Superheroes: Raven and Beast Boy

Official art of Raven and Beast Boy. Copyright goes to Gabriel Picolo and DC Comics.

Hi! It’s Annie!

Especially lately it seems like I’ve been forgetting some of my favorite shows of all time and then rediscovering them. The most recent of which being ‘Teen Titans’. My rediscovery of one of my favorite shows growing up began, oddly, at my most recent visit to my local book store to pick up some new books because I had already re-read all of my current favorites so many times. While there I looked up on a shelf to find, to my absolute delight, a DC comic of ‘Teen Titans’ with Gabriel Picolo’s ‘Teen Titans’ art on it. I’ve followed his work for a while and there’s seriously nobody who portrays these characters quite like he does. He breathed life and a sense of reality into these characters. I’m pretty sure it was his art that inspired the newer grittier ‘Titans’ that I’m admittedly not a fan of except for Ryan Potter’s absolutely amazing and adorable portrayal of Beast Boy. But Picolo’s art isn’t really gritty, it’s full of color and absolutely beautiful to look at. When I picked up the comic, which ended up being the brand new ‘Beast Boy Loves Raven’; I was absolutely ecstatic to see Gabriel Picolo actually working on the ‘Teen Titans’ in a comic format. And he’s always had a soft spot for his portrayals of Raven and Beast Boy in particular, which is great because they’ve always been my favorite characters. Admittedly, they are also one of my favorite superhero couples of all time. Now with his book in the mix we finally have Beast Boy and Raven as a canonical couple. But, obviously, this has been a long time coming. So I figured I’d make a post detailing the growth of Beast Boy and Raven’s relationship and DC actually relenting in presenting them as a couple. Finally! MAJOR SPOILERS for most ‘Teen Titans’ content coming up!

‘Teen Titans’ Original Series:

In the original ‘Teen Titans’ the relationship between Beast Boy and Raven was pretty odd from the get go. Raven was really progressive for her time for being a more closed off and brooding female character who never had to be saved and was inarguably the most powerful member of her team. While this character trope is more common now, it wasn’t really when Raven first graced our screens. Beast Boy was the comic relief and dumb character almost to a ridiculous extent. In season one there’s an entire episode where a villain traps them all in a make-shift school in order to hypnotize them, and Beast Boy is the only person who becomes hypnotized because he’s so dumb. The show’s opinion, not mine. Raven often spends her time either being annoyed by Beast Boy or oddly endeared and confused by him. There’s a pretty infamous scene from ‘Teen Titans’ where Beast Boy feels inadequate and Raven goes to talk to him. This actually takes place in the first couple of episodes of ‘Teen Titans’, which I hadn’t remembered and surprised me. I think the most pointed out episode for their relationship though, is the episode where Beast Boy loses control over his powers and Raven gets knocked out when he does; prompting everyone to believe that Beast Boy knocked out Raven. And Beast Boy, who has no memory of the event, even believes that he knocked out Raven himself. When Raven wakes up she reveals that Beast Boy actually saved her from an entirely different assailant and they have a long heart to heart at the end. It really didn’t take long for lovers of this show to start pairing these two together after the moments that they had. And the golden retriever boyfriend-goth girlfriend dynamic has always been a popular one in any fandom. This time the boyfriend can even actually turn into a golden retriever! Or more like a green retriever.

‘Teen Titans GO!’:

Years after the release of the original series and in answer to the cries from the fandom to bring it back, Cartoon Network and DC revealed that they would be bringing back ‘Teen Titans’. Everyone was then disappointed when this meant that they weren’t actually bringing back the original series and were instead making a more child focused and comedy centric version with alternate versions of the characters. I remember swearing this off, much like a lot of fans at the time did. I really didn’t connect with the humor and I wasn’t a huge fan of any of the changes, but I at least respected that they brought back the original voice actors. In the hopes of bringing some of the fans back, the writers decided to dip into popular fandom. One of these moves was to bring a more canonical Beast Boy and Raven pairing to the screen, even if it wasn’t complete canon and played mostly for comedy. This definitely turned the heads of fans and even won a lot of people over. I don’t view this series in the same negative light that I used to, even if it’s still not necessarily my thing. In this version of ‘Teen Titans’ they featured an adorable episode where Beast Boy and Raven almost got married after Cyborg makes a matchmaking app that declares the two the perfect match, an episode where Beast Boy writes a song for Raven, and an episode where Beast Boy and Raven pretend to date to make their past flings jealous and end up more endeared to each other. Unfortunately, none of these storylines were acknowledged beyond the single episodes they took place in and none of them ended in Beast Boy and Raven moving forward into an actual relationship. But it was a step forward and proof that fandom shipping sometimes pays off!

‘Titans’:

This is the more gritty live-action twist on the original series that they tried to connect to the DC cinematic universe. So if you’re wondering why Cyborg isn’t a part of the team in this series, it’s because he already existed in other movies and content. Raven is a little too much of a damsel in distress here for me, however, as I said before, I absolutely adore Ryan Potter’s portrayal of Beast Boy. He portrays an endearing, adorable, and very boyish Beast Boy who is by far the most warm of the characters. The drab colors of the show automatically brighten up with his shock of green hair. From the beginning this show made to even out the playing field between Raven and Beast Boy by aging them both down slightly while aging up the other characters and having both of them have a certain lack of control over their powers. This last aspect has actually gone forward in their relationship in other mediums. They connect from the off and other characters even comment from beginning episodes that they would make a good couple. The show is three seasons in and they still haven’t gotten together though the characters have admitted that they love each other and have been more heavily hinted at with each passing season. The main reason why they aren’t together yet in this series is most likely the age gap between the actors. There’s actually a ten year age gap because the actress who plays Raven, Teagan Croft, is in her late teens while Ryan Potter is in his late twenties. Ryan Potter is an actor known for playing and being cast younger than he actually is. And I don’t think anybody would do as well in his role. We’ll have to see what they do in this relationship going forward considering the potential controversy. But, though it might take a couple years, this is looking like it will be another canonical romance between the two characters.

‘Beast Boy Loves Raven’:

Finally we have the canon couple! This comic series is more of a prequel, which means that this take would see Beast Boy and Raven already dating by the time the team fully forms. They both meet when they are both promised mentoring by a mysterious figure we already know is Slade, who says he can help both of them take control of their powers. They meet and end up sharing a hotel room, a dance, and plenty of traumatic experiences throughout because obviously Slade is up to no good. Both of them attempt to hide their powers from the other in fear of being judged, but they end up being each other’s biggest supporters. And we get our very first canonical Beast Boy and Raven kiss! I would highly recommend getting this if you haven’t yet. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve picked it up since I bought it just a week ago to re-read my favorite parts or just to stare at the amazing art! And obviously, I love that we finally get canon Beast Boy and Raven. I always thought Gabriel Picolo’s art of this couple was absolute couple goals and seeing it actually become canonical couple goals is more than I could have ever asked for for these two!

Don’t get me wrong, I love the other three ‘Teen Titans’ characters. Starfire, Robin, and Cyborg have always been lovable to me. But I don’t think any characters quite touch the level of Raven and Beast Boy in any iteration of ‘Teen Titans’. They work so well off of each other and I love that the fandom has worked so hard to make a couple so obvious to all of us finally canon. I don’t think I’ll ever find a superhero couple as simultaneously wholesome and badass as these two and I’m looking forward to seeing many many more depictions of the finally canon couple!

See you across the pond!

Sincerely, Annie

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