Within the square walls of a comic book panel, Raven presses her lips to Beast Boy’s cheek and take a quick selfie. She’s wearing a black fishnet crop top, he’s got a Fall Out Boy shirt tucked into his belt, could that be more obvious? The bathroom is covered in juvenile debris – crumpled tissue, a tube of toothpaste squeezed to the last drop, but Raven doesn’t seem to care. One hand on his cheek, the other gripping an iPhone pointed at the mirror. It is clear that they have been happy together for a very long time.
This image was uploaded to artist DC Comics Gabriel Picolo’s Instagram last December. It quickly went viral on Twitter as a bunch of millennials reconnected with a long-standing desire to see Raven and Beast Boy finally get what they deserve – each other. The two characters were never officially christened as a staple of Cartoon Network in the mid-2000s, Teen Titans. Instead, they flirted a lot but were perpetually preoccupied with the ever awkward task of saving the world. Raven, unshakably shadowed and unmoved, Beast Boy a little too immature to fully express his intimate truths.
They were an unlikely couple – after all, it’s hard to plan a date when Deathstroke is on the prowl. But the parched and unrequited nature of their romance made the duo obsessive fanatic for dreamy-eyed geeks everywhere at first. In fact, I think there have been more fanfics on Beast Boy and Raven than heavyweights like Harry and Luna or Edward and Jacob. They’re great for each other, although it’s hard to explain why.
“Raven is stoic and Gar is kind of a jerk, and yet their personalities complement each other,” Picolo said in a recent interview with IGN. “I can’t imagine Raven getting along with someone as serious as her, for example.”
And finally, in 2020, DC finally gave people what they wanted. Piccolo teamed up with writer Kami Garcia for a low-key, light-hearted take on some of the mainstays of the Teen Titans – an online universe with Picolo’s Instagram, where you’d think Cyborg wears Champion slides and Starfire McDonald’s order for Robin. In this private sanctuary, where all the pressures and responsibilities of the superhero business have taken a back seat, Raven and Beast Boy are finally spending some time alone, together.
Later this year, DC will be releasing Beast Boy Loves Raven, perhaps the simplest announcement of their relationship to ever appear in the multiverse. As usual, Picolo will be at the helm, and he will likely continue his work by repainting Beast Boy and Raven as a teenager, rather than titans – two children. split Ben & Jerry’s pints and banging Evanescence. After all, it was the legion of Teen Titans fans who first imagined this budding romance within a team, with or without the approval of Cartoon Network – they created an orthodoxy of fan fiction and fan art that established the parameters of their relationship.
Eventually, some of them inherited the land (or, more accurately, got a job with DC) and now Beast Boy officially loves Raven. The headcanon is simply cannon. But when a world front of comic book readers are all deciding what Beast Boy and Raven are meant to be, how do you satisfy the masses while still telling the story you already had in mind?
“I want to make sure I’m not just spinning my thread, but whenever possible, I also give people what they want,” says Tim Sheridan, writer for the upcoming Teen Titans Academy. He’s a relatively new member of the DC Comics writers block, who recently composed the screenplay for the 2020 animated film, Superman: The Man of Tomorrow, but he understands the importance of the relationship between a team and the team. community for which they create. “Creative teams can’t do everything,” he says, “but if it’s something that moves the story forward or is managed in such a way that its inclusion doesn’t distract or distract from the story. , So why not try?”
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Sheridan says he’s always been a die-hard Beast Boy / Raven shipper, especially because – although they may never have been called “queer” by WB – they expressed a level of self. -identity that spoke to him as a young queer man. “When I was young, I recognized the same kind of quirk that I could understand about myself,” he says. “They’re presenting this way to new generations of fans who understand that weirdness, perhaps, has more to do with who you are than with who you kiss.” But Sheridan is also aware that, given the absurd scale of fan intrigue in all of the characters on her knees, it’s impossible to appease all of the readers at once. After all, it only has five issues and around 100 pages, which just isn’t enough time to do an incisive autopsy on why Beast Boy and Raven click.
Instead, Sheridan says you learn to work in the limited space you have. “Sometimes it’s in the form of exploring, or at least nodding to a particular relationship,” he says. Maybe all it takes are a few eye-catching scenes the couple in math class – like the slightest smell of a cute encounter. The goal is to convince the audience that they are being seen and that the author understands these characters the same way they do.
Sheridan refers to the pair as the “most-written romance in modern comic book history,” and it’s easy to appreciate the irony that one of the reasons there’s so much desire for one official, DC-sanctioned union between Beast Boy and Raven is that the company has historically taken such a hands-off approach with the couple. “I think part of the fan interest in this pairing,” Picolo says, “is because it works so well but we don’t see them together much in the comics, although they’re almost always on. the same list from Teen Titans. ”The thirst has been stoked for decades, and now it has finally reached a boiling point.
That’s reassuring for all Teen Titans lifers. But if you’re a foreigner, the only question you might ask yourself is… why these two? What about the Beast Boy and Raven saga that stands above all the other loves simmering in the comics? What drives the obsession with other fun dates like Robin and Starfire? Or Bruce Banner and Black Widow? After all, these two are far from the most powerful figures in DC cosmology, and their alliances don’t have the same seismic implications as Clark Kent, Bruce Wayne, and Diana Prince. What makes them so special?
“Raven and Beast Boy have always seemed easier to understand as kids, teens,” Sheridan says. “I think because these two are so easy to get along with, so adorable, it makes perfect sense that they love each other the same … it’s cool to be different, it’s cool to be.” yourself, it’s cool to express your different personality – if kids over the past two decades have been smarter than their parents about everything, that’s it, 100%. So it’s this philosophy embodied in two incredible DC characters … who wouldn’t want them to find happiness in each other’s arms?
Adolescence can undoubtedly be hectic for everyone, and no one comes out completely unscathed. But 15 years later, as everyone has weaned themselves off Teen Titans as a child enjoys a less chaotic adult life, it’s oddly liberating to catch up with Beast Boy and Raven and see that it all just fell apart. went well – just like we did. They didn’t become bitter or cynical throughout the frequent traumas of superhero life and the scorching melodrama of high school; instead, they got the opportunity to find happiness for themselves and grabbed it by the horns. That’s no small feat, and it’s worth celebrating a lot more than any supervillain bust. If Beast Boy and Raven can find love and peace during this dark season, then can we, right?
“I now fully understand why we, no doubt, still haven’t refueled the ship,” Sheridan continues. “I hope the fans know how important their relationship is to all of us and that they can expect to see those wheels start to turn again.” He says there is only one thing about the fan favorite couple he wants to change …
“I know everyone says ‘BBRae’, but I’m trying to make ‘BRaven’ a reality, so if you can help me get the word out, I would really appreciate it.
Luke Winkie is a writer and former pizza maker in Brooklyn. He’s written for Vox, Vice, The New York Times, Gizmodo, PC Gamer, The Atlantic, Rolling Stone, and wherever good content can be found.