Tiny Titans #33

I find Tiny Titans adorable, but I wonder how children take it. It’s probably an unjustified concern — youngsters likely concentrate mostly on the funny pictures of kid superheroes doing everyday things they can relate to, like going to school or day care — but I’m often surprised by how deep Tiny Titans dives into DC continuity. It’s never in an obvious way, but the only way to answer “why are Robbie, Tim, and Jason meeting girls named Stephanie, Carrie, and Cassandra” is to understand the complicated history of the Robin character.

Tiny Titans #33 cover

Still, I like this approach, in which all the different Bat-people, from Barbara to Alfred, know and like each other, playing together, much more than the “real” version. That one’s too much like homework, trying to figure out who’s dead, who’s in and out of continuity, who Batman approved of, and who justifies an official memorial. This is a terrific comic for those who love the DCU and want to recapture that childlike sense of wonder, where every day (page) brings the possibility for imaginative fun and weirdness.

The part that tickled me most was how the silent Cassandra, wearing all black, was carrying around an autographed picture of Dan DiDio. This must be some kind of throwback gag, something from an earlier issue I don’t remember, and maybe that’s the key to putting myself in a kid’s position. I don’t get it, but it’s silly in itself, and it doesn’t really matter that I don’t know why or whether I recognize exactly who the bald bearded guy is. Young readers probably approach many of the history references that I do recognize the same way.

(Update: You can see some of the pages with Cassandra here.)

I’m impressed by how much happens in these stories that aren’t. I mean, individual “chapters” are short, five pages or less, and they often consist of not much more than characters introducing themselves and everyone saying “hi”. Maybe a gag or two, or a panel of “Aw Yeah!” happiness. But there’s some fine cartooning in what’s often lots of the cast standing around. Or changing their clothes, as happens here. Surrounded by so many other Robins, Robin decides to dress up as Nightwing … which spurs Jason into trying on a different outfit as well. That’s reflective of kid experience, too, as deciding what to wear or fighting parents in getting dressed is, I’m told, a major part of child-rearing.

Even when a joke is obvious, they make me laugh. I’m thinking particularly of the next-to-last page baby, with his evil teeth. The cover is a bit misleading, though. We do see Ace and Robin Robin, but only accompanying Robin on a walk on page one and hanging around the cave on another page. I want more Pet Titans!

As a bonus in this issue, there’s a sneak peak of the currently running crossover with Little Archie … which again, involves a story of clothes making the kid.


6 Responses to “Tiny Titans #33”

  1. Basque Says:

    Isn’t the fact that she’s carrying a picture of Dan DiDio just a reference to his attitude at conventions this past year, where fans repeatedly ask him when Cass is going to come back and why her absence hasn’t been addressed by anyone, and he keeps arrogantly dismissing their concerns and pissing people off with jokes? That’s what I assumed anyway.

    Tiny Titans is pretty amazing, but it’s obvious to me that it’s written mostly for adult (or at the very least teenaged) fans who are very well-versed in DC continuity. Which isn’t to say that kids can’t enjoy it also. But I would really be curious to know what percentage of sold copies eventually end up in the hands of kids.

  2. Johanna Says:

    That could very well be right. I don’t go to DC panels any more, so I hadn’t heard the concerns. Thanks for updating me.

    I imagine parents and other older role models fondly reading Tiny Titans with kids, so they can convey a sense of the history behind it. That might just be me dreaming.

  3. Tara Tallan Says:

    My kids (now 10 and 6) learned most of what they need to know about the characters from the Teen Titans TV cartoon, and the spin-off comic books (which is pretty weird, now that I think about it, to have a spin-off comic of a cartoon that was itself a spin-off of a comic book). That seems to be enough background for them to enjoy the Tiny Titans. I read and enjoy the Tiny Titans as well– and one day I may let my kids read my old comic books from the Perez/Wolfman series so they can get all the in-jokes– but I buy it for them. :-)

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