Teen Titans Annual #1 (1999)

A quick look at Mike’s Amazing World of Comics shows me that between 1998 and 2004, DC produced several replica/reprint and “lost” classic Silver and Bronze Age 80-page giant annuals (the “Teen Titans Lost Annual” from 2008 is on that list as well but I’m going to say it doesn’t qualify because it has different trade dress and a complicated back story). Among these was an annual that the Teen Titans never got in their original incarnation–the team’s first actual annual would be in 1982 with the conclusion of the Starfire/Blackfire storyline. Featuring a cover by Nick Cardy, we are promised “Classic Teen Titans Adventures … Featuring the Teen Titans Hall of Fame!” including “A Never-Before-Seen Titans TV Comic!”

This is all to say that this is one big reprint comic. At the time I bought it in January 1999, which was the same month the Devin Grayson’s The Titans book came out, the Teen Titans were back on an upswing, and DC was not shying away from having fun with its history. I was still in college at the time and excited for anything Titans-related. Plus, I had never actually read any Teen Titans books prior to DC Comics Presents #1, so this annual was my first taste of the team’s original adventures.

There are five stories printed in here, two of which I had already read in the Showcase trade: “The Return of the Teen Titans” from Showcase #59, “The Secret of the Olympic Heroes” from Teen Titans #4, “The Boy Who Lost Touch With the World” from The Flash #164, “Mer Boy vs. Bird Boy” from Wonder Woman #144, and a “TV Comic” called “The Monster Machine” that uses panels from what I believe was a Filmation Teen Titans pilot to tell that episode’s story.

Out of the five, that TV comic is the most interesting because the Teen Titans in animation prior to the 2000s Cartoon Network show is something that seems to be a recurring tale of missed opportunities (at least this Filmation episode had a full story, because the 1980s Drug Awareness PSA doesn’t seem to exist in full anywhere). It’s very much of its time and has the Titans (sans Robin, who was on his own show) fighting a series of monsters. The Flash issue is a story about Wally helping a kid who had become invisible because of an accident. The Wonder Girl story is really, I think, a “Wonder Woman as a Girl” story, as Bob Haney famously “created” the concept of Donna without knowing (or maybe without caring) that the WG stories in the Wonder Woman book were all flashbacks. That one’s kind of a mess where two boys are fighting over her and creating all sorts of chaos on Paradise Island. Honestly, they would have been better off throwing in another reprint of an issue of Teen Titans than those two books.

At the time, since I didn’t have access to any Silver Age Teen Titans reprints (and honestly, I don’t think anyone did unless they had a really good comic collection), reading these were like thumbing through my copy of The Greatest Batman Stories Ever Told, which was a formative collection for me. Now, since I have most of the stories in here in trade paperback reprints, owning this feels more completist than anything.

Keep, Sell, Donate, or Trash?

Sell (if I decide to offload the pre-NTT books I own)

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