Titans Fan Club intimately, in fact, I shocked a lot of the fan club members, I called them up. One time I had to explain that I really was George Pérez. He couldn't believe it.
MacDONALD: And so you drew a lot of fans in there?
Pérez: Yes, in fact, the four women who were ogling Dick and Bruce are four women who are big Robin fans. One's named Margie Spears, the other one's Tina Chambers, Mercy Van Viack, and Lucy Carr. And, with the exception of Mercy, Mercy's the only one I did not contact personally. I don't even have her phone number, but all of them I've talked to, and I know what their view are about Dick Grayson, so I had to do that little scene in the kitchen. The man who introduced himself to Kory is, obviously, a big Koriand'r fan, and has a lot of Kory art from me that he's bought, including the pin-up shot that was the first page of issue #42. He owns that piece of art, so I had to put him in. He had to meet Kory. He sent a letter of profuse thanks for it.
MacDONALD: Yeah, I was going to say.
Pérez: I'm glad that Mike Barr, doing Metamorpho, wants to go and bring back tradition by doing a lot of heroes and villains that go crashing. Marv was nervous about the book because of the fact that it was a 40-page story, and he had to try to hold the interest for 40 pages on nothing but characterization. Not only was I challenging him, but I was challenging me. How do you draw people just talking without making it look boring? But I was determined to do it. This was the first anniversary issue, with the exception of JLA #200, which I was very proud of, where I had some control, and I would sit down with Marv, and constantly reassure him, "It's going to work out, it's going to work out. Trust me. If we do it right -that was the whole question- "If we do it right, it should be a very good and well-received issue." And we put in the little extra capper of Queen Hippolyta, something that got added to the actual plotting of how we treated that.
Originally, she was just supposed to have talked to Queen Hippolyta at Paradise Island, but we decided that by her going through all the effort, just to make Donna happy by coming and meeting the one person she couldn't meet on Paradise Island-Terry- made it much more emotionally charged. It also gave something for the reader to look forward to, other than the inevitable wedding.
It was obviously established in the Baxter book that she was married, there was no surprise. And, the final capper, as far as really taking a chance, was the fact that none of the characters appear in costume on the cover. Just a straight wedding picture. No one appeared in costume.
MacDONALD: It was a wonderful book. It really touched me.
Pérez: I'm glad. That's the effect we wanted.
MacDONALD: I thought it was a triumph. George, I notice you like to draw happy people.
Pérez: I love to draw happy people.
MacDONALD: (Laughs) Yeah, but somehow artists aren't supposed to draw happy people.
Pérez: I like soap operas as much as the next person. The reason that I stopped watching soap operas is that I couldn't stand the depression all the time. No one ever seemed to be happy. So I figured, "Okay, soap opera is fine," but there is a point when anyone will get sick of it, at least any sane person, as far as I was concerned, would get sick of it. So if nothing else, there was a soap-opera element, they did go through their woeful period. But I have a very happy marriage. I guess my marriage is another indication. When I married my second wife, I have had such a good life that it kind of reflected. Suddenly everything I do no longer has a heavy, somber look. Everything's become a little lighter.
I was determined, as was Marv, actually, that Donna's wedding was going to be ideal, as far as her relationship with Terry. Not idealistic, in the sense that they never had arguments, but in the fact that they understand each other. He's not Steve Trevor, God forbid, he's not Lois Lane, you know, that type of relationship. They're two adult people who understand each other, respect each other, and genuinely love each other. And that whole thing has become a big thing in the stuff I tend to do. I tend to do a lot of happy stuff. Gar is... well, Gar is going to his dark thing too. I was the one who plotted out the sequence with Victor and his grandparents, for once not ignoring the fact that he's black.
And using that as a major plot makes that a positive thing, the fact that these two grandparents are incredibly happy people. Marv came up with the idea of the show-business background, and the strange, mysterious background of them, which made them a lot of fun. We want to do a fun book, because we were very guilty at the beginning of getting a lot of really down, depressing, generation-gap stories here, and we really wanted to show that comics can be fun. We didn't compromise the integrity of the Titans as a book, we just showed the other side that's totally available to us. I like drawing the happy side.
MacDONALD: [laughs) Well, I like looking at it. There's a certain school of comics that seems to deal with exclusively anguish. Say, would you ever like to draw a romance book?
Pérez: Love to! In a way, both "Who Is Donna Troy?" and the wedding issue was my statement showing what potential is still there on the great non-superhero romance stuff. More the wedding than the other one, but just the fact that two people really care. I think a lot of the problems with love stories is that the people who are doing the stories really don't care for the characters. But again, it's a one-shot, the character's a one-shot, they really don't want to spend as much time on it, thinking of how the character reacts, how this character would feel, and particularly how the woman feels.
The women always get the short shrift on these damn love comics I've got. I couldn't stand reading them mostly because I didn't hate the women as much as I hated the way the men treated the women in those damn stories. Because it was always a male juvenile fantasy. If it were a male fantasy, make it a male adult fantasy. You know, make it something that relates to who these characters are, as opposed to writing love comics as if you're still aiming totally just for, a prepubescent audience. Now, I'd love to do a love comic, I'd love to do a western, I'd love comics to be able to diversify again. And that was just my little attack on the status quo. It was a love comic. Terry and Donna have a nice, adult relationship, thank God! I think there are still some in the world.
Dick & Kory & Sex
MacDONALD: The first time I ever saw Baxter paper, I think it was the white that was most impressive. Let me ask you now about the famous, or infamous panel. Whose idea was that, the panel of Dick and Kory?
Pérez: Oh, that was mine.
MacDONALD: Uh-huh. And...
Pérez: Well, the simple reason that Dick is 19 years old. I was married at 19. And, Karl's age is indeterminate. Equivalent of an Earth 18-year-old, but their mores are different, and for her it was a totally irrelevant as far as the fact that she was at that age. Marv didn't want to go into a controversy on the letters page, but as far as we re concerned, and particularly as far as I'm concerned, they're both at the age of consent. Dick is not a fool, and if there were any chance of ... them regretting the action later, they would have taken any preventive deeds necessary, but they are both consenting adults, and no matter what-the title says Teen Titans-at 19 years old, those two are legally adult.
MacDONALD: Yeah, I was going to say, Robin has killed. I should say Dick. And there's more hullabaloo than when he's killed someone.
Pérez: They're worrying more about the fact that he's gone to bed with someone whom he's deeply in love with. And the fact that when he kills someone, it was also protecting this same woman, it's like everything he's done that's been out of character for him up till now, has always been because of her. Since a storyline is coming up wherein they go back to Tamaran, and I believe the jist of it-great of Marv not to take to hemming and hawing about it-is the fact that she's going to abdicate. She has absolutely no desire to return to Tamaran.
She wants to stay with Dick, and we have to give her, as far as the readers were concerned, a full reason to stay on Earth. It has to be shown that Dick is not giving her a hard time, that it's unrequited. The fact that they are lovers gives her a legitimate reason to stay with Dick. Otherwise, it would be an insult to the Starfire character if she said, "I'll abdicate my throne," without us being really sure that it was worth abdicating. She does have duties, but the Tamaranians are creatures of emotion, too. And, that one panel, which I did as tastefully as I could, there was no nudity involved, nothing was shown of the act, it's just the fact that she was in what was established as being his bedroom, because I'd drawn the bedroom before. It's the bedroom set I have. And, make no question about it, they were in bed together, and...
MacDONALD: And it wasn't because her bed had disappeared.
Pérez: It wasn't because her bed had disappeared, it was because of the fact that his bed was recognizable. I wanted to use a familiar room, so that you know that she was in there with him. As opposed to any vagueness as to whose bed that is. It's his bed, there's no question about it. It's established. And there were much fewer letters than everyone made it out to be. It got exploded totally out of proportion -
MacDONALD: Oh, then there wasn't a great swell of outrage? Pérez: No, Marv got a few letters. Enough to say that he had to print one, because he couldn't ignore it, but not in direct proportion to the amount of letters we get. It wasn't a fifth of our mail.
MacDONALD: A couple of issues later, you showed evil Raven and evil Kid Flash, and that's okay. [laughs) Because they're evil, it's not like -
Pérez: If only for the fact that he keeps acknowledging that it's a bad thing for him to do. It's amazing how when it's a bona fide act of love people say we're condoning it. We would never have done that with Changeling. He's 15 years old, he's a minor. We definitely would never have done that. We do have that responsibility, but those two are adults. I don't know about you, but I definitely was in bed by 19.
MacDONALD: [laughs) Okay.
Pérez: Since I was married, I certainly was.
MacDONALD: Okay, let's just talk a little about your favorite sequences on the Titans and so forth. What were the high points of it for you?
Pérez: "A Day in the Life" was obviously the first real high point on it. Particularly the Victor Stone sequences and Kory sequences. Kory, the scene of her stripping in the park. That one scene alone shows Kory, as she was. For me, the biggest highlight was "Who Is Donna Troy?" Just to prove that a comic book didn't require a single fist or punch thrown in the entire story. I even had a sensation of having her, in anger, hitting the wall of the condemned building, and I resisted even that, because I did not want a single punch thrown. The worst it ever got was Dick Grayson menacing the guy in prison - Even then, he didn't grab him physically, he did it strictly through intimidation. Also showing Robin's reputation. But that was a proud moment. Because it was something That no one thought really could still be done in comics any more. The characters were out of costume most of the time. On the cover, Robin's costume was almost obscured. You really couldn't tell, without the little "R" on his chest, who he was. It was a totally different one.
"The Runaways" was another one, because of the fact that not only was it a message, but it was also taking a look at the characters 'who were teens, and working from that point on. Also the fact that Victor was a runaway. It was also the issue where I decided I was going to start really doing covers in a big way. And I really thought of becoming ambitious in covers, so I would go into production and find out what I could or couldn't do on covers. If nothing else, just to give the best I can, because I was really getting hooked on inking those things, and I really wanted to produce the best I could on the covers. As far as doing covers, "The Runaways" was the first of the few when I really started going to town on this.
[Comics Interview #50, 1987]
GEORGE:[…] Phoenicia Banu, the designer in TITANS #50, and Phoenicia without the Banu in issue #1 and #2 of THUNDER AGENTS, obviously were based on my wife - and, in both cases, were actually drawn with my wife as model. There have been other characters I have drawn with my wife as influence, but these were made directly to look like my wife; they were named after my wife; and, since my wife is a belly dancer, the Phoenicia character in THUNDER AGENTS was the most like her as far as using physical representation. And since she designed the gowns for the wedding party in TALES OF TEEN TITANS #50, she appeared as Phoenicia Banu in the story and was credited as Carol Flynn in the credits.
ANDY: So what are your favorite TITANS stories, and what are your least favorite?
GEORGE: My favorite TITANS story is "Who is Donna Troy?" Second favorite is "We Are Gathered Here Today." You notice a certain similarity of those two books. Third, "Shadows in The Dark," the first TITANS Baxter edition, because I'm really happy with my ink job on that. And then there are other favorites, like "A Day in The Lives." And "Runaways." Again, the personal stories mean much more to me than the superheroes.
My least favorite stories? "Lights Out Everyone," issue #37, which is a Doctor Light and the Fearsome Five crossover with THE OUTSIDERS - because it existed strictly as a crossover with THE OUTSIDERS, no other reason for the book to be there. Those have all the standard comic-book cliches. Hero group meets hero group, hero group fights hero group. Then they find out, "Hey, we shouldn't be fighting this hero group." Understanding! "Let's fight villain group!" I didn't like it at all, and Marv didn't particularly care for it, either.
ANDY: That was a totally useless interaction between Geo Force and Terra, which has never been used again.
GEORGE: Well, that was something to show the connection, why they had similar powers. It was an accident that the characters were designed at the same time - total coincidence - but that's one of my least favorite, "Lights Out Everyone." Many of the stories with the Hive - particularly the last, "Death of the Hive" - because I was really unhappy with the artwork on that one. The Brother Blood stories tend to be not among my favorites, again because I don't really have a good grasp on that character as Marv does.
There's another favorite I have, and that's "Crossroads." Took care of Kid Flash and changed Robin - it was the last appearance of Robin by Dick Grayson.
"Judas Contact" is another favorite. There are others that I like and dislike, but those probably rank high on the list.
ANDY: What's your favorite - along the "most favorite and least favorite line" -what's your favorite story of any you've done on ANY book, and your least favorite?
GEORGE: As favorites that I've done on any book, "Who is Donna Troy?" still is the top one. As far as non-TITAN stories, my first issue of WONDER WOMAN I had a grand time with. And X-MEN ANNUAL #3, written by Chris Claremont and inked by Terry Austin, I really enjoyed that at the time.
ANDY: That featured incredible artwork.
ANDY: What about covers? Least and most?
GEORGE: That's tough; many of them are based on feeling at the time. Like, I've always had a great fondness for my first "Runaways" cover. I think it expressed mood. I've really enjoyed stuff like that. I'm happy with almost the whole of my entire line of CRISIS ON INFINITE EARTHS covers; I really worked hard on those covers. My last one was my favorite - for issue #12 - because I got to do all the buildings again.
I guess if I was to take my least favorite covers, it's probably easier to pinpoint. Let's see now, my first MAN-WOLF, only because it didn't end up looking much like what I really drew - a lot of redrawing was done to correct stuff I'd done wrong.
My least favorite TITANS cover was issue #11, with the Hyperion; my light sources were wrong, Donna's hair looked like just one big wad of black, and I never liked the idea of heads superimposed on a cover like that, which was not my idea. I'm sure there are covers that are even worse than that. I just can't think of them, out of so many covers I've drawn.
ANDY: Tell me about specific TITANS stories. You only did the cover of "The Titans vs. The Recombatants. "Were you planning on originally drawing that story?
GEORGE: No, actually, I wasn't. I was glad Steve Rude got it because his style is suitable for it.
ANDY: For those who don 't know, The Recombatants story was the unofficial crossover with the DNAgents.
GEORGE: My style wasn't going to be as fitting to kind of capture Will Meugniot's version of it, but Steve Rude was a lot closer and he did a marvelous job.
ANDY: You expressed displeasure with The Hive Story - why was that? You'd been working up to it for so long.
GEORGE: Well, the artwork bothered me, more than anything else. It was my own fault for doing layouts, and Mike DeCarlo just didn't know the characters and really hadn't enough grasp at drawing faces to make them work. So they all tend to look alike; all the characters tend to look stiff, with Mike's inking style. His work was rather stiff without my full pencils there, and the weaknesses really showed through. And despite all the build-up, it seemed to happen so fast. I think it might have been better thought-out. But Man' and I were concentrating on two TITANS books at the time and that made it a lot tougher.
ANDY: Was the female leader of Hive your idea?
GEORGE: No, that was Marv's. I came up with the idea of making her very soft, and he liked that and we worked that together. And I based her face - which is more noticeable on the cover than in the interior, due to Mike's problem with faces - on Bernadette Peters. But she looked more like that on the cover than she ever did in the interior.
ANDY: How did you like the Trigon saga?
GEORGE: That was fun. Again, trying to draw a nightmare. My first issue was my favorite, 'cause I got to ink myself fully on that issue. I got all the craziness in there, the Bridge of Souls, the gigantic Trigon on the double page...
ANDY: How long did that take you?
GEORGE: The Bridge of Souls? Per page, it must have taken a day each. The double-pager took a day, but it was one large figure, so that make it a lot easier to draw. I really enjoyed that one. At the end of the Trigon five-parter, my very next and last TITANS story to date was "We Are Gathered Here Today." It was really a nice change of pace.
ANDY: After all that hell you got to do a...
GEORGE: Got to draw a little heaven, really!
ANDY: Now, mentioning your Trigon series, that's something you're quite good at - drawing the personal nightmares. You did a fantastic Raven sequence in the one, Phobia..,
GEORGE: Yeah, when she was stripped naked down into a -
ANDY: Both Phobia, and, you know, your Trigon sequences in TITANS Baxter #1, they're all so hellish. Where do you get that weird stuff?
GEORGE: I don't know. Whatever I'm smoking, it must be good, huh? (Laughter.) No, I just let my imagination go wild. I mean you watch enough film and read enough books and dream enough dreams... The idea for Bridge of Souls was a term that just popped into my head. Originally, when I sketched that out so Marv could script it, it was a rock bridge. It didn't become a bridge of souls until linked it. But I decided to change my mind, and suddenly made gnarled bodies and corpses all mingled together.
I watched the movie LABYRINTH recently and I can't imagine where these people get the imagination - they have the helping hands that held the woman up there; the idea of a door knocker that can't talk because the ring is in its mouth, or can't hear because the ring is in its ears. These are all such pieces of imagination. And with the art of M.C. Escher, your whole visual reference is distorted because he either changes perspective, or changes the entire picture in midstream - it still balances as a design, but the picture is not the same when it finishes as it was when it started. There's no way of really explaining how one does that. It just comes to you; it's gut level, and that's what creation is all about.
ANDY: What were your feelings on TITANS #39, the issue where Kid Flash and Robin quit?
GEORGE: Oh, I thought it was great. A very, very good story. I thought it was one of our better stories, particularly following issue #38, "Who is Donna Troy?" It was about time, and I thought it was a great turning point for the book.
ANDY: Did you feel awkward about retiring characters that had been around longer than you?
GEORGE: In the case of Robin, not as much, since it had been discussed for such a long time at DC that it really was anti-climatic. I went over it a number of times laying it out, drawing it, inking it, and having to co-plot it. So by the time it came to actually finishing it, he had retired about four times in my mind. (Laughter.)
[George Pérez Interview - Amazing Heroes #50, 1984]
There is no doubt that issue #38, the classic "Who is Donna Troy," made Wonder Girl's validity as a character quite irrevocable. While Grayson had to develop his identity. Wonder Girl had no identity to develop. She was originally created as a younger version of Wonder Woman co-existing with her adult-self. One of the original Titan series' finest stories established Wonder Girl as an orphan and an amnesiac rescued by Wonder Woman and raised as her sister.
"When we did 'Who is Donna Troy.' we were determined that she was going to have a background of normalcy. She was not going to be the daughter of some villain. A minority of letters came in asking why we had not established who her father was, thinking that we were going to introduce some big villain as her father."
Of course, the whole point is that Donna is illegitimate. "Exactly," Pérez replied. "We couldn't say that in the comic, but the point is that she was a bastard child. The father's not there. The mother probably doesn't know who the damn father is. Even if she did know, he'd be just an ordinary joe. That's all he'd be."
An especially touching point in the story is the introduction of the Evans household, the surrogate family discovered by Donna near the tale's climax. "At that plotting session, we had such a wonderful time. When we finished plotting that book, we knew we had a hit on our hands. We had to decide 'Is she going to find a family? Is it going to be happy or sad?' We worked on making it happy at the end.
"The fact is that it became more than a detective story. It became a detective love story. Thanks to Marv's handling of Robin (our joint idea) through the first person, it became a Robin story, too. A very important Robin story, virtually his signature story. One of the letters from our letters page brought up the interesting point that, while issue #39's appearance of Robin is lust an excuse to have Grayson give up the costume. Dick Grayson's last adventure really utilizing the Robin persona is in Titans #38. He was introduced in Detective #38! What a coincidence [Iaughs]"
A classic precedent-breaker in the history of the superhero is Victor Stone. Cyborg. His roots as a hero and as an adult were forged in the acute identity crisis Black culture has long faced from an oft-effacing Western technology. His major body systems switched from flesh, bone, and synapse to circuit, alloy, and cybernetics. Initially, Victor felt his metamorphosis to be a theft of his very being, a leeching away of his soul. This aptly reflected the dilemma still felt throughout countries of the Third World that in needing to utilize European systematics to be "modern," they risk losing the roots of their own identity.
Further, in holding his father responsible for his half-mechanized state as well as the death of his mother, Victor showed us the timeless tragedy which occurs when old and new ways come into conflict through unwanted misunderstanding. This problem had already set father and son at odds before Vic's mechanization, as the Titans' 1982 mini-series revealed.
"Victor," Pérez begins. "is probably the closest to my own history, because of the fact that he's a ghetto youth. He had the disadvantage of being a smart kid in a dumb society. He ended up becoming a very warm person even though he's very big, and very strong. He's not afraid to be warm. He's got a big heart.
"Since Marv was doing the majority of the plotting for the first year, and I was helping after the fact, he had more of an idea of what Victor would be. I was honing it up via body language and other character aspects, directing Marv into his interpretation. Marv always intended, from the very beginning, that those first issues where he came off as the stereotyped angry Black man was just the fact that he had a legitimate reason to be angry, which had nothing to do with being Black. Once he got rid of the reason-namely the resentment of his father over the death of his mother-he became a very warm individual. That was the first sequence that showed the warm side of the Titans, the death of [Silas] Stone, which led immediately into issue #8, 'A Day in the Lives.' We really were cooking by that point."
Since then, the only anger Victor has shown has been borne from a point of insecurity, like the dilemma with Sarah Simms which culminated in issue #33. It would have been so easy to present the close White female friend of a Black male as the classic liberal fluff, and cop out on all sides. Wolfman and Pérez have avoided that, and have made the young instructor a very three-dimensional person, and her friendship with Victor a warm, straightforward, honest camaraderie.
"Also," Pérez says, "we didn't want to go into a valid criticism we heard about the usual Black-White relationship. Some use the cliche that, in order for a Black character to be legitimate, he must prove it by loving a White person. They could very well be lovers at any given time. but the fact is that they're just very good friends. It's not very often, and particularly the young fans don't understand it, that we just have the concept of a man and a woman being very good friends without being lovers.
"I remember a couple of letters after Terry Long (Donna's fiance) was brought in; some hated Terry simply because they thought Donna and Dick were together, because they're so close. 'They're just good friends' as they say."
Victor's grandparents will play an important role in Victor's future, and will be especially prominent in what could be one of the most relevant storylines to be tackled in any comic. Those who caught a quick glimpse of Victor's grandparents in the first DC Sampler will note that Pérez modeled them after two renowned character actors: Scatman Crothers and the mother-in-law of the old Jeffersons episodes, the late Zara Cully.
"We're introducing his grandparents to give Victor a familial light again. They're very gregarious people, and are not much into self-pity. His grandmother is the type of little old lady who would say to Victor 'You're a big, strong super-hero, but you're not so big that I can't spank you.'
We want to do a storyline where Victor is given a chance to have his metal parts replaced with more human parts. Obviously, he'd be the prototype, just as he's the prototype of the outfit he's wearing now. The trouble is, it could be very dangerous, and it could kill him, It's the whole point of the story. If it succeeds, all these children he's been helping in the handicapped center would benefit from it. Basically, we're bringing up the hero in Victor Stone. He has a legitimate respect and fear of dying. Yet he's volunteering to do something that could very well kill him, taking the chance of being normal again just for the sake that others might get the chance.
"This is, again, to portray the power and drama, without having to go into superheroics. Dick became a real hero for helping Donna, not because he was a master detective, that's how it worked, but because he loved her. It became such a big thing as far as people realizing what a good, heroic man he was; just the fact that he would go out of his way to such a degree to help a friend, Where the Batman has that streak of vengeance, Dick has that height of compassion.
Some were considering the possibility of making them love interests, especially since Dick admitted that he did once feel that way about her, But the fact is that he was not enough of a man, and she was too much of a woman for him, He was never mature enough to take her, which is what he admires about Terry Long. Like that scene where he says 'I always wondered what she saw in him. Now I know!' Dick's grown up a lot because of her relationship. He's learning a lot. He's seen the relationship between Terry and Donna, and obviously that's influenced his relationship with Kory. Obviously their relationship has grown up a bit. He's facing the same thing that Terry's facing being married to someone who's an overwhelming powerhouse [laughs]. Terry can do it; why can't he.
"Of course, we swore that Terry Long was not going to be Steve Trevor [laughs]. We're determined that when they do get married, they will have a happy, decent marriage. Not that they'll be without disagreements, every marriage has them, but they're very mature adults and they will deal with everything for the common good of the marriage and each other, And it's about time. They're not going to be endangered just for the sake of story contrivance."
These points give a very important difference between the Titans and the X-Men, one Pérez is quick to point Out to those who endlessly try to pair the two series as mirror images. "One thing that Marv and I try not to forget, even though it is a personal book, that it is still a comic book, an adventure series. We must not lose sight of that pod meander on for ages on a single story element, or get so downbeat that it's no longer fun.
"The 'Runaways' and the Terra storyline were there, okay, but we then did some straight supervillain stuff, 'Who Killed Trident?' The Thunder and Lightning stories. Of course, this was basically done so we could buy some time get our heads together on the book. This, and the fact that I was going to be missing a couple of issues. The one thing that I think the X-Men could have used is something like the 'Who is Donna Troy?' story, which could have been a very depressing story if treated a different way.
Instead, it became a very happy uplifting story, And issue #39, where two characters resign, was a very upward type of feeling. Dick is obviously grown up, he's graduating school, basically. He's leaving Robin because he's now going to advance beyond Robin, Kid Flash has Francis Kane now, It's not like he's leaving the group and his life is over, He's leaving the group because he has other things he wants to do, It's upward mobility as opposed to emotion for emotion's sake, It's something that has to happen for the characters to work."
This aspect becomes quite apparent when one notes the developments taking place with Garfield Logan, aka, Changeling. Originally a character with a Malcolm-X type of withering rage, Garfield is in the midst of an intense growing-up process. His sarcastic wit covers up a multitude of insecurities, All this along with the normal emotional anxiety of adolescence creates a highly charged character well worth exploring.
"His use of humor also reveals that the anger is still there, Now the weapon is different, Instead of anger, he uses humor, The character obviously has a lot to be bitter about. One point we're taking advantage of is that he is a 16-year-old boy, The way a 16-year-old reacts is very, very unpredictable. In his case, he wants to belong so badly that humor is the only way of doing it. How many times, as teenagers did we do a lot of stupid things, say a lot of stupid things, like, make ourselves seem better than we are just so we can belong, In a sense, Terra is something of an exaggeration of that whole thing, but in a different way, Just how different we were shown in the third annual.