Series Creators Talk 'Tiny Titans' Making It Big
Created by Art Baltazar and Franco Aureliani of 'Patrick the Wolf Boy' fame, Tiny Titans debuted in February 2008 featuring tiny versions of DC's Teen Titans characters. In the comic, the young Titans go to school together, hang out at their treehouse, and deal with various villainous teachers and bullies.
An all-ages humor book with jokes aimed at both little kids and adults, the comic has fun with the idea of little kids being superheroes. For example, one scene shows some of the girls using Cyborg as an Easy Bake Oven. Another shows the kids figuring out that it's no fun to play tag with Kid Flash.
As the comic has found success among its unique all-ages audience, Newsarama talked to Aureliani and Baltazar about the series and found out the pair will also be helping out with DC's Billy Batson and the Magic of Shazam title.
Newsarama: You guys have been working on this comic for a year now, right? How's it been?
Art Baltazar: It's awesome! It's a lifestyle now. I can't wait to get up and put yellow capes on my kids and green shoes. It's our lifestyle now.
Franco Aureliani: It's actually been about two years. We couldn't talk about it for a year, so we should probably add a year to that. We're good at keeping secrets.
AB: And we were nominated for an Eisner! We can put that on our website forever now. "Eisner nominated."
NRAMA: Had you guys ever been nominated before for your work?
FA: No. Never.
AB: I actually wrote a book about not being nominated called the Big Amoeba. And that's kind of weird because... now I can't make a sequel.
NRAMA: Why do you think they've finally decided to reach out and give you guys a nomination?
FA: 'Cause I think people are actually reading our stuff now. Before, people would say, "Who are you?" So it's all DC's fault. You know whose fault in particular? It's Dan DiDio's fault.
AB: Yeah. You can blame Dan DiDio.
NRAMA: And how does it feel to have your comic on the New York Times best-selling list?
FA: It's awesome!
AB: Yeah, we're famous now.
NRAMA: Why do you think it sells so well in trades?
FA: 'Cause it's awesome!
AB: I think it's because it's the only kids book on the list.
FA: Our book is a book that kids will buy and adults will buy too. So that's what got it on the list. There's a lot of stuff for adults within the book, so they like the series too. All I know is they're showing the love big time.
NRAMA: Now that you've hit the big time, some people reading this article might want to check out the series for the first time. What would you tell them about the comic?
FA: For somebody who's never checked it out before? Well, it's the best comic in the world, EVER!
AB: Yeah. It's the same Titans that you knew and loved growing up, only now they're smaller.
NRAMA: Have you guys heard from a lot of kids that read the series?
AB: Aw, yeah. Our lines at conventions are crazy long now, with lots of kids.
FA: When we used to do shows, we had lines of one or two people, and now you have to multiply that by hundreds.
AB: They're bringing the masses!
NRAMA: What's the most requested character that you draw as a Tiny Titan?
AB: Mostly Robins and Beast Boys and Ravens. But I get some really different ones, like Sun Girl or Duela Dent. There's been a few times that I had to open our book to get references. I forgot what they looked like! [laughs]
FA: We get asked for all kinds of sketches. Every once in awhile, we do Marvel ones too. But shhh... don't tell anyone.
AB: I draw a lot of Hulks and Spider-Man. And I drew three Scarlet Witches at the Emerald City Comic Con.
FA: But when we draw a Marvel one, we always put a DC one in the background.
AB: Yep. We're trying to keep it real for our peeps.
NRAMA: Now that you're famous, what comes next? More Tiny Titans for a long time?
NRAMA: How did that come about?
AB: Well, DC loves what Mike Kunkel's doing.
FA: And so do we, by the way.
AB: Yeah. And they asked us if we could keep a monthly schedule, so that our Shazam books could come out between when his books come out. So they want to make it a monthly book. We fill in the gaps so he can do a better job, and it will relieve some of the pressure of trying to make the monthly deadline.
FA: We think what Mike is doing is awesome stuff. And DC just wanted us to write it and help it come out monthly. One of the first things we asked was if Mike would still be involved with it, and they said yes. So we jumped at the chance to help out. It's another character that we love too, and working with Mike is just awesome.
NRAMA: So it will be rotating story arcs between you and Mike?
FA: Yeah, it will be rotating stories. There will themes over several issues, but they'll be mostly one-issue stories.
AB: We'll do stories that take place in one or two issues so that when Mike's ready, they can run his complete story. We'll be a little more flexible with the storytelling. Some of the stories may have cliffhangers, but most will be wrapped up in one issue.
FA: And I guarantee that comic will be awesome too.
AB: We're going to bring back a lot of the old villains. We're sticking within the Captain Marvel universe. And maybe we'll throw the Joker in there.
FA: [laughs] Don't say that. There's no Joker. You'll get us in trouble.
AB: Well, there's a possibility the Joker will be in there.
FA: No there's not.
AB: OK, no. There's not even a possibility.
But you might see some hints of Shazam in the next Tiny Titans book. A little bit of clues going on in there.
FA: A possibility?
AB: Right. A possibility of Shazam in Tiny Titans.
NRAMA: What else is coming up in Tiny Titans?
AB: I'm coloring Coach Lobo right now. Here's a quote from the book: "This ain't no juice bar!" So Coach Lobo will be in there. And we have a shrinking contest coming up, and Robin's birthday. You're invited!
NRAMA: Who all is coming to his birthday?
AB: Everyone! The Titans!
FA: And there's a possibility the Joker will be there!
AB: Yeah! He might be! His daughter will definitely be there. So the Joker could come and pick her up after the party. You never know.
NRAMA: And you said there's a shrinking contest?
AB: Yeah! They have a shrinking contest.
FA: The Atom's family is there and a mystery guest. They're seeing who can shrink the smallest.
AB: We're going to find out who's the smallest. So they'll be the tiny Tiny Titans.
AB: Also, Tiny Titans #19 is going to be an all love issue. So you have to make sure you read that one.
FA: All love. Yeah. Uh huh. Some Barry White singing in the background. Uh huh.
NRAMA: What kind of stuff is going to be in an "all love" issue?
AB: A whole lotta love. It's a love affair between Plasmus and Bumblebee. It's going to be awesome. And we'll have guest appearances from Mallah and the Brain. They're going to be in "like."
FA: Shhh. You gave away too much.
AB: Ok. But we also have an issue coming up where Terra is actually nice.
NRAMA: OK, do you want to say anything to your fans for making you a bestseller and spurring this Eisner nomination?
FA: Aw, yeah, they're the awesomist in the world. Thank you!
AB: Yeah, they're the best. I feel like part of a family. I feel a part of bigger things ready to explode on the page.
FA: Our fans are loyal and we love them. And they've been sticking with us forever, and they've been more and more loyal as the years go by. It's awesome. None of this would have happened without them, Jann Jones or Dan DiDio. And our new editor Liz Gehrlein. So thank you to all of them, and especially thank you to the fans!