Book Interviews

Creating Her Own Vision with Teen Titans: Raven – An Interview with Author Kami Garcia

DC’s Teen Titans is having a hell of a resurgence. Between Teen Titans Go! To the Movies, their appearance in DC Universe video game and then there’s popular Titans TV show on the DC Universe streaming service currently filming season two. So when I heard Titans are reemerging in a series of original graphic novels, I was beyond excited.

Author Kami Garcia (co-author of the Beautiful Creatures and Dangerous Creatures novels) teamed with comic illustrator newbie Gabriel Picolo (who is known for his “Causal Teen Titans” fan art) to create graphic novel that’s not just rich in well-developed characters, tension and emotional drama but also filled with gorgeous pages that’s rich in color and spirit. Together, Raven will recapture the hearts of original fans while creating new fans along the way.

Teen Titans: Raven

When working with Gabriel Picolo on Teen Titans: Raven:

“the artwork impacts the story on every level, because the interplay between the art and the worlds tells the story. Gabriel’s art captures emotion and nuances in a way that words can’t.”

Even though Rachel Roth was not an original member of Teen Titans, there were still massive shoes to fill that would have been intimidating to any writer to tackle a character whose been around since 1980. Despite her numerous iterations, Garcia’s version is stripped down and appears to be a normal girl that anyone can relate to because she’s going through the same life problems as many young girls.
Garcia was originally attracted to the character not because of her abilities but because:

“Raven is incredibly powerful, but she doesn’t see herself that way. She feels like an outsider, a quality most of us an relate to. She discovers her power over the course of the graphic novel when she finds the strength to dig deep and figure out the truth about her past — and herself.”

As a writer, Garcia’s love for Raven helped her when crafting her own version of the character and by teaming with Picolo, they were able to find the right balance of storytelling for both fans and newcomers.

“I’m a fan of Raven and the Teen Titans, so it wasn’t that hard. I wanted to add to her story without destroying what Gabriel and I love about her as a character. I had lunch with Marv Wolfman, co-creator of Raven, early in the process and he encouraged me to do my own thing.”

While Garcia is a successful prose writer, her writing is a solo experience, however graphic novel writing is a collaborative effort; shared ideas and feeding off each other’s energy.

“The biggest difference is that I don’t work with an artist when I write prose. The pacing of a graphic novel is different, but the way I construct the plot is similar, possibly because I outline in both formats.”

Teen Titans: Raven

There’s a beauty about Teen Titans: Raven where the written word and the design both help to tell one cohesive story.

“The artwork impacts the story on every level, because the interplay between the art and the worlds tells the story. Gabriel’s art captures emotion and nuances in a way that words can’t.”

Garcia is taking the lessons she learned with Teen Titans into her future project. The incredible experience with Raven: Teen Titans was so positive (and worthy of its success) that Garcia and Picolo are already working on their next project:

“Gabriel and I are already working on Teen Titans: Beast Boy, the second graphic novel In our Teen Titans series. I’m also working on a new adult project for DC Black Label called Joker/Harley: Criminal Sanity. It’s a procedural crime thriller. The first issue releases in October.”

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