Tales of the Teen Titans #60 (December, 1985)
“Shadows in the Dark!”
Co-Creators/Co-Editors – Marv Wolfman & George Perez
Letterer – Todd Klein
Colors – Adrienne Roy
Cover Price: $0.75
Awhile back I’d said that I believed George Perez’s work looked much better on non-Baxter paper. I’d have to track it down to confirm, but I believe I said something like “it doesn’t do him any favors”.
Well, this blog is all about challenging my preconceptions… so, we’re going to do us some comparin’… and probably some fence-sittin’ to boot!
We open in the Danger Roo… er, outside Titans Tower, where the team is running through some training exercises. Nightwing leads the team as they try and hunt down their newest member, Jericho! This proves to be a bit more tricky than anyone expected… considering Jericho could, with nothing more than eye-contact, body-hop and take control of any of them. And he does just that, starting with Gar!
From here, the Titans shift their focus, and try to figure out a way to expel Joey from Gar. Cyborg blasts him with a “zillion” decibels… but that doesn’t quite work… all it does is annoy poor Master Logan. Donna manages to snag Changeling with her lasso… and as Starfire goes in for the catch — CONTACT — Joey jumps from Gar to Kory!
It comes down to Cyborg… who, wisely closes his one actual eye, making “contact” impossible. He blasts Starfire with enough voltage to “stun” her… causing Joey to be ejected. Vic then biffs Joey in the chin.
Nightwing hops onto Joey’s back, piggyback-style… and Donna wraps them both up with her lasso. It looks like it’s all over but the cryin’ at this point… but then… Raven shows up! As is usual with her, she’s got some dire news… and is in need of aid. Joey uses this opportunity to — CONTACT — hop into Raven’s body! This doesn’t go all that well.
Raven vanishes, leaving Jericho a quivering mess. He begins signing at an unfollowable pace. When he finally gets his wits back about him, he reveals to the team that he felt a great evil inside of her. He wants to help her… which leads the Titans to ask themselves why they hadn’t tried reaching out to her of late.
After heading inside, the Titans recount what just occurred. Jericho volunteers to go to Raven’s room for a chat… and after a little hemming and hawing, Dick agrees. As Joey leaves the room, Vic suggests that Raven’s appearance might be changing. More on that in a bit.
First, we’ll follow Jericho. Inside Raven’s darkened room, she speaks… kinda in riddles about her “destiny”. I mean, we all know this is Trigon stuff, right? It’s always Trigon stuff with Raven. She refuses to leave the room without her hood, which kinda backs up Vic’s deduction that she’s beginning to look different.
After the chat, Raven appears in the Titans meeting room… and quits the team! She doesn’t want the team to feel responsible for her anymore. She feels as though she’s been more of a hindrance and a liability of late. I tell ya what, she’s often a hindrance to my enjoyment of an issue! Anyhoo, her plan is… staying the night at the Tower, and leaving in the morning. The team protests… but, it’s no use.
For something completely different… and potentially even more boring than Raven… we shift scenes to Vegan Space, and Tamaran. We learn that thanks to the Omega Men, the war is over. Peace will reign, and it’s now safe for Princess Koriand’r to return home. Now, I love subplots… but not that kinda subplot.
Back at the Tower, Gar walks in on Vic while he’s screening some old video. Gar giddily asks if it’s porn… but, no dice… Vic is actually looking at old Titans footage, footage featuring Raven in particular. Here we see the progression of Raven’s appearance. Starting with her softer look early on… to a more severe look… to her current almost sinister appearance!
Elsewhere in the Tower, Jericho sits awake… trying to practice his guitar, however cannot shake his worry over his soon-to-be-departing teammate. He decides to take the situation into his own hands, and visits Raven while she sleeps. What’s kinda neat is that he actually “suits up” in his complicated Jericho attire before leaving his room.
Then — CONTACT — sorta, I think. Maybe Raven sleeps with her eyes open… maybe Joey just pried one open before hopping. I dunno.
Next stop for Jericho… yawn… the craggy cliffs of Azar. He looks on as Raven is tortured by visions of her mother, and the shouting of… well, duh… Trigon.
Trigon even notices Joey’s presence… and figures, “what the hay”, and begins torturing him a bit for good measure.
The Titans are awakened by one whopper of a scream… Dick suggests that it wasn’t even human in origin. The team rushes into Raven’s room, only to find Joey. Raven, has vanished. Joey frantically signs the word “father”.
Joey finally regains his composure and explains the whole thing. Dick meekly lectures him about entering Raven’s body… but Vic reels him in. The Titans now know what they’re up against… however, before they can take the fight to Trigon… they’re going to have to find Raven!
If you’re interested in my thoughts about the issue itself, check out this piece where I went covered my feelings. Go ‘head and click the cover… then we’ll get into our little experiment.
Now, onto our comparison. I’m using some new-to-me technology to take a look at both images, and interact with them via a slider. Hopefully, this actually works! I’m going to be out of town… so, fingers are crossed!
We’ll start at… the start!
The first thing that jumps out at us is… Baxter=Brighter. Heavier paper certainly has its advantages. At least right out of the gate, I can’t see much of a difference in the pencils. Maybe those differences might just be in my head!
More noticeable color differences. In the far-left panel, the entire background color is different/inverted. Instead of our body-hopping Jericho being depicted as a white outline… it’s the rest of the area that’s gone white. Not Earth-shattering, but interesting enough.
Here’s an interesting shot. If you look at the bottom of the page… in the Baxter version, Donna’s leg and foot escape the panel… in the newsstand, it’s been cut off! Another benefit to the upscale format!
More Jericho-inversion. I might be seeing the error of my ways.
Our first look at Raven… the blacks are much richer on Baxter stock
Speaking of “richer blacks”… I wanted to include this image to show that off. While the newsstand “look” is definitely more, I dunno… comfortable to me… I can’t deny that the Baxter is really sharp!
Included the above image simply because Gar’s heart-jammies are altered in the Newsstand edition.
Here the Jericho outlines have been altered. Again, inversion is a necessity for the lighter weight paper.
And a couple more just to show off the vibrant “hi-definition” look.
So, the verdict? I’m just as lost as I was before! There are certainly some benefits to both the Baxter and Newsstand formats. Immediately we can see that both clarity and color are so much better in the more upscale Baxter book. While at the same time though, the newsstand definitely has its charms. I still think that Perez’s work looks more like I expect it to in the “lesser” format! But, at the end of the day… that doesn’t make it “better”.
Tomorrow we’ll take a look at another artist I swear looks better on newsprint… Jim Aparo. Can’t wait to see how wrong I am about that one!