Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Titan-ic Tuesdays: "Titans East! Titans West! And Never (?) the Teens Shall Meet!" by Rozakis, Heck, and Chiarmonte

Hey, hey, hey, it's another Titan-ic Tuesday, Groove-ophiles! Once again, Bob Rozakis gives us tons o'teen-aged heroes, more (sigh) Captain Calamity and his stooges, and more mysteries. Sadly, Don Heck's art looks really rushed, and Frank Chiarmonte's inks aren't a good match for his pencils (at least not imho), but what're ya gonna do. I'd still grab it off a spinner rack and plunk down 35 cents in a split-second! From Teen Titans #51 (August 1977) comes a tale with one of the longest titles ever! "Titans East! Titans West! And Never (?) the Teens Shall Meet!"
Cover art by Rich Buckler and Vinnie Colletta


















10 comments:

  1. Oh, man, Bob Rozakis. His mid-70s work really struck a chord with 5-6-7-8-year old me. Titans, Batman Family, Freedom Fighters, the Calculator stories in Detective--I ate that stuff up. He may have been the first comics writer I was consciously aware of.

    I'd be concerned about trying to read that material now, but I still enjoy his Whatever Happened To's from DC Comics Presents. And of course 'Mazing Man was one of DC's best comics in the 80s.

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  2. Donnie Heck's art here was the worst.., I recall he took both Batman Family and Titans off my mid-70s collecting list very quickly.

    Uggh. I didn't mind Rozakis at all, his storyes had a fun style a bit more palatable than Zany Haney's. It's just the art that was miserable.

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    Replies
    1. Don Heck's art was the worst. Now that he's dead there seems to be an attempt to retroactively rehabilite his reputation. But he immediately brought down a title once he took it over. Iron Man in the late 60s, which had enjoyed a good run under Tuska and Craig, had a huge plunge in quality after Don Heck came on with issue # 26. I lost interest in the title after that.

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  3. Hello, might someone with an art background sort of explain why Don Heck's artwork was not as enjoyable? From my perspective (I studied engineering not the arts)it seems like his figures look 2-dimensional and stretched out (like when you would copy a comic onto silly putty and then stretch it). But then, why couldn't he "fix" that? I mean many people goe back to school for "continuous training" can't an artist? Thanks, Cheers.

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  4. I think it boils down to simply this: age takes a sledge hammer to us all.

    Heck's work in Detective Comics in the late '60s--the Batgirl backups to be exact--remain some of my favorite comic art to this day.

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  5. It doesn't help that he's inked here by Frank Chiaramonte. That guy sucked the life out of anyone's pencils. His seemingly eternal stint inking Curt Swan's Superman in the late 70s made even me -- a lover of all things Swan -- cross my fingers every month that the latest issue of Superman or Action might somehow feature Jose Luis Garcia Lopez art instead.

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  6. This era was just a perfect storm of incompetence. Even the printing was awful. This must be when they changed to plastic plates. Too bad they didn't get Haney back for the Titan's gig. Goofy as his stories were, they were never dull. I imagine he would've killed off the Joker's Daughter in a heartbeat. My dream team for this era: Bob Haney/Marshall Rogers/Terry Austin.

    James Chatterton

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    1. Haney/Rogers/Austin would have been something to behold.

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  7. Yes, it's amazing that comics didn't fold up and die in the mid to late '70s, especially after the exodus of Neal Adams, Bernie Wrightson, and Barry Windsor-Smith from mainstream comics (with the exception of a few covers or a one-off project) and after the sudden change from metal to plastic plates. The color palette was so rich in the metal plate days. I can almost place the very month the change took place when I lay the covers of a particular run side by side.

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  8. I have dogged poor Bob Rozakis in these comments for a very good reason. He spearheaded the most insipid version of the Titans imaginable (until the 90's, at least). But I will say this: He came up with a great concept in Titan's West. He took all of these minor outlier characters, and gave them a purpose to exist again. I was definitely excited when I saw the first Titan's East/West cover. Of course, that excitement evaporated rapidly with each turn of the page. But the concept was solid enough to be used in the animated version. Now, does anyone want to be really depressed? Compare Heck's rendition of Lilith with the classi Saaf/Cardy version in the green miniskirt.

    James Chatterton

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