Over the past year, I’ve gone back and read a few comic series I own, in chronological order for the first time. One of those series was the 80’s-90’s Teen Titans. Because they are notoriously confusing, I decided to start by looking up a Teen Titans Chronology. To my surprise, I didn’t find one online.
So, I made one.
As it turned out (and this may be one reason why there’s none already out there), it’s more straightforward than I expected. I thought the 1980 and 1984 series would mix their timelines, and I’d have to swap back and forth between them. Nope. You just read from one to the other and back again.
I thought I’d share my results, though. I mean, if I went looking for it, won’t somebody else? A few notes first:
This is based on my collection, and the 80s issues only; basically the Marv Wolfman / George Pérez series is at the centre, but I finished that particular run – reading long after Pérez jumped ship. I’m mostly going to talk about issues I have (of the series, my personal issues are personal, and who cares?) – though I’ll mention a few I don’t. I don’t pretend to have every crossover or appearance, and there are things I do have that I didn’t reread for this.
I don’t care about after-the-fact intrusions or year ones or retcons placing themselves in the series. If such things exist, I am completely ignoring all of them.
Games was very hard to place. (It’s an after-the-fact intrusion retcons placing itself in the series, though it’s specifically non-continuity.)
The Teen Titans have a notoriously confusing naming convention. Notorious. There are four basic series to deal with here: Teen Titans Spotlight is obvious (though I’ve excluded a few issues that are about characters that have their own series, at least in my collection: Hawk of Hawk and Dove, I’m not looking at you.)
The 1982 mini-series was named Tales Of The New Teen Titans. It was only four issues, which helps.
The 1980 series was named The New Teen Titans from #1 to #40, then Tales Of The Teen Titans from #41 to the end in #91. #59 on were reprints.
The 1984 series was named The New Teen Titans from #1 to #89. From #90 to #114, they weren’t The New Titans, they were just (some) New Teen Titans. Then they were back to being The New Teen Titans from #115 to the (by now merciful) end in #130.
I’m just gonna call them TT1980 and TT1984.
Most of that wouldn’t be confusing, except you’ve got two series that could be The New Teen Titans from #1 to #40 that are only four years apart from each other. Collecting back issues of them can be a Hell of accidental duplicates. (On my wishlist, I started putting on cover pictures. The New Teen Titans is, to date, the only series I’ve done that with.)
All covers stolen without permission from MyComicShop.
Okay, after the longest intro since Elton John’s Love Lies Bleeding, here’s the actual chronology:
New Teen Titans (1984 2nd Series) New Titans 14.5 – the back-up story in this issue gives some back story for Starfire.
DC Comics Presents 26
Best Of DC (Blue Ribbon Digest) 18
Tales Of The Teen Titans (1982) 1-4
This was hard to place. It’s a story about the team going on a trip to the Grand Canyon to get to know each other better; you see Dick come up for the idea for this sojourn in 1980 #22 (in the middle of a pitched battle with a giant spider beast); from there, the group goes back to a very bad reception in New York.
TT1980 23-25, annual 1
TT1984 15.5 A back-up story reveals what happened to Komand’r immediately after events in #25.
TT1980 26 p7 There’s a gap of a few weeks here, leaving room for:
TT1980 26 p8-33
TT1980 annual 4 This is clearly an inventory story; the framing device is Jericho (who hasn’t been introduced yet by 1980 #33), reading a file on an old case. I place the old case about here. (The framing device is pretty throw-away, so I don’t mind doing it.
TT1980 34, annual 2 ends with Dick injured with his head bound, leaving him to drop out for:
New Teen Titans Drug Awareness specials, where the part of Robin will be played by Protector. (I don’t have the third one; and they’re not numbered, but the Keebler one opens with Protector saying ‘I always wanted to work with you guys.’ I’m calling that the first one.)
Batman And The Outsiders 5: this is a direct crossover.
TT1980 38-44, annual 3, 45-58. This brings us to the end of the 1980 series (the rest, as mentioned, are reprints). So, on to:
Teen Titans Spotlight (1986) 12 – A Wonder Girl solo story, shortly after her wedding.
If you want to read Crisis On Infinite Earths as part of the Teen Titans, it needs to be mixed in around here. I didn’t for this reread, but it’s by Wolfman-Pérez, and it contains developments that will affect the Titans.
Omega Men 34 This is a crossover issue, and is kind of necessary.
Teen Titans Spotlight (1986) 3-6: this is a Jericho story. It could actually take place after #s 1-2, but it feels better being set during the time when the team had gone their separate ways.
(TT1980 annual 4 – this is about where the framing device goes.)
TT1984 23, annual 2, 24-25
Teen Titans Spotlight (1986) 1-2 – Koriand’r returns from space in time for:
Teen Titans Spotlight (1986) 9-10 – #10 doesn’t make sense. We see Aqualad escape from being caught by Lifesav… Mento, and vowing to go tell the Teen Titans about it, and tell them where he was holed up. Despite the Blue Beetle issues being about Mento and TT1984 #33-34 showing Skittles’ defeat, this story is never brought up again.
Blue Beetle (1986) 12-13 – the fight against M&M. He gains a new recruit, who will be seen in:
Teen Titans Spotlight (1986) 13 – Cyborg faces off against a villain who will be remembered not as a messenger. Remembered not as a reformer, not as a prophet, not as a hero, not even as Harvey… remembered only as Two-Face.
Teen Titans Spotlight (1986) 14 – a Nightwing story. You can probably leave this to your Nightwing collection, if you have one. (I don’t.)
Teen Titans Spotlight (1986) 16-17
TT1984 New Titans 38
Infinity, Inc. 45 – a crossover issue, which needs to be read with the series.
TT1984 New Titans 39
Teen Titans Spotlight (1986) 18-19
TT1984 annual 3, New Titans 40
Teen Titans Spotlight (1986) 20
TT1984 41-47, annual 4, 48-56 (including the return of George Pérez!)
Secret Origins annual 1 – This one’s a clip show. It’s pretty unnecessary, though it does get a ‘see this issue’ caption in a later TT1984. I’m only including it because it’s in the Teen Titans Omnibi, which is where most of my Wolfman-Pérez collection comes from. (Note: the Omnibus prints it out-of-order; said ‘see Secret Origins ann #1′ caption is earlier in the Omnibus than the actual annual.)
(You may choose to read Batman: A Lonely Place Of Dying here. I didn’t, and I even skipped most of TT1984 issues 60-61, since they’re not Titans stories, they’re Batman stories. I flipped through and read pages of #61 that had Titans other than Nightwing on the page.)
TT1984 62-69Teen Titans: Games: reading this helps, and the only place it really fits in is about here – after Danny Chase left the team (and had an appearance in #69), but before the Titans Hunt. You do have to ignore a few events in Games, though, which clearly did not happen in continuity.
TT1984 annual 6, 71-79, 82-89
I skipped #80 and 81 here. #80 is, like #70, a pilot for a different series (in this case, Team Titans.) I did start reading all three of these series at about that time, and they were not bad.
#81 is a War Of The Gods crossover. Reading it will make you want to read the event, but if you just skip it, you won’t miss it. Nothing happens in it that makes any difference to the rest of the series, and it’s kind of a nothing issue.
#71 was the first Teen Titans issue I ever bought as a Teen Titans issue (see above re: X-Men). It was advertised as a great jumping-on point and, well, it was. The Titans Hunt story was really good for a first-time reader. On this read-through, it felt like the beginning of the end, and I just saw the whole thing turning bad.
Deathstroke annual 1
TT1984 annual 8
Deathstroke 14 – this is the start of a three-way crossover between TT1984, Team Titans, and Deathstroke. It’s called Total Chaos and has the numbering right on the covers, with special borders (in individual colours for each series). But see the note below.
Team Titans 1
Team Titans 2
Team Titans 3
A note on Deathstroke #16 and 17: the captions want you to read these as part of your Titans collection. Deathstroke #16 is even listed as Total Chaos part 7 on the cover.
Both are entirely skippable. #16 has Deathstroke laughing at somebody else for not watching where he’s going, then crashing into a pyramid that the villain was building throughout Total Chaos. That’s it. It adds nothing to the crossover, and he doesn’t reappear (but is mentioned again) in the story. On this read, I skipped #17 (which is supposed to be part of the $ell-out storyline), and didn’t miss it; I did flip through it, and the Titans don’t show up. Maybe a cameo.
Teen Titans $ell-Out Special 1 – Total Chaos leads straight into this, and #93 is part of the $ell Out $toryline.
TT1984 93-96, annual 9, 97-114
Around here, they want you to read Damage 6, and I think Damage 0 and 7, and probably other things. I didn’t. I missed some story doing that, though, mainly Damage signing up to the team; but after about #100, this series got so bad I didn’t care. (Seriously, it’s really hard to believe it had the same writer.)
TT1984 0, 115-122
Darkstars 32: See Damage 6, above.
Teen Titans 0: normally you expect a 0-issue to be a retcon, showing some hitherto unmentioned aspect of their earlier lives. Or maybe it’s a prologue that’s actually printed before #1. This is just the next issue in sequence, and might as well be TT1984 #115. #114 is September ’94, #0 is October ’94, #115 is November ’94. (It got the 0 because of crossovers with Zero Hour.) The same kind of applies to ann #11, which is one of the DC Year One annuals of that year, but the only the Year One about it is the cover indica:
TT1984 New Titans annual 11, 123-124
Green Lantern 65, Darkstars 34, Damage 16: See Damage 6, above. But these are even more ‘necessary’, since they cross over with a storyline. I’ve already forgotten the cliffhanger a couple of days later. (I don’t have these issues.)
So, what have I forgotten? What have I put in that I shouldn’t have?