Judd Winick interview (Titans)

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Judd Winick is the popular writer who has worked on such books as Marvel's Exiles and DC's Green Lantern, Outsiders, and Trials of Shazam. This month, he turns his attention to Titans. Westfield's Roger Ash recently spoke with Winick about what readers can expect in this new series.

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Westfield: The lead in for Titans #1 was the Titans East special. Do people need to have read that to understand what's going on in this first issue?

Judd Winick: Yeah, a little bit. [laughs] It wouldn't hurt. I wouldn't say that you're completely in the dark coming into it. A good chunk of the Titans East special is Ian Churchill and I basically doing homage to Wolfman and Pérez by doing what we felt was a faithful flashback to a battle we never saw which was the Teen Titans taking on Joker and Bizarro. Then, we pulled a bit of a fast one by jumping ahead into modern times and showing that the original team was not getting back together. Cyborg was putting together a new Titans East and he wanted the old Titans to come onboard in a mentor position, kind of like the JSA does it, and they all turned him down. BIG SPOILER ALERT! At the end, all the members of the new Titans East, all young members who are arguably D-list characters, get horribly attacked and all are incapacitated. That's where we end. It was a bit of a misdirect on many levels. We pick up right after that attack.

Westfield: Are you enjoying working with the classic New Teen Titans characters?

Winick: Yeah. I sure am. It's both an honor and quite fun to be working with characters that I grew up on. I've written them all individually before probably, with the exception of maybe not Changeling and Raven, but to have them all in this capacity is a honor. It's really a blast. I'd say it's a lot easier than I thought it would be. The reason is because Wolfman and Pérez did such an astonishing job putting these characters together that they fleshed them out in such a way that makes it quite easy to write them. Who and what they are has been established. It's just a matter of slipping right into it.

Westfield: What can you tell us about the new series?

Winick: It's different from stuff I've done before and it's also different in the sense that it won't be your standard team book. The Titans will come to this conclusion on their own. They're not really a team per se. They are closer to family. More so than any characters ever in the DCU, these guys represent people who are truly friends just by the manner in which DC decided to have these characters grow up. They're some of the few characters who truly have aged. Nightwing used to be Robin. At some point, he got a little bit older until he became a full grown man. The same with the rest of them. They went from being sidekicks to being full-fledged heroes. Along those lines, they are teammates and they are friends who grew up together. They know each other very, very well. The idea behind the book is it's not going to be about someone sitting around doing monitor duty. It's going to be about how each of them will have some sort of individual problem that is taxing them as a hero, and the rest are going to come to their aid. It's not about team meetings. It's not about the Teen Titans going off to tackle something. It's about Nightwing saying, "I've got a problem with this. I need you guys." And they will come.

Westfield: Any hints for upcoming stories?

Winick: Yeah. Someone tried to whack all those Titans and the music doesn't stop playing there. It continues. In the first arc, we'll see the return of a legendary Teen Titans villain that we have not seen in a long time. A villain that is both sticking to his very classic persona as well as being reinterpreted. That will be fun. Then, there have been some questions about a missing teammate from the original lineup and we will address that as well.

Westfield: Are you enjoying working with Ian Churchill on the book?

Winick: Very much so. Ian is a very gifted craftsman. He knows how to make people look beautiful. He knows how to do an action scene. He knows how to show people acting. He's got a great sense of humor. Honestly, what more could you possibly want than that?

Westfield: Is there anything you want to say about the other projects you're working on?

Winick: I'm quite thrilled how well Green Arrow/Black Canary has been received. People seem to really, really dig it. More fun and games there.