Monday, May 5, 2014

Teen Titans #46 (February 1977)

(Via GCD)

This one's kind of interesting, as I owned this comic as a wee lad. Did I pick it out for myself at the age of 4? Or was it purchased for me without my input? I mean, surely any hip child in 1976 (when it was originally on sale) would have gravitated immediately to the grandeur of the Fiddler. But, you know, I always had some strange and inexplicable comics in my fledgling collection, so the world may never know.

The comic is a very curious artifact from the period when DC was throwing everything at the wall and seeing what would stick. Not much, as it turned out, and the revival of Teen Titans was no different. It had begun with #44 and would only last until #53 (a wild "untold" origin I should try to reacquire someday). The Titans are still trying to find their footing both as a group and a book here, so it's rather odd.

For one thing, the villain of this comic is the Fiddler, a longtime villain of the Flash and the Justice Society...on Earth-Two. Sure, it's briefly explained and no harm, no foul as far as I'm concerned, but this is the sort of nonsense that convinced people that the Crisis on Infinite Earths was needed to make things "less confusing." I swear, if there was ever a worse rationalization for doing something, it was the "less confusing and more streamlined" mantra. Tell me, does anyone find mainstream superhero comics less confusing now than they were in 1984?

...That got away from me, didn't it? Sorry, pet peeve of mine. Anyway, the Fiddler's presence as the villain is because the plot is musically-themed in the most 1970s way possible that doesn't involve disco. But more on this shortly.

This issue also marks the TT debut of another thorn in the side of continuity addicts - the Joker's Daughter. Already having appeared in the pages of Batman Family as an adversary, this is Duela Dent's first foray into being a do-gooder. Hmmm, I wonder if SHE is why I got this comic back in the day? It wouldn't surprise me.

Oh yes, the plot. It involves shenanigans and hijinks in a battle of the bands involving two groups who are most assuredly not based on Paul McCartney and Wings and the Carpenters. I'm honestly not sure where Bob Rozakis got this particular idea, but it blew my tiny mind as a child. I'm not going to spoil it, even though it's a very old comic. Suffice to say, PLOT TWIST!

The art is by Irv Novick and Joe Giella, two solid professionals who probably had less than zero interest in the rock music aspect of the story. Novick is underrated in the grand scheme of things, and Giella is one of the more distinctive inkers of his generation for me. Seriously, I didn't even need the credits to peg this as a Giella job. It just is.

I sometimes like to talk about the ads in my comics, and this is a good time. I noticed that, even in 1976, DC still had a slightly better grade of advertiser than Marvel. I see Monogram, Ideal, and Peter Pan Records alongside Honor House and Charles Atlas. It's a subtle distinction, but DC's comics do still seem slightly "classier" and more geared toward kids as a result.

1 comment:

  1. I missed this issue, but collected the last four of five in this run, right up to the last issue. I was kind of surprised at this Harlequin since the last one I had seen was Earth 2's villain for Green Lantern.

    someday you should write about why the original Earth was so readily accepted by the JSA as Earth 2. That still seems weird to me.

    I loved seeing all the new and various redesigns of the Titans West. Flamebird? Never knew who she was originally...