Thursday, July 24, 2014

TRULY GONE AND FORGOTTEN FOES : SUPER-GORILLAS Part One


Super-Gorillas Part One
Together, DC Super Special No.16 (Spring issue, 1976) and the descriptively titled Super-Heroes Battle Super-Gorillas No.1 (Winter, 1976) comprise the Bible of spandex halfwits slugging it out with conquer-crazy monkeys from space. I say that never having read the Bible, maybe it’s already all about that very thing, maybe the Bible is already about super-apes fighting super-people, how should I know, I never stay in hotels.

Although the books cover a sizable contingent of DC’s simian super-villains, it’s only the hairy tip of a poop-flinging iceberg, leaving out as it does the Doom Patrol’s French-speaking foe Monsieur Mallah, and then probably like four-hundred more. I’d name them all, but I was hoping you’d be impressed enough by my mentioning Monsieur Mallah.

Starting with DC Super Special No.16 …

The ape makes a great case.

Batman Battles the Living Beast Bomb
Scrawny scientist Walter Hewitt creates a device which gives him animal powers, continuing the severe misconception which comics have foisted upon the young, information-hungry future scientists of the world that animals have powers. Surely this has made an absolute hash out of the zoological sciences. I’m shocked that I’ve yet to visit an animal park and have a comics-reared docent explain all the animals’ amazing super-powers. “You’ll notice that the giraffes possess elastic necks, possibly from a diet of rare gingold leaves. Furthermore, this rhino was once a meek science student when a strange meteorite from space landed near his home, transforming him into the mighty armored superman – or ‘cyborg’ – you see before you today!”

Anyway. Hewitt’s attempt to swipe the gorilla’s amazing super-powers go wrong when the gorilla which he is shooting with radiation ends up getting Hewitt’s intelligence instead. Not that Hewitt’s intelligence in necessarily any great shakes, but the gorilla also gets a criminal instinct and tremendous mental powers! Telepathically commanded by the gorilla, Hewitt is forced to steal things, like whatever a gorilla would want to steal, I guess. Bugs. Bananas… Tricycles.

Inventing a bomb which is capable of destroying Gotham City while leaving its simian inventor alive (I assume it blows up that-a-ways), the gorilla dons the explosives like a particularly ominous Cosby sweater and proceeds to fight Batman, as required by Gotham City statutes. Discovering that the timer on the bomb slows down as it’s moved further from the ground, Batman military presses the big gorilla until the timer … wears off? I don’t know. I’m not the world’s greatest detective-slash-gorilla lifting bomb expert.

It’s a close call, made even moreso by the fact that Batman and Robin struggle to keep the gorilla airborne using only their terrific muscles, forgetting that they have a belt full of unbreakable ropes, a nearby car and a convenient tree which is pretty much in the shot in every panel over which they could hang the beast if they wanted. Maybe that’s just not cricket when fighting an evil gorilla scientist telepathic genius bomb beast, what do I know of super-etiquette?

It's still a better redesign than Mike Deodato's.

Wonder Woman – Gorilla
Interesting fact, the title of this story is also what I assume the liberated amazon's name would be if she married Mr.Martin Gorilla.

Space Gorillas land on the Amazon’s home of Paradise Isle, seeking mates. Now, you’d think they’d be looking for gorilla mates, but no! They want human mates, human LADY mates, human AMAZON lady mates in fact! Wonder Woman, to be even more precise, they want Wonder Woman, the monkeys from space want to fuck Wonder Woman, I guess is the takeaway here.

Because human women are apparently “more unique” than gorilla women, the space-gorilla leader decides to seek a trophy wife among Earth’s female population. If you didn’t blink at that sentence, please seek professionalhelp.

Armed with an amazing weapon of their homeworld, the space-gorillas prove the futility of resisting them by shooting Wonder Woman with a monkey beam, transforming her into a lady Wonder Gorilla. That’s what their guns do, these space-gorillas, their guns turn human beings into gorillas. Number of annual gun deaths on space gorilla world, zero. Number of accidentally turning human beings into gorillas, 12,000 in 2013 alone.

The space gorilla turns Wonder Woman into a gorilla, then regrets that he ruined her “uniqueness” so turns her back, then turns himself into a human being so he can be unique too, then Wonder Woman just murders them all when they’re not looking. Why the human-horny gorilla leader didn’t just turn some gorilla women into human women with his weird gun is beyond me, maybe it’s a cultural thing.


Haha, Grodd's got GAS.

Reign of the Super-Gorilla
This Flash story features probably the most successful gorilla super-villain in DC Comics’ history, which shouldn’t be a thing you could keep a record of but here we are. Super-Gorilla Grodd is an evil, intelligent, mind-controlling gorilla from a city of hidden gorillas and apparently his actual super-villain name really is “Super-Gorilla Grodd.” Imagine how screwed the Man of Steel's secret identity would be if he was required to call himself Super-Man Clark Kent.

This story hinges on the fact that Grodd escapes from jail (and the human body he was stuck in - don't ask), returns to Gorilla City (a super advanced scientific community of hyper-intelligent gorillas hidden in the depths of Africa), where he sees a beautiful young gorilla girl and falls instantly in love. Learning that she's engaged to his arch-enemy Solovar, KING of the hyper intelligent gorillas, he creates a ray that makes himself incredibly likable, thereby stealing Solovar's throne of power, his fiancee, and eventually, the wills of the people in Flash's hometown of Central City where he intends to run for Mayor in a bid to control the world.

Look at that, not one intentional joke in the above paragraph, and see how it still ends up sounding?

Well, let's not start pretending that we're
investing in scientific legitimacy this
late in the game, pal.

Titano, the Super-Ape
Superman, being the most powerful force for good in the entire universe and also sometimes an absolute nitwit, accidentally retrieves from some distant time period of the past his former giant ape sparring partner TITANO, the ape with Kryptonite eyes!

It’s not the Man of Steel’s finest moment, and it’s not made any better by the fact that Titano goes on a huge rampage, wrecking most of Metropolis, while Superman has to fly around in a lead suit with a tv camera sticking up from the crotch like a toaster’s erection. The who-hit-who of the story isn’t of particular interest, given the immensity of the catalog of comics that are just two weird things that shouldn’t exist hitting each other until one of them goes to jail, but there’s a big question this story raises: How did Titano get to be a gorilla?

The origin of Titano is that he was a famous chimpanzee named Toto who did stage shows. This was the Fifties, mind you, of course chimps could be famous. It's perfectly reasonable that a successful, well-to-do businessman could come sweeping into his gentleman's club with a pair of tickets in his hand, just beaming with glee, and when one of his fellows puts down his brandy to ask what the tickets were for, the lucky man could reply happily "I got two tickets to see the famous Toto the performing Chimpanzee. Then all his wealthy society friends would congratulate him on his good luck, and quietly form a seething ball of jealousy and resentment that they'd drown in cheap alcohol and mistresses. Like I say, the Fifties...

For some reason, the government decides to rocket little Toto into space, possibly so as to test the effects of weightlessness on celebrities, paving the way for James Garner, Clint Eastwood and Donald Sutherland to return to space in 2000's smash hit, Space Cowboys, now available on DVD and Blu-Ray, check your local retailers. Space Cowboys - Boys will be boys! A Warner Brothers film, directed by Clint Eastwood.

In his hapless orbit, Toto witnesses a meteor of PURE URANIUM crash into a meteor of PURE KRYPTONITE, causing a STARTLING change in him when his capsule safely returns to Earth – he’s a giant ape with kryptonite laser beam eyes. By the way, isn't it weird that Superman's father had so much trouble with his test animals flying off into space, but we humans were able to get this monkey back from orbit, no sweat? USA! USA!

So Toto's a gorilla now, but HOW did Toto become a gorilla? Gorillas are not just bigger versions of chimpanzees, they're a whole different species! It's like, you know Colossal Boy of the Legion of Super-Heroes? Or Black Goliath? When they grow big, they become big humans, NOT giant marmosets, or koalas, or some dopey shit.

How'd Toto's transformation hop the species barrier? Questions abound, readers, questions abound ...

Continued in four weeks!

3 comments:

Michael Hoskin said...

Twenty years ago I found a copy of this book in my then-local shop. Amused by the very existence of this comic, I displayed it to the retailer, thinking I was prompting him to share in the joke. He responded by quoting the price to me. Convicted by the effort he had gone to to look up the price in Overstreet and too ashamed to admit I wasn't actually interested in the comic, I bought it out of guilt.

I think I could fill an entire longbox with "guilt" comics.

Bram said...

How much Infantino is going on here?

cup king said...

"I've been changed into a gorilla!"

Yeah, a gorilla in hot pants. M'wrawww!!!

I've said too much.

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