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  1. #61
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    Quote Originally Posted by Comic-Reader Lad View Post
    Some people brought up the X-Men, but while NTT and LSH were popular in the 1980s, they don't have the fundamental gravitas at their cores that X-Men does.

    The X-Men has the persecuted minority angle at its core that can withstand years of bad stories and directions.

    With NTT and LSH, all of the best stories have already been told with those characters, so all the later revamps tried to do was "recapture the magic" -- in other words "rehash the past." Even worse, when they weren't rehashing the past, the new stuff they were coming up with wasn't as interesting.
    Ah, but the Titans also have fundamental themes at their core that go to their identities as a team. They are the younger generation who will one day replace the old and who clash with the generation that came before them. And while the X-Men does a better job of sticking to their central tenant, that is still a pretty universal theme: one that seems to enter the national zeitgeist almost every few years. Think about all the animus that has been thrown the way of the Millennials or Gen Z the past few years.

    Another important factor is that, while the X-Men characters are a team, there have been several of them that have broken out and become fan favorites as individuals. Wolverine is the most obvious, but also Rogue, Gambit, Kitty, Storm, Phoenix, Deadpool, Cable, and others. No, most of them can't support a solo book for very long, but fans do like seeing them together and having writers explore their pasts.
    You're addressing the symptom, not the cause. The X-Men characters can be popular as individuals...because they weren't mismanaged and didn't decline in popularity like the other two franchises. Though, I mean, I think enough people actually are fans of Starfire, Raven, Cyborg, and Beast Boy that you could say they're popular among the general public, if only because of the animated series from the mid-2000s
    Last edited by Green Goblin of Sector 2814; 08-05-2020 at 07:19 PM.

  2. #62
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    Quote Originally Posted by Green Goblin of Sector 2814 View Post
    I can't really say for sure on the Legion, but I can make a few educated guesses at least for the Titans.

    I think a large part of why the Titans faced a decline was because DC stopped investing in that property as its own property. Now, that's not to say that DC editorial just woke up one day and said "the Titans are donezo as far as we're concerned." No, it wasn't that monolithic or sudden. I think it was just the culmination of a few things that took years to unfold.

    For one, there was generally this attitude that, no matter what, no team was allowed to outshine or was "above" the JLA. Not the JSA, not the Legion, and not the Titans, even though the latter two outsold the JLA at the time. Second, starting at least in the 90s, there was almost an effort to take the Titans characters away from the Titans franchise.

    That kind of became apparent when Wally West became the Flash after Barry's death. Now, even though Wally was still friends with all the Titans, he eventually had to join the Justice League because he was the Flash. And the Flash belonged on the JLA...right? I mean, when you think about it, Wally didn't really HAVE to join the League just by virtue of being a Flash. Jay was a Flash who was active, but he wasn't on the League. He was on the JSA and he stayed on the JSA. However, because Wally's ascension to Flash was seen as him "graduating" that meant that he had to "graduate" to Barry's spot on the League even if that meant leaving the Titans behind. It was something that fundamentally undercut the central thesis of Wolfman and Perez's New Teen Titans run: that these characters had come into their own and weren't beholden to their mentors; that they were their own franchise. And, for the record, I think Wally West is the best Flash and that his years on the League are awesome. However, it did divorce the guy from his friends and yeah, DC tried to balance it for a time by making him a member of both teams at the same time, but at that point, it was kind of like Solomon splitting the baby.

    At almost the same time, in another move that followed the same pattern of undercutting the Titans, there was a concerted effort by the editorial at the time to separate Nightwing from the Titans so that he could be folded back into the Batman books. So, that's what they did, specifically around the time of the Knightfall story arc. Dick left the Titans, took over as Batman, and after Bruce's return got a solo Nightwing series operating out of Blüdhaven, Gotham's somehow-more-violent sister city. People I don't think realize that that was not just a happenstance occurrence because that's the direction the writers wanted to take Dick. It was a conscious effort by DC's editorial to fold Dick back into the Batman corner of the universe. And, like with Wally, those decisions might have been great to read for Dick as an individual, but you have to admit that taking away the Titans' literal leader undoubtedly did a lot to weaken the franchise.
    Interesting premise. I hold a different one.

    I think LoSH and NTT taught editors at DC what worked for the times (mature themes, complex, serialized plots, etc.). Once they began applying that to their biggest brands, the Teen Teams days as DC's premiere properties were numbered.

  3. #63
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    Quote Originally Posted by Green Goblin of Sector 2814 View Post
    True, but it was not only because they couldn't use Dick, but they also wanted to de-age him back to being a younger. So, Wolfman struck a compromise with them that he would give them back the Robin name, but not Dick Grayson and that they would create a new Robin. So, that's how Jason came into being and why Dick became Nightwing. It wasn't for Batman's convenience. I bet it was really "convenient" for them to have to create a whole new character just to get a Robin back in the Batman books. Instead, it was actually for the sake of salvaging Dick's character development that had taken place in the New Teen Titans book.

    So, did Robin become a legacy mantle for whoever was Batman's partner at the time? Yeah. But the Titans were from that point on not being led by a Robin. They were being led by Dick Grayson aka Nightwing who had transcended Batman and come into his own. The business motivations for creating the Nightwing identity had the in-universe consequence of symbolizing Dick's coming into his own.
    I wouldn't be surprised they want Dick to be younger (and they could use COIE to get this), since they want Robin as Batman sidekick.

    I guess the popularity of NTT at that time allowed Wolfman to save Dick from being de-aged.

  4. #64
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    Quote Originally Posted by DrNewGod View Post
    Interesting premise. I hold a different one.

    I think LoSH and NTT taught editors at DC what worked for the times (mature themes, complex, serialized plots, etc.). Once they began applying that to their biggest brands, the Teen Teams days as DC's premiere properties were numbered.
    I mean, that's definitely one way to look at it. But I think that that presupposes that people would just inherently be uninterested in reading about younger heroes. IMO, that might have actually been part of the appeal of the Titans.

  5. #65
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    I think its no accident that the rise of the Legion and the Titans coincided with the rise of comic book shops as the primary source for comics. In a lot of ways, they were some of the first mainstream superhero books that were written in a form that was more friendly to frequent comic-book shop customers than to magazine stand customers. The long complex stories, the more violent and sexually charged themes. in the '60s and '70s that kind of stuff would have been relegated to niche titles and indie books.

    Eventually, however, what those books innovated became commonplace, and the books themselves stopped innovating. Tell me a good Titan's story in the last 30 years that wasn't a call back to the Judas Contract, or the trigon story arch. You can always tell the moment when a franchise stops growing. its when they start rehashing the old stuff.

  6. #66
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    Quote Originally Posted by mathew101281 View Post
    I think its no accident that the rise of the Legion and the Titans coincided with the rise of comic book shops as the primary source for comics. In a lot of ways, they were some of the first mainstream superhero books that were written in a form that was more friendly to frequent comic-book shop customers than to magazine stand customers. The long complex stories, the more violent and sexually charged themes. in the '60s and '70s that kind of stuff would have been relegated to niche titles and indie books.

    Eventually, however, what those books innovated became commonplace, and the books themselves stopped innovating. Tell me a good Titan's story in the last 30 years that wasn't a call back to the Judas Contract, or the trigon story arch. You can always tell the moment when a franchise stops growing. its when they start rehashing the old stuff.
    Johns’s run is the only one that may even enter the rough ballpark of having the impact and commiserate popularity for that comparison... and there, I think you’ve got the twin issues of:

    - Johns only innovating half the time while pretty heavily leaning into nostalgia and his own retread ideas the other half of the time, and...

    - Infinite Crisis and it’s accompanying fallout wrecking the formula he had going by killing off Superboy and aging up and “promoting” Bart, while also leaving the OYL stuff that even Johns himself seemed to just flounder with.

    His run has a pretty good pseudo-epoch with the Insiders arc crossover with Outsiders, at least for what his team and book was... but after that, the build towards Infinite Crisis marks the point where things slowly start to unravel.

    Since I’m a big “consistent and adaptive writing is the most important element in long term story construction” guy... I guess I’d argue that the thing that actually lead to NTT and LoS eventually fading while X-Men soared was that, for various reasons, the X-Men franchise hit that perfect storm of nailing its spinoff and expansion attempts with a good enough creative stable of writers and artists to start perpetuating a cycle of numerous skilled writers and artists desiring to play with a lot of the “toys” that weren’t as heavily featured the first time around, which resembles the thing that happened to the Batman property at DC.

    You don’t just want future superstar creators inspired to one day write the main character or team; you want future superstar creators inspired to one day tackle some obscure side character, villain, or to create their own new character for the property. That’s how X-Men expanded - great writers wanted to do something cool with Magneto, Wolverine, Emma Frost, or introduce totally new teams - and how the Batfamily expanded - great writers wanted to see if they could create a new Robin, tell some Nightwing solo stories, redo Batgirl, rebuild Babs into Oracle, see if that Harley Quinn character could go places.

    The Titans property just got hit a bit by too many mediocre or worse writers, good writers having mediocre moments, or by too many handicapping editorial interferences, over too long fo a period of time. LoS had to deal with that plus reboots throwing it into disarray.

    And I think it needs to be acknowledge that actually creating that self-perpetuating cycle can be difficult, and may end up being more the product of good fortune than direct strategy by editorial boards. And both the Batman and X-Men books have had periods of brief retraction where the cycle gets interrupted, so it’s not guaranteed to always keep going, anyway.
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  7. #67
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    Quote Originally Posted by Green Goblin of Sector 2814 View Post
    Ah, but the Titans also have fundamental themes at their core that go to their identities as a team. They are the younger generation who will one day replace the old and who clash with the generation that came before them. And while the X-Men does a better job of sticking to their central tenant, that is still a pretty universal theme: one that seems to enter the national zeitgeist almost every few years. Think about all the animus that has been thrown the way of the Millennials or Gen Z the past few years.
    That becomes a problem when the older generation is overall more popular and never going anywhere. And they aren't really under any obligation to do so.

    If the day they replace them is never going to come, what is the point? And even then, I don't think that was an expectation in place during the NTT days. They just became peers to the JL who could be taken as seriously, not eventual replacements. Otherwise it was a mostly well done soap opera about hot 20-somethings who were friends and figuring stuff out together.

  8. #68
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    Quote Originally Posted by Konja7 View Post
    I wouldn't be surprised they want Dick to be younger (and they could use COIE to get this), since they want Robin as Batman sidekick.

    I guess the popularity of NTT at that time allowed Wolfman to save Dick from being de-aged.
    This was several years before the Crisis - it wasn't planned yet.
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  9. #69
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    Not reading all these pages, but my two cents....

    I think there's a lot of reasons that both franchises have fallen. Poor creative teams and creative choices, lack of consistency, lack of investment.....there's rarely just one or two big reasons a IP fails, it's usually a lot of small problems which, on their own, aren't a big deal but when taken together at the same time becomes a major hurdle.

    I think the Legion has suffered greatly from the weird paradox of DC's increased focus on, but inability to maintain, continuity. Back in the day when continuity didn't matter as much, it was easy for the Legion to exist in their own bubble, but connections to Clark Kent helped make them feel like they were still part of the DC tapestry. But continuity hasn't been stable since the Crisis while at the same time its become a bigger focus for DC and readers both, and that's had a big impact on the Legion. Was Clark a part of their roster or not? How does it affect Mon-El/Valor, Brainiac 5, Laurel Kent, etc? Lots of changes to the present day DCU end up influencing the Legion, and these are changes the Legion itself has no real control over.

    And the market continues to narrow, focusing more and more on only the books that "matter" and big Events. It's hard for the Legion to feel important when they're a thousand years removed from everything happening in the rest of DC's titles.

    And I think the NTT has suffered from a lack of direction. DC doesn't seem to know what the Titans are. Are they the team the kids and sidekicks join and then graduate from, or are the Titans a specific group of 20-somethings? DC has tried to have their cake and eat it too, by saying the Titans are both things, but that's only served to confuse and muddy the team's purpose and reason for being. It's contributed to the 20-somethings being treated more like sidekicks or junior heroes and the teenagers acting like the Titans are a boot camp for joining the League. Nobody has benefited here.

    And as the hierarchy of DC becomes more and more obvious and set in stone and the market focuses on what "matters," that's left the Titans in a position where readers assume they'll never be as important or big as their League mentors.

    Both franchises rarely get high-end creative teams, they shift focus on a regular basis, rarely get to shine in Events.....when DC treats these teams as a bunch of "also-rans" is it any surprise when readers start acting the same way?
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  10. #70
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    Quote Originally Posted by Digifiend View Post
    This was several years before the Crisis - it wasn't planned yet.
    Dick become Nightwing in July 1984, while the Crisis started in April 1985. So, the time is close.

  11. #71
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    Quote Originally Posted by titanfan View Post
    The NTT went through an unheard of period of team stability which I think hurt the book. The characters were too popular--there was no danger and it felt like the cast had the same roster for like 10 years. (With Danny Chase coming and going and Nightwing being taken by the Bat Books for awhile)

    If something like "Titans Hunt" had come along when Marv was going through his writer's block, I think the series could have retained popularity.
    Titans Hunt did help the book early on, but I think it went on too long - and ended poorly. And after Grummett left the book, the art went downhill. I agree, though, that membership was a problem. So was Marv Wolfman -- whose early success on the series gave him more editorial control. At the end of the day, George Perez was the biggest boon to the series (not just for art, but also for story ideas), so when he left, Wolfman probably should have as well.

  12. #72
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    Quote Originally Posted by kcekada View Post
    Titans Hunt did help the book early on, but I think it went on too long - and ended poorly. And after Grummett left the book, the art went downhill. I agree, though, that membership was a problem. So was Marv Wolfman -- whose early success on the series gave him more editorial control. At the end of the day, George Perez was the biggest boon to the series (not just for art, but also for story ideas), so when he left, Wolfman probably should have as well.
    Agree. Between when Perez left with issue #5 (Baxter) and the beginning of Titans Hunt (#72 I think), there may have been 10 or 12 issues that I really liked or enjoyed. The writing went downhill - even when Perez returned shortly in issue #50.

  13. #73
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    Quote Originally Posted by SiegePerilous02 View Post

    For this reason, I don't think Jericho is on the same level as Cyborg, Gar, Raven, Starfire and even Terra
    I give Perez a lot of credit for the success of the Titans -- I'd say 60% opposed to 40% on Wolfman's part -- because Perez also co-plotted -- and is one of the best artists of the Bronze Age.

    BUT

    Jericho was a huge disappointment. Horrible character design, boring power set, and he came across as gay but they made him a lady's man going against type. Bringing in almost any of the classic Titans (always liked Mal as Guardian and Karen/Bumblebee) would have been the preferred option.

  14. #74
    Ultimate Member SiegePerilous02's Avatar
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    I think the year or so after Perez left following Terror of Trigon had some okay stories, but they are notably just sequels to previous arcs. We get Lilith and Thia and the Titans of Myth (that one was actually cool since it had the Lopez art), more Brother Blood stuff, more Mento and the Hybrid along with him (ugh), more Blackfire and Tamaran stuff, more Brotherhood of Evil. Just rehashes and while the art was still good, it was nowhere near Perez level.

  15. #75
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    Quote Originally Posted by kcekada View Post
    I give Perez a lot of credit for the success of the Titans -- I'd say 60% opposed to 40% on Wolfman's part -- because Perez also co-plotted -- and is one of the best artists of the Bronze Age.

    BUT

    Jericho was a huge disappointment. Horrible character design, boring power set, and he came across as gay but they made him a lady's man going against type. Bringing in almost any of the classic Titans (always liked Mal as Guardian and Karen/Bumblebee) would have been the preferred option.
    Power set was the only thing I liked about Jericho.

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