Good morning everyone,
Not too long ago, a viewer on YouTube asked if I had read “Titan” by François Vigneault. I had not, so I pledged to read and review this size-themed graphic novel. Let’s do that today!
Titan contains 209 trichromatic pages and was published in mid-November 2020. It involves a new manager, João da Silva, from Earth (a.k.a. Terra) being assigned to Homestead Station on Titan, one of Saturn’s moons. The initial plot deals with his effort to increase productivity at the station in light of recent technological advancements that could render the place economically nonviable. However, the situation quickly deteriorates and violent conflict breaks out!
In this story, there is a large population of genetically modified workers called “Titans” whose ancestors were humans (a.k.a. Terrans) altered to function in low gravity. They range about 1.5 to 2 times as large as the average human being.
It was stated on more than one occasion that the Titans are incapable of surviving in environments with Earth-like gravity. However, I am not confident that the implications of the fact were fully considered by the author. For example, it was made clear that Titans would be crushed under the weight of their own bodies if brought to Earth.
Based on my research, Titan has a gravity about 0.138 of that felt on Earth’s surface, a little less than Earth’s Moon. Thus, a person who would weigh 200 pounds (90.72 kilograms) on Earth would only weigh 27.6 pounds (12.52 kilograms) on Titan. (NOTE: Please comment below if my math was incorrect! Also, I’ll use the abbreviations lb for pounds and kg for kilograms from this point on.)
Therefore, a Titan, such as João’s love interest Phoebe Mackintosh pictured here on the right, who stands 8 feet 2.4251 inches (2.5 meters) would weigh roughly 63.894 lb (28.98 kg) on Titan and 463 lb (210 kg) on Earth.
(NOTE: João states that Phoebe is 2.5 meters tall and weighs 210 kg; however, my assumption is that João was giving the figure for how much Phoebe would weigh if she was on Earth. That was not clarified, but if she instead actually weighed 210 kg on Titan then she would weigh 1,521.7391 kg on Earth. With that much mass, her body would be shaped like a sphere! Assuming that her frame isn’t super-dense which it should not be in a low-gravity environment.)
All that is to say that the average human being raised from birth to adulthood on Earth would be much stronger than the average Titan raised from birth to adulthood on Titan where the gravity is less than 1/7 of Earth. A potential counter-argument could be that Titans were genetically engineered to be stronger than humans regardless of the low gravity. However, as the screenshots show it was stated at least twice that Titans were not robust enough to survive in 1g or Earth’s normal gravity.
Another argument could be that Titans are indeed physically weaker than humans, but compensate by being more skilled combatants. That is alluded to when João mentions that”mix matches,” physical combative sports, are permitted on Titan, but would never be allowed on Earth. However, I assume it would take a very significant difference in fighting prowess to make up for the difference in strength. As way of comparison, boxing and mixed martial arts have weight classes for a reason, and most organizers would balk at setting up a match between a 200lb opponent and a 29lb opponent.
All of this is to say that I don’t believe Titans would be super powerful like they are shown as in this graphic novel. For instance, a Titan easily crushes a human’s skull with one hand in the following panel.
It should have been the exact opposite. A Titan might be twice as tall as a human, but humans are accustomed to gravity seven times stronger than what a Titan has ever experienced. So, perhaps unarmed humans would tear through Titans ripping limbs off and punching holes in their chests? Or to put that differently, I may have a longer reach, but I would still pause before fighting someone who could be seven times stronger than me.
Setting that aside, this graphic novel raised other interesting questions and failed to address or answer most of them. For example, there was talk of Titans potentially losing their employment which caused me to wonder what would that mean, exactly? Do unemployed Titans go on welfare? Or does joblessness mean death, because the people in charge kick those people out an airlock when they can’t pay rent? What is social welfare like on a world run by a corporation? (NOTE: Probably really shitty if not wholly non-existent!) At least on Earth homeless people won’t die immediately in the outdoors, but it was already established that Titans could not go to Earth without perishing. However, it was never said what unemployment truly entailed for a Titan.
Nor for that matter was the issue of food explained. At least, I don’t recall the matter of routine sustenance being outlined. In lieu of an explanation I assumed that such supplies were sent from Earth. Or maybe they had farms on Titan that were never shown. <shrug> Seems like Earth would have massive leverage over off-world settlements if Earth provided all provisions. Disobey Earth? Sure thing, they’ll just let you starve and see how that works for you.
Now to the matter of sex between humans and Titans, that minor issue which my readers might be most interested in, this graphic novel does indeed showcase people of different sizes getting frisky!
As you can see on the right, the art style is simpler and yet at the same time more realistic than the norm from places like DreamTales, Giantess Club, Giantess Fan, etc. Realistic in the sense that Phoebe has a bit of a belly and her breasts are not drawn in the gravity-defying manner that size-fetish fans may have grown accustomed to from artists like BustArtist, Hmage, or Peter Logan (a.k.a. Mariano Navarro). Personally, I prefer full-color illustrations from those aforementioned artists, but Vigneault’s work isn’t bad. Additionally, there’s something to be said for showcasing folks with average physiques.
One topic which I can’t fully address, for fear of giving away the ending, is how the conflict between the humans and the Titans was handled. Much of the disagreement arose because Titans were only workers and Terrans were only management or security. The obvious idea to make some Titans into managers and some humans into workers was never considered. I get the idea that humanity might be irredeemably evil and devoted to nothing but profit, but even accepting that conceit giving one Titan a pay raise and calling them a manager would presumably cost Earth less money as opposed to the expense of outright warfare. Humans don’t like to live on Titan, and Titans can’t live on Earth. So, promote a Titan to manager and make that individual report to Earth. That wouldn’t solve every problem, but at the very least it would complicate the situation and make it more difficult to frame the conflict solely as human versus Titan. Suffice to say, I wasn’t thrilled with the ending.
All in all, this was okay, but not great. I give Titan a tepid recommendation. If fans are looking for light space fantasy like Star Wars in which outer space is the background, but the origins of blasters, faster-than-light travel, lightsabers, etc. are only lightly defined than you might like this. Personally, I tend to prefer so-called “hard sci-fi,” but can’t honestly say that I haven’t seen all the Star Wars movies. Additionally, numerous Star Wars action figures stare at me while I type these words.
That’s it for now folks. The next blog post will be longer than normal. Once again we will explore size themes in American comic books with the invaluable assistance of Ms. Taedis! Previously, Taedis and I collaborated on an article about the Golden Age and now it’s time to cover the Silver Age. Until then dear readers, keep growing!
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