Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Titans Eight!

As often as various Marvel titans have clashed, to great fanfare, it may seem that we've seen the bold splash page title "When Titans Clash!" (along with its sister, "A Clash Of Titans!") any number of times over the years, whether that headliner has been deserved or not. By that I mean I'd be reluctant to categorize a battle between the Mimic and the Super-Adaptoid as anything other than "When Mimics Clash!", which seems so obvious given the nature of the combatants. Marvel, to my shocking surprise, begged to differ:

So out of curiosity, I did a little spot research on the subject, and came up with just 8 instances of an issue's splash page bearing those audacious words. (Actually 7½, but more on that in a moment.) Is that really all? It feels like the number should be higher, since the ground being covered adds up to a little over four decades of stories. Perhaps that speaks well of Marvel's restraint, since those particular words really shouldn't be bandied about excessively, instead reserved only for the most noteworthy of clashes that merit them.

Nevertheless, it makes a tidy feature for today's post--and of course one heck of a banner.

Oh, about that odd grand total figure of 7½--there was a little slack cut with the story in Captain Marvel #28, where Mar-vell gets his gluteus maximus handed to him by the Controller. The titan-clashing wording appears in one of the story's chapters instead of the splash page--but still worth checking out, since it involves a clash between the Destroyer and an actual Titan, Thanos.

As far as I can tell, it was an Iron Man story from 1965 that started this ball rolling in Marvel's comics. As for whether we're talking about titans--I suppose at that time, when there weren't many titans to go around, a clash between Iron Man and his old golden suit (a card played several times throughout the run of both Tales Of Suspense and Invincible Iron Man) was probably considered to be a battle that stood out among the others. In this case, it's Tony Stark wearing his old suit, while battling a small-time thief named Weasel Wills who jimmies the lock on Stark's attaché case and takes the newer red/gold armor for himself.

The Fantastic Four managed to get double the mileage of this splash title, with only a sixty-issue gap between its usage (though that works out to five years, which seems like a sufficient period of time to pass before recycling it).  Interestingly enough, both stories feature Dr. Doom. In FF #200, our titans are Doom and Mr. Fantastic; in issue #260, it's Tyros the Terrible (formerly Terrax the Tamer) vs. the Silver Surfer.

The Hulk vs. the Sub-Mariner easily qualifies for the splash title, with issue #118 being the first story to feature the two battling entirely underwater.

And while the Hulk vs. Thor is a matchup that has occurred often enough to have at least one story feature the title, it instead goes to the first Thor vs. Hercules fight which takes place in the pages of the 1965 Journey Into Mystery annual.

(I'm noticing for the first time that Hercules' initial is displayed not only on his belt, but also worn on his sandal, of all places. "Hah! Now you know you've been kicked by Hercules!" Artist Jack Kirby apparently reconsidered by the time the two meet in the story.)

Finally, a parody page featuring the inevitable pun to be found in such wording (though there has to be a similar page with two of the Teen Titans floating around somewhere).

If there are any instances I've overlooked, do mention them and I'll be happy to include them. (But FYI, I've intentionally omitted the Ren & Stimpy/Spider-Man story. The line has to be drawn somewhere.)

Perhaps the reason why we seldom if ever see this particular combination of the wording:

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