This is kind of stupid as trivia goes, but also fun if you ever stumble across a job lot of The Titans at a jumble sale. Back in 1975, Marvel added the eighth publication to their range of British weeklies. (There were at the time only seven titles in the line because Savage Sword of Conan failed to find an audience and had been abruptly merged with The Avengers after 18 issues.)

So we got The Titans, 36 pages of Marvel pizzazz with a free poster in the first issue, a John Buscema medley that had originally been dawn for a New York convention. When I say 36 pages, this hides the main gimmick behind the new comic. It adopted a landscape format, so two pages of original US comic became one page of Titan comic. That was a lot of reading for 9p.

It might be hindsight, but not everyone cares for this approach, complaining the artwork was too small and god-knows-what-else. But it gave us a smorgasbord of Mighty Marvel madness that was generally unseen in the UK.

Turning the cover, readers were introduced to Uncanny Inhumans (the one wot Jack Kirby wrote and drew in Amazing Adventures before he made a dash for the Fourth World). Other treats included Captain America from Tales of Suspense, Sub-Mariner from Tales to Astonish, SHIELD from Strange Tales and a green and white suited Kree-spy, Captain Marvel. And the centrespread was given over to a landscape pin-up that over the following weeks would amaze, infuriate and disappoint with equal measure. It would feature the best and worst of Marvel artists, often before we knew who they were. Chaykin, Rogers, Esposito, Vosburg, Weiss, etc.

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The line up changed a bit over following year. At various points the main act was either the X-Men, the Fantastic Four or the Avengers. And sometimes there was a weird fascination in seeing how classic covers were adapted to a landscape format. For better or worse, this approach was soon applied to the UK’s Spider-Man Comics Weekly which absorbed The Superheroes (originally launched as a vehicle for Silver Surfer and X-Men reprints). The merged Spidey weekly became Super Spider-Man and The Superheroes.

Now this is the stupid but fun bit. The Titans was printed two-issues at a time and then guillotined. It’s not Marvel chipping, but if you take an odd-numbered issue and place it above the next even-numbered issue, they join together. If you look at the bottom of issue one up top, you will see the orange and purple panels from issue two above. We were easily entertained in those days.

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You could do that for pretty much all 58 issues of The Titans. The last issue had a Sentinel menacing the Scarlet Witch before a merger that gave us Super Spider-Man and The Titans. (The Titans had a brief revival a few years later as one of Marvel UK’s Pocket Book line, sporting reprints of Cap, Shellhead and Thor).

And in case you were wondering, the masthead at the top and the masthead at the spine meant the comic could be displayed either way in a newsagent. If it got covered by another mag on the counter there would still be something sticking out to catch the eye.