Titans now, Titans forever: Marv Wolfman and George Pérez at C2E2


Marv Wolfman and George Pérez created or brought back some of DC’s most famous characters. Here’s what the two living legends had to say at C2E2.

Fans attending cons might not be a hardened lot, but once they’re in their chairs for a panel, it can be tough to get them out of those chairs. But when Marv Wolfman and George Pérez, the team behind New Teen Titans and Crisis on Infinite Earths (just to start), had a joint panel at C2E2 this weekend, the audience — this writer included — got to their feet to applaud them.

But both during the panel and the interview I had with Wolfman individually, the two made it clear that they were a team. Each said that the other had ideas that were incorporated into their creations. Each cited comics that they love that they didn’t work on — particularly the works of the late Stan Lee, Jack Kirby, and Steve Ditko on titles like Fantastic Four, Thor, and The Amazing Spider-Man. “If those books hadn’t existed, Crisis might not have,” Wolfman said in response to a question during the panel.

Naturally, The Judas Contract came up both in the panel and during my interview. The storyline has appeared in everything from the Teen Titans animated series to its own DC animated film, and with Jericho and Deathstroke cast for season 2 of Titans, fans wanted to know: what even went into that?

Wolfman and Pérez noted that the idea behind Terra was to play into tropes that readers already knew. “I’m not sure why it endured,” Wolfman said in the interview of the story, “but we certainly planned [Terra’s betrayal] out from the start,” particularly in “making her as cute as possible” to lead readers into thinking that yes, the Titans would redeem her.

All the same, they didn’t faze those around them; Wolfman recalled that they talked about Terra’s death in public; in the comics, she’s, well, a teen girl. “No one reported us to the police,” he noted, getting laughs from the audience.

But these stories matter to readers, even if they didn’t get any attention from fellow diners when plotting Terra’s death. “We honestly didn’t think it was going to last,” Wolfman said of The New Teen Titans, citing DC’s woes of the era in finding any new and lasting titles.

There was “nothing to lose,” added Pérez, before Wolfman pointed out that the two of them lived close to each other at the time and would present completed work … meaning, said Wolfman, “It was too late to say no!” as to what would happen in the story. “Marv had a particular story he wanted to tell,” Pérez emphasized. “If you’re just honest to people … people will understand that,” Wolfman said.

Beyond the nostalgia of the past, they both looked to the future of comics — and its expansion.

“You can make almost any character interesting,” Pérez pointed out, noting that Jericho, for example, might seem difficult at first because he doesn’t speak, but in the right hands, he can make for a wonderful story. (He did also comment that Jericho was a challenge for Wolfman as a writer, because of the non-verbal aspect.)

Marv Wolfman at C2E2. Photo Credit: C. Wassenaar for Culturess

So, how did Wolfman and Pérez make Raven and Starfire, two of their creations, interesting as part of the team? Wolfman gave some insight during our interview: “Back then, there was usually one female character in a group. From day one, not only were the Titans created to be an equal team of male and female, but, in point of fact, the females were more powerful than any of the males. They had all the major superpowers, and the guys did not, and that was very deliberate.”

In my interview with Wolfman, we also touched on the latest iteration of Titans to grace the small screen. With both Jericho and Deathstroke, who play major roles in The Judas Contract, fueling rumors that there will be an adaptation of the story for the upcoming season, I asked Wolfman to weigh in on the casting of Chella Man and Esai Morales as well as the show itself:

"I’m fascinated by it; I think it’s phenomenal. The actor who’s playing Deathstroke, Esai Morales, is really good; I mean, he’s a great actor. The person playing Jericho is Deaf and is going to use sign language exactly the same way that we had [Jericho use it]. The fact that he’s Deaf is going to affect his performance because he’s going to move in certain ways, you take more control of yourself… I’m really looking forward to it."

With two men who have worked on more titles than you can remember in one go, what else did they have to say about how to do what they did? (Just so long as you don’t ask them which characters are their favorites.)

From Pérez: “Don’t take criticism personally.”

From Wolfman: “Become a writer who does comics. If you do one thing, you’re gonna get stale.”

There was one question, though, that had laughs from every corner: what would be a good villain for the Titans to fight without Robin? Pérez answered more seriously: “You’ll change your mind; you’ll throw away more than you save [while working on a story].”

Wolfman finally gave up and said, “Okay, the answer is Doctor Doom.”

Next. What the Women of Marvel have in store for 2019. dark

A little wit goes a long way, too, when it comes to having a storied career like either Pérez or Wolfman have had.