Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Top 20 Iconic Titans Covers

Comic Book Resources is doing a nice job of selecting the top "iconic" covers of various series and characters. So, I decided to do my own feature on the "Top Twenty Iconic Titans Covers." Basically, anything is eligible from the Titans inception to present day. The covers must be memorable and indelibly capture a moment in Titans history. So let's start the countdown....

20. TEEN TITANS #50 [1977]: East meets West as the Teen Titans collide with Titans West in this cover by Rich Buckler. Typical of the 1970s era covers, this one is chocked full of characters, with the tease that there's a big fight within its pages. This issue fully introduced Titans West, while the cover image contains more Titans than you can shake a stick at. And for fans new and old, there was definitely enough intriguing characters that would make any fanboy want to part with his 35 cents.

19. TEEN TITANS #26 [1970]: The Titans got revel ant, leaving their costumed identities to work for Mr. Jupiter. With the hepcat talk and harmless tomfoolery behind them, this cover marked a dramatic departure from the Titans of old. In a classic cover by Nick Cardy, an air of mystery pr evades. Why have the Titans given up their costumes? Where are they going? It also doesn't hurt that Nick Cardy was fantastic at drawing young characters - in or out of costumes - and gave us one of the sexiest versions of Donna Troy ever.

18. NEW TITANS #71 [1990]: The banner says "Happy Anniversary", but Nightwing looks none too happy in this classic cover by Tom Grummett. That's because this issue marked the beginning of the "Titans Hunt" storyline, where the members were abducted on the eve of their third anniversary as a team. Nightwing's expression - surrounded by the remnants of his friends - was an ominous image. Adding to the mood, is the clever shadow of the Wildebeest looming over Nightwing.

17. NEW TEEN TITANS (second series) #1 [1984]: Another iconic team shot by George Perez, launching the team into an all-new series.

16. BRAVE AND THE BOLD #54 [1964]: This is the one that started it all! The teen trio gathers in the first unofficial Teen Titans appearance. Bruno Premiani provides the cover art, a memorable image of three teen heroes held hostage by a nasty old man. The cover said "generation gap with super-heroes", which was a theme of the classic Haney/Cardy run.

15. NEW TEEN TITANS #13 [1981]: As the Marv Wolfman/George Perez run began to hit its stride, George treated us to this chilling cover. Back in the days when covers were designed to make fanboys plunk down their 60 cents for a comic, this one definitely captured attention. So much so, the animators behind Cartoon Network's TEEN TITANS replicated this cover in an episode featuring the Doom Patrol.

14. NEW TEEN TITANS #30 [1983]: No one does group team shots better than George Perez. And this cover proves it! Terra joins the team. And no one suspected the heartache that would follow...

13. TEEN TITANS #1 [2003]: Rescuing the Titans franchise from its doldrums, Geoff John and Mike McKone electrified fans with their new take on the Teen Titans. The very first issue established the new status quo - with the former Young Justice members taking center stage, while the former Titans were to lend support. Mike McKone became a signature Titans artist in a short time - and this cover provided an iconic look at the new teen team. Mike later reversed this image, allowing the former Titans - Beast Boy, Raven, Starfire and Cyborg - to take center in TEEN TITANS #12.

12. TITANS #15 [2000]: The Gargoyle returned to bedevil the Titans in this issue, but the cover by Phil Jimenez lovingly captured the Fab Five in their current incarnations. There's a nice nod to the group's origins with Mr. Twister, and their icons, both old and new. The bold design created the most striking cover of the TITANS 50-issue run.

11. NEW TEEN TITANS #34 [1983]: Everyone looks so happy to welcome Terra into the ranks of the Teen Titans. This was before they discovered she was a dirty skank working with the Terminator. The image of Deathstroke blasting the image away was a perfect portent - as Terra's duplicity would be revealed this issue - sending fanboys reeling. George was on top of his game and inking his own covers at this point - producing a gorgeous image that told a different story once you knew the secret that was contained within its pages.

The countdown continues....

10. TITANS #23-25 [2000]: Donna Troy's history may give some of us a headache, but Phil Jimenez helped ease the pain with this stunning triptych cover for the "Who Is Troia?" story arc. The scans barely capture the painstaking detail poured onto the page, as every Donna Troy factoid is captured loving in this image. Also? No one draws Donna Troy quite like Phil Jimenez.

9. TEEN TITANS: YEAR ONE #1: Karl Kerschl perfectly captures the essence of the Teen Titans formative days. In the shadows of their mentors, the exuberant teen heroes burst forth to gather as a team for the first time! Kerschl's expressive style captured the joy of the Cardy-era without resorting to parody. Indeed, Karl created his own indelible stamp of these characters, most notably the awkward and sickly-looking Aqualad.

8. TEEN TITANS #14 [1968]: The Haney/Cardy run of TEEN TITANS is often remembered for its goofball charm. It was the era of Robin-O, Twinkle Toes, Gillhead and Wonder Chick. Perhaps that why this moody cover by Nick Cardy is so memorable. Thrusting Robin into the spotlight, this cover set a chilling tone for what lie inside - as the grotesque Gargoyle attacked the Titans at their very souls. The slanted angle added to the dynamic image - and the ghostly images of the Titans prodding Robin to quit sent chills up readers' spines. The cover was gorgeously replicated by Karl Kerschl in TEEN TITANS: YEAR ONE #6.

7. TALES OF THE TEEN TITANS #44 [1984]: It was the pentultimate chapter of "The Judas Contract." Deathstroke had captured all the Titans except Dick Grayson. Terra had just betrayed them all. And a mysterious mute dude showed up at Titans Tower's doorstep with his chain-smoking mom. So much was packed into this issue - including Deatshtroke's origin and the debuts of both Nightwing and Jericho. Known for his detailed art, George Perez gave each story its proper due, with this three-pronged image, each third telling it's very own story. Classic.

6. JLA/TITANS #1-3 [1998]: Phil Jimenez goes overboard - including everyone who was ever a Titan, plus a good number of Justice Leaguers for good measure. It's a "where's Waldo" of Titans lore, with obscurities like Azrael and Minion. A Titans history lesson all in one massive triptych cover, beautifully rendered by Phil.

5. NEW TEEN TITANS #39 [1983]: In another provocative cover design by George Perez, this issue marks the departure of Robin and Kid Flash. The easy out would have been a bold cover with someone yelling "I quit!" Instead, George borrowed a bit from John Romita's classic image of Peter Parker leaving his Spidey suit in the trash. This time, our two heroes are leaving their costumes behind, cleverly strewn on the logo, while they walk away with their backs to us. A little mysterious and unexpected, this image left an indelible impression, and was homaged years later in TITANS #13.

4. NEW TEEN TITANS #38 [1983]: Who Is Donna Troy? We've been asking that question for over 20 years now, yes. But back then, the question was finally resolved (or so we thought), as Dick Grayson uncovered the secrets of Donna's past. A moody personal interest story, George Perez eschewed the usual overblown cover-bait tactics and instead, gave us a memorable noirish image of Robin, the detective. In an era when fisticuffs ruled the spinner racks, this one stood head and shoulders above the crowd.

3. SECRET ORIGINS ANNUAL #3 [1989]: This issue cleaned up the Titans' Post-Crisis history under a stunning cover by George Perez. Never one to shy away from group shots, this awesome image tracked the history of the Titans through the ages, along with the evolution of the fab five. Dick Grayson rightfully takes center stage, while the "T" design creates a nice symmetry. Leave it to George Perez to distill 25 years of history into one image.

2. TEEN TITANS #23 [1969]: Back off, tigers, the new Wonder Girl is here! As Marvel Comics became more and more popular, the Titans started swinging into the 1970s, losing some of their square all-too-safe charm. Nick Cardy designed a new mod-inspired costume for Wonder Girl that made everyone sit up and take notice. This is another cover that has been homaged several times - most notably by George Perez when Donna Troy became Troia in NEW TITANS #55.

1. NEW TEEN TITANS #1 [1980]: Well, duh. The grand-daddy of all Titans covers, this symmetrical image by George Perez featured a bold introduction of the now-classic (then New) Teen Titans. The memorable group shot is enhanced with the inclusion of the alien Gordanian claws in each corner, hinting at the danger the teen team was about to face. Like many George Perez group images, each character is visually introduced, allowing their powers and personality to shine.

The cover itself has been countlessly imitated - even by George himself - in NEW TEEN TITANS #130 , The Overstreet Comic Book Price Guide #35, TITANS SECRET FILES #1, TEEN TITANS (third series) #1 alternate cover, TEEN TITANS: TERROR OF TRIGON trade paperback, TEEN TITANS (third series) #25, and TEEN TITANS (third series) #41.

Now that's iconic.



  • At 2:21 PM, Blogger MetFanMac said…

    Nice choices. Looking forawrd to the rest...

  • At 4:35 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Great idea! I also am eager to see what else you chose. I have a couple in mind myself...

  • At 5:55 PM, Anonymous USS_Titans said…

    I am not sure with your choices of 19 and 18. Teen Titans #26 and N Titans #71 covers are so depressing in their story lines perspective. Both were downturn points in the Titans history that really something I would like to forget(both of those storyline almost made me quit reading the Titans). But I respect your choices that they do make a personal impact. Depressing one nonetheless. You and I are so much alike....I have the same ideas in which mine are called Famous Teen Titans Cover Gallery at my TEEN TITANS Collector Gallery at
    Cant wait for the next set.
    Titans Forever.

  • At 6:58 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    great choices, New Titans 71 was one of my favorite issues.I think TNTT#1 will be #1 on your list

  • At 11:52 PM, Anonymous USS_Titans said…

    Now we're talking. New Teen Titans #15 has got to be my all time favorite cover. So much details of the jungle and vines that got me so exited, I couldn't wait til I get home to open up the page and start absorbing up the inside art. Oh, that was the good ol' time, good ol' memory.

  • At 10:40 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    What happened to #99, the intro of Arsenal? The all-new Roy Harper didnt make the cut?

  • At 11:20 PM, Anonymous USS_Titans said…

    Some of my favorite picks was excludes from your Iconic Titans Cover list. From Nick Cardy TT....Teen Titans#16 Dimensional Caper with the alien coming out of the Book!Classic!, from Perez NTT......NTT#2 and 4, I am torned between the first appearance of Deathstroke or the meeting between the TT and JLA but if a chance to owned one,I will pick JLA, from the Tales oT.....#64 from the master Brian Bolland, from Perez New Titans.....New Titans #60 Showcase Grayson storyline from Robin to the Titans. Top twenty is always tough choice for everyone, next time lets go for top thirty.
    Titans Forever.

  • At 12:29 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Guys, the purpose is to choose the most iconic covers, not the favorite.

    That being said, I think you chose well for the list! :D I wholeheartedly agree with most of them, including #1. Like you said, duh.

    This is a lot fun - thanks for doing this! :D

  • At 2:27 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    So you are saying New Titans#71 is more Iconic than New titans#60. Get real Dude!

  • At 2:43 AM, Anonymous Joey said…

    Nick Cardy Titans#26 is no way more Iconic than Titans#16. Titans#16 have been countlessly mention many more time in trade publications than #26. Especially with the story about Peter Cardy(Cardy's Father) named as the author of the book that showned in that cover with the Teen Titans being grab by the aliens. TT#28 is also another Iconic cover by Cardy with Robin get punch out by Aqualad.
    If anything the 18 & 19 choices is more of a personal favorite cover to the author than Iconic.

  • At 4:28 PM, Anonymous GarFan said…

    Nick Cardy Teen Titans no.25 was more of an iconic cover than no.26. Imagine the Teen Titans getting grilled by their elders mentor(JLA) for killing an inocent man. That's a classic icon cover I can think of.

  • At 5:18 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Whoa, calm down, dudes. I didn't said I agree with all, but rather I wrote:

    "I wholeheartedly agree with most of them..."

    (Also, I'm afraid I never got the chance to read the 60s Titans - I'm only familiar with the 80s and afterwards.)

  • At 1:01 AM, Blogger Nightwing said…

    For what it's worth, TT #16, TT #25 and TT #28 were all under consideration. I did think that TT #26 more accurately captured "the revelant era" as an iconic moment in Titans' history (moreso than TT #25, which was kind of a fake-out cover) -- just like NEW TITANS #71 captured the Titans Hunt launch.

    On a different day, I mighta swapped out a couple and slotted in TT #16 and #28 if that makes you feel better! :)


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