Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Waiting for Trade? – Tiny Titans Volumes 1-4

Creative Team: Art Baltazar and Franco Aureliani Price: $12.99 each
Volumes 1, 2, 3: Available now, Volume 4: Available September 1st

If you are a fan of any incarnation of the Teen Titans/Titans franchise you really need to check this book out. And I mean any. If you liked the recent cartoon incarnation, if you like the old Teen Titans from the 80s, if you like the New Teen Titans there is something in this book that you will love. And if you have children and want them to get hooked on characters you know and love, or comics in general, look no further than this book.

At the same time, if you know nothing about the Titans it won’t hold you back. They sneak in continuity references here and there, but they are just Easter eggs. Everything you need to understand this comic is in this comic.

The premise is simple. All your favorite Titans characters are attending Sidekick Elementary School and get into various adventures. If you follow current DC continuity, there are cute references to things happening inside the main DCU (such as when Darksaid, who is the school janitor, becomes principal for a day and demands that all the students take their finals without having studied! It was a Finals Crisis!). Battle for the Cowl, Blackest Night, as well as others have been parodied, but if you’re not following the main DCU I don’t think it will be distracting. It will just seem like quirky fun. Which is what it is. Make no mistake, these stories stand all on their own and will be just as easy to read and follow in ten years as they are now.

“Tiny Titans” is a joy to read. In a time when so many comics seem to be pulled down into this dark, depressing place it’s really nice to have one title that is just fun to read. This is the only comic book series I am reading that I can say with certainty that not a single issue has ever let me down. I never finish “Tiny Titans” and think, “meh that could have been better.” Instead I always think, “Aw yeah! That was great! I can’t wait for the next one!” How can you not love Beast Boy turning into a puppy?!

The book is part of the Johnny DC Kids line and the stories are very simple. Sometimes they take up a whole issue. Sometimes all of the short stories in the issue revolve around a theme. Sometimes it’s just a bunch of short cute stories. The art is simple but clean and fun. The colors are bright and the characters are adorable. And the single issues contain bonus pinups and puzzles for the kiddies. I’m not sure if these extras have been included in the collections or not.

Excitingly the Tiny Titan’s franchise has expanded into short chapter books (recommended for ages 4-8), one for the science fair and one for a camping trip!

If awards impress you, it won an Eisner last year for Best Comic for Kids (and it has shown up on a bookshelf in the comic) and is a New York Times Best Seller. Every interview I have seen with the creators shows that they are having a great time with this book. And you can tell from the finished product. If you have kids who enjoy superheroes or are a kid at heart yourself this is definitely worth a look.  And you can take a look here on the DC kids website and preview the first issue and here for a sample from this years DC kids Mega Sampler from Free Comic Book day!  Also, check out this video to see the guys in person.  I was amazed at how tall they both are!

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