Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Who's the Best... Simian?


Rip Jagger said...

I'd have to give the Bronze Age nod to Roddy McDowell. His turns as first Cornelius and later as Caesar in the Planet of the Apes movies elevated the whole concept of primates in pop culture.

That said, other standout apes of the era are Grodd, the best baddie ape of all time. His self-loathing as an ape is stupendous and makes for a most heinous baddie. Grodd was also the best of a really impressive array of apes at DC.

Marvel didn't have so many. The Red Ghost's gang of apes was fun though.

Lancelot Link was a burst of antic mayhem on the early 70's TV screens, spoofing spy shows with gusto and even at times aplomb.

Rip Off

Edo Bosnar said...

Arthur Nagan is pretty cool, but only with the rest of the Headmen. I like the Super-Apes, too.
But as Rip said, DC really dominated the field in awesome ape characters. My two favorites are Sam Simeon (from Angel & the Ape) and Monsieur Mallah.
When I was a kid, for some reason I was really fond of the monkey sidekicks in Saturday morning cartoons: Blip in Space Ghost, Gleek in Super Friends and Nkima in Tarzan.

david_b said...

You kidding...?


(Can never concentrate with that voice in my head, constantly.....Geez..)

I always liked the cheesy stories were our heroes were turned into gorillas, like that Captain Marvel story in that first Shazam Treasury Edition, where these alien apes come and turn the Big Cheese, Mary and CM Jr. into gorillas.

'Course this was a popular issue in 1975, always love good DC Special reprint mags..:


Like this site says..:

"What more do you need? It's "Super-heroes Battle Super-Gorillas!" It says so TWICE on the cover!"

Rip, I'd second Roddy as Best Simian, but primarily for his role as Galen in the television series. He actually improved on his Cornelius character by adding more depth and humor throughout the series.

A strong second is Mark Lenard as Urko, from POTA's 'The Trap' which I still consider their best episode.

Anonymous said...

Love Magilla Gorilla and Lance Link. And how about Chim Chim from Speed Racer? Completely ridiculous - but fun.


Edo Bosnar said...

Tom, Chim Chim's another one I remember liking.

Tony said...

Does Detective Chimp qualify?

Doug said...

Tony, near as I can tell Detective Chimp was indeed a... chimp.

Love the suggestion of Chim Chim!


dbutler16 said...

First of all, I have to say that simians are one department that DC is miles and miles ahead of Marvel – Detective Chimp, Beppo, Gorilla Grodd, Solovar, Congorilla, Monsieur Mallah, the ultra-Humanite (for a while), and Titano. Plus, all but Beppo and Titano can talk, and the only thing that’s cooler than a talking ape is a talking ape with super powers! Marvel has only Gorilla Man and the Red Ghost’s super apes, that I’m aware of.

As far as other media, of course Cornelious and the other Planet of the Apes group are great, and Magilla Gorilla was pretty cool, too.

To answer the original question, the greatest simian is GORILLA GRODD! A talking gorilla with vast mental powers? What could be better than that?!

Karen said...

If we are talking all-time, it has to be King Kong. No ifs, ands, or buts.The big guy is the numero uno.

But if we're talking Bronze Age, I'd throw in votes for the previously mentioned Roddy McDowell, also Dr. Zaius, Mecha-Kong, Lancelot Link (my brother hated that show, but I loveeeed it!), and gorilla man Bob Burns. Honorable mention goes to the creepy-weird Oliver, aka the 'humanzee', whose strange appearance and behavior has more to due with mistreatment I'm sure than anything genetic.

david_b said...

Karen, thanks for mentioning 'creepy-weird Oliver'.. I just saw that episode of the 'Brady Bunch' again last week. Preeeeetty weird.


Lance Link was my Dad's sole favorite Saturday morning cartoon, he used to love 'em, so I'd enjoy watching them with him.

Hey, voiced-over talking chimps..? What better entertainment. The "Evolution Revolution" was one hot band, cleverly sneaking in codes to their agents of A.P.E.

Anthony said...

I would pick Kong as well. Honorable mention goes to Tiny in the King Kong homage from Kamandi # 7.

Humanbelly said...

I think I'm in the minority of folks who just don't care much for simian companions, characters, or villains. They just seem. . . silly to me, somehow. That being a given, I did always kind of have an affection for Sam (it was Sam, right?) in ANGEL AND THE APE, when I picked it up.

And one who intrigued me, because there CLEARLY had to be a ton of backstory involved, was Ape-X from the the first Squadron Supreme maxi-series. She was a super-intelligent, wheelchair-bound gorilla that clothed herself modestly as a woman. I think she was a reformed villain who had become Tom Thumb's assistant. . . and had quietly fallen in love with him.

But. . . how in the world had she gotten this way?!? That's a whole lotta circumstances to account for-!


Edo Bosnar said...

Man, I knew there was one I was forgetting, and then Karen mentioned Bob Burns - yes! Tracy from the Ghost Busters - nothing beats a gorilla wearing a propellor-beanie.

Anonymous said...

Grodd. . . but also love the Super-Apes. . .

Is Moon-boy ape-like enough for consideration? Devil is my favorite dinosaur, so maybe I just want to make an excuse to mention him. ;)

But all-time? Yeah. Kong. Definitely.

J.A. Morris said...

Grod is probably, "the best", but my favorite is Arthur Nagan. Those ridiculously fun issues of the Defenders wouldn't have been the same without "Gorilla-Man"!

Anonymous said...

In a somewhat related note, I work in New Orleans for a government agency that rents space at a NASA facility. The facility's primary function for several years until recently was to build space shuttle tanks. Now that that is over with, the new use of of the massive hangar type buildings here is for movie production. Filming is currently going on for Dawn of the Planet of the Apes. When I went out for lunch, one of the hangars was wide open and I could see part of the set, but not much.

If I see any simians running around, I'll report back.


Anonymous said...

I have to agree with Karen and Anthony...Kong rules!

I also like Marvel's "new" Gorilla Man (aka Ken Hale from the Agents of Atlas). I know he's not Bronze Age, but his mini-series was pretty cool. Also a shout out to Congorilla, who joined the last incarnation of the JLA before the DCnU stuff.

Mike W.

Anonymous said...

I remember reading somewhere that some editor or somebody at D.C. in the early 60's had a theory that monkeys and gorillas sold more comics, and that's why the D.C. universe was lousy with em,...you couldn't throw a batarang on Earth-One without hitting one in the head. Maybe Stan Lee gave it a shot with Red Ghost and his super-apes, and then figured it was probably a myth, a just too dumb.
Either way, I gotta admit I always liked Grodd, and his portrayal on Justice League Unlimited by Powers Booth was a classic

Anonymous said...

Was there an urban myth somewhere that the monkeys Nasa supposedly sent out on experimental space flights came back super-intelligent? I swear I've seen that idea played out three or four times, including the Simpsons and Grant Morrison.

Anonymous said...

Like Humanbelly, apes have never been high up on my list of favourites, but here's my 2 cents :

Best Cinematic Simian - aw,c'mon as you Americans say, who else but the mighty King Kong? No other simian even comes close. Honourable mention goes out to Mighty Joe Young, but he's a distant second. Wait,I did like Roddy McDowall as Cornelius and Caesar in the Planet of the Apes movies, though.

Best TV Simian - Roddy McDowall again in the TV version of Apes as Galen.

Best Comic Book Simian - of course it has to be Flash's old nemesis Gorilla Grodd. As dbutler16 so eloquently put it, there ain't nuthin' cooler than a superpowered talking ape! He's the first ape who popped into my head when I saw today's discussion topic. Nuff said.

Best Literary Simian - all those apes, er, Mangani as they call themselves from the Tarzan novels. I remember there was a tribe of tall apes (Bigfoot) that called themselves 'Ommangani' in one of the newspaper comic strips.

- Mike 'hairless ape' from Trinidad & Tobago.

Anonymous said...

Goriila Grodd had a way of talking, full of sarcasm, irony, and menace that anybody would find intimidating in any 8-foot tall, super-strong, misanthropic, telepathic gorilla.

Mike said...

"The only good human... is a dead human!" - General Ursus

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