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Marv Wolfman thinks comics creators shouldn’t ask for his permission to do what they want

“I did what I wanted.”

Cropped cover of New Teen Titans featuring the teen titans
Image credit: DC Comics

Marv Wolfman is a comics icon. Not only did he write seminal, industry-changing comics like The New Teen Titans and Crisis on Infinite Earths, he also co-created beloved and lasting characters like Tim Drake, Cyborg, Raven, and Starfire. But he doesn’t expect the new generations of comic creators to turn to him for directions, even in regards to the characters he created.

At his spotlight panel at this year’s Wondercon, Wolfman was asked how he feels new characterization has added or detracted from his characters, and he replied that his opinion on those characterizations shouldn’t matter, “I never asked Bob Haney, who wrote the first version of Teen Titans, how to do things. I didn’t ask Jerry Siegel how to write Superman. I didn’t ask Bob Kane how to do my Batman stories. Why should anyone else? Why should the next generation have to work for me?”

Wolfman pointed out more specifically that if current comic creators did want to follow his path, they would reinvent what came before them, “If they want to follow what I did - which was to take the Teen Titans with brand new characters, come up with a bunch of stuff, come up with my own approach - do something they believe in.”

Wolfman shared that from his perspective, comics aren't about being faithful to the past, but about keeping the stories relevant for new generations, “Do whatever you want. I did what I wanted. I did what I believed would be really good, and I hoped it would be good. I didn’t ask the previous generation— and not because I was angry at them. My job was to take it into the next generation. “

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Tiffany Babb

Tiffany Babb: Tiffany Babb is a professional lurker (aka critic) who once served as Popverse’s deputy editor and resident Sondheim enthusiast.


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