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Titano attacking the Daily Planet building, from Showcase Presents Superman Volume 2 (2006). Art by Curt Swan and George Klein.
Publication information
Publisher DC Comics
First appearance Superman #127 (February 1959)
Created by Jerry Coleman
Curt Swan

Titano the Super-Ape is a fictional character appearing in DC Comics, primarily as a foe of Superman, and was likely inspired by King Kong..




Pre-Crisis (Silver Age) Version

The Pre-Crisis Titano first appeared in Superman #127 (February 1959). Originally named Toto, he 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.

Titano appears, briefly, in Son of Ambush Bug #5, where, masquerading as the prehistoric being known as Primal Bug, he kidnaps Cheeks the Toy Wonder (dressing him as Lois Lane). Ambush Bug, attempting to rescue his son, Cheeks, faces off against Titano in the Late Cretaceous. This was then revealed to be a dream sequence.

Post-Crisis Version

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. An accident caused the ape to gain super-strength and grow to enormous proportions. Attempting to kill Dr. Thomas Moyers, the head of the project whom he saw as his tormentor, Titano was stopped by and engaged in a battle with Superman. Moyers used his equipment to reverse the transformation, thereby killing Titano, who died in the arms of Lois Lane, the only human who had ever shown him love. Lois later wrote the Daily Planet article "Tears for Titano" in honor of the poor chimp.

Another version of Titano later 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 (and was a pastiche of the pizza-loving Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles). 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 STAR Labs.

Titano's pre-crisis version would make a reappearance of sorts in Superman/Batman #28, as a guise for a shape-shifting, telepathic alien entity.

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," which may or may not have served as some of the inspiration behind the later Titano character. This episode also includes a smaller monkey similar to the "Beppo" toy that appears in the Superman: The Animated Series episode "Monkey Fun."
  • An episode of the 1967 The New Adventures of Superman cartoon series, has an episode titled "The Chimp Who Made it Big" which was another version of the Titano story, but a fairly accurate retelling of the original story. In this episode a chimp astronaut named Toto is sent into outer space and gets hit by cosmic rays. Superman is on hand at a military base where the capsule is scheduled to land while Lois is reporting on the historic event. When Superman uses his X-ray vision on the capsule, he sees the chimp has a fierce appearance and warns everyone to stand back, where the chimp rips open the capsule and grows to immense proporitons. He grabs Lois Lane taking an instant liking to her. The military attempts to open fire on the gigantic ape to prevent him from wreaking destruction on civilization, but Superman convinces them that he may find another way to subdue the ape. Superman tries to stop Titano and is faced with Kryptonite eye beams that the monster now named Titano has, making Superman realize the chimp was mutated by a Kryptonite meteor, and that the effects may only be temporary if the chimp is withdrawn from Kryptonite. Superman makes an improptu shield out of lead (the only Earth substance that can shield him from the Kryptonite), and blocks the Kryptonite eye beams, then conks Titano on the head, rendering him unconscious. The Daily Planet article at the end shows that Titano has reverted back to being Toto, the ordinary sized chimp, as the Kryptonite was cleansed from his system. Of note, another episode of "The New Adventures of Superman" had mention of two gorillas named "Mr. & Mrs. Gigantic", who were untamed wild gorillas from central Africa that Superman was billed to fight in a circus event for charity, but the event was cancelled due to the gorillas and other animals being kidnapped by Brainiac. Although having the name "Gigantic", they were ordinary unmutated gorillas, albeit potentially dangerous ones.
  • 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 Titano's vocal effects done by Frank Welker. This Titano was a chimp 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) got lost in space and was 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 could calm Titano: a toy monkey named Beppo that played Pop Goes the Weasel when squeezed. Superman then relocated Titano to a remote island to live a normal life-span, leaving Beppo for him as a memento of Lois. S.T.A.R. Labs is able put an end to Titano's growth spurts. Titano would later make a cameo appearance in the comic based on the series saying that he nearly returned to Metropolis after an environmental terrorist group released Titano from his new island, considering his relocation an animal rights abuse, but he 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, although he may be more the result of combining Strong's gorilla friend King Solomon with Krypto.
  • In DC Comics's DC One Million setting, Titano One Million is the Superman-like defender of the Gorilla Galaxy, a direct descendent of Solovar.

See also

External links and references


Up to date as of January 15, 2010

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary

See also titano


Proper noun

Titano m.

  1. Titan



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