05 January 2014

Beast Boy in Turnaround

Last month the artist Karl Kerschl shared six pages drawn and colored for the Teen Titans: Year One miniseries (published in 2008 and discussed back here) but yanked from the book. (Thanks to Icon_UK for spreading the word about Kerschl’s posting.)

Garfield Logan, known at different times as Beast Boy and Changeling, was originally a different sort of kid sidekick from the Doom Patrol comic. He made a cameo appearance in one early issue of Teen Titans, returned for a couple more issues when that series resumed in the mid-1970s, and then flowered as the main comic relief in Marv Wolfman and George Pérez’s New Teen Titans of the 1980s. Beast Boy is also one of the five Titans included in the TV cartoons.

As a result, there was fan interest in seeing what he was up to while the Titans formed, but he wasn’t on that first team and part of their first storylines. In fact, his status as a lonely kid eager to join the big kids’ team is key to his characterization in some stories.

Kerschl described what he and scripter Amy Wolfram were aiming for in these discarded pages:
The original concept was to do a two-page Beast Boy sequence at the end of each issue, telling the story of Beast Boy (always depicted as an animal) looking for the Teen Titans he’s heard so much about because he wants to join. He visits the locations from the story but is always too late to catch them. In the end, I guess he would have found them and he’d have been included in Teen Titans: Year Two. Presumably.

Anyway, only the first sequence got printed, but when someone actually noticed that we were doing something fun, we were ordered from on high to remove the Beast Boy story from the issues because “animals in the DC Universe don’t talk.”
This seems all too typical for Gar Logan. He’s always had hard luck, which he hides behind jokes and bonhomie. Gar aches for family and admiration more than anyone, but he’s never become a star—always an ensemble member. (Well, Beast Boy did headline a four-issue miniseries in 2000—but even that had to feature a couple of rescues and cover appearances by Dick Grayson, and it was reprinted inside a Teen Titans collection.)

So Kerschl’s news that Gar Logan was supposed to have a solo spotlight in Teen Titans: Year One, only to be unceremoniously dropped, makes me imagine an episode within DC’s previous continuity:
“Hey, Dick—it’s Gar! How ya doing? . . . Oh, nothing, I just wanted to pick your brain about my movie deal. Haven’t I told you? . . . Anyway, the studio guys and I have been having meetings about the best way to brand it: Changeling or Beast Boy? Or maybe Beast Boy: The Changeling!

“It’s a feature about my origin: I get powers, become a major TV star, then have to choose between that and saving the world. Real life, just a little compressed. Don’t worry—I make the right choice, of course.

“The sequel might have space for the Titans as supporting characters. Nothing against team movies—they’re great for heroes who don’t have the fan bases to finance a feature individually. But, you know, there’s X-Men and then there’s Iron Man, right?

“Since you were in the business, kind of, I thought I’d ask what you thought about the title—Hang on, I’ve got a call coming in from my agent.

“Hey, Ellie! What’s new today? . . . Really? . . . Did they say why? . . . But they knew about the green when they optioned. It’s kind of my thing. . . . New people? Yeah, I know how it is. Any chance of— . . . Oh. Okay. Well, I guess I can take that motion-capture job after all. . . . A different direction? Well, good luck to them getting a real orangutan to hit his marks! . . . Yeah, Ellie. Thanks for telling me.

“Dick, you still there? Well, anyway, these movie deals, they, you know, take a long time. So don’t spend too much energy on that title thing, all right? . . . Say, do you know what the Titans are paying these days?”

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