Earlier this month artist Jonboy Meyers announced he had left DC's Teen Titans title over "creative differences," but that hasn't stopped him from looking back over the work he did for the series - including extensive concept art for characters who ended up on the cutting room floor. Meyers posted a few pieces on social media, so Newsarama asked him to elaborate on his approach to Teen Titans and he shared even more art.
So here is Meyers' art, along with commentary on each piece:
So when I was approached by DC to help relaunch Teen Titans, I talked to my editor a bit about who was going to be in this new Teen Titans team and well, no one’s minds were really set on the line-up; only that Damian was going to lead the team and they wanted Kid Flash to be part of it. But... everything else was up for grabs until the DC higher-ups decided on the core roster.
There were initial talks about maybe Bunker, Miss Martian and Aqualad, and maybe a couple of others, and that it would be great for me to do up a couple designs just to see what my take on these characters would be like. I love design, so yeah I was all over that. I think though good design in my mind stays true to the concepts and core of what makes each and every character great - though you want to make the design feel fimilar, but always add a new wrinkle... but don’t go crazy... too much change too fast, make the character alien and you’re kinda crapping on everything that fans love about each character - so treat each with as much respect as you can and stay true to the core of the characters. And the civilian clothes they wear should feel youthful and reflective of their personalities. There is a psychology to all good design and it should invoke some sense of the character and their personalties when you look at them.
Even though I’m no longer on the series, it’s great to be able to show you guys the process stuff and 'how the sausage gets made' type of stuff that goes into relaunches.
Next to Starfire, Wonder Girl in my mind is a core central character in the Teen Titans… though she didn’t make the final cut on the new team. Maybe just maybe they’ll have her show up sometime in the near future. For her design I kept thinking that Paradise Island is very much a warrior base culture so I thought doing something that calls out to that - more aggressive and has a bit of a 300 feel... and I know that Ares gave her the lasso she now has... what if she could turn it into a more aggressive offensive weapon - that her lasso can turn into any weapon of her choice.
I love the idea of an archer on the team and for me it harkens back to the same classic line up feeling of the original team. As a fan of the Arrow show, I like that they have a Speedy and you know it would be great to have her be related to Roy in some way... and doing my research, Young Justice was a huge influence on me, story- and design-wise. They handled Roy’s story so well that I wanted to do something that pays homage to that. Though sadly this one will probably never see that light of day, especially since the Green Arrow book has a similar character already.
I love Miss Martian and, again, another character made great and interesting from the fine folks on the Young Justice cartoon. So I thought, well she’s one of the last of her race - and a teen at that - so she’s got to be a bit of a rebel and a survivor; so her look should represent that. I think the idea of punk rock would be something she would gravitate to, given all she’s been through and this kinda gives here a bit of an edge to her with the rocking fat mohawk look.
So I’m well aware of the whole flap about her being a bit of well…sexualized. I love the character and I want to go back to the more wholesome, motherly, but strong, and 'don’t get me angry' version of Starfire. The first order was to address yes, she’s beautiful, but you know it’s more in the way she stands and moves, not necessarily wearing less clothes and showing more skin. So looking back at the very First Teen Titans Go! cartoon - to me she’s wearing a very retro looking space suit. So I thought all my designs should have that kind of feel - it stills feels feminine, but it’s not exploitative.
Totally the easiest. I’m a big Damian Wayne fan, so I really went with Patrick Gleason’s take on Robin and reworked it a little bit. Though I wanted to add more armor to him since he’s like 13 and a 100 pounds; something that covers and protects him is more practical. I did mess around with the idea of a helmet... but I guess his hood works just as well. And if you notice on his civilian clothes, Damian wears clothes that cover him pretty much head to toe and around is his neck; he’s a very guarded and abit of a closed off character and the things he would wear are reflective of how he thinks and his emotional state.
Another favorite - and I liked what Kenneth Rocafort did with her design in the 'New 52' - it was bold and very cool. Though I understand it strayed too far away from her core look, so I wanted to go back to her classic look. I wanted to incorporate lots of sharp feathers and edges to her costume to indicate how closed-off she was and pushes people away from her. She does this to not protect them, but to protect her. She also has the jewel in her forehead, though I chose to cover it up with her hair to indicate that she’s not quite comfortable with her past and who she is. Like she’s hiding from it a bit and from people. Her civilian look is a bit more retro 80s chic with some punk rock elements in there. I think she does find ways to express herself, so I put red streaks in her hair as a way of doing that - though do it in a very subtle way.
Ugh. I love the new Wally - though this went through tons of iterations. Why? Because Wally is key character and there’s big things planned for this guy. I did do a lot of back and forth with my editor over costume colors. I really wanted black and red, especially since I knew classic Wally was coming back and I really felt like those where classic Wally’s colors. But looking back, yellow and red are the way to go. I did want the costume to be a bit more padded, especially since new Wally doesn’t quite have the hang of his new powers just yet... but well, what can you do right? Again though, I looked a lot at the classic George Perez design and looked at the Young Justice Kid Flash designs as well.
I like Bunker... so sue me. He’s a well-written character and he plays well of off Beast Boy. I really liked the original costume design done by my pal Brett Booth, though I didn’t like his mask. Every time I looked at it, it felt 'Iron Fist' to me. So I wanted to toy with the fact that he’s a protective-type hero, who makes all these cool brick walls and such. So I thought that more padding and a nice, cool helmet would really help him and sell just what type of hero he his. I am sad that he did not make the cut either... though hopefully he’ll show up sometime in the future of Teen Titans. If you want to see that happen - bug the writer. :)
Okay, hands down one of my favs, and given his appearance in DC Universe: Rebirth #1, I’m sure we’ll see him in the DCU sometime soon. To me, he’d be a great additional to the Teen Titans team, but hey what do I know, right? Again, Young Justice had a huge influence here and his initial costume design was so well done… it’s really hard to do it any other way. So I just streamlined it a bit and changed the piping here and there - he’s swimmer so there shouldn’t be a lot of baggage on him - and the Young Justice design is pretty much perfect, so don’t mess with perfection, right? I’m not sure if Aqualad will be showing up anytime soon, or if he’ll look like this if he does... but here you go.
Another favorite, although it's because he was in Doom Patrol and I’m a huge Doom Patrol fan. I wanted to do a design that felt like the 'New 52' costume, as I really think it was a solid design, though I wanted to make it feel a little more like an animal-style cut and design. I played around with his classic black and purple look, but the classic Perez white and red suit reads so well on Gar’s Green skin. It was pretty much a no-brainer.
So every team needs a villain. I really felt like Ra's is more of a Batman foe, but with Damian being his grandson it totally makes sense, right?. And you know I really don’t view Ra's as a bad guy, per se... he’s more of a guy who wants to save the Earth by any means necessary; he’s like Batman, unchecked... and he's Arabic as well. So I wanted to do something that feels ancient, but regal and commanding of respect. No pirate poofy shirt... man, that is ridiculous right? I’m thinking furs, gold armor, jewels, etc. He’s like a king of his empire and should look the part. His ninja as well.
Since the League of Assassins is a blend of Arabic, Middle Eastern and Asian influences, I wanted to do a design that was reflective of that. It should not read straight as a ninja. It’s too on the nose to go with the traditional ninja look and besides that’s been done to death…who cares, right?
Every team has it’s honeycomb hideout, so to speak. So this is theirs. Free from the prying eyes of other heroes and of Batman - this is a place where the team can interact and become a team. It’s reflective of Damian’s personality and I based it off brutalism architecture - lots of strong shapes and bold fat blocks. Almost militaristic - it’s meant to be a symbol that 'Hey, don’t mess with us!'
Big shout-out to my pal Seth Witte for all the 3D Stuff too! He’s a beast!