Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Teenage Super-stars!

Karen: Who is your favorite teen-aged super-hero, and why? Anybody who started their career as a teen is eligible for this one.

Karen: There are a lot of candidates -all of the Teen Titans, the Legion, New Mutants, origin
al X-Men, and tons of solo stars, like Batgirl, Nova, and my favorite, good old Peter Parker, the Amazing Spider-Man. What is it about the teen-aged super-hero that makes him or her so appealing? Let's hear your thoughts.

Karen: Or are there those you out there who can't stand teen heroes? Let us know why you feel that way too!


Terence Stewart said...

I don't know about a Super-star, but Lilith of the Teen Titans was a big favourite of mine.
Psychic red-heads - you can't beat 'em.

david_b said...

LOVED the original Titans and Batgirl.. Great thing about the original Titans was how Cardy drew so much energy into the first dozen issues, Kid Flash zippin' along, Donna's large, excited eyes, energy just bleeding off the page. The hip lingo used was always 'over-the-top' but the DC folks knew that, being part of the in-joke (at least I'm sure they did...).

Starfire and Garth were good at keeping that 'fun-energy' up, but I didn't follow or like much of the New Titans after Wolfman and Perez left.

As for Marvel, besides Spidey, only Johnny and Medusa are considered teen favorites. I just thought of the pre-Mar-Vell Rick Jones and his Teen Brigade as attempting to make a passe idea work at Marvel, but I don't recall it getting much traction.

Doug said...

I always loved the teen heroes. It's funny, though -- by the time I was reading Spidey was in college, and the new X-Men were depicted as older; that the originals had been a teen team was lost on me.

But Kid Flash was always a favorite, and I enjoyed the Nova series for about its first dozen issues or so. Sadly, I didn't get in on the ground floor of the New Teen Titans -- I liked the original series (at the time -- see our reviews for a revised older-reader perspective); I'm sure I'd have liked the Wolfman/Perez spin on things.


William said...

Spider-Man! (Even though he didn't stay a "teenaged" super-hero for very long). I always thought that Stan Lee should have left in high-school a little while longer. The book got it's start touting Spider-Man as "the first teen-aged super-hero that was the star of his own comic and not just a sidekick". Then they just sort of blew that off within the first couple of years and the next thing you know Pete was older and in college. Then he just suddenly stopped aging for about 20-years or so.

I think that Stan Lee had thought the book wouldn't last that long, so he actually wrote it in "real time". Pete started out as Spidey when he was in tenth or eleventh grade and then two years later (our time) he was graduating high-school and starting college. It was a very unique premise for the time. The main character actually grew older and his status quo and supporting cast changed along with him.

However, by the time Pete was in his second year of college, I think Stan realized that the book was a huge hit and wasn't going to go away, so he figured "hey, I'd better stop aging this guy or he's going to be 30 by the end of the decade."

Doug said...

You know, it's funny -- after working with high school students for the past 23 years, and having had two sons go through those times, it's really hard to comprehend someone aged 14-16 or so going out and doing the things we've seen from Robin and other teen heroes. For one thing, the lion's share of these kids aren't physically mature until they're closer to 18, and behaviorally (hormonally, perhaps), I'm not sure I'd ever want to put my life on the line with someone who is dealing with that psychological yo-yo that is adolescence...


david_b said...

But, but Doug... Surely your kinder can don masks and take on the likes of the Mad Mod, or those cool aliens from Dimension D or where ever they were from..?!?

Seriously, I know the 'Mr Jupiter' storyline was a good-natured attempt to fix that, but it killed the very idea of 'four (or five) sidekicks figuring out crimes around the world'..

Or at your local soda shop.

Kid Flash was (and still is) my all-time favorite Titan.. That issue with Wally quitting was a big deal for me, 'course ONLY to be overshadowed by Dick quitting his Robin persona, in the same issue. THAT made it even more irritating and depressing.

William said...

Doug, along the lines of what you were just talking about in your last comment...

My dad told me that when he was a little kid (back in the 1940's) he loved Batman and Robin comic-books. He said he would always imagine he was Robin.

My dad would say "I couldn't beat up this one bully at school who was bigger than me, but I always I figured I could take down 3 or 4 adult henchmen if I was Robin."

I always thought that was funny, because I used to think that way too. They make look so plausible in the comics, don't they?

Dougie said...

The New Teen Titans were always a bit overwrought to my mind, either neurotic or declamatory or overly sentimental. The New Mutants, on the other hand, were more convincing as real adolescents. They watched tv, went shopping, had slumber parties and intense crushes on each other and sometimes carried the weight of the world on their narrow shoulders.The image of plain little Rahne writing stories up in that cupola is heart-wrenching.

starfoxxx said...

I always liked Changeling (horrible name, though) from the Wolfman/Perez Teen Titans era. Kind of the same personality as the 70s-80s blue-furry Beast--funny, ladies man (somehow), but also deep and a bit sensitive.

I just got the new Teen Titans graphic novel "Games" by Wolfman/Perez. It's a story 20-some years in the making---can't wait to read it!

Dougie said...

Ladies man? I thought Gar Logan was really gay for Cyborg. But then, thinking about how dreadfully unfunny his "comic" patter was, I'm probably mistaken.

Inkstained Wretch said...

I read and enjotyed a lot of Spider-Man comics back in the day, but back then he was always portrayed as a 20-something so I don't think he counts.

On the other hand, even though his comic wasn't all that good, I liked Nova a lot. Marv Wolfman was unafraid to portray him as having screwed things up despite his best intentions, something any teenager can identify with.

Funnily enough though, his comic was billed as "A Man Called Nova" -- Man, not teen.

B Smith said...

How could you go past Prez - first teen President of the USA!

Absolutely loved it when it first appeared and was disappointed to see it last only four issues (plus one in the Cancelled Comics Cavalcade and an issue or two in Sandman, but they don't count)

Wonder how he'd measure up in today's world?

Edo Bosnar said...

I'll go with Spider-man as a favorite as well, even though I began reading him in the '70s when he was an early 20-something. However, I did read (more like devoured) the first half of the Lee/Ditko run as reprinted in those pocketbooks in the late '70s, and absolutely loved it. Still the some of the best super-hero teen angst stories.
Other favorites of mine are the Wolfman/Perez Teen Titans, and Levitz/Giffen's LoSH - I was in on the ground floor for both of those runs, and absolutely loved them.
As for teen heroes who annoyed me, I have to admit Kitty Pryde in the X-men generally got on my nerves, and I had a kind of love/hate attitude toward the New Mutants as well, even though I followed the series faithfully until about 4/5 issues into Sienkiewicz's tenure as artist. I almost hate to say it, given how beautifully drawn and designed as those issues were, but I didn't like the rather pretentious Goth tone the series assumed at that point.

Anonymous said...

I’d definitely go with the X men. Doug – not sure how you can have missed that they were teens. It said ‘the strangest teens of all’ across the top ....and they lived in a school. Two things I liked: 1) everyone had a crush on Jean, which, let’s face is just what it’s like when you’re a teenager (“when I’m not near the girl that I love....”) and 2) they were archetypal teenagers – a nerd, a rich kid, one who is too old for his years and one who is the perpetual baby of the bunch and a token girl. Basically, it’s the Breakfast club versus the Juggernaut.

Doug said...

Richard --

Here is what I'd written:

" the time I was reading Spidey was in college, and the new X-Men were depicted as older; that the originals had been a teen team was lost on me."

Not sure what is difficult to believe about a 6-year old coming to comics circa 1972-73 not having any knowledge that the original X-Men had even existed, let alone had been teenagers. If you look at what would have been my first exposures to the team (even a few years later), it would have been in the so-called interim years, with guest appearances by various X-Men in Marvel Team-Up, the Avengers, and Captain America and the Falcon. By then, they were not teenagers.

And I never had any copies of their original run.

So I'm not dense -- I just never had any of those comics when I was a child.


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