Teen Titans by Eric Canete

Characters: Teen Titans
Publisher: DC Comics
Artist: Eric Canete
Reviewer: Dean Trippe

This looks to me like a really good direction the comic series could’ve gone after the untimely cancellation of the cartoon series. Eric’s lineup includes original team members Donna Troy, Wally West, and Dick Grayson, as well as fan-favorites Raven, Cyborg, Beastboy, and Starfire. I think you’d have to call it ‘Titans’ and leave off the ‘Teen,’ but to be honest, I thought it was pretty cool the last time they did that. Here’s a larger version of the image above.
Donna appears to have returned to her Wonder Girl roots, which would be a nice step towards simplification given the character’s rather complicated history. The red and gold are reminiscent of her earlier Titans uniforms, and the simple toga-like dress is a strong reminder of her Paradise Island roots. I particularly like Eric’s hairstyling, here, which is fun and stylish as well as being visually different from Wonder Woman’s.

Gar’s costume’s a little obscured, but the push toward a younger appearance is a good call in my book, considering the older company he’s in. It looks to me like he’s wearing an updated version of his Doom Patrol gear. I especially dig that his footgear is built into the suit.

Starfire looks absolutely regal in her updated but still minimal Tamaranian garb. I really like the dreadlockish hair and crown. The sheer skirt is a nice element of softness (and a possible callback to her cartoon counterpart) for a character usually defined by her anger. I’d like to think that signals a shift towards more balanced emotional state for Kory.

Draped by Kory’s arm is the most dramatically revamped character, Nightwing. At first I was put off by how different this is from his current uniform, but then I remembered how different his current uniform is from his first Robin suit. Given that Dick’s character and abilities should basically make him Batman 2.0, I could totally see him upgrading a bit. This uniform features protective headgear, likely with installed communication tech. His wing-design is now armor-like rather than simply a different color spandex. I’d like to think theres some glider extensions collapsed in there. Last but not least, his hands and feet feature talons for climbing and offensive attacks. Needless to say, Nightwing’s the boldest and in my opinion strongest redesign of the group.

Moving onto Raven, we see her portrayed here with her cloak tattered and her gold and red belt redefined as hovering raven emblems. It’s considerably edgier and suits her dark character more than her new current outfit in the comics.

I’m going to presume this Flash is a non-corporeal, back-from-the-dead Wally West, formerly Kid Flash. I was going to say he’d need a new name now that Bart Allen‘s handling the official mantle, but since Jay Garrick still uses the name in JSA, I don’t think it’s that big of a deal. Anyway, this Flash’s energy-like body reminds me of Alex Ross’s Kingdom Come incarnation, and features an actual ball of lightning where his lightning emblem usually goes. Very, very cool.

Rounding out the team we get a partially-rendered Cyborg whose upgraded suit features the slick blue tech detailing from his cartoon counterpart and a bolted steel exterior that looks both fierce and frequently modifiable. I’d really like to see these elements make their way into the comics.

All in all, it seems Eric’s managed to walk a really cool line between basing his Titans on the comic book versions of the characters and the Cartoon Network team lineup. Needless to say, I’d add this book to my holds box list in a heartbeat.

(Just for fun, check out this earlier Titans image Eric did, which prompted me to invite him to submit something to Rooftop. Also for fun, Wikipedia’s got a killer Frank Cho pic of the Titans featuring this exact same lineup in earlier uniforms. Check it out!)

UPDATE: Eric posted some preliminary character sketches for this piece over on his site!

37 comments to “Teen Titans by Eric Canete”
  1. Great piece by Eric here. His imagination is firing on all cylinders, leaving me wishing for the chance to see each of these characters designs elaborated so I can view every last detail of what Canete dreamed up.

  2. Aw, I wanted to review this one!

    Just kidding. Great job, Eric! The Nightwing redesign leaves me a little cold, but I do like it.

  3. I’d read this series. I’d love to see a final cyborg but I agree that this would make a great Titans look. I love the look for Donna but I’m not sure if I like how Cyborgs “visor?” looks.
    Nightwings costume looks sorta batman like but I like the idea of covering his head. what non super powered hero wouldn’t want to keep his brains on the inside.

  4. Now this is a Titans look I would buy. Eric has always had a good design sense. I particularly love the Nightwing design. I never liked his little mask. And thankfully they got rid of that awful coller he used to have. Donna’s and Kory’s design are just about perfect. They both have a sort of regal look that totally works. I wish we could see more of Beast boy’s costume. The Flash just looks wicked man. Sweet! Good job all around.

  5. Now this is a solid redesign! It all works. Nightwing’s Gatchaman/Batman look fits what he is (the bird that once flew with the bat). I’ve seen a few artists give a hint at a bird beak anime helmet for Robin and you’ve made it hit hard here for the Nightwing. Donna is who she is and thank goodness hasn’t been reduced to jeans. Starfire has a more alian look that I like. Only thing is that for the sake of the “project”, a look at the characters without blocked views would be great.

  6. I know I already said a whole heck of a lot about this piece, but I can’t get it out of my mind. Each character looks so special and unique. Excellent job, Eric. From now on, in my mind anyway, this is the canonical future Titans direction. If I working at DC, this would be on shelves in six months.

  7. No on has mentioned Raven’s new look so far, so I guess I’ll do it: The tattered cloak and medallions are fantastic. Especially the cloak, which I think gives the character a darker visual that is more in line with her persona.

    Beast Boy and Starfire are nice, evolutionary upgrades. Solid work, but not a radical departure.

    The Cyborg isn’t doing it for me, but perhaps I would change my mind if I saw more of the body. The Kid Flash look is a little too reminiscent of Alex Ross’s inspired work in Kingdom Come.

    Donna and Nightwing are bold redesigns that work exceptionally well. I really like the regal look for Donna. It’s an aspect of her character that other costumes have not explored.

  8. Not a huge fan of Canete’s work normally, but I must say this is the first redesign on the project that’s made me stop and say “WOW!” While each has a nice redesign that is a departure from the old, each design also has nods to the old. More importantly, even without seeing the title, I knew it was the Titans (I suppose it helps that two of the characters are orange and green–kinda narrows it down). Kudos all around to Eric, though. Makes me want to see more redesigns from him.

  9. The re-works on Donna and Starfire are awesome. Cyborg looks pretty cool, although I could do without the visor and it might be nitpicking but that hand looks a bit odd. Aside from the ball of energy, Wally just looks like a cartoon version of the Alex Ross design. Garths costume looks interesting from what we can see of it, I like the head being covered. The floating medallions on Raven are cool but I don’t care for the rest of it too much, I’ve always seen Raven as a sort of elegant character and this design doesn’t bring that across very well. The main thing I have a problem with is Nightwing – the first thing that came to my mind especially with the head piece is Jim Valentino’s ShadowHawk. While there are some differences, it’s just too reminiscent.

  10. Canete’s redesign is by far one of the best I’ve seen. I like the fresh look of some aspects of the costuming and then all of little elements retained for some sense of continuity. Eric, your work could single-handedly make people consider that the Titans can be more than Perez rehashings.

  11. Pingback: Blog@Newsarama » Reimagining the New Teen Titans

  12. I don’t mean to pick nits, since that’s a beautiful piece and I liked Trippe’s explication of it. But Beast Boy’s name is Gar, short for Garfield. The “Garth” in the Titans was Aqualad.

  13. I like this piece a great deal and I think he did a great job hi-lighting each character’s mood and style this is a strong image. My only nit pick is I think all teams be they the avengers, Titians,JLA ect could use somekind of unifing colors,logos or gear to cement a team look. That way the team/group looks like they all work togather think origional x-men,challengers of the unknown,and fantastic 4. I feel the artist could have found a way to keep the characters unique style but let the viewer know they are members on the same team be that via belt comunicators, flight rings,uniforms or other more overt methods. But this Is a really good image.

  14. I don’t get it. What does the TV show being cancelled have anything to do with the mainstream DC comic? The show should stay in TTG and and the comic should stay the way it is (well, most of it).

  15. I just think it’s a good idea to market to new fans, especially when they’re coming from secondary media reaching larger audiences. Sometimes mainstream comics aren’t quite on the ball. When the first X-Men movie came out, the comics looked like this. It’s a hard game though, because not every secondary media attempt produces things of value, and you don’t want current readers to be alienated by drastic continuity shifts.

    But due to the fact that these characters are socially constructed, eventually enough writers/artists/editors get permeated by the secondary media (movies/tv/books/whatever) versions to allow for the comic to adapt.

    Superman now has the movie version of the Fortress of Solitude. Robin’s new costume was inspired by the late 90’s Bruce Timm version from the animated series. The X-flicks put the emphasis back on the mansion being first and foremost a school, which has been thankfully emphasized again in the comics since the Quitely/Morrison run. Spidey now has organic webshooters, just like his movie-star counterpart.

    (And don’t forget all the stuff that was invented soley in secondary media. Kryptonite and Jimmy Olsen are from the radio show, not the comic!)

    Anyway, that’s all I was getting at. It would’ve been a great opportunity to grab some of the best elements from the cartoon and maybe latch on some more readers.

  16. This is an excellent rendering of a great team. Absolutely brilliant! I hope it doesn’t open up the floodgates for other submissions to be sent in with this sort of angle. If I thought one could submit this type of image against the rules, I woulda done it a long time ago. Or, maybe you just have to be a friend of the judges to be selected? ha ha.

  17. @ Dean Trippe:

    Yes, but most readers of the mainstream comic (that I know) absolutely DESPISE the TV show, and hate any references made to it, such as how GJ is/was writing Raven (especially Tony’s new costume), the future Cyborg, all that stuff. It’s all right if those characters stay in their respective mediums, but when they subject themselves onto us, the “old-school Titans” fans, it’s going way too far. I personally would hate the book if this was what it was.

  18. Love the old books, love the 80’s books (especially), love the cartoon series as well. And this, this would make me pick up the series again. THIS!

  19. Same here Brandon! (Though my favorite comics are the early Nick Cardy ones, when the concept was still ‘sidekicks united!’) Still…man, I miss the cartoon. :(

  20. > Moving onto Raven, we see her portrayed
    > here with her cloak tattered

    Tattered? Why tattered? She wore normal clothing, you know.

    > and her gold and red belt

    I’ve always hated that thing. Excluding the past few months, it never existed in the DCU.

    > redefined as hovering raven emblems.

    Not in the “real” DCU.

    > It’s considerably edgier

    Raven isn’t an edgy character.

    > and suits her dark character

    Raven isn’t a “dark” character either. Her past and origins may be morbid, but Raven herself isn’t a very “dark” person.

    > more than her new current outfit in the comics.

    Neither are very good (not too impressed by the Tony Daniel OYL outfit), but I’d definitely go with Daniel’s.

  21. The only costume I like is Wonder Girl’s, yet it looks decidely familiar. The Nightwing suit looks like an uncomfortable blend of G-Force and Shadowhawk. The Flash reminds me too much of Alex Ross’s version, though the intent is good (Ross designs some pretty neat characters). Beast Boy looks an awful lot like Vortex from John Byrne’s latest run on Doom Patrol, with somewhat more feminine features. Raven reminds me of Orko from He-Man. I’m not sure what’s going on with Cyborg’s arm.

  22. What a great piece. Such a beautiful drawing, and so many design concepts to chew on! To chime in with previous posters, I’d like to see more of the Flash and Cyborg designs (although I’m pretty sure I’m gonna love the Flash design). I’m unreserved in my admiration for Donna, Gar, and Starfire’s new looks. All three speak to and advance the individual character’s personality. Donna is probably my favorite design. The Nightwing design is great for all the reasons mentioned by others, although I’m in agreement with those who think the helmet is just too extreme. Can you imagine trying to see out of that thing? Dick’d need some pretty major surgery to move his eyes to the side of his head. In the linked sketches, the Raven design looked pretty interesting, but here, she looks like that floating guy from Masters of the Universe.

    All in all, a real big thumbs up. I wasn’t previously familiar with Canete’s work, but I’ll be keeping an eye out for it, now.

  23. thw link to canete’s blog page is a great help for full-views of some of the more obscured characters on this piece. the Flash doesn’t look so much like the KC version in canete’s sketchbook.
    overall, i was blown away by this piece. starfire, donna, nightwing-wouldn’t change a thing(although i too got a nighthawk feeling but in a good way…odd).
    cyborg and the flash in this piece don’t really jazz me. but i checked out the sketches and am now jazzed.
    i’ve never cared about raven so i won’t say anything about her other than “yup! there she is in her big cloak. check her off the list.”
    beast boy need not be complex for the obvious reason. it almost looks like he could hang next to frazer irving’s klarion.

  24. are we related? where are you from? weird that i came across this….i was looking for a tatoo of my last name, and when i googled it for some history, i found this. amazing artwork i must say! you must be a canete!

  25. Very good overall, though just once I’d like to see Starfire NOT dressed like an intergalactic stripper.

  26. Fantastic! A bit on the complicated-costume side for my liking, but this all works really nicely. If only the book was as good. :(

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