In February, Tiny Titans gets a guest writer as Geoff Johns co-authors issue #25 with Franco Aureliani and Art Baltazar.
Just as Johns finishes up his run on Adventure Comics, where he returned Superboy to the DC universe, he'll be helping Aureliani and Baltazar bring Superboy to the Tiny Titans universe for the first time as well.
The Eisner Award-winning series, launched two years ago as part of DC's new kids’ line, is what the creators like to call "the same Titans you know and love, but they're really, really little." The ongoing Tiny Titans comic, the characters from the regular Teen Titans universe – all the characters, no matter what era – are tiny versions of themselves that deal with situations in their schoolyard, classroom and treehouse.
Newsarama got all three creators on the phone to talk about Tiny Titans #25, and as always happens when we talk to these creators, hilarity ensued.
Newsarama: Geoff, before we get too crazy with Art and Franco, how did you end up hooking up with these guys to write Tiny Titans?
Geoff Johns: I think it was just at a convention, screwing around. And then, I don't know. How did we do it?
Art Baltazar: We kept seeing you in San Diego. We kept seeing you after hours, after Eisner Awards and all that stuff.
Franco Aureliani: We were stalking you.
Johns: [laughs] We were just hanging out and talking. And I think we were talking about Superboy.
Baltazar: Yeah, Superboy and Stargirl!
Johns: Yeah! Superboy and Stargirl, and how they should be in Tiny Titans.
Baltazar: We kept running into you every night in San Diego. And then after we talked to you about Superboy, we talked about Stargirl. And then we were saying, "Yeah, Geoff's cool! He was cool to talk to!"
Then we saw Dan [DiDio] and we said, "Hey! Dan! Can we ask Geoff to co-write Tiny Titans #25?" And then, he bowed his head like, "Oh, come on, guys. Why are you doing that? He's got so much to do." And I said, "Yeah, but we could, like, triple the orders on that book." And he said, "Alright, go ask him."
Johns: And I just said yes. I think we just liked each other's work and we like the DC characters. Obviously, Art and Franco have been doing awesome work on Tiny Titans. The book's awesome. I think it's hilarious.
Baltazar: Aw yeah, man.
Aureliani: Aw yeah, man.
Baltazar: You're the man, sir. Thank you, sir.
Nrama:: So tell us what this issue is about.
Johns: It's about Superboy's return! And all the cool stuff that comes with it.
Baltazar: Yeah, he was supposed to be in Issue #1. We've been waiting all these years. In this issue, he's just happy to be back and hanging with his buddies. And we didn't say anything but that he was away, and now he's back. So they're just happy to have him back in the treehouse.
Johns: Yeah. And this issue is an unofficial Blackest Night crossover too. It is. The Tiny Titans stumble upon some stuff.
Baltazar: That's right. For all you completists out there.
Johns: Yeah, all the completists need to get it. We should have put a Blackest Night banner on the cover, only put it in bubble letters.
Baltazar: Brightly colored letters.
Johns: Yeah, brightly colored letters, "Blackest Night," with a smiley face at the end.
Nrama: I noticed in solicitations that colored rings were involved in the story we're seeing in this issue?
Johns: Yeah, they're in there. More than just the colors you know.
Nrama: A new color?
Aureliani: That's right.
Baltazar: And there's Green Lantern in there.
Johns: That's probably my favorite part.
Baltazar: Kilowog's in there. And I drew a little Abin Sur in there too. Even though he's the guy who gave Hal Jordan his powers, but I made him small.
Johns: Yeah, but in the Tiny Titans universe, he just gave him his ring and said, "Hey, let's go cruise around."
Baltazar: Yeah, like, "Look what I got, guys!" And then, "Oh, that's cool! Can I have a purple one?"
Aureliani: Aw yeah, man.
Baltazar: And the colors of love are involved in this issue too.
Johns: Aw yeah. It's romantic.
Baltazar: Yeah it is. There's a lot of kissing in this book. More kissing than in any other Titans book.
Aureliani: It was weird for me, because it was the first time I wrote a big kissing scene like that.
Johns: Yeah, it was either Black Lanterns or kissing. So we went for kissing.
Baltazar: We're a big fan of the kissing. But there are no zombies in here. No Evil Dead.
Johns: No, but there's bubble gum.
Aureliani: Aw yeah.
Johns: And bubble gum is better than zombies most of the time.
Aureliani: Well, we decided to throw all of them in there. We have all the characters that are dead anyways. We brought them all back to life in Tiny Titans.
Johns: Yeah, the thing I like about Tiny Titans is it's not representative of just one era. It's got everything. It's very modern. They have Kid Devil in there and everything.
Baltazar: Yeah, we have access to the whole DC universe now. At first, it was just the Titans universe, but once people started digging it, Dan actually told me, do whatever you want. Just make it funny. So we've got a New Gods issue coming up. [laughs]
Plus this issue, we've got something that's better than zombies. We've got a clone.
Johns: Yeah, there is a clone. But we don't want to spoil that.
Nrama: It's in the solicitations that Match is in there.
Johns: Oh, OK. Then let's spoil it! [laughs] I like the version of Match in the Tiny Titans universe [laughs]. He's funny.
Baltazar: [laughs] Yeah, he's cool.
Johns: And Superboy is a little annoyed at him.
Nrama: And the Tiny Titans Cassie has a crush on Superboy?
Johns: Of course she does!
Baltazar: That's her man. [laughs] That's not like a Jerry Springer thing. Like "Hey, that's my man!"
Aureliani: We've got a bit of a love triangle there.
Baltazar: There's two love triangles actually, but one new one. It's between Conner and Cassie and Stargirl. And then we have Robin and Batgirl and Starfire.
Aureliani: It's very complicated.
Baltazar: There's a lot of kissing. It's the most complicated relationship you can be in when it's the first grade.
Aureliani: We decided to make this issue as complicated as possible because Geoff was writing with us.
Baltazar: And it ties into every book that month.
Johns: Yeah, but it's a secret code. You have to figure it out.
Baltazar: You have to read this right after Blackest Night #6 for it to make sense.
Johns: Number 7.
Baltazar: That's right! Blackest Night #7. See, I had read them out of order, and that's why I was confused. You have to read Tiny Titans right after.
Johns: It's like Blackest Night #7.34. [laughs]
Baltazar: Yeah. [laughs[ And you have to watch the latest Smallville episode. There's clues.
Nrama: How are the Tiny Titans different from the Teen Titans, Geoff?
Johns: They're younger. Their concerns are a little bit simpler. But otherwise, they're the same characters. A lot of the same personality quirks and everything are there.
Nrama: Who's your favorite Tiny Titan?
Johns: They're all just fun to look at. And kind of goofy. I really like Kid Devil. He doesn't really say anything since he's a baby. But the main one I like is Robin. Especially in this one, I think he's funny. He doesn't want to show his true colors, but he has to.
Aureliani: And we've got Stargirl in this issue too.
Johns: Yeah, Stargirl looks awesome! She's all short and cute.
Baltazar: She's the only Titan who wears shorts. Except Robin, but Robin's got, you know, trunks. She's got shorts on.
Johns: He's got scales on though.
Baltazar: [laughs] Yeah, the scales.
Johns: What was that all about anyway?
Aureliani: I think they were bulletproof.
Johns: Then why not make them pants, if they're bulletproof?
Baltazar: He's got chain mail underwear.
Johns: [laughs] Yeah! Chain mail underwear. Weird.
Aureliani: He's got to protect things, you know?
Baltazar: I gotta get some of those. You never know when you might need them.
Johns: I actually wear mine every day.
Nrama: How did you guys write this? Over the phone?
Baltazar: Yeah. Kind of like this interview. This is exactly what we did.
Aureliani: This has everything. I'm in New York, and Geoff is out there on the West Coast. And we've got the Midwest.
Baltazar: We're tri-coastal.
Nrama: It's an All-American comic.
Aureliani: The best All-American comic.
Baltazar: Made in America. Printed in Canada.
Nrama: Geoff, do you ever think you'll write an issue of Tiny Titans again?
Johns: Yeah! I'll be back for Issue #50.
Baltazar: Yep. And then we have to get him back for Issue #75.
Johns: And then #100, our 200-page spectacular.
Aureliani: For Issue #100, Geoff should do the ultimate cover.
Johns: I will.
Baltazar: We'll give him a box of crayons and let him go nuts.
Johns: I'll do a pin-up in the back of every Titan there is. There will be 500 characters by then.
Aureliani: Aw yeah, man.
Baltazar: There's a new character in every issue. We put someone new in every issue. I get drawings from kids who draw a Power Boy or Bumblebee. So we do have a lot of characters.
Johns: No, but I really do want to come back every 25 issues.
Aureliani: I want to ask a question. Can I ask a question?
Aureliani: What's the reaction been when people found out you worked on this issue?
Johns: [laughs] "Why are you working on Tiny Titans?" That's the reaction. But then I say, "I love the book and I love these guys."
Baltazar: The reaction we get is, "How'd you guys get him on there?"
Johns: It's easy! I really love the book, and I was really flattered to even be a part of it.