Secret Origins #40: Gorilla City, Congorilla, and Detective Chimp

This show has gone ape! Ryan Daly welcome his neighbor-to-the-North Bass back to discuss the origin of Grodd and Gorilla City from Secret Origins #40. Then, Kyle Benning helps Ryan cover the legend of Congorilla. Finally, Paul Scavitto returns to talk about Detective Chimp. Jealous? You know you are!

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“Premonition” (Theme for Secret Origins Podcast) written and performed by Neil Daly.

Additional music: “The Monkees” by the Monkees; “Shock the Monkey” by Peter Gabriel; “Africa” by Toto.

Thanks for listening!

34 responses to “Secret Origins #40: Gorilla City, Congorilla, and Detective Chimp

  1. See, the secret to being first is to live in Australia. New Secret Origins episodes drop mid Monday arvo here, so I usually have it downloaded by the time I finish for the day. Next up I have a 150km long drive from Canberra to my home in the country which gives me time to hear it while everyone overseas is sleeping.

    Titano, Monsieur Mallah & the Sam Simeon from Angel & the Ape: boom, there’s your second Ape special. Mind you it wouldn’t really work because in the post Crisis world John Byrne wasted Titano by killing him in the first lacklustre outing. Perhaps a Mallah origin would also interfere in the wonderful Grant Morrison story that would come in the next year, as well.

    I’m so glad the Swamp Thing Annual 3 was prominently mentioned. It really is a crazy adventure for all the active Ape characters and their companions. Djuba the jungle boy also appears and throws off the trappings of civilisation to run wild in the jungle in his leopard print budgie smugglers.

  2. Hi Ryan,
    Love your show, but know you are getting closer and closer to the end of Secret Origins (1986-1990).
    Do you have any plans to keep the Podcast going after you have covered all the issues? You cout keep going by covering…

    * Secret Files & Origins 90’s and 2000’s One-Shots

    * Green Lantern: Secret Origin

    * Superman: Secret Origin

    * Legion: Secret Origin (2011-2012) The new 52 Origin

    * Secret Origins (2014-2015) The new 52 Origins

    1. Ryan loves this show…but also hates it. I think he’s looking forward to the vacation. lol

      But on the off chance he continues the series, I guess that means I’ve got a spot somewhere in there! 😉

    2. Thanks for your question, Chris.

      Right now, I have no plans to cover other origin stories or series after this run ends. I absolutely love doing this show, but it’s exhausting. I don’t hate it, as Chad says, but boy, does it take a lot of time and energy. And yes, I am looking forward to the end of this show, but the vacation will be minimal. I’ve got at least three other shows waiting in the wings when Secret Origins wraps up.

      Maybe… mmmmaybeee… After a year, I might come back to do other secret origins specials, the ’70s issues, or Secret Files. That’s a big maybe, though. And, of course, if another podcast wants to take over and cover those comics, I wouldn’t stand in the way. 🙂

      1. “I don’t hate it, as Chad says, but boy, does it take a lot of time and energy.”

        ^ That’s what I meant. But I spoke out of turn anyways. The way that comment came across I wanted to delete it immediately but “blog” post comments aren’t as forgiving as social media it seems. The amount of WORK Ryan puts into every episode is exhausting and I’m just a LISTENER. Having been a guest I’ve seen on occasion what gets recorded vs what gets aired. I can only imagine what’s left on the cutting room floor. Not to mention the amount of PREP that goes into every episode. I don’t prep that much (probably evidenced by my appearances) at least in terms of reading other than the reviewed material. In fact, I considered it an achievement when I just went a half step more by actually WRITING a synopsis for the Tom Kalmaku origin. I can’t IMAGINE the level of work in every episode. It’s no doubt rewarding, but it HAS to be a labor to get through. A labor of LOVE but a labor nonetheless.

  3. GRODD: Every time I’ve encountered Grodd he’s been portrayed as an out an out villain. A character with a vendetta and malicious heart. When you were discussing it, it seemed like that’s a small part of the reason you like Grodd in the first place, even more-so when juxtaposed against Solovar. Two sides of the same coin. The same creature given the “same” gift. One obviously more “powerful” than another, but Solovar becomes a hero and a father to his people whereas Grodd just becomes MORE savage and ruthless. Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely.

    I wonder what you feel about Grodds treatment in the Flash TV series? This might be the only time I’ve seen Grodd portrayed as a sympathetic character. The first time we see him he’s acting solely on the commands of his “father” Wells/Thawne. Here we see the savage ape with super powers, but the mental flashes given to those under his sway make a point of showing his treatment by humans, giving an air of sympathy. Then we see Grodd in season 2 as the fully sympathetic character. He’s feeling utterly alone. He’s emotionally broken by his solitude but stands resolute to make more like himself. He kidnaps Caitlyn because she has the knowledge to help him AND because “Caitlyn always kind”. When he gets sucked to Earth 2 we damn near shed a tear for him. And when he pops out on the other side, we feel happy for him because he’s finally found what he has been searching for.

    BUT…is that the nature of Grodd? SHOULD we ever feel sympathy for him? Or should he always be the vindictive and maniacal super intelligent gorilla? The mad genius always trying to turn the world into apes? I wonder if making Grodd sympathetic in the TV series takes a small part away from his character. Or if they’re just setting us up for heartbreak when we see him next and realize he couldn’t escape his own hatred for humanity and the influence of Reverse Flash? Sympathetic come tragic. And if that HURTS more than helps his character?

    SOLOVAR: For WHATEVER reason, I love Solovar. I see him as a best friend to Barry second only to Hal. I also, as I hinted at above, see him as a kind of father figure. I have no idea if I think he’s a father figure to Barry or a father to his people or what. A good-natured representative of the people of Gorilla City. Wasn’t he also a mentor in the ways of the Speed Force at one point? Wasn’t that once an explanation for the reason the gorillas of Gorilla City became super intelligent in the first place? Their relationship to the Speed Force? I feel like that was a think at one point…I WANT to say during the Geoff Johns era…

    1. Gorilla City was definitely tied to the Speed Force during the New 52 run by Manapul and Buccaletto. I don’t remember if Johns ever introduced that idea earlier.

      As for Grodd being sympathetic… I don’t think the character loses any credibility or coolness factor just because you understand his motivations. Classically, yes, Grodd was just evil for the sake of being evil. That’s what 99% of comic villains were throughout the Golden, Silver, and Bronze Ages. Geoff Johns, of course, has been at the forefront of revitalizing classic villains and giving them more nuanced portrayals, but sometimes I think Johns goes too far. There’s a difference between empathaizing/understanding the villain and sympathizing/agreeing with him/her. For instance, Johns made Sinestro too sympathetic to the point where he was almost an anti-hero; that’s nice if you want a deep portrayal of Sinestro and if you want him to carry his own ongoing series, but at the end of the day, Sinestro is supposed to be Green Lantern’s arch-nemesis. The hero’s signature iconic villain cannot be an anti-hero; he needs to be a straight-up villain. Otherwise, the hero’s greatness is compromised. I would point directly to Black Adam as an example of this. Johns did an almost total redemption for Black Adam during JSA and 52, and it totally marginalized Captain Marvel during that same period.

      Applying that back to Grodd, I don’t mind if the TV show gives him a revenge motivation. He was abused; he was tested on; he was hurt by humans, and now that he has the power he’s going to make them pay. That was the motivation for Koba in DAWN OF THE PLANET OF THE APES, whereas Caesar wanted peace through isolation (like Solovar). My problem with revenge as a motivation is it’s inherently short-term. It’s an emotional response, and emotions change and fade. (That’s one of my problems with the Red Lanterns, by the way.) That can sustain itself for one episode a season if your show only lasts five years, but Gorilla City has been popping up in stories for sixty years now, and in that kind of long-term, Grodd needs to be evil because he’s evil. He wants to rule his people and expand his reach outward. He’s an alpha, a conqueror. He dominates all who oppose him. That’s all.

      1. With regards to Sinestro, I think you’re MOSTLY right but PARTLY wrong.

        Yes, making Sinestro the Anti-Hero has taken ALOT away from the character in terms of being an out and out villain. A presence to be reckoned with in the GL title. He’s a character that was once used sparingly because his presence had WEIGHT. An “oh SH#T it’s Sinestro” kinda weight.

        But where I disagree with you is in application of that thought process. I think, to Hal, he’s no longer a villain, at least not to the level he once was. Johns kinda killed that when he had Sinestro say “We’ll always be friends.” to Hal in Geoffs final GL issue. But to EVERYONE ELSE in the Green Lantern Corps, he’s still a villain. Kyle in particular. Sinestro REALLY dislikes Kyle. Like on a seething level at times.

        But regardless, I think Geoff has actually done a great service to Sinestro over the years. He may be portrayed as the Anti-Hero now, but when he appears on panel his appearance still carries weight. His smug look, his folded arms, his ramrod straight posture as he just floats in the air above everyone. His eye line ALWAYS above everyone else so he can be looking down on them. As Ethan Van Sciver once pointed out, the only time Sinestro deviates from that pose is with Hal. Hal requires a personal touch because it IS personal. The rest of the time Sinestro just stands/floats there and lets his ring do the work.

        Sinestro will ALWAYS be a villain, despite his anti-hero status now. He’ll always have goals of his own and those goals will always be at odds with the mission of peace and justice of the Green Lantern Corps. Collateral damage? Doesn’t matter. Personal harm? Doesn’t matter. Death and destruction? Who cares? So long as the goal is reached, Sinestro always (ALWAYS) will justify the means to himself. He’s sympathetic sometimes, we identify with him sometimes, we understand him, he’s even the hero (kinda) sometimes. But he’s DELUDED himself into thinking the way he views the universe is the only way. And a man with HIS power, experience, and influence ALSO convinced he’s right? Well, we know where that goes.

        So as long as Sinestro is a villain in everyone elses eyes, I think seeing him as the hero/anti-hero from his personal perspective is ok. If that makes sense. (But I’ll stop there since this is a podcast episode about apes and I don’t want to intentionally derail it into a Green Lantern/Sinestro conversation)

  4. Was really looking forward to this episode, as it is/was one of my fav episodes of the series. I really enjoyed the idea of DC letting Mark Waid er, go ape with this very uncommercial idea, and he got as much out of the opportunity as possible. The only thing the cover is missing is the go-go checks.

    Unless I missed it, no one mentioned the aborted Gorilla City series that DC commissioned only to scrap at the last minute. The first (and only) issue had a decidedly comic bent (Grodd dons glasses in Clark Kent style at one point) and while I can’t imagine for one moment DC actually publishing the thing, I think it would have been an amazing experiment.

    Paul’s idea for a Detective Chimp series sounds fantastic. I picture Mike Allred doing the art. Someone give him a call.

    Great episode, but it did need more Chris Franklin.

    1. The only thing I didn’t mention during the recording is if Bobo was serving as a celebrity detective in ’60s pop culture, he would have to team up with Adam West. Like, all the time!

  5. Yes! It’s finally here! The gorilla cover issue of Secret Origins! For weeks I’ve been anticipating this episode! Comicpalooza was this weekend, where I met face to face with most of the cast of Aliens and presented them with a series of art commissions I had done for them to autograph, plus I got a couple of creator interviews for the Idol-Head of Diabolu podcast, where I worked hard to offer four weekly tie-ins to JLMay and even recorded/edited a bunch of Marvel Super Heroes Podcasts besides. All these efforts meant I never commented on Speedy or Animal Man, so the Gorillas issue serves not unlike another weeklong hiatus to help me catch up on talking about the super-heroes I love! Thanks to Ryan, Bass, Kyle & Paul for giving me this opportunity!

  6. Ah, the infamous all-gorilla issue. I missed this one on the stands, and never have found it. I’ve always wondered why Detective Chimp was crying on the cover, so thanks for reading Waid’s edtiorial. I knew about the apes, but I didn’t know about all of the other sure-fire issue-selling cover gimmicks.

    Okay, did no one else think the little alien baby/prisoner/god thing looked like Stewie Griffin made out of Silly Putty? Just look at that panel where he’s running through the jungle with the two explorers!

    I’m normally not a fan of Mike DeCarlo, but it does seem like he helped to rein later-day Infantino in here. I’d have preferred Murphy Anderson, but then I always prefer Murphy Anderson.

    Congorilla as a dark horror story is an interesting take. Only in the Silver Age would swapping bodies with an ape be looked at as a completely positive experience. Fred Butler did a little Batman work, mostly Who’s Who entries in a few of the 89 annuals around this time. From there, I’m not sure where he went.

    The Detective Chimp story may be fine, but the Mark Badger art is putting me off from just the few scans here. What’s going on with the two guys hanging on to the banner?

    A fun episode for sure. If you like super-apes and this issue, may I suggest the TwoMorrows book, Comics Gone Ape by Michael Eury? That is one fun read, detailing the history of gorilla and simian characters in comics, including these three.


  7. I wouldn’t change your song selections for the world Ryan, but an extra inclusion of “The Smartest Monkeys” by XTC would’ve been perfect.

    Also, no one mention the JLApe crossover annuals from the Morrison era JLA and the members title. I really liked it for it’s goofiness in the midst of a mostly high stakes run. Any other fans?

    1. Was just about to comment that no one mentioned the JLApe crossover, except tangentially in that this was the crossover that Solovar died. I remember enjoying the series when it came out. I believe Chuck Dixon used the Batman section to give Blockbuster a much needed “transplant” to sort out an organ failure he was suffering from in the Nightwing series…

  8. Such a fun episode, but then, wotta issue! Did that editorial also mention the purpleness of the cover? Prince learned a lot from Silver Age DC,

    Bobo was the second DC series character I ever came across, as a kid reading a British Superboy Christmas annual in which he shared space. Look at this ace cover!
    I love him to bits – it never crossed my mind he was filling in for Constantine in Shadowpact, top observation.

    No one noticed that K-Ram and Y-Nad are likely anagrammatical nods to Andy Helfer and Mark Waid? Or was it too obvious to mention? And what a lot of aliens in origins lately – Animal Man, Gorilla City, Bobo… One day someone will do a series with Bobo and fellow ‘tec Sam Simeon, Angel and the Apes. Mind, I’d rather see a Bureau of Amplified Animals book with Rex and a few others.

    Gorilla City is huge fun, I like seeing it whether or not there’s Grodd. The New 52 Grodd was just pants, with all that Speed Force silliness. Mind, he was already crap due to pre-Flashpoint DC deciding he wanted to eat people. (And yes, Geoff Johns wrecks supervillains, I agree utterly that Captain Marvel suffered horribly due to Geoff Johns’ weird love of Black Adam.) Am I misremembering that Jimmy Olsen once had a romance with a gorilla with lipstick from Gorilla City? I’m probably thinking of The Bride of Jungle Jimmy.

    Now, where did I read Congorilla reprints? Action or Superman Super-Spectaculars, maybe? Anyway, he was loads of fun, and once Donna Troy stopped cussing, James Robinson’s JLA got rather good – the friendship between Bill and Blue Starman was very sweet.

    And apropos of something I’ve forgotten, DC really should do a Showcase Showcase showcasing everyone from Fireman Farrell on.

    1. Great catch with the Y-Nad and K-Ram being anagrams for Andy and Mark, but I’m guessing the K-Ram is probably for Mark Badger not Mark Waid. I could be wrong, though.

      1. Therew as also a Showcase color trade paperback, with excerpts from the series, including the Fireman story, as well as GL, Flash and the Challengers of the Unknown.

  9. Another excellent podcast from Ryan and his guests – very entertaining!

    Grodd, while working well as a Flash foe, does also lend himself well to other heroes, as mentioned in the podcast. One nice story he was in was in the first arc of Winick’s Outsiders, where Grodd attacks New York, but is only doing so under duress from the Joker, who has unleashed a deadly virus in Gorilla City and “persuades” Grodd to attack New York as cover for the Joker kidnapping President Luthor. Fun little story.

    One thing the Grodd seems to do is he seems to be able to evolve(?) into human form – when I read the Showcase Presents “Trial of the Flash”, Grodd had lost his memory as was in the body of a down-and-out person, who only reverts to his gorilla form when attacked by some punks. I have a vague memory from one of the earlier Showcase Presents volumes that he evolved into human form another time so maybe that’s one of his powers?

    Just a small note on the Gorilla Warfare crossover between Green Lantern and Flash. Apparently, as Gerard Jones recalled in his “Comic Book Heroes”, both Jones and Waid were reprimanded for bringing this story out because it was too Silver-Agey. Jones noted that he did not do anything like that again in his DC run while Waid adopted a more stealth approach in bringing the Silver Age aspects into his writing.

    While a lot of people have said Robinson’s Cry for Justice and subsequent JLA run was poor, his use of Congorilla and his friendship with the Mikaal Tomas Starman was particularly effective. Their interactions was very good in the series and if Robinson had just done a series with those two, it would have been a whole lot better!

    The other bit about Congorilla I recall was from the Alan Moore’s proposal on the Twilight of the Gods. In that proposal, he had Congo Bill growing old and deciding to remain in the body of the immortal Congorilla – he began to wear suits and ran a crime operation in Gotham, effectively becoming the Gorrilla Boss of Gotham City. However, he had a secret in that his old body, with the gorilla’s mind, refused to die and Congorilla can’t bear to kill his human body so he has it tied up and just hope he will die, but the gorilla’s willpower keeps it alive, despite its old age.

    Detective Chimp was the best thing about Shadowpact in my opinion. I think you were wrong in ascribing a magical motif for Detective Chimp – I believe that he had no magical powers himself, except for the once off book when he had the Helmet of Fate (that book had a beautiful cover by Brian Bolland). An excellent character and would love to see him back in the DCU again.

    Look forward to hearing the Titans podcast – should be fun!

  10. Let me deal with the elephant in the room right off the bat so we can move forward from here. The only notable African location in the DC Universe that I am aware of and can name is a secret technologically advanced city-state run by intelligent gorillas who at one point took over the entire continent. Marvel has a similar locale afforded greater respect and media presence run by African human beings. That’s a matter that should have been addressed a long, long time ago, but despite many advancements made at DC since the 1970s, it was and remains a very socially conservative company that hasn’t had a remotely successful outreach to non-white readership since Milestone Media over twenty years ago. DC is the Republican Party of comic book companies, but hey, they’re still trying to make Michael Steele: Rebirth happen ahead of his projected solo movie in 2020, so good luck with that.

    Now I can forget all about that and just love Gorilla City, one of those glorious comic book concepts that define the awesomeness of the medium. Unlike Atlantis or Paradise Island, Gorilla City is a fantasy locale that readers want to visit and whose politics/society are fun and intriguing. Everything goes better with apes, except daycare. As for Gorilla Grodd, he’s one of my favorite comic book villains. I’ve known of him since at least Challenge of the Super Friends, was reintroduced during my ’90s deep dive into DC, and was especially impressed by his well drawn and written showings against Supergirl and Catwoman around the time of Underworld Unleashed. I’ve bought a lot of comics specifically for Grodd, and own some of his toys as well. I like when Carmine Infantino gives him a long head of hair or the colorist a purple hue to differentiate him from the average ape. I love that Grodd exposes the folly of racism by projecting it against all humanity, but at the same time, doesn’t excuse it as mere ignorance or the product of bad experiences. Super-Gorilla Grodd is extraordinarily intelligent and possessed of telepathy that should allow him great understanding and empathy. Instead, Grodd is so filled with hatred and enamored with his superiority over all other beings that his evil is singularly pure.

    Given my contrarian leanings, I don’t know if it proves or disproves Silver Age cover sales theories that I have repeatedly given this issue a pass because the cover totally turns me off. The interiors look better, but I don’t think I’d ever had a chance to see them before these scans. I especially like the Congorilla art, though the machine gun monkey likely skews the odds in its favor.

    I’m pretty sure I never heard of Congorilla before the early ’90s mini-series, which I and virtually everyone else in the Chromium Age never read and wondered why such a thing had been brought into existence. Given how much I enjoyed Steve Englehart’s Justice League of America #144 (first read in the 21st century) I might ought to check that out, though I haven’t even seen an issue in quarter bins in decades. I automatically confer respect on any comic book property as prolific and long lived as Congo Bill’s, especially if it results in multimedia penetration, but he’s such a blind spot in fan consciousness that I’m not sure if the original strips had much value. You’d think fanpros would have done more with him in the ’70s & ’80s, but then I remember that the 1950s Robotman strip was swell, and that character was similarly forgotten (though he got some reprints in World’s Finest, at least.) I have read his “Whatever Happened To…” where he came off as a White Man’s Burden paternalist-imperialist knob. Cry For Justice wasn’t as bad as it was made out to be before it went off the rails at the end, but Congorilla didn’t add much value to it either.

    Detective Chimp was another of the distinctly DC concepts found in the only issue of Who’s Who I ever bought new, and unlike a lot of the goofy stuff I found there, I could dig on him. Unfortunately, DC didn’t give me many chances to read about the character over the years, and when he finally got a regular gig, it was too late. Like a fair few people by my reckoning, I used Infinite Crisis as a jumping off point for most of my DC reading. Just then, Detective Chimp was coming onto Day of Vengeance and the Shadowpact, a poor substitute for the barely realized Sentinels of Magic (or whatever that team that came out of the Day of Judgment mini-series was called.) Especially now that Marvel is using the character again, it’s clear to me Bill Willingham was employing Bobo as a stand in for Howard the Duck, and that wasn’t something DC needed… ever? He’d be more appealing to me with the temperament of Donald Duck’s nephews, or even Mickey Mouse in his finer moments. Clever, intrepid, positive… Curious George aged up and starring in Monkey, She Wrote. You could even borrow from Ted 2 (I can’t believe I’m going there) and have Bobo imperiled by his lack of civil rights, since you could get caught red-handed trying to bump off the nosey chimp and face no worse a charge than animal cruelty (plus Bobo would have no legal standing as a witness, requiring airtight physical evidence to prove his cases.) You could use Detective Chimp to cover some of the same ground as the greatest sci-fi franchise of all time, Planet of the Apes*, in a whole new way.

    Whew! All caught up with comments now, but I better get an early start on the Titans or they alone could probably put me behind again…

    *Name me another long running sci-fi franchise with 63% positive quality across all installments and is currently successfully on a trajectory toward being more intellectual instead of less.

  11. Not much to comment on these stories. They are fine. Of all of them, I love the Detective Chimp bit.

    But I will comment on the Congorilla and the James Robinson JLA. I think you guys should give it another shot. It is truly a legacy League. Supergirl, Dick Grayson Batman, Jessie Quick, Jade – it’s all sidekicks/legacy. And part of the story is that they understand the shoes they are filling. Can they call themselves the League? Are they worthy? Meanwhile, Robinson and artists Mark Bagley and Brett Booth keep throwing them against massive threats they have to overcome. It is a great sort of ‘coming of age’ for that group.

    Congorilla is a goofy fun part of that book. Because who doesn’t need a very polished and well-mannered giant gold gorilla on a team. The blue Starman is also there.

    I thought it was worth it!

    1. I agree with Anj: Robinson’s League is worth another shot. Give it a read – for fun. Not for continuity or childhood loss, but for what Robinson was trying to accomplish knowing the big guns were all off the table.

      As for the episode itself, good job all. This is one that I was eyeing, hoping to be on for, but given the ones I was lucky enough to appear on, I was more than happy to hear other folks’ thoughts here.

      It’s darn near criminal that there isn’t some source for the older Congo Bill/Congorilla comics out there. My exposure to the character is fairly limited (Swamp Thing Annual, Robinson’s JLA, Forgotten Heroes appearance, and the mini with Vokes’ art, which languishes in my “To-Read” pile), but the character concept seems full of possibilities, especially couched in the Golden Age/Silver Age time periods.

      One last thought: I’m onboard for a Forgotten Heroes series of minis. That could be great fun, if DC just let the creative team roll with it. Jeff Parker and Paul Pelletier would be a great team to launch the concept. Ryan, you came up with a decent group to tinker with. I’m going to noodle on a FH Crew of my own now. . .

      1. If nothing else, that final issue of Robinson’s JL is a winner, with its teasing of plots he’d (allegedly, but that’s firm) intended to get around to (Brian Q Miller did the same thing in Batgirl, wonderfully).

  12. I first met Grodd and Gorilla City in Super-Team Family #3, which featured Grodd turning Hawkman into a gorilla, while Hawkwoman and the Flash have to try to turn him back, with the help of Solovar. I enjoyed the heck out of the story and got to experience a little bit more of Grodd, in the Flash, though he didn’t turn up much in the 70s, when I sporadically saw the book. My biggest exposure was via Challenge of the Superfriends, particularly the episode where Grodd and the LOD take over Gorilla City. The whole concept was great and the few Grodd stories I read were always fun. I was disappointed that Grodd, other than via name, never turned up in the 90s tv series, though am happy he’s in the new one (I haven’t gotten to that yet).

    Detective Chimp was introduced to me in Tarzan #233 (one of the 100 Pg giant issues), with a reprint (from Rex the Wonder Dog #20; Rex also appeared in that same Tarzan issue, reprinting issue 34 of his own series). The story featured Bobo being Chimp-napped. It was cute; but, the real favorite of mine is the appearances on Batman, The Brave and the Bold, voiced by Maurice LeMarche. I loved the teaser appearance, with the drawing room mystery, with characters who were pretty much pulled from the Clue game. I would love to see an entire Detective Chimp cartoon, based on that little bit.

    I think I only saw one Congorilla story; I’ve actually read more Congo Bill reprints (a poor man’s Jungle Jim).

    I liked the Gorilla City story, though Infantino’s line isn’t what it once was. there’s a nice H Rider Haggard vibe to the whole thing and it captures the elements I always loved about Grodd and Gorilla City. Congorilla is just okay. It feels like they were trying to update the whole thing, via swiping from Jon Sable, which had been a big success just a few years before. I think they made a mistake by trying to go serious with it. it’s just too absurd a concept. Detective Chimp is a fun story; but, like Chris, I’m no fan of Mark Badger’s artwork. I’ve never really warmed to it; it’s just too abstract for my tastes.

    I do lament we didn’t get some of the other DC apes, particularly Angel & the Ape. DC at this time was a bit schizophrenic. They were trying to do everything seriously (often grimly); yet, they would pull out stuff like this, a new Angel & the Ape mini, or Mazing Man. They wouldn’t be big hits and would slink away; but, they were usually fun. I gave them points for trying humor, now and again; I just wish they had put more effort into marketing them and setting aside a place for more absurd stories. I think Bone’s success proved there was a market for the material, it just seemed like DC (and Marvel) spent too much time courting the usual crowd. Of the two, DC had more of the vibe that the independents had (via Vertigo and some of their fringe books and mini-series). However, more often than not, their return to characters like this seemed to be more motivated by maintaining trademarks than in doing something different. I think many of the creative talent had a real love for the characters; but DC corporate didn’t. Too bad they didn’t do another animal issue, with Krypto, Streaky, Rex the Wonder Dog, Comet the Superhorse, Ace the Bathound, Hooty the owl and Pooch (of Gunner & Sarge, and The Losers). Rex did get an entry, in issue 48 and it’s cute; but, I would have liked to have seen something more akin to the original, not a retcon. Alas, these were pre-Crisis characters; but, I think it still would have been fun. They could have easily done it in a way that paid tribute to the originals, while treating them as ideas for cartoons or something similar, as a linking device.

    Glad to hear someone is doing a DC war comic podcast. I toyed with the idea, after Chris Franklin suggested I should do one; but, time has been at a premium (and I’d need to do a bit of research to cover my tech bases). there’s a wealth of great material to cover, even beyond DC. Charlton had a great series, in Fightin’ Army: The Lonely War of Willy Schultz, by Will Franz and Sam Glanzman, that was right up there with Robert Kanigher’s best )and Glanzman did a lot of work on DC’s war books). Glanzman’s own USS Stevens stories, at DC are great fodder, as are his two autobiographical graphic novels, A Sailor’s Story and a Sailor’s Story 2. both are reprinted in Dover’s new collection (they are also supposed to be doing the USS Stevens stories). Glanzman served on a destroyer in WW2 and he really conveys the experience well. To top it off, his ship saw some major action. After Mike Grell, (who I finally got to meet) and Howard Chaykin (who I have yet to meet), he is the artist I would most like to meet, to not only talk comics, but experiences in the Navy (his are a heck of a lot more exciting than mine).

  13. ps Glad to hear my music suggestion; got a couple more for future isses. For the Rogues special, Judas Priest’s “Breakin’ the Law.” For the Batman villain issue, Funboy 3’s “The Lunatics Have Taken Over the Asylum;” and for Blackhawk (aside from the music cue, in “The Savage Time” story of Justice League, Iron Maiden’s “Aces High.” Just a thought.

  14. Seriously, we need to hook Paul up with somebody at DC… preferably somebody with an impulse control problem who’ll say “yes” to anything that’s presented with enough enthusiasm. So… basically whoever signed off on Zack Snyder directing their movies.

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