|First appearance||Superman #127 (February 1959)|
|Created by||Otto Binder
|Notable aliases||Super-Ape, Toto|
Able to project kryptonite beams via his eyes
Fictional character biography
Pre-Crisis (Silver Age) version
The pre-Crisis Titano first appeared in Superman #127 (February 1959). Originally named Toto, he is a common chimpanzee who was dubbed "one of the world's most intelligent apes". Rocketed into space, he and his ship were bombarded with radiation, which changed him into a giant ape with incredible strength and the ability to emit beams of Kryptonite radiation from his eyes. This made the ape a difficult menace for Superman to face. Writer Martin Pasko revived Titano in Superman #324 (June 1978).
The post-Crisis version first appeared in the "Tears for Titano" story in Superman Annual #1. Titano was originally a normal baby chimpanzee used in cruel scientific experiments for the U.S. government. This lab is headed by Dr. Thomas Moyers, an irresponsible man who caused the creation of Rampage, the super-strong alter-ego of Dr. Kitty Faulkner, also in the employ is Amanda Waller operating under the orders of Sarge Steel. The chimpanzee gains his name from a mean-spirited joke by the other staffers.
A brief visit by Lois Lane to the government laboratories ended soon after Titano tried to escape his tormentors by leaping into Lane's arms. An accident caused the ape to gain super-strength and grow to enormous proportions. Attempting to kill Moyers, whom he saw as his tormentor, Titano was stopped by and engaged in a battle with Superman. The presence of Lane causes Titano to calm down, as he considered her a friend. Moyers used his equipment to reverse the transformation. The reversal is too much for the chimpanzee, who dies in Lane's arms. She later writes the Daily Planet article "Tears for Titano" in honor of the animal.
Another version of Titano appeared as the mascot of "Titano's Pizza". Television advertisements showed a giant ape in a chef's hat defeating "Turtle Boy", who represented the slower delivery of other pizzerias. However, Turtle Boy (played by Jimmy Olsen) proved to be much more popular than Titano, and the commercials were discontinued.
In Action Comics #854, a monkey experimented upon by the Kryptonite Man was imbued with Kryptonite radiation, gaining the ability to grow in size and fire kryptonite beams from his eyes, like the pre-Crisis Titano. He was eventually calmed down by "Mr. Action" (Jimmy Olsen) and placed in the care of S.T.A.R. Labs.
The New 52
In The New 52, a reboot of the DC Comics Universe, Titano was redesigned and given a new origin. Titano was now only slightly bigger than a regular gorilla and not as gigantic as the earlier versions, and was now an albino. He also was given a new origin in which he was a genetic mutation created by a deranged biophysicist. He was later shown on life support in a Metropolis laboratory and is executed by a creature appearing to be Superman.
JLA: Earth 2
An antimatter version of Titano, appeared near the end of Grant Morrison's JLA: Earth 2. This version is actually a genetic experiment conducted by Brainiac and Ultraman (Subject 773, "Ultra-Titanus") freed by Brainiac and fires Anti-Kryptonite beams at Superman. Being an opposite version of Titano, the beams make him stronger. He is later caught by the Green Lantern.
DC One Million
In other media
- The 1942 episode "Terror on the Midway" of the Fleischer Superman cartoons featured a battle between Superman and a massive escaped circus gorilla called "Gigantic".
- An 1967 episode "The Chimp Who Made it Big" of the The New Adventures of Superman was another version of the Titano story. A collision of a Kryptonite meteor and a uranium asteroid crash near the capsule Toto was in causes it to lose control. Superman saves the capsule and brings it down to Earth. When Lois Lane reports at the rocket base, Toto burstes from the capsule and transforms into Titano. He grabs Lois Lane and Superman tries to stop him but is hit by the giant ape's Kryptonite eye beams. When the military fires missiles at Titano, Superman protects him from the attack. Titano then escapes with Lois Lane while Superman pursues them. He makes a shield of lead and then knocks out Titano. A headline in the Daily Planet newspaper states that the Kryptonite's effects on Titano wore off and he was restored to his normal size. A clip from this episode was broadcast in the first test episode of Sesame Street.
- Although not appearing in the 1988 animated series Superman, a large ape (presumably Titano) is seen in the opening credits scaling the side of the Daily Planet, in front of Clark Kent, Perry White, Jimmy Olsen, and Lois Lane, before Clark changes into Superman and pulls him off the building.
- A different version of Titano, conceptually very similar to the original Titano from the Silver Age, appeared in the Superman: The Animated Series episode "Monkey Fun" with his vocal effects done by Frank Welker. This Titano was a chimpanzee astronaut that was kept in the home of Lt. Colonel Sam Lane. The chimp formed a bond with Lane's 8-year-old daughter Lois. Titano's ship, the Titan 0, from which he got his name, was lost in space and eventually found twenty years later in a meteor shower by Superman. Gases contained in the meteor caused him to grow to enormous proportions. The now-gigantic Titano wreaked havoc on Metropolis. Sam Lane, now a flag officer, rushes to Metropolis to aid Lois by giving her the one thing that could calm Titano: a toy monkey named Beppo that played Pop Goes the Weasel when squeezed. S.T.A.R. Labs is able to put an end to Titano's growth spurts. Superman then relocated Titano to a remote island to live a normal life-span, leaving Beppo for him as a memento of Lois.
- Young Justice has a slight nod to the character in "Performance," where a poster at Haly's Circus advertises an elephant named Titano.
- Titano made a cameo appearance in the comic book series based on Superman: The Animated Series. He nearly returned to Metropolis after an environmental terrorist group released him considering his relocation animal rights abuse. Titano was subdued and returned home before he made it to Metropolis.
Characters based on Titano have occasionally appeared in comics homaging the Silver Age Superman.
- In Alan Moore's Supreme, the Titano equivalent is Stupendo, the Simian Supreme. Stupendo has a similar origin to the Silver Age Titano (except with Supremium radiation), but was subsequently befriended by Supreme, and given a home on Conqueror Island.
- Tom Terrific, a superpowered version of Tom Strong from a universe based on Silver Age tropes, has a companion named Terrifo the Super-Ape.
- Binder, Otto (w), Boring, Wayne (p), Kaye, Stan (i). "Titano the Super-Ape!" Superman 127 (February 1959)
- Eury, Michael (2006). The Krypton Companion. TwoMorrows Publishing. p. 158. ISBN 1893905616.
- Giffen, Keith; Fleming, Robert Loren (w), Giffen, Keith (p), Oksner, Bob (i). "Witless for the Prosecution" Son of Ambush Bug 5 (November 1986)
- Byrne, John (w), Frenz, Ron (p), Breeding, Brett (i). "Tears for Titano!" Superman Annual v2, 1 (1987)
- Ordway, Jerry (w), Grummett, Tom (p), Hazlewood, Doug (i). "Christmas in Suicide Slumberland" The Adventures of Superman 487 (February 1992)
- Ordway, Jerry (w), Grummett, Tom (p), Hazlewood, Doug (i). "The Blaze/Satanus War, Part 1 of 4: Sibling Rivalry" The Adventures of Superman 493 (August 1992)
- Busiek, Kurt (w), Walker, Brad (p), Livesay, John (i). "3-2-1 Action! Part 3 Pal" Action Comics 854 (Mid October 2007)
- Verheiden, Mark (w), Van Sciver, Ethan (p), Van Sciver, Ethan (i). "The Enemies Among Us, Part 1" Superman/Batman 28 (September 2006)
- Pérez, George (w), Pérez, George; Scott, Nicola (p), Scott, Trevor (i). "A Cold Day in Hell" Superman v3, 3 (January 2012)
- Pérez, George (w), Scott, Nicola (p), Scott, Trevor (i). "Menace!" Superman v3, 5 (March 2012)
- Johns, Geoff (w), Romita, Jr., John (p), Janson, Klaus (i). "The Men of Tomorrow" Superman v3, 32 (June 2014)
- Morrison, Grant (w), Quitely, Frank (p), Quitely, Frank (i). "JLA: Earth 2" JLA: Earth 2 (2000)
- Morrison, Grant (w), Abell, Dusty (p), Royal, Jim (i). "Crisis One Million" DC One Million 80-Page Giant 1,000,000 (August 1999)
- "Test Show 1". Sesame Street. July 1969. 10 minutes in. NET.
- Moore, Alan (w), Veitch, Rick (p), Veitch, Rick (i). "A Roster of Rogues" Supreme 51 (Late July 1997), Awesome Comics