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Titano the Super-Ape (/tˈtæn/) is a fictional character, a supervillain that appears in American comic books published by DC Comics, primarily as a foe of Superman.

Titano attacking the Daily Planet building in the style of King Kong, from Showcase Presents Superman Volume 2 (2006)
Art by Curt Swan and George Klein
Publication information
PublisherDC Comics
First appearanceSuperman #127 (February 1959)
Created byOtto Binder
Curt Swan
In-story information
SpeciesCommon chimpanzee
Notable aliasesThe Super-Ape, Toto
Able to project Kryptonite beams via his eyes


Publication historyEdit

Titano first appeared in Superman #127 (February 1959), and was created by Otto Binder and Curt Swan.

Fictional character biographyEdit


Originally named Toto, he was 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.[1] Writer Martin Pasko revived Titano in Superman #324 (June 1978).[2]

The Pre-Crisis Titano appears in a dream of the character Ambush Bug.[3]


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 US 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.[4]

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.[5][6] 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.[7]

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.[8]

The New 52Edit

In September 2011, The New 52 rebooted DC's continuity. In this new timeline, Titano was redesigned and given a new origin. Titano was now only slightly bigger than a regular gorilla rather than the giant of 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.[9] He was later shown on life support in a Metropolis laboratory and is executed by a creature appearing to be Superman.[10]

Titano was again redesigned by the creative team of Geoff Johns and John Romita Jr. This version was a giant chimpanzee robot with green-glowing inside parts, alluding to a Kryptonite origin.[11]

Other versionsEdit

A Bizarro version of Titano from Bizarro World. Cover of Adventure Comics #295 (April 1962). Art by John Forte.

JLA: Earth 2Edit

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.[12]

DC One MillionEdit

In DC Comics' DC One Million setting, Titano One Million is the Superman-like defender of the Gorilla Galaxy, a direct descendent of Solovar.[13]

Dark Nights: MetalEdit

In the Dark Nights: Metal series, Titano is the Superman-analogue of Earth-53, a newly revealed DC Multiverse world analogous to the Gorilla Galaxy, along with a lemur Atom, Atlantean Sea Ape and Batape.[14]

In other mediaEdit


  • 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".
  • A 1967 episode "The Chimp Who Made it Big" of 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 bursts 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.[15]
  • 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 appears in the Justice League Action. In the episode "Harley Goes Ape", he was tended to by Dr. Harleen Quinzel before she worked at Arkham Asylum. Titano's history of being launched into outer space and coming in contact with a Kryptonite meteor is still intact. Placing a special helmet on Titano, Gorilla Grodd takes control of Titano and fights Superman in Metropolis. When Harley Quinn recognizes Titano, she helps Stargirl free Titano who then throws Gorilla Grodd into the direction of a police van. Titano then grabs Harley Quinn and climbs the Daily Planet until Stargirl calms Titano down before the police helicopters can fire on 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.[16]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Binder, Otto (w), Boring, Wayne (p), Kaye, Stan (i). "Titano the Super-Ape!" Superman #127 (February 1959)
  2. ^ Eury, Michael (2006). The Krypton Companion. Raleigh, North Carolina: TwoMorrows Publishing. p. 158. ISBN 1893905616.
  3. ^ Giffen, Keith; Fleming, Robert Loren (w), Giffen, Keith (p), Oksner, Bob (i). "Witless for the Prosecution" Son of Ambush Bug #5 (November 1986)
  4. ^ Byrne, John (w), Frenz, Ron (p), Breeding, Brett (i). "Tears for Titano!" Superman Annual v2, #1 (1987)
  5. ^ Ordway, Jerry (w), Grummett, Tom (p), Hazlewood, Doug (i). "Christmas in Suicide Slumberland" The Adventures of Superman #487 (February 1992)
  6. ^ 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)
  7. ^ Busiek, Kurt (w), Walker, Brad (p), Livesay, John (i). "3-2-1 Action! Part 3: Pal" Action Comics #854 (Mid-October 2007)
  8. ^ Verheiden, Mark (w), Van Sciver, Ethan (p), Van Sciver, Ethan (i). "The Enemies Among Us Part 1" Superman/Batman #28 (September 2006)
  9. ^ Pérez, George (w), Pérez, George; Scott, Nicola (p), Scott, Trevor (i). "A Cold Day in Hell" Superman v3, #3 (January 2012)
  10. ^ Pérez, George (w), Scott, Nicola (p), Scott, Trevor (i). "Menace!" Superman v3, #5 (March 2012)
  11. ^ Johns, Geoff (w), Romita Jr., John (p), Janson, Klaus (i). "The Men of Tomorrow" Superman v3, #32 (June 2014)
  12. ^ Morrison, Grant (w), Quitely, Frank (p), Quitely, Frank (i). "JLA: Earth 2" JLA: Earth 2 (2000)
  13. ^ Morrison, Grant (w), Abell, Dusty (p), Royal, Jim (i). "Crisis One Million" DC One Million 80-Page Giant #1,000,000 (August 1999)
  14. ^ Burlingame, Russ (February 16, 2018). "DC Comics Unveils Earth 53 In Dark Knights Rising: The Wild Hunt". Archived from the original on June 17, 2018. Ape versions of Batman, Superman, The Atom, and Aquaman come and reveal that on their world, they are immortal and have solved this problem already -- in the year 2067. The Superman, by the way, appears to be the giant, kryptonite-powered gorilla Titano, given his stature and the giant "T" on his chest. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  15. ^ "Test Show 1". Sesame Street. July 1969. 10 minutes in. NET.
  16. ^ Moore, Alan (w), Veitch, Rick (p), Veitch, Rick (i). "A Roster of Rogues" Supreme #51 (Late July 1997), Awesome Comics

External linksEdit