Comic book iconoclast Rob Liefeld, who co-created the Dawn Granger version of Dove, was shocked and thrilled to see what DC is doing with the character on the Titans TV series when the trailer dropped during Comic Con.
The artist, who also created characters like Deadpool and Cable during his long career, sat down to talk about all things Liefeld with ComicBook.com's Brandon Davis in San Diego earlier this month, and as you might imagine, he had a lot to say about the way Dove made her epic, violent entrance in the Titans trailer.
“Geoff Johns has been taunting me since October,” Liefeld joked. “He was on set, sending me [photos] — from the day they did the costume tests. He said, ‘did you know how much I love Dove?’ He has a genuine love affair with the Hawk and Dove that we did in the ‘80s. Geoff Johns and [The Walking Dead creator] Robert Kirkman are the guys who are like ‘Hey Rob, I grew up reading your comics!’ and I’m like, ‘okay, if I didn’t feel old already, I’m totally old now.’ Dawn Granger, we introduced her in 1987. I’ve got to be honest: Steve Ditko? Genius. Doctor Strange, Spider-Man, The Question, all great stuff he did. Hawk and Dove was a brilliant idea but it never took. It is a historical fact; the book got cancelled, the characters never caught on. As a kid, I remember thinking they had this one strong-willed brother and one, truth be told, whiny brother. They did a great job on every cover showing you that Dove was kind of a wuss. I was on the exhibition floor at the show looking at the old Ditko and Gil Kane issues. Every issue was ‘Don’t do that Hawk! Don't do that Hawk! No Hawk!’ So I think it was not the best way to sell Dove as a guy.
"They represented war and peace, more or less. Born in the ‘60s, very political, war and peace. We were tasked with creating a new Dove, which is Dawn Granger who Minka Kelly is playing, because in Crisis on Infinite Earths, they had a wall fall on the male Dove, and he died. Hawk goes, ‘My brother is dead!’ So the male Dove lasted 20 years, and I did the math: female Dove? Thirty years. She’s been around ten years longer. I feel like she’s the definitive Dove.
"We brought in a supernatural element. Hawk and Dove were no longer war and peace, they were chaos and order. There was a supernatural realm, the chaos realm and order realm, that they tapped into their powers. Geoff goes, ‘you guys took it and did the whole supernatural thing!’ He compared it to what he did with the Lanterns, creating the whole rainbow of Lanterns and taking it in a different direction. Dawn Granger has stuck and Brightest Day, whatever Geoff Johns does, he finds a way to put Hawk and Dove in it. But now, seeing her, I just wasn’t prepared for her to stick her hand through a guy’s face and have the face explode. I’m in my hotel Tuesday night, both Jim Lee and Geoff Johns texted me to say ‘The Titans trailer is dropping at six o’clock and you’re going to be a happy guy.’ Jim even laughed, he said there’s a scene you’re going to really like.’ I’m in my hotel room and I’m sitting in my bed and I go ‘Whoa! Rewind, rewind, screengrab, screengrab.’ It was hard to catch that, but I got every moment of that first exploding that face, and I’m like ‘that’s the way you make an entrance!’ And then she whips around and cuts someone with her dove-wings. I’m very excited about Titans. The thing about their supernatural origins is that Raven has a very supernatural story so it’s a great way to connect them all. My buddy Akiva Goldsman, with whom I’m doing the Extreme Universe on Netflix, executive produced Titans with Geoff Johns, so it’s a good time.”
The series is, in general, a darker and more violent take on the Teen Titans property, a stark difference to the all-ages-fiendly Teen Titans Go! To the Movies, which hit theaters last week.
Liefeld's own work is known for being...well...extreme, using sex and violence to draw in audiences who were, in the '80s and '90s, feeling like mainstream Marvel and DC superheroes were too tame for them. While he has had critics for most of his career, the numbers don't lie and he remains one of the most successful comic book artists in recent decades.
Titans is set to debut on DC Universe later this year.