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How Teen Titans Inspired DC Comics' New Cyborg Series - Exclusive

The "Teen Titans" animated series is one of the most beloved adaptations of the popular DC Comics superteam — and it ended up playing a role in inspiring the newest "Cyborg" series from DC Comics.

The Teen Titans have a nearly 60-year history in the comics, with the first version of the group of young heroes appearing in "The Brave and the Bold" #54 by Bob Haney and Bruno Premiani back in the mid-1960s. But the team really became popular when Marv Wolfman and George Perez reinvented the series in the early 1980s, as "The New Teen Titans" reimagined the roster with several new members. That squad featured Dick Grayson, Kid Flash, Wonder Girl, Beast Boy, and new characters Cyborg, Raven, and Starfire. That version of the Teen Titans would serve as the primary inspiration for the early 2000s "Teen Titans" animated series on Cartoon Network, which made the group of heroes even more popular to audiences who didn't read the comics.

For writer Morgan Hampton, the animated show played a part in his take on the latest "Cyborg" series, with characters who originated in the animated series set to appear in the upcoming comic miniseries from DC Comics.

Teen Titans was important to Cyborg's storytelling

In our exclusive interview with "Cyborg" writer Morgan Hampton, he shared that the "Teen Titans" animated series served as a jumping-off point for him to seek out the heroes' comic book stories; when he was a boy, he watched "Teen Titans" when it first debuted on Cartoon Network. Hampton revealed that the TV show led him directly to the comics, which opened his eyes to the ongoing "Teen Titans" comic series at the time — from Geoff Johns and Mike McKone — featuring a team similar to the version seen on the show.

As a result, Hampton became more infatuated with the stories and specifically sought out Cyborg comics after becoming a massive fan of the hero. In a full-circle moment, two decades later, Hampton would join the Milestone Initiative at DC Comics and be mentored by "The New Teen Titans" author Marv Wolfman. He admitted it was "a little intimidating — but really fun" to work with the comic book legend.

Hampton wanted to bring the fun of the Teen Titans show to Cyborg #1

There's little question Morgan Hampton's enjoyment of the "Teen Titans" animated series influenced his Cyborg stories. In his first Cyborg-starring DC Comics story in "DC Power: A Celebration" #1, Hampton wrote an origin for Victor Stone's "Booyah" catchphrase, which originated in the cartoon. In previews for "Cyborg" #1, readers will also recognize two villains, Mammoth and Gizmo, who also were original characters on "Teen Titans." Hampton shared how he wanted to bring their goofiness to the comics.

"Growing up and watching ['Teen Titans'], what was good about it — or what I enjoyed about it and still enjoy — is how goofy all the villains are," he told Looper. "Obviously, they pose a threat if they're not taken seriously, but they're goofy and funny too. That's something that's at the heart of comic books. We live in a world where comics take themselves seriously — and they should, story-wise. But at the end of the day, some of these concepts are pretty out there and pretty wild. It's fun to poke fun at that while you're telling a more serious story."

Hampton's upcoming story may be focused on Cyborg as he returns to Detroit and is forced to confront his past and present. But there's a good chance that fans of the "Teen Titans" animated series will feel its influence throughout the book and potentially see other characters from the cartoon world appear alongside the hero. 

"Cyborg" #1, by Morgan Hampton, Tom Raney, and Michael Atiyeh, from DC Comics, arrives in comic book stores and online retailers on May 16.