With his latest assignment as the new ongoing writer of "Teen Titans," it's about time we dropped the rising star tag when discussing J.T. Krul. The former production coordinator on "Seinfeld" impressed DCU co-publishers Dan DiDio and Jim Lee with his recent runs and fill-in stints on "Blackest Night: Titans," "Titans" and "Teen Titans," earning him a shot to launch the new "Green Arrow" ongoing series earlier this summer. And now that he's writing "Teen Titans" too, The DC Universe is becoming a Krul world.
When his run with artist Nicola Scott ("Wonder Woman," "Secret Six") kicks off in October's "Teen Titans" #88, the Michigan native told CBR News that readers will see an "A-list" roster featuring Superboy, Wonder Girl, Kid Flash, Raven, Beast Boy and the newly returned Ravager and that he has big plans for the team well beyond the forthcoming 100th issue, which will arrive in stores sometime around the end of next year or the beginning of 2012.
Krul also shared details about which Robin will be playing a role in the series and why the Feral Boys aren't the only villains the Teen Titans need to worry about.
CBR News: Are you a long-time fan of the Teen Titans? Do you have a favorite Teen Titan? Or favorite run?
J.T. Krul: I've been reading "Teen Titans" for years and years. My favorite new Teen Titan, or returning one to the team, is Ravager. She's very dynamic and complex and I like the edge and attitude she brings to the team. She's evolved from the completely obnoxious member of the team and sees the benefit and, quite frankly, the need to be with the other Titans. For better or worse, they are her family – more so than Slade will ever be, that is.
As for favorite run, Geoff Johns' initial relaunch this time around is great and obviously all the Terra stuff. "Judas Contract" is just plain awesome.
What separates the Teen Titans from other teams like the JLA and JSA?
They are young heroes making their way in the world alone. Whereas the younger heroes in the JSA have their mentors around, the Teen Titans are more about carving their own path. I mean, Dick [Grayson] was one of the founders, but given his new status, even he would be considered something of an outsider to this team. The JLA are the biggies, the heavy hitters who go up against the worst threats, and that's what the Teen Titans feel they are preparing for. They want to be ready when needed.
The roster has been a bit all over the place the last few years. Will the formation of the roster you'll be featuring – namely Superboy, Wonder Girl, Kid Flash, Raven, Beast Boy and Ravager – be explained or do we open your first arc with this team in place?
We hit the ground running with the new lineup. To be honest, most of these characters have been around. Ravager is the only one returning out of the blue, so to speak. Cassie, Gar, Raven were already there, and Conner and Kid Flash have recently returned. We decided from the outset that we didn't want to do a whole reshuffling storyline, watching Cassie and Gar sit around with pictures thinking about building a team. In many ways, this is a new beginning and we wanted to start fresh. As for this lineup, we wanted to return to the Young Justice core, the heavy hitters that made this book so great. It's no slight on those departing – Static, Blue Beetle, etc. – but we feel this is the A-list for the Teen Titans. Others will come into play down the road, but I didn't want a team of ten. I wanted to be able to focus more on them as individuals.
Conner and Bart are two members that enjoyed a rebirth of late. Can you speak about the importance of this particular relationship to the team's overall makeup, and also about the two superheroes connection to heavyweights Barry Allen (Flash) and Superman?
Having returned from the grave and the future, Bart and Conner are obviously still dealing with being back in familiar territory. The situation is the same, but a lot has happened since. That will naturally come into play. This isn't quite the same Kid Flash and Superboy that were on the team before. But from a team dynamic, it just feels good to have their old friends back around.
What about Wonder Girl's relationship to Superboy? Things have been a tad tense of late between Conner and Cassie. Will that be resolved?
Cassie and Conner have had their struggles recently, and it will definitely be touched upon.
While Cassie is the team leader, Gar has emerged, once again, as a take-charge member, too. Will that continue with the return of Conner and Bart? And how will his relationship, or lack there of, effect the team dynamic and leadership?
Gar has been connected to a lot of the Titans over the years, and we really are focusing on the family aspect of the team. They face some rather nasty villains in the course of a day, and they may have some friction, especially with someone like Damian coming along, but they all care about one another. They really are trying to work together.
Yes, we learned about Damian appearing in the title via some art by your partner, Nicola Scott. Is he one of the "others" that will come into play down the road?
Actually, I can't really say much about it, other than to say that Damian is definitely coming along for the ride.
OK. With Ravager on the team, will your book be crossing over with Eric Wallace's "Titans" at all?
To say that Ravager and Deathstroke have unresolved business would be a huge understatement. I am sure their paths will cross, not to mention swords, but for the time being I am trying to keep the Teen Titans on their own for the most part. I feel we need to establish this new team dynamic and explore the threats they will face in their own corner of the universe before leaping into a bunch of crossovers.
Can you share any details about your opening arc? Specifically, what do we need to know about Feral Boys and are they who we should really be worrying about, or is another Big Bad Wolf pulling the strings?
The Feral Boys are just the tip of the iceberg as the Teen Titans will begin encountering new threats from a new villain who I see as someone to challenge the Teen Titans for a long time. I want to create some villains that have a connection to the heroes specifically on this team and not just ones that have a history with the Teen Titans as a group.
Is this an open-ended run on the book or are you on "Teen Titans" for a pre-determined, limited amount of time?
I plan on being the writer for the long haul. Being able to work with Nicola Scott, why wouldn't I want to stick around? My editor, Rachel Gluckstern, and I have been talking "Teen Titans" for quite some time and there is a plan in place that will take us up to issue #100 and beyond. I am thrilled with the opportunity to work on such a book and plan on making the most of it.
As for what's in store, it's team building, new villains, and the premiere of an all-new Titan character that will join the team in the near future. I think it's a great time to be a Titans fan.
"Teen Titans" #88 by J.T. Krul and featuring art by Nicola Scott is scheduled for October 27.