Titan Entertainment Group – owned and operated by Nick Landau and Vivian Chueng – comprises four main divisions – The UK retail chain Forbidden Planet; Titan Books; Titan Comics/ Titan Magazines; and Titan Merchandise. Founded in 1978, Forbidden Planet was a small comics shop based out of Drury Lane that was formed as part of Titan Distribution – a company part owned by Nick Landau. When an opportunity arose to produce Graphic Novels of classic 2000 AD comics for the book market – as a result of Landau’s previous relationships with 2000 AD (where he was an editor in the mid 1970’s) – Titan Books was formed.
Titan Books was founded in 1982 and for many years operated out of the Forbidden Planet store in Drury Lane, London (UK). In 2000, now a part of TEG the company moved to its current residence on Southwark Street in South London, not far from the Tate Modern.
Titan Books originally came to prominence as the first British trade paperback/reprint publisher for long-running UK comics anthology series 2000 AD's –focusing primarily on the lead character Judge Dredd. However it soon added to its roster with a major distribution deal with DC Comics – starting with The Dark Knight Returns by Frank Miller in 1986.
The DC Comics deal was in many ways the first deal of it’s kind, bringing Graphic Novels produced by the comics giant to UK books and entertainment stores, making popular characters like Batman, Superman and the Green Lantern available to a general audience. This was quite an innovation and helped pave the way for a burgeoning Graphic Novels market in the UK today.
In 1992 Titan Distribution was sold to Diamond Comics and the team who co-owned the company parted ways. Nick Landau and Vivian Chueng took over full ownership of Forbidden Planet and in 1993 launched the umbrella company Titan Entertainment Group.
It was in the 1990’s that Titan Books seized on the opportunity to begin publishing movie and television tie-in books. Fans of major sci-fi and supernatural movies and TV shows were hungry to learn more about how they were made. With lavish art, concept drawings, info on special effects and interviews with the cast and creators, these books take you behind the scenes of some of the biggest shows and movies of their time. Some of the very earliest tie in books came from Alien, Terminator, Star Trek and Star Wars amongst many others.
In 1995 TEG launched Titan Magazines to help provide a swelling audience of thirsty fans more information on their favourite shows in a current and up-to-date way, launching magazines for Star Trek, Star Wars, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, X-Files and many others.
With fans ever hungry for more, Titan produced many fiction tie-in titles that took stories of major movies and shows further, introducing major new canon story-lines for key and minor players in each franchise. Some of the earliest fiction Titan produced was for Star Trek Next Generation, and has since grown to include Alien and Aliens, Terminator, Planet of the Apes and many TV shows including X-files, Supernatural, 24 and Fringe.
Between 1982 and 2012 Titan Books primary products were Graphic Novels (Distributed/ Originated/ Classic Reprints and Reissues) and TV and Movie Tie-in Fiction and Non-Fiction.
Titan Books agreement with DC Comics lasted 26 years and was incredibly fruitful for both companies. It came to an end in 2012 when DC Comics underwent major structural changes – culminating in the company leaving New York and moving their operation to LA, having appointed a new team of company leaders.
Given the huge changes taking place in the books market and the multitude of new avenues open to Titan Books at that time, a new course was set to reorganise the types of product Titan Books now publishes on an annual basis.
Starting in 2011 with Jack Campbell’s Lost Fleet series and later that year with Kim Newman’s Anno Dracula series – Titan Books began to see a place in the market for a genre specialist with a unique and singular background in fan and pop culture. The company began to develop a new fiction line, focusing on authors in the SFF, Horror and Mystery genres.
Notably in 2011 Titan also launched a new imprint after acquiring Hard Case Crime. Formed and managed by Charles Ardai, Hard Case Crime was founded in 2005 as a pulp crime publisher designed to capture the ethos and style of classic US pulp crime novels from the 1930’s through the 1960’s. Hard Case Crime parted ways with their former distributor in 2010 and formed a new partnership with Titan Books. This agreement would see Titan release new fiction from Stephen King (Joyland); Lawrence Block (Getting Off/ The Girl With the Deep Blue Eyes); and Ariel S Winter (The Twenty-Year Death) and long lost manuscripts from Gore Vidal (Thieves Fall Out) and James M. Cain (The Cocktail Waitress) to name but a few. The line releases around 5 new titles a year and has a wonderful backlist.
Alongside this change to the company, Titan Books began to explore expanding it’s non-fiction publishing line – beginning in 2011 with Figure Drawing For All It’s Worth by Andrew Loomis (a classic reprint from the master illustrator) and the company’s first Gaming art book tie-in Halo: The Art of Building Worlds. These innovations would lead Titan Books to effectively reorient itself to become a publisher of original genre fiction, original illustrated non-fiction and tie-in fiction for TV, Movies and Gaming.
With the creation of Titan Comics in 2013, Graphic Novels and Comics publishing moved over to that division and the path was set for Titan Books to grow to become one of the leading publishers of fan culture books tied to all your favourite shows, films and games, and a source for some of the best and highest quality genre fiction and artist monographs in the marketplace today. On June 1st 2016 Titan Books celebrates its 35th Anniversary year and looks forward to producing many more wonderful books in the years to come.