Teen Titans
Credit: DC Entertainment

You've seen Raven battle her own inner (and outer) demons in Teen Titans: Raven. You're about to meet a new version of Gar in his own origin story Teen Titans: Beast Boy. And now EW can exclusively reveal that the two superpowered teens will finally meet — and maybe even fall in love — in the crossover graphic novel you've been waiting for.

Author Kami Garcia and artist Gabriel Picolo are reuniting for a third Teen Titans graphic novel in their New York Times best-selling DC series, Teen Titans: Beast Boy Loves Raven (slated for a 2021 release). The new book follows the events from both of their origin stories (literally days after both Raven and Beast Boy end), and features the destined-to-be-romantic pairing crossing paths in Nashville and learning to trust each other because of the connection they can't help but feel, despite the secrets they both hide. And... somehow Slade Wilson is the thing connecting them

A preview of the highly anticipated crossover will appear in the back of the upcoming Teen Titans: Beast Boy graphic novel (on sale Sept. 1 and available for pre-order now), but you can get a sneak peek of the exciting team-up by checking out the cover above (can we please talk about the way Gar is holding Raven? Look at her smile!) and some of the interior artwork below. Plus, EW got Garcia and Picolo to tease what fans can expect from the third book in the series, how their version of Gar is different from what's come before in Teen Titans history, and more.

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Back when you both were working on your first graphic novel with Teen Titans: Raven, did you always know you were building towards this moment three graphic novels in?

KAMI GARCIA: I pitched the idea of Beast Boy Loves Raven with the original, but we never really discussed if we would do it. It was more like I thought it was a cute idea. And then after we did Raven, and we announced Beast Boy, everybody went crazy and started asking if they were going to meet. Gabriel and I talked about it and were like we have to do it now because everyone just seems so excited. There is all this anticipation. Also, they're so fun to write. We wanted to see them meet on the page too.

GABRIEL PICOLO: And they’re characters we both know so well at this point.

When did you realize you would actually get the chance to tell the story of Raven and Gar’s relationship?

GARCIA: It wasn't until we were doing Beast Boy. I pitched the idea of the origin for each of the characters, so once we were doing Beast Boy it was like, what's next? And then at one point, it was when we were at least halfway through, right?

PICOLO: Yeah, at some point in the middle of the book. We'd been discussing it and I'd been hearing rumors about it but I was not sure it was going to happen. Then at some point in the middle of the book, it was greenlit.

Gabriel, the aesthetic of both Raven and Gar’s origin stories are so perfect for their individual styles. How did you go about marrying their two distinct looks in the crossover?

PICOLO: We had been discussing that a lot in the very early stages of Beast Boy Loves Raven, and we're trying to merge the aesthetics of our first two books with color. Raven was a bit more monochromatic, there was a lot of purple because of the streaks in her hair, and Beast Boy we had more color and cool greens. So we're using a lot of light teals and cold purples to mix together on the color palette for the next book.

What are you most excited to explore between their connection now that they're finally going to meet?

GARCIA: They're really fun to have together because they're so different. Raven is a more guarded character, and Gar is not an open book but he is more open in general. He wants to let people in, and Raven is nervous about that. My hope is that they're going to bring out the best in each other and they're each going to learn something from the other one.

PICOLO: The thing I like the most about these characters especially in their origin books is that they deal with their superpowers in ways that are so different. Raven is super secretive about her superpowers because it's all inside her head and she has inner demons and all that. And Beast Boy is all showy and he's excited about everything and he wants to use his powers whenever he can. So having them come together with their powers is going to be exciting.

What are you getting to do with these characters that’s never been done before?

GARCIA: We were given very much free reign. The mandate was always to create teen characters who had superpowers but not superhero teens. We wanted the characters' regular problems and core personalities to come out and not be overshadowed by their powers.

PICOLO: I'm a fan of these characters so seeing them interacting more in the comics is amazing. I know we had a canon of Beast Boy and Raven at some point, but it was just one time so I'm happy to bring these characters together again. And I'm drawing it, so that’s great. [Laughs]

What do you think is going to surprise fans about this graphic novel?

GARCIA: That it's got a lot of friendship, as well as romance. When they meet for the first time and have that spark, will they/won't they? Are they going to stay friends, are they going to get together? If they like each other, are they going to admit it? Are they going to open up to each other? It's like watching an actual relationship and romance evolve.

And for fans who haven’t gotten to know your version of Gar yet, what can they expect to see from his origin story graphic novel that's about to debut?

PICOLO: In Gar's solo book, he's not going to be as much of a comic relief sort of character because I feel like this is what writers always explore about Gar. I was excited to work on his character experiencing frustration and pain, but also having a fun time with his friends. He has a great time having superpowers, he enjoys a whole lot of it, until at some point in the story it gets him in trouble.

GARCIA: Our take is a bit more serious.

PICOLO: A bit more grounded.

GARCIA: He's still so much fun, but we just wanted people to get to know him better. Sometimes Gar acts funny, and the other characters' personalities overshadow him and he's just the silly one. And we want to show that underneath the humor there is a lot of other things going on. He not only gets frustrated, he gets angry. This book really shows him as a much more three-dimensional character because he doesn't have the other Titans in the book. He can't act as a foil for anyone. The spotlight is completely on him. For people who are Teen Titans fans and Gar fans, they're going to love that. It's a real gift for people who are true fans of the character.

PICOLO: I couldn’t have said it better!

Something that Gar struggles with a lot in Teen Titans: Beast Boy is body image anxiety. Why did you want to focus on that issue with him?

GARCIA: I have four brothers, and guys are just as self-conscious about the way they look as girls are. For him, the biggest issue is not necessarily just his size, it's that he looks young. So, if he were more mature looking and he had a deeper voice, he probably wouldn't mind being short. But he talks about the fact that his voice hasn't dropped, and he's shorter than everybody and a little bit skinny and people are constantly mistaking him for a freshman, and he's actually a senior. The part that he really gets upset about is that he feels like he doesn't look his age. That is a thing guys struggle with — am I big enough? Am I tall enough? Do I have facial hair? Do I look manly? And Gar, even when he has a growth spurt in the book, he's still very young and adorable looking, because that's the essence of who he is. And we want to show that it's fine to look young. It's fine to not be super buff. That's a legitimate thing that guys struggle with, and my brothers were very conscious of that, if they were as tall as their friends or if they sounded as old. We associate that with girls but it's not just a thing that girls struggle with. We all struggle with that.

PICOLO: He's got double the problems too because his puberty is kicking in. One day he realizes that he has a mustache but he also is turning into wolves. It's all this mess at the same time, so it's even more confusing and complicated.

GARCIA: When I started writing it, I was like, turning into animals and not being in control of your powers and stuff is a pretty great metaphor for puberty. [Laughs] It's not that different from suddenly turning into a wolf!

What are you most excited for people to see from Teen Titans: Beast Boy?

GARCIA: Beast Boy has a very similar haircut to Gabriel's. Gabriel already had that hair!

PICOLO: [Laughs] Yeah, not going to lie!

GARCIA: I told [Gabriel] that he's got to dye the tips of his hair green when the book comes out.

Teen Titans
Credit: DC Entertainment
Teen Titans
Credit: DC Entertainment
Teen Titans
Credit: DC Entertainment
Teen Titans
Credit: DC Entertainment

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