Sean McKeever's first issue of "Teen Titans" doesn't hit shelves until next Wednesday with issue #50, but the fan-favorite author is already clutching dearly to his team of pubescent powerhouses. When CBR News asked McKeever about his lineup – which includes both Blue Beetle and Supergirl – and if anyone was ready to graduate to the big show as a member of Justice League of America, McKeever challenged, "[Dwayne] McDuffie will have to pry them out of my cold, dead hands. Hear that, Dwayne?"
Once he "cooled down," McKeever explained that after his well-received 20-issue run on the Manga-inspired "Spider-Man Loves Mary Jane" for Marvel, a chance to pen DC Comics' premier teen superhero team as an exclusive writer for the company was an easy transition, not to mention a perfect match.
"As much as I've felt sort of pigeonholed as a writer of teen characters, I have to admit it still continues to be a highly appealing subject to write about," Sean McKeever told CBR News. "I wanted to get my paws on DC's premier teen super-team but didn't want to campaign for someone else's book. I was content to write the 'Wonder Girl' series I was developing, but then the call came in from [DC Executive Editor] Dan [DiDio] and ['Teen Titans' editor] Eddie [Berganza], and I was all over it."
Former "Teen Titans" writer Geoff Johns ("JSA," "Action Comics") left the book he launched in 2003 with issue #46. Adam Beechen wrote the next three issues before leaving to write the miniseries "Countdown to Adventure," leaving the title open for a McKeever takeover.
The fact that the Teen Titans aren't quite ready for prime time is in McKeever's view the major reason both he and fans alike are drawn to the superhero team. "Teen society is the great Petri dish of humanity," said McKeever. "Take everything we are and amp it up times twenty – the emotions, the hormones, the drama, all of it – and then drop in a healthy dose of naïveté, and there you have teenagers. Each one of these characters has the potential to be the next Justice Leaguer, and it's fascinating to see how they strive and struggle to be a true hero."
McKeever says while it was Berganza who added Blue Beetle and Supergirl to the roster, he is very happy with the additions --so much so, in fact, that McKeever wouldn't mind adding one more. "I have no plans to shake up the roster anytime soon ," said McKeever, before adding, "There's one character I'd like to add, but that's being discussed right now."
In the meantime, McKeever says the current cast of characters gives him lots of toys to play with in the sandbox. "I was told the team DC wanted, and they gave me some wiggle room, but I was really happy with it as is. I like that they're all teens. I like that we have a Super-family character. I like that it's mostly an existing roster. And with Miss Martian, Ravager and Kid Devil, I have loads of room for character exploration and development."
In fact, Kid Devil reminds McKeever of character he knows very well, Spider-Man. As does newcomer Jaime Reyes, the new Blue Beetle. "I'd say there's a bit of [Spider-Man] in Kid Devil. Eddie has that Peter Parker 'aww, shucks-ness,'" said McKeever. "Blue Beetle reminds me a lot of Gravity, the character Mike Norton and I created for Marvel, and he was always intended to be a sort of an '80s Spider-Man, so Jaime's definitely on that list. He's quippy, his family's important to him and there is definitely some shared morality there."
McKeever, who used to stare at the George Perez covers of "Teen Titans" on the shelves in the 1980s, says his most beloved DC character is Wonder Girl, but when it comes to writing for the Titans, he doesn't play favorites. "I've enjoyed writing them all. I'm looking forward to down the line, when I get an opportunity to focus a bit more on individual characters and further define their voices," explained McKeever. "Right now, with 'The Titans of Tomorrow...Today' arc, there's a lot of crazy stuff and characters to juggle."
The writer teased what's coming up in his run, starting with issue #50 – a double-sized issue also featuring the legendary creative teams from the Titans' past: Geoff Johns & Mike McKone, Todd DeZago & Todd Nauck, and Marv Wolfman & George Pérez.
"In issue #50, we plant the seeds for a sequel to the 'Titans Tomorrow' arc, which begins in issue #51. Having glimpsed a future where the Teen Titans become totalitarian douchebags, that future has started to change. The Titans of the future aren't really happy with that, so they're zipping back to the present to have a little 'talk' with their younger selves. And Starro gets mixed up in the whole mess, too, so things get pretty wild through #54," laughed McKeever.
McKeever continued, "Starro's great because he can cause all sorts of mayhem and he's one of those wonderfully trippy Silver Age creations. He's a starfish from space that conquers planets! What's not to like?"
While McKeever wasn't ready to say whether or not Superboy and the Fastest Boy Alive would come back from the dead to once again suit up for Teen Titans, he did offer up one nugget. "If you see the cover to issue #51, it sure looks like Conner and Bart Allen are alive and well in the future," teased McKeever. "How can that be?"
McKeever also promised that readers "will see some speedster siblings at some point."
Currently balancing "Teen Titans," "Countdown" and "Birds of Prey," McKeever says one day, he'd love to yank Batman's cowl on over his head. "I would like very much to do something with Batman. I've liked recent explorations of Bruce Wayne in Grant Morrison's run and also in the recent 'Detective Comics' issues by [Paul] Dini involving Zatanna, and I'd love to write a book that dealt with both [the Bruce and Batman] personas fairly equally," said McKeever.
Next up for McKeever is a project he was only partially able to reveal from behind the cape. "Dan [DiDio] and I just talked about something in Chicago that will spin out of 'Countdown' and touches on one of this year's DCU promo images, but that's a bit down the line, so you'll just have to accept my crappy little tease for now."
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