DC Comics Goes Bananas for Apes (or, “Gorillas, Gorillas, Gorillas!”)
Posted September 29, 2009on:
I’ve noticed a disturbing trend in comics (specifically, the Silver Age-era DC Comics books). It seems like whenever a writer got stuck, one idea popped into his head and he would have no choice but to run with it: STICK AN APE IN THERE.
Seriously, go through a bunch of old comics. They were full of runaway apes, giant apes, radioactive apes, ghost apes, apes with guns, apes in suits, super-genius apes, and apes made out of plants. Shit, I’m pretty sure that at least every other issue of Strange Adventures had at least one ape-related story inside of it.
And it doesn’t stop there! Oh, shit, no. Check out everything ape-related going on at DC Comics in the year 1959. In January, Congorilla made his debut in Action Comics #248. In February, Superman #127 hit shelves and introduced us to Titano the Super-Ape (“More fantastic than King Kong!”). In May, they introduced Gorilla City, Gorilla Grodd, and King Solovar in the Flash #106. In October, Beppo the Super-Monkey made his debut in Superboy #76. Oddly enough, it was also in 1959 that they pretty much did away with Detective Chimp when they realized how fucking dumb the Rex, the Wonder Dog title was (stay tuned, High Fivers, Detective Chimp’s all set up to be my next Underrated Underdog).
The other thing that DC fucking loved was having characters switch bodies with apes. Beppo and Superboy switched bodies after coming across some Red Kryptonite. Impulse and Max Mercury were transformed into apes by an alternate reality Professor Zoom. Jimmy Olson switched bodies with apes on two separate occasions. Worst of all, in 1999, DC had a series of Annuals about, I shit you not, the JLApe, where Solovar detonates a “gorillabomb” and turns the whole JLA into gorillas. Fuck me, I wish I was making this up.
Fortunately, there has been a major lack of monkey hi-jinks since this ridiculous JLApe fuck-up. I mean, they still come up from time to time. Right now Congorilla is back in the spotlight for Cry for Justice, and James Robinson is making his story (and, unfortunately, only his story) quite compelling. Detective Chimp has been back doing his thing in the magic realm for a while now. Gorilla Grodd just popped up in Superman/Batman and people keep telling me that I “have to read it.” DC, for still putting monkeys all over the place, it looks like you’re finally doing it right.
Lastly, I gotta hand it to Marvel. They never really succumbed to this monkey madness, you know? For once, they seemed to be the publishing house that showed some class and was able to…