Welcome to Comic Book Legends Revealed! This is the six hundred and thirty-first week where we examine comic book legends and whether they are true or false.
The Teen Titans characters, the Hybrid, almost got their own series in the early 1990s.
As you may or may not know, one of the all-time great cases of comic book coincidences is the fact that DC and Marvel both introduced superhero teams starring “misfit” characters led by a guy in a wheelchair within mere months of each other with the Doom Patrol and the X-Men. It never appeared to be anything more than a coincidence, but it is still pretty funny.
Anyhow, the Doom Patrol fell by the wayside over the years (the original team was actually all killed off) while the X-Men were revamped by Len Wein and Dave Cockrum and became one of the top books in the industry after Chris Claremont took over the series.
Anyhow, in New Teen Titans #24, Marv Wolfman, Eduardo Barreto and Romeo Tanghal introduced The Hybrid…
The concept of the Hybrid was that they were a reboot of the Doom Patrol that leaned a little heavier into the X-Men comparisons, with the new leader of this team being the (at the time) wheelchair-bound Steve Dayton, otherwise known as the telepathic (via his special helmet, which also drove him nuts) former member of the Doom Patrol (and step-father of Changeling of the Teen Titans), Mento!
The big twist, of course, was that while the original Doom Patrol was put together when Niles Caulder collected people who had been caught in accidents that had left them misfits (but misfits with superpowers), Steve Dayton CREATED the situations that turned the Hybrid into freaks (amusingly enough, I believe Grant Morrison might have revealed years later that Caulder actually DID do the same thing with the original Doom Patrol).
They fought the Titans in the next issue…
Then popped up a couple of other times.
However, in the early 1990s, when DC was actively deciding to expand their Titans line of comic books, they wanted to try to do something similar to the X-Men, where they had various extensions of the basic X-Men idea out there (like with Team Titans as their version of the New Mutants) and with Hybrid, they figured this could be a way to look at the dark side of the Titans universe.
To set up the then-upcoming series, they had a vignette in New Titans #87 (an issue by a bunch of artists that served to set up a bunch of future plots for the series in the wake of “Titans Hunt”) where one of the Hybrid confronts Steve Dayton (who was no longer handicapped and had been seemingly cured of his insanity caused by the Mento helmet)…
Those pages were drawn by Art Nichols, who was going to be the artist on the series. Len Wein was going to be the writer.
Naturally, though, the project fell apart. Jonathan Peterson told Bill Walko in Glen Cadigan’s Titans Companion that it fell apart over royalty issues.
While it’s unlikely that a Hybrid series would have worked long term, it would be interesting to see how the characters would have been affected by being actively used at a time when nearly every new series still sold a ton of books. Would the Hybrid characters have been adapted into the other Titan books after the inevitable cancellation, as the Team Titans characters were? It would have been interesting to see.
Thanks to Bill Walko, Glen Cadigan and would-be Hybrid editor, Jonathan Peterson, for the information!
Check out my latest TV Legends Revealed at CBR: The Bizarre Fears That Led to the Vulcan Mind-Meld
OK, that’s it for this week!
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