Thursday, January 23, 2014

CBR:Quickies Tiny Titans

Join Robin, Wonder Girl, Cyborg, Beast Boy and many more in these awesome All-ages adventures!

Aw Yeah, Comics!!

Launched back in February 2008, Tiny Titans was a pretty fun fan-loving tribute to the entire DC Universe. Was. Because this was too fun for DC so they had to cancel it, obviously.

Drawn by Art Baltazar, and written by Baltazar & Franco Aureliani, the creative duo behind the awesome Patrick The Wolf Boy, it featured a kid-friendly take on the original Teen Titans but would go on to feature every possible imaginable other later Titans, from Perez & Wolfman New Teen Titans to the then-current 2000s incarnation of the cult classic DC team.

It was a fan favorite, selling a lot better as Trade Paperbacks (and later as Digital issues) than in the regular floppies.

The series was able to celebrate its final and 50th issue in March 2012.

In this alternate take on the DCU, our Tiny heroes are in elementary school and their mentors appear from time to time as their guardians while they face such problems as managing a lemonade stand, going to their Pet Club meetings or baby sitting toddlers.

The original Titans led by Robin and the later additions such as Beast Boy, Raven and Cyborg appear as the main characters at first.

Aw yeah, Titans!

Comic title: Tiny Titans Volume 1: Welcome to the Treehouse
Written by Franco & Art Baltazar 
Art by Art Baltazar 
Format: Trade Paperback collecting Tiny Titans #1-6.

Aw yeah, first volume!

It's a whole new school year for our Tiny Titans!

There's also a new principal, Mr. Slade! Which doesn't seem to amuse his daughter Rose at the same school.

Our heroes meet the new substitute teacher, Mister Trigon! They face the local bullies the Fearsome Five at the playground.

The little Terra has a crush on Superman, Beast Boy decides to play the part for her! We meet the hot dog vendor (a cameo of Franco in the story!), Kid Devil is a great help for his business.

Why is Speedy called that way if he's not super-fast? Is Robin just a sidekick?

In the Batcave issue, we are introduced to a much friendlier Dr. Light as a science teacher.

Our heroes compare their secret origins. They get to hang around the Batcave, cause some damage with the giant penny and met a bunch of penguins with helmets and rockets (from Batman Returns!).

Followed by a bunch of annoying robin birds, Robin decides to drop his current identity to become... Nightwing! This Disco-wing doesn't prove to be quite popular with his friends..

Wonder Girl gets an adventure in baby-sitting! She has to take care of the Little Tiny Titans, including Wildebeest and other youngsters.

The Tiny Titans East invade their playground!

Finally, Blue Beetle decides to joins our heroes... but they're on a fieldtrip. He hangs around with Supergirl, Power Boy, Zatara and others at the Treehouse.

Each issue ends with bonus illustrations and lil' games such as labyrinths.

There's also a little "grow chart" showing the Tiny Titans' respective sizes and even some future characters (some would actually look quite different on their first appearances).

Class is in session at Sidekick City Elementary!

Overall: Simply put, a lovely pretty funny book that's highly enjoyable for anyone!

Older long-time fans or newcomer to DC Comics.. this is both the best possible introduction to the DCU and a great family friendly title for fans.

The art is quite charming, the book is funny and there's some many little references and inside jokes at the expense of "more serious" mainstream books. Like Ted Kord being dead (isn't he always? the only constant of DC through comics, games and cartoons... sigh..) and Jaime Reyes having The Beatles in charge of him instead!

The beginning of this series was actually pretty close Patrick The Wolf Boy in tone and even featured the same kind of similar stories at school, repetitive jokes and  activitieses.

All in all, a highly recommended series for anyone and everyone!

I give this one a: 2.5 / 3 Score!

Comic title: Tiny Titans Volume 2: Adventures in Awesomeness
Written by Franco & Art Baltazar 
Art by Art Baltazar & Franco
Format: Trade Paperback collecting Tiny Titans #7-12.

The Tiny Titans go to outer space!

We first meet the Tiny Mister Mallah and The Brain. Starfire's dad asks her to clean her room, so the whole gang goes to space! They say in space no one can hear you scream - but it sounds pretty loud in the cockpit actually! Introducing Blackfire!

Then we meet another new face, Talon from Earth 53.

It's the parent-teacher meeting. We get to meet the parents of our other heroes for the report cards.

In the following tale, time for monkeying around! Our Tiny heroes get all turned into chimps thanks to Beppo the Super Monkey trying Zatara's magic!

The Atom and his Family are living in the Treehouse's flowers pot. They are the Tiny Tiny Titans!

Next we get to see what Tiny Krypto, Streaky and Ace the Bat-hound are up to. Hopefully Bizarro won't bother them too.

Beast Boy is courting Terra.. with even less success than last time! Poor BB...

The final villain-special issue is hilarious! Deathstroke leave the school in the hands of Darkseid... the Lunch Lady! The hall monitor, the Monitor, and the Anti-Monitor have their hands full... With Darkseid in charge and the exams coming up... it's the school's Finals Crisis!

More games like crosswords and more! Aw yeah, funny books!

Overall: What a joy! Art Baltazar & Franco get to play with all these characters, introduce a lot more familiar and obscure faces and they do seem to be having quite a lot of fun along the way!

Hawk and Dove, Little Barda.. Be it recent obscure characters with a niche audience or older classics! There's characters for everyone in this!

Jason Todd(ler) for example is all the opposite of how he's usually depicted by DC, here always smiling and about having fun. Fantastic!

The issues this time also contained some special pin-ups by Franco. They're always fun and a nice look at these characters from a different perspective.

The series continues to be the best all-ages collection out there nowadays!

I give this one a: 2.5 / 3 Score!

Comic title: Tiny Titans Volume 3: Sidekickin' It
Written by Franco & Art Baltazar 
Art by Art Baltazar 
Format: Trade Paperback collecting Tiny Titans #13-18.

This new book opens with Raven having a little sweet moment in company of the Tiny critters at the park.

Kid Flash and Wonder Girl discover the Brainiac Club!

The Pet Club is now in order! Suddenly.. it's an invasion of bunnies! Thanks to Zatara and Beppo once again! They try washing their clothes which turns for the worst...

Next up is another Pet Club meeting, on Paradise Island this time! Robin and the others don't seem too please though, boys are not allowed on the ground... Yep, it's a girls only Island! We get a surprise cameo of Wonder Woman flying her invisible jet.

BB meets Miss Martian, the cutest Tiny Titan ever!

Rose has an encounter with the Tiny Terror Titans!

It's time to show who's the fastest 'round Sidekick City! Coach Lobo prepares our young heroes for the great big race.

Raven shows her friends her magic book of spells. They call Mr. Mxyzptlk, who just doesn't want to be bothered with. They call in the mighty Bat-mite!

Robin & co can't get back to Wayne Manor as long as they haven't been able to retrie Batman's cape from a cow!! It's the Battle for the Cowl!... claimed by a cow!?

At Robin's birthday, Dick gets several costumes! Is it time for another secret identity change?

Robin gets in trouble at school and ends up in detention. And some more detention time... And more... And...

This volume contains lots more games, bubble games, characters games and more special bonus pin-ups by Art Baltazar & Franco!

Overall: Another very fun volume, what more is there to say?

Some repetitive jokes are very fun, the rest is simply charming. An highly enjoyable all-ages book!

They get to expand a bit with more Tiny heroes joining our regular characters.

There's a fun discussion about (and mocking) continuity.

And a portrait of Dan DiDio in the story at the Wayne Manor which Alfred seems to take care of (what kinda bribes does DiDio take to not pull off a series??)

I give this one a: 2.5 / 3 Score!

Comic title: Tiny Titans Volume 4: The First Rule of Pet Club...
Written by Franco & Art Baltazar 
Art by Art Baltazar 
Format: Trade Paperback collecting Tiny Titans #19-25.

Love is in the air!

Robin has his first involuntary love triangle. Plasmus and Bumblebee go on a date.

"The Kroc files", or how to do things the right way.. and the Tiny Kroc way!

Next is an issue full of plotholes! And it starts at home with the Trigons!

Do you know The First Rule of Pet Club... It's a.. secret. Or more precisely, that We don't talk about Pet Club! Now where did I hear that before...?

Starfire gets Silky to join the Pet Club! The Bat-Cow also joins the Pet Club, which doesn't sit too well with Beast Boy!!

It seems our Tiny Titans can't find a good place for the next club meeting..

Stretchy guys! Everywhere! We are introduced to Offspring, son of Plastic Man! With Plas', Elongated Man, Offspring and Elastic Lad we have the complete Elastic Four!

A following issue has a lot of fun making lots of allusions and references to the 1960s Batman series! Wayne Manor and the Batcave are overrun by various critters... Penguins, bunnies and now bats! Jason Toddler and Tim Drake make their proper debut! Various Robins? Batman likes the idea..

When there's no more room, the bats invade the Treehouse!

A "small issue" special! With various Antmen (Ryan Choi!!).

Here comes Superboy! With Cassie!Wonder Girl and Shelly (Bombshell) the simple plain t-shirt + jeans seems to be in fashion and is that... Match, the Bizarro Superboy!?

Speedy gets a hold on some power rings from Geoff Johns (!!)'s local pawnshop. Our Tiny heroines get some Green Lantern powers and each tap into a different Corps of the emotional spectrum!

Overall: A very good volume.

It was about this time the series won its first Eisner Award! And they were proud of it and totally celebrated it by putting on display at the Wayne Manor in the story!

This is a pretty solid trade, marking Conner Kent's actual return in the main Teen Titans series at the same time.

Tons of cameos, references and a very fun-spirited book with a big heart.

Perfect! Recommended!

I give this one a: 3 / 3 Score!

Comic title: Tiny Titans Volume 5: Field Trippin'
Written by Franco & Art Baltazar 
Art by Art Baltazar 
Format: Trade Paperback collecting Tiny Titans #26-32.

It's the Green issue! Gizmo gets to meet M'gann.

Kid Devil ends up with the Trigons! Aw yeah, daddy Trigon!

Up next is another Super Pets special!

Then we have a Crisis of Infinite Toddlers! Everyone's babysitting! Better watch out, those are some super kids!

Next is the Big Curly Hair issue! Thanks to Kid Flash. Everything was going fine until he meets Peek-a-boo!

Tiny Ambush Bug talks some continuity with Cyborg.

Our heroes go on a field trip! The Metropolis special sees Brainiac(s) and Lex Luthor come by the Fortress of Solitude for Match's birthday party! So many Brainiacs, so little continuity issues...

There's a new kid in town, and is name's Kalibak of the Fourth World! That's right, Lunch Lady Darkseid's very own son! It's a sign of the Apokolips! Boom tubes explode everywhere and Little Barda has the new hip fashion item every Titan will want.

And some more puzzles at the end of each issue! Aw yeah, games!

Overall: Another solid issue which gets a bit more into obscure references and big DC Comics classics such as the New Gods, the Crisis events and the Superman mythology. Still, very much entertaining and very relatable. Easier to get into than regular DC books, I'd say!

Superboy is now fully part of the core characters. The lil' Ambush Bug was adorable!

I'm just sad they didn't chose to use Blue Devil in regards to Kid Devil (a personal nitpick).

Also, these issues marked the end of the little bonus game/puzzles.

I give this one a: 2.5 / 3 Score!

Comic title: Tiny Titans Volume 6: The Treehouse and Beyond!
Written by Franco & Art Baltazar 
Art by Art Baltazar 
Format: Trade Paperback collecting Tiny Titans #33-38.

First up we have the all-Robin issue! Dick, Tim, Jason, Ace and a Robin robin apparently. Robin take the toddlers to Aunt Harriet's daycare (get it?). Jason and Tim meet other kids there such as Stephanie, Carrie and Cassandra (clinching to a Dan DiDio picture, so she won't get retconned? perhaps..).

Robin costumes for everyone! Although Cassie's more of a Batman type. Dick goes back to his Nightwing costume just in case - too many Robins running around lately! Cassie gets her own Batgirl suit instead. And Jason picks a leather jacket and decides to become the Red Hood for now! Is that the arrival of Damian at Wayne Manor...?

Next up Superboy and Zatara get into a little involuntary switcheroo by accident... They have the same hair, dude! Will this end.. in a Flash?

Multiple Earths, ahoy! Raven opens a portal to parallel Earths! Wait until the Hall Monitor and the Anti-Monitor get a hold of this!

Terra, Beast Boy and other Titans go on a trip to the center of the Earth! There, our heroes meet Etrigan!

A Shazam! family special! While Billy gets to hand with the other adults, Captain Marvel Jr. and Mary Marvel introduce their own pets to the Pet Club!

The final issue takes place totally underwater. Is that a Starro invasion??

Overall: Another solid entry.

Really fun stories and characters. We get character-centric issues such as the Captain Marvel or Robin one. More cameos. More references.

A very pleasant book for children and adults alike!

More Tiny Titans that you can ask for!

This book was a nominated winner at the Eisner Award for good reason!

I give this one a: 2.5 / 3 Score!

Comic title: Tiny Titans Volume 7: Growing Up Tiny!     
Written by Franco & Art Baltazar 
Art by Art Baltazar & Franco
Format: Trade Paperback collecting Tiny Titans #39-44.

When you pick this book you will also come to like pink very much, Lois!

It begins with the pink special! All the clothes get turned pink by accident. Don't worry Robin, you'll blend right in! (right in where?!?

Superman is mistaken by Supergirl while looking like a Blur through Metropolis.

Then is the Kroc issue! Mmm.. comics!

It's a race! After sharpening his pencil to a point! - a Kid Flashpoint! - Kid Flash and the other speedsters organize a race around the world! Inertia, Mas Y Menos, Peek-a-boo and Jesse Quick all participate, it's five times around the world! Who will win the contest?

Next we have young love with the Bizarros! Bizarro girl arrive on Earth, and it's love at the first sight for Match!

Superboy decides to get a cape! Better yet.. why not take over their mentors' capes and tights, you know they are going to be the next Justice League someday. Better be prepared! Superboy gets trapped in the Phantom zone with Zod! Robin runs into some trouble with the League of "Just us Cows".

Finally Beast Boy and Robin have to cross over... the Crosswalk of Doom! Some have already been arriving at school carrying... the mark of Doom! Will they be able to escape it!?!

Overall: Another fantastic volume! Full of colorful and fun stories!

Very fun take on some classic DC characters. Our Tiny super heroes might be just sidekicks for now but they take on every challenge head on!

The Doom Patrol special is probably one of my all-time favorite issues!

I particularly enjoyed how the flashback sequences were drawn by Franco instead!

Highly recommended!

I give this one a: 3 / 3 Score!

Comic title: Tiny Titans Volume 8: Aw Yeah Titans!     
Written by Franco & Art Baltazar 
Art by Art Baltazar 
Format: Trade Paperback collecting Tiny Titans #45-50.

The All-Batgirls issue opens this last volume! Babs has a Batgirl party at the Batcave. What will Stephanie decide to join, the Robins or the Batgirls?

Oh, and here comes Pantha! Wait a minute, what is she? A bat? A cat? No idea, but she can kick a mean soccer ball!

Next is a soccer game against Lobo's Secret Six! Will Huntress' Birds of Prey prevail?

Robin's needs a replacement. The Tiny Titans get The Protector (and old PSA "Anti-Drug" superhero)!

Who is this mysterious Lady in purple-character going around? It's the end no doubt! The end if nigh!

Talon's not really happy with this turn of events. And goes out of his way to get Protector kicked out. The "pandora's box is opened", the purple lady is revealed to actually be... Ambush Bug? That's a downer... But it all fits in continuity and that's what counts.

Bumblebee wants to get her babysitting badge. She's part of the Team Nucleus scouts. She takes on another babysitting job, this this she will get it!

Barbara unmasks for her friends! It's time for some Retro-action, our heroes decide to come up with some vintage secret identities. Wonder Girl gets a new costume (her "Donna Troy" costume!).

Plasmus steps back into the book for a Squishy Titans special! Aw yeah, Clayface! And Larfleeze?!

In this final issue, our Tiny Titans are ready to start training as real super heroes!

While some heroes have ditched their underpants over their costume, Beast Boy decides to step up his game this time. Will Beast Boy and Terra finally find love? He will be Super Beast Boy!

Can a guest appearance by Superman help him out?

This might be the end of the series, but once a Titan always a Titan!

Aw yeah, Titans Forever!

Overall: This is it! I promised myself I wouldn't cry...

The final collection! Aw no...

It was a fantastic run, I like how this final trade mirrored the initial first volume, with a cover showing how big the gang had grown in numbers and ending on a Beast Boy/Terra tale.

It's a very fun ride this the last issue. But even this award winning fan beloved series must come to an end at some point, right? Cyborg adds his Burger-eating contest prize right next to two Eisners. Ha!

The final Superman appearance signaled Art Baltazar and Franco's big next project!

I give this one a: 3 / 3 Score!

Aw yeah! It's over! Wait.. Aw no!!...

And after 50 issues, no less! What a great run.

After several self-published comics, this was Art Baltazar and Franco's big comic book break and for a good reason. It won an Eisner Award for Best Publication for Kids in 2011.

In 2010 a 3-issue crossover with Archie Comics, Tiny Titans/Little Archie was also released (not reprinted in these trades).

Franco would go on launching Billy Batson and the Magic of Shazam! during the run of this series.

Tiny Titans was followed by a kid-friendly Superman book titled Superman Family Adventures from July 2012 to June 2013 (it only lasted for 12 issues, like the New 52 wasn't a place for something like this!).

The duo would also go on to produce a short-lived more mature series, The Green Team (a New 52 series).

In 2012, they also did several DC Super Pets issues. They were republished as a "Super Pets" Encyclopedia recently.

Since this last year, in 2013, they went back to self-published comics and produced their own Aw Yeah Comics! series. A return to something along the lines of their original series.

Finally Art Baltazar and Franco went to other publishers since DC didn't want them anymore and made a 5-issue Itty Bitty Hellboy at Dark Horse Comics and several Li'l one-shots at Dynamite (including a Li'l Vampi, a Li'l Sonja and more!

It has been recently announced though that might be coming back to Tiny Titans at DC Comics in the future. Wait and see!

That's all for this time's Quickies!

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