In Meta-Messages, I explore the context behind (using reader danjack's term) "meta-messages." A meta-message is where a comic book creator comments on/references the work of another comic book/comic book creator (or sometimes even themselves) in their comic. Each time around, I'll give you the context behind one such "meta-message."
Last week, I talked about how Steve Skeates was replaced as the Teen Titans writer in the middle of an issue (with returning writer Bob Haney then re-writing the second half of the story despite only Skeates being credited on the issue). I'll recap from last week the basic scenario of what was going on with the Teen Titans at the time...
When Dick Giordano was brought over from Charlton Comics, one of the things that DC expected from their new editor is that he would bring a bit more of a modern approach to their comic book titles, as DC was going through sort of a generational transfer at the end of the 1960s, with a number of their older editors and writers being phased out. Giordano soon hired a number of younger writers on Teen Titans to replace veteran writer Bob Haney, who had created the Teen Titans and had been the writer on the series since it launched.
Steve Skeates soon settled in as the "main" writer on the series. However, at the end of 1970, Giordano left DC to co-found Continuity Studios with Neal Adams. Veteran editor Murray Boltinoff took over the series and he promptly fired Skeates and brought Haney (who Botlinoff had worked with a lot over the years) back to the series.
Haney, naturally, brought the book back to the same sort of stories that Haney had told before Giordano took over.
Skeates, of course, was not thrilled with being fired and he really didn't like the fact that Haney was back to now reverse all the changes that had been made on the series since he was last on the book.
As a protest, of sorts, Skeates then wrote World's Finest Comics #205, where the Titans team-up with Superman in a story that is one of the harsher burns on a fellow writer that you'll see (I covered this issue as a Legend years ago, as well).
Again, note that this is the first time that Skeates would have been writing the Titans since he was fired. It opens up with the Titans now living in a small town called Fairfield where they all act like people from the past, including being racist and sexist...
Lilith manages to contact Clark Kent with her telepathic powers. She can't actively warn him, but she basically gets across that they're trapped, even if her conscious mind doesn't get that.
Superman arrives there and is disgusted by the Titans' actions, but discovers that it was all due to an alien device that was contacted by a man named Richard Handley (instead of Robert Haney) who made everyone revert to the old school days. What a sharp critique of Haney, right?
Superman destroys the computer and it is even more pointed when Superman describes "Handley" (while obviously this is Skeates describing Haney)...
Skeates later noted that Haney's response was to just call him a crybaby.
Thanks to Anthony Tollin for correcting how Dick Giordano left DC (I had it as Giordano joining Adams at Continuity while Tollin correctly noted that Giordano co-founded Continuity with Adams).
If anyone else has a suggestion for a good Meta-Messages, drop me a line at email@example.com!