As is well known and extensively documented elsewhere on the web, Marvel Comics International Ltd (later known to the fans as Marvel UK) was the British wing of Marvel Comics, established in the early 1970s to repackage US Marvel titles in a more regular and consistent manner than had been done previously (more on that coming soon!).
Among their many titles was this, The Titans, a weekly comic that was launched in October 1975 and ran for 58 issues before being merged with the more popular Super Spider-Man title.
As with most British Marvel titles, and in keeping with British comics in general, The Titans was a black-and-white anthology. Save for the editorial stuff (letters, adverts and news) it contained little to no original material… Well, sort of.
The reason it stands out is that, as you can see from the cover above, it was printed in landscape format, bound along the short edge rather than the long edge.
This meant that the covers had to be restructured from the original. The cover of the issue above comes from Fantastic Four #95:
Compare and contrast… There’s been quite a bit of cuttin’ and pastin’ going on there, not to mention redrawing of the background.
What made The Titans so attractive to fans was that inside we got two reprinted pages for almost every page of the comic, like this…
Yep, that’s twice as much Marvel goodness as the boring old portrait-sized comics!
This wasn’t always done for every page, however. Here’s the original splash page for Fantastic Four #95…
And here’s the equivalent in The Titans #38…
So clearly someone was busy with the tracing paper that day.
Unfortunately, the landscape format really wasn’t used much after this, which I suspect was mostly because it burns through reprint material at quite a rate. After all, these were weekly comics, not monthly,
My own collection of The Titans has long since disappeared, but a couple of years back I was lucky enough to get my hands on this little gem, The Third Marvel Collection:
It’s a paperback collection of complete issues, presumably unsold stock that Marvel flogged at a massive discount to some repackager who just grabbed a handfuls of comics and glued them into the stunning cover above. There was clearly little regard for the actual material, and I’d bet good money that every single one of these “collections” is unique, because the comics within my copy are, in order,
- The Titans #38 (July 7, 1976)
- The Titans #36 (June 23, 1976)
- Super Spider-Man and The Titans #209 (February 9, 1977)
- Super Spider-Man and The Titans #210 (February 16, 1977)
- The Titans #40 (July 21, 1976)
- The Titans #42 (August 4, 1976)
- The Titans #57 (November 17, 1976)
- The Titans #55 (November 3, 1976)
Apropos of nothing, the most recent of the comics in that collection is Super Spider-Man #210. Its cover date of February 16, 1977 means that it originally hit the shelves about a week before the first issue of 2000AD, the title that changed British comics forever.