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Last Updated June 3, 2014

To see a larger version of any artwork on these pages, click on the picture

f ever there was a strange tale of comic fandom and Don Newton, the tale of Titan Comics might be it. Next to The RBCC (Rocket's Blast Comic Collector), Titan Comics published the earliest Don Newton strip of any fanzine. I know what your thinking, "I've never heard of Titan Comics. If they're so important, how come I never heard of them?" That's a very good question and it begs and even better one, "How the heck did Titan Comics land Don Newton, the #1 comic fanzine artist of the time?"

On the face of it, Titan had nothing much going for them, except enthusiasm. Titan Publishing was the brainchild of Dave Williams of Richardson Texas. Dave hoped to start a full line of fanzines, but as far as I know, Titan Comics was the only title to ever see print. Issue #1 did not bode well for the fledgling enterprise. The zine was 44 pages long, a collection of mimeographed and offset pages featuring four fan-drawn strips and a couple of articles. One of the pages was even some strange color mimeograph, something I didn't even know existed. None of the strips deserve much mention, they were all, universally, bad. But, everyone working on them appeared to be having fun, and in some strange way, that almost made up for the fact that not much talent was in evidence. But that all changed with issue #2.

Well, not ALL that changed. The printing was still abominable and most of the strips were frighteningly bad, but not all the strips. No, with issue #2, Don Newton arrived. What he was doing here I have not a clue, as the book seemed to offer little.

If you judged a book by its cover there was not much to reccomend in Titan Comics #2. A collection of offset and mimeographed pages, Titan #2 looked like the frightenly small press operation it was, but as the mimeographed Table of Contents proclaimed, sarting on page 15 was "Vibra-Man" written and drawn by Don Newton. This is late 1968, early 1969, the only strip by Don Newton published so far is "The Savage Earth," Chapter One. In fact, the lettering for Vibra-Man is the same mechanical lettering used for that first chapter of The Savage Earth and never seen again. Well, except here.

The story of Vibra-Man begins on a planet of Alpha Centauri where...oh heck, why don't you just read it yourself...

Titan Comics #2 also carried this ad for the next issue featuring some more new Don Newton Vibra-Man artwork...

But when Titan Comics #3 came out it said that Vibra-Man would be in the next issue, so obviously something was amiss. Titan Comics #4 did indeed have Don Newton's Vibra-Man in it, but it was a reprinting of the first installment, not a new strip. According to the Editorial in that issue, "First, some readers were very disappointed when they missed Vibra-Man's initial appearance. We thought it woudl be a good idea to reprint now instead of waiting until the second part had been run. Secondly, our decision to reprint was made definite when, while on it's way, the grand old post office lost Don Newton's second installment...Never fear hallowed one--Don will be back next issue by hook or by crook!"

Well, they did come through with some new Don Newton artwork for Titan Comics #5, just not Vibra-Man. Instead there was this generic super-hero cover by Don. In the Editorial this issue they announced that Don had resigned from the Vibra-Man strip. It returned in Titan Comics #6, written by Dave Williams and drawn by Ken Meaux. No, I am not going to show you what that looked like. Let's just say, it was not Don Newton and be done with it.

It may sound like I am being tough on the people, other than Don Newton, who worked on Titan Comics. In one way, yeah, I guess I am. I compare their work to professional comics and it is very lacking. However, it is publishers like this who offered a testing ground for new, really raw talent in the comics world. You don't see that very often. A whole lot of crappy work was produced by people who loved comics and wanted to be a part of them. No real harm done and some of those people had names like Buckler, Byrne, Cockrum, Corben, Jones, Kaluta, Wrightson and yes, Newton.

Copyright 1998-2015 The Art of Don Newton
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