When there's trouble you know who to call. From their tower they can — dress fashionably and take Instagram photos? Most Teen Titans fans out there were introduced to the teenage superhero squad from the celebrated 2003 animated series. Robin and the gang have seen several attempts at revivals, from the overly goofy Teen Titans GO! to a recently announced live action movie, but the Titans have never been as cool and influential as they were in 2003.
That is, until freelance illustrator and Instagram artist Gabriel Picolo re-imagined the Titans with modern style and sensibilities. Over the past year, Picolo has been dropping amazing illustrations of his fashion-forward Titans online, and each piece makes us seriously wish they were part of a canon DC comic book.
Meet Your New And Improved Teen Titans
Picolo's artwork is at once incredibly fresh and also instantly familiar. Like Babs Tarr's work on Batgirl of Burnside, it allows the kids to be style savvy while serving out justice, and perfectly displays their personalities. In some instances the facial designs even echoe Bruce Timm's iconic DC Animated Universe look. Let's go through the team one by one.
Always calm and collected, Picolo's Robin is the most conservative style wise. Still, every inch of his outfit contains little details relating to his 2003 character, from the signature domino mask, to the "R" patch on his letterman jacket, to the Red X mask poking out of his backpack.
In the first photo, Robin is being alerted to a text message of a bat — a sort of modern take on how the Bat Signal could operate in 2017. We can see in Robin's expression the pressure of leading a team, assisting Batman, saving innocent people and managing his social life all sinking in. Dick was never the most expressive guy, but Gabriel's art sure shows us a lot.
Of course Cyborg would rock a PlayStation jacket. In the original series, you couldn't get him to put down the generic video game controller found in the Titans Tower, so it's nice to see him repping real world brands.
Starfire has always had the hardest time understanding Earth culture, but based on Gabriel's drawings, she's got a pretty good grip on Earthling fashion. Each of Picolo's drawings of Starfire contains some kind of reference to space, be it the space patrol amusement ride above, or the vintage NASA tee she sports in most other drawings.
Like a true Teen Titans fan, Picolo understands that Star and Robin belong together and couples them up in some of his sketches. You can practically feel the infatuation through the screen!
Beast Boy is still the goofball of the troupe, but is now more adorable than ever with green Nike kicks and rolled up jeans. Many shots also show him playing guitar, make it clear that he's a vegan and play up the fact that he's a huge animal lover.
Modern real-life Raven would shoot for a goth witch aesthetic. Jewelry, candles and crows all feel completely natural for the half-demon daughter of Trigon.
Gabriel often pairs up more than one Titan in his Instagram pieces, showcasing the friendships that made the original show feel so personal and human. Two red solo cups are hiding behind Star and Raven on the hood of the car, showing that even heroes get up to no good sometimes.
The artwork even tackles the Raven + Beast Boy romance that was built upon throughout the series but never made official. Picolo's work seems to take place in a universe where Beast Boy and Raven are an established couple, or at least reciprocate romantic feelings for each other.
We Want More!
If you can't get enough of Gabriel's art, you'll be happy to hear that the full color Teen Titans pieces are part of an upcoming zine the artist plans to release this year. Until then, the easiest way to get more Titans is to follow Picolo on Instagram @_picolo. You can even support his work on patreon.
While Gabriel Picolo isn't currently working with DC, there have been several instances of comic book publishers discovering artists from places like Instagram and DeviantArt and then bringing them into their official projects. But those artists can't be discovered without fans spreading the word.
If you really want to see an official DC comic featuring Picolo's modern Titans illustrations, the best bet is to share some of his work to show how much we want this! What do you think of his drawings?