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The New Teen Titans: Games is the latest in an ever-expanding series of projects I never thought I’d see — a list which includes 2001’s The Dark Knight Strikes Again, 2005’s Englehart/Rogers/Austin Dark Detective, the various Giffen/DeMatteis/Maguire Justice League International reunions, and of course George Pérez finally getting his bravura turn on JLA/Avengers.
In the waning years of the 1980s (so the stories go), New Teen Titans co-creator Marv Wolfman had an idea for a Titans graphic novel. Wolfman, Pérez, and editor Barbara Kesel conceived Games — basically a supervillain-caper story with an espionage/terrorism angle — as a one-shot spinoff of the wildly successful ongoing series. Pérez then drew some 70 pages before complications sent the project into the limbo of unfinished possibilities. However, as the years went by and the stars realigned, and that possibility of finishing Games turned into probability, Wolfman and Pérez were forced to rethink their approach to the material, both in terms of changed styles and changes in content.
Accordingly, the Games we have today isn’t quite an artifact or a re-creation. Although it is rooted significantly in Titans lore, it doesn’t seem inaccessible to new readers. It’s a continuation which, for various reasons, can’t be “official,” and it’s also a standalone story which offers another look at the pair’s signature work. It may well be their last word on these characters, but it’s hardly an ending. It’s what they would have done twenty-odd years ago, except that it works best when taken slightly out of that context. Take it from someone who grew up in the land of strong bourbon — Games may be one of the most potent distillations of the Wolfman/Pérez experience.
Naturally, all that requires some explanation, so here we go….
The highly anticipated book, conceived in the mid-1980s with New Teen Titans writer Marv Wolfman, has been announced and postponed numerous times over the past 25 years. The 120-page graphic novel had been scheduled this time for a Nov. 3 release; Amazon.com lists Jan. 11, 2011, as the new date.
“The fault is entirely mine,” Pérez explained on his Facebook fan page. “I’m afraid that a confluence of events, including my worsening eyesight which prompted the ongoing surgical procedures that I’ve already covered here and the bad timing of committing to Legacies before I knew that Games‘ deadlines had been compromised. … With Legacies being an ongoing series, as opposed to Games being a one-shot, it was determined that the monthly series had to be prioritized since my involvement with that series had already been publicized.”
Set in the ’80s, Games features a classic Titans lineup — Nightwing, Troia, Cyborg, Changeling, Starfire, Raven, Jericho and Danny Chase — pitted against a mysterious villain playing a deadly game.
Pérez, who apologized to fans and to Wolfman for the additional delay, wrote: “I have about 25 pages left to draw and I’m hoping that, when the book is finally re-solicited (and it will be!) that it will be at least a tiny bit worth the long wait.”
Read Pérez’s full statement after the break: