Life’s End (My Life as a Teen Titan, Part Forty-One)

130 Last Page

The last page of New Titans #130, which has a cameo by Nightwing.

I stopped reading Titans in 2011.  DC announced the New 52 and the new series looked so horrible (as did Red Hood and the Outlaws) that I finally declared that I’d had enough.  My life as a Teen Titan, however, really does end with New Titans #130.

I mentioned in the last entry that I saw the Previews solicit for the comic during parents weekend of my freshman year of college and was surprised that the series was coming to an end.  I wasn’t upset, though, because comics at the time were taking a back seat to everything else–movies, music, girls, beer–and while I still collected and read them, they became something to read on breaks and during the summer when I was on my own and wasn’t sifting through assigned reading.  The Titans during that time took an even further back seat, as I became more interested in other books as well as big events like Kingdom Come.

The Titans themselves would, of course, go on.  Arsenal had a special shortly following the end of the title, an international espionage story that did wrap up one loose end from the series–we find out that the Titans had disbanded at some point following the events of “Meltdown”–and even got a lettercolumn about New Titans #130.  About a year later, Dan Jurgens would write and pencil Teen Titans, a series that is a bit of an oddity but that I enjoyed and find to be underrated.  Then again, I haven’t read it in at least 10-15 years, so I’ll have to see if my opinion changes when I get around to it.  The Devin Grayson/Jay Faeber Titans series deserves much of the criticism it gets, and I have mixed feelings about the series that started in 2003, especially Geoff Johns’s run.  I intend to reread all of those comics all the way through, although I won’t be writing about them because they all feel like they are part of different times in my fandom and comic collecting life.

I started reading New Titans when I was thirteen and the final issue came out when I was eighteen.  By then, the comic store was no longer around the block and I was no longer a lonely, worried junior high school student.  Moreover, I had moved beyond the point where I was reading about the Titans because I was looking for characters with whom I could identify.  The 1980s books had been like watching a John Hughes movie or hanging out with my older cousins–these were people I might wind up being–and the 1990s comics had characters I wanted to get to know.  By the time that title left the world behind, I had stopped needing to have a personal investment in the people I was reading about.

And really, the timing of the end of the series was perfect because the subsequent relaunches did feel like going back to my old town or old high school and seeing that things weren’t ever going to be the same:  the Dan Jurgens title was the new class you didn’t know very well, The Titans was Wooderson period, and the 2003 Teen Titans was almost like coming back to teach (your dreams were your ticket out).

Closing out what wound up being an enormous blogging endeavour isn’t easy to do.  After all, this spawned a podcast that is still going and some of the posts I wrote have gotten quite a number of hits these last few years.  But I found a source of inspiration in the last pages of that very last issue.   Though he hasn’t been in the book since issue #0 (and even that was a cameo), “Where Nightmares End” concludes with the person with whom it started–Dick Grayson.  Standing on a rooftop, he thinks:

There have been so many moments to think about.  Moments good and bad.  Moments I’d love to live all over again … and others I’d pay anything to forget.  But I don’t think if I could I’d change any of them.  I move on, but I don’t leave my childhood behind as if it’s gone.  It can never be gone … while it’s so alive inside me.

The future’s always uncertain, but that’s okay.  If I’d know what was ahead of me all those years ago, I might have avoided all the bumps … but I’d also have missed all those laughs.

He then says,

Take care, guys.  You’re the best!

Marv Wolfman then gives a farewell to the audience and thanks everyone he’s worked with in the fifteen or sixteen years he’s been on the title and I’m glad that on some level, that he ended the series on his terms.  I’m also glad that even though it took a while, I had a chance to look back on comics that have been so important to my life as a comic collector.

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