Gorilla

Welcome to the "Gorilla Age of Comics!"


Strange Adventures #8- the one that started it all! Art by Win Mortimer.



The late fifties and the sixties are thought of, by most, as the "Silver Age of Comics." Starting with the publication of Showcase #4 in September 1956, which revived the DC Comics character The Flash, superheroes dominated the comics of this era. But with a little research, you will find that something besides superheroes had a hold on comics. When DC published Strange Adventures #8 in May 1951, little did they know that they were really starting The Gorilla Age of Comics!

If you start looking at the covers of comics (mostly DC Comics) published in the fifties and all through the sixties, you will notice that gorillas appear on many of the covers. Les Daniels' book, DC Comics: Sixty Years of the World's Favorite Comic Book Heroes explains this phenomenon:

The eighth issue of Strange Adventures achieved some sort of cult status. The cover showed a gorilla in a zoo holding up a slate that read, "Please believe me! I am the victim of a terrible scientific experiment!" This "Incredible Story of an Ape with a Human Brain" had strong sales, and [DC editor, Julius] Schwartz recalls that "Irwin Donenfeld called me in and said we should try it again. Finally all the editors wanted to use gorilla covers, and he said no more than one a month."

In an interview in The Comics Journal #214, Golden and Silver Age artist, Sheldon Moldoff, when asked about DC's science fiction titles, had this to offer:

"It was a question of trying to find something that sold, and if one issue came out and it happened to sell, then immediately they would follow that type of story. Now, it didn't neccessarily follow through that they were going to sell. Now, I know Jack Schiff, when he was the editor of Batman, he followed sales very well. When he found that a gorilla on covers sold, then you could be damn sure that in an issue or two you're going to have another gorilla story."

While some believe that Julius Schwartz's story of the "one gorilla a month" and the "gorilla = sales" rules may be an urban legend, there is no doubt that there are a lot of gorillas to be found on the covers of comics published in this era.

Even into the seventies, possibly because of the popularity of the Planet of the Apes movies, gorillas kept showing up on covers, even though it tended to be on the covers of books like Tarzan instead of Superboy. But as you will see, even recent comics like Spawn have not been able to ignore the call of the gorilla.

My Collection

Inspired by my friend Scott Shaw's collection of oddball comics (which includes many Gorilla Cover Comics), and my love of gorillas, apes and monkeys, I have set out to put together my own collection of Gorilla Cover Comics. Over the last few years, I have been able to assemble a pretty good collection of Gorilla Cover Comics (especially with the help of the eagle-eyed Nadine Wettlaufer). Now, through the magic of the internet, I share my collection with you.

1951-1959
TitleDatePublisher
House of Secrets #26
My Greatest Adventure #14
Strange Adventures #8
Strange Adventures #100
Strange Adventures #108
Superboy #76
Superman's Pal Jimmy Olsen #24
Tarzan #75
November 1959
April 1957
May 1951
January 1959
September 1959
October 1959
October 1957
December 1955
DC Comics
DC Comics
DC Comics
DC Comics
DC Comics
DC Comics
DC Comics
Dell
1960-1969
TitleDatePublisher
Adventure Comics #322
The Brave and the Bold #49
Casper, The Friendly Ghost #57
Daktari #4
Detective Comics #339
The Doom Patrol #86
Flash #127
Flash #172
Frankenstein #4
George of the Jungle #1
Hawkman #6
Hawkman #16
House of Mystery #118
Inferior Five #3
Kona #20
Konga #22
The Outer Limits #11
Plastic Man #7
Porky Pig #81
The Return of Konga
Showcase #66
Star Spangled War Stories #126
Strange Adventures #125
Strange Adventures #186
Strange Adventures #187
Strange Adventures #198
Strange Adventures #201
Superboy #142
Superman's Pal Jimmy Olsen #84
Superman's Pal Jimmy Olsen #98
Superman's Pal Jimmy Olsen #116
Tarzan of the Apes #159
Tarzan of the Apes #172
Tomahawk #93
Wonder Woman #170
July 1964
Aug-Sept 1963
May 1963
October 1969
May 1965
March 1964
March 1962
August 1967
March 1967
1968
Feb-March 1965
November 1966
January 1962
July - August 1967
December 1966
April-May 1965
January 1967
Nov-Dec 1967
March-April 1962
1962
Jan-Feb 1967
May 1966
February 1961
March 1966
April 1966
March 1967
June 1967
October 1967
April 1965
December 1966
December 1968
August 1966
October 1967
July-Aug 1964
May 1967
DC Comics
DC Comics
Harvey Comics
Dell
DC Comics
DC Comics
DC Comics
DC Comics
Dell
Gold Key
DC Comics
DC Comics
DC Comics
DC Comics
Dell
Charlton
Dell
DC Comics
Dell
Charlton
DC Comics
DC Comics
DC Comics
DC Comics
DC Comics
DC Comics
DC Comics
DC Comics
DC Comics
DC Comics
DC Comics
Gold Key
Gold Key
DC Comics
DC Comics
1970-1979
TitleDatePublisher
Action Comics #400
Action Comics #424
Astonishing Tales #11
Binky #13
The Brave & the Bold #140
Challengers of the Unknown #79
DC Special #16
DC Super Stars #12
DC Super Stars #14
From Beyond The Unknown #23
The Great Grape Ape #1
Iron Man #83
Jerry Lewis #123
John Carter, Warlord of Mars #2
Justice League of America #131
Kamandi #3
Kamandi #15
Kamandi #16
Kamandi #19
Ka-zar #10
Lancelot Link, Secret Chimp #1
Magilla Gorilla #4
Millie the Model #189
The Phantom #50
Plop #22
The Secret Society of Super Villains #1
Shazam #9
Strange Adventures #239
Super DC Giant #S-13
Superboy #172
Superboy #183
Tarzan #206
Tarzan #208
Tarzan #227
Tarzan #254
Tarzan #2
Tarzan #5
Tarzan #7
Tarzan #9
Tono and Kono: The Jungle Twins #8
Tono and Kono: The Jungle Twins #11
Tor #1
Underdog #10
Wacky Races #2
May 1971
June 1973
April 1972
Sept-Oct 1970
March-April 1978
March-April 1973
Spring 1975
February 1977
May-June 1977
July-August 1973
September 1976
February 1975
March-April 1971
July 1977
June 1976
February 1973
March 1974
April 1974
July 1974
August 1975
May 1971
May 1971
April 1971
June 1972
July-August 1976
May-June 1976
January 1974
Nov-Dec 1972
Sept-Oct 1970
March 1971
March 1972
February 1972
May 1972
January 1974
October 1976
July 1977
October 1977
December 1977
February 1978
January 1974
October 1974
May-June 1975
December 1976
February 1971
DC Comics
DC Comics
Marvel
DC Comics
DC Comics
DC Comics
DC Comics
DC Comics
DC Comics
DC Comics
Charlton
Marvel
DC Comics
Marvel
DC Comics
DC Comics
DC Comics
DC Comics
DC Comics
Marvel
Gold Key
Charlton
Marvel
Charlton
DC Comics
DC Comics
DC Comics
DC Comics
Nat. Periodical Publications
DC Comics
DC Comics
Gold Key
DC Comics
DC Comics
DC Comics
Marvel
Marvel
Marvel
Marvel
Gold Key
Gold Key
DC Comics
Gold Key
Gold Key
1980-Present
TitleDatePublisher
Animal Man #2
Animal Man #17
Animal Man #25
Animal Man #30
Animal Man #32
Animal Man #83
Ape City #1
Ape City #2
Ape City #3
Ape City #4
Betty and Veronica #57
Captain Carrot & His Amazing Zoo Crew #20
Cartoon Network Presents #4
Congorilla #1
Congorilla #2
Cy-gor #1
Cy-gor #2
Cy-gor #3
Cy-gor #4
Cy-gor #5
Cy-gor #6
Doom Patrol #34
Flash #294
Flash #295
Flash #300
Flash #313
Flash #329
Flash #330
Flash #70
Grease Monkey #2
Green Lantern #30
Green Lantern #31
JLA #92
Monkeyman and O'Brien Special
Monkeyman and O'Brien #1
Monkeyman and O'Brien #2
Monkeyman and O'Brien #3
Novavolo Annual 2001
Savage Sword of Conan #134
Secret Origins #40
Siren #3
Sky Ape #4
Spawn #57
Spidey #12 (les exploits de)
Superman Annual #1
Swamp Thing Annual #3
Teen Titans Spotlight #11
Weird War Tales #85
Weird War Tales #89
Weird War Tales #120
Weird War Tales #123
Wild Person in the Woods
October 1988
November 1989
July 1990
December 1990
February 1991
May 1995
August 1990
September 1990
October 1990
November 1990
October 1992
November 1983
November 1997
November 1992
December 1992
July 1999
August 1999
September 1999
October 1999
November 1999
December 1999
July 1990
February 1981
March 1981
August 1981
September 1982
January 1984
February 1984
November 1992
October 1995
October 1992
October 1992
March 2004
February 1996
July 1996
August 1996
September 1996
2001
March 1987
May 1989
November 1998
June 1998
January 1997
January 1981
1987
1987
June 1987
March 1980
July 1980
February 1983
May 1983
1998
DC Comics
DC Comics
DC Comics
DC Comics
DC Comics
DC Comics
Malibu
Malibu
Malibu
Malibu
Archie Comics
DC Comics
DC Comics
DC Comics
DC Comics
Image
Image
Image
Image
Image
Image
DC Comics
DC Comics
DC Comics
DC Comics
DC Comics
DC Comics
DC Comics
DC Comics
Kitchen Sink
DC Comics
DC Comics
DC Comics
Dark Horse
Dark Horse
Dark Horse
Dark Horse
Jungle Boy Press
Marvel
DC Comics
Image
S.L.G.
Image
Marvel
DC Comics
DC Comics
DC Comics
DC Comics
DC Comics
DC Comics
DC Comics
G.T. Labs

JLApe: What were they thinking?

All of DC's 1999 JLA related annuals are following a cross-over story called "JLApe: Gorilla Warfare," where most of the heroes get changed into gorillas (Batman doesn't get changed into a gorilla, I guess because he's now a far too serious character to be involved in such nonsence), and all I have to wonder is, "What were thay thinking?" Did they look at the sales figures on their annuals and say, "How can we increase our sales by one?" Or did they say, "Our Hyland-demographic is really low. How can we increase our Hyland-demographic?" and they all came up with the answer, "put gorillas on the cover," because they know that I'll buy anything with a gorilla on the cover.

Now, don't get me wrong, I'm quite happy that they're actually doing such a storyline, especially one involving their top characters like Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman. I just wonder why they would do such a storyline. Hopefully, they've decided to actually not take everything so seriously, and have some fun with their comics. Or maybe they're actually acknowledging part of their publishing past. My more cynical side thinks that doing such a crossover was the only way they could get Arthur Adams do do covers for them. In the last fifteen years, annuals have been a showcase for some of the weaker talents in comics, and I feared that the JLApe crossover could be a total trainwreck,a nd another case of a big publisher producing totally unreadble comics. So far, JLApe has had it's good moments, but hasn't been without an issue or two of total crap.

  • JLA Annual #3
  • Batman Annual #23
  • Aquaman Annual #5
  • Wonder Woman Annual #8
  • Flash Annual #12
  • Superman Annual #11
  • Green Lantern Annual #8
  • Martian Manhunter Annual #2
The Gorilla Cover Collection is always growing, and I'm always looking for new gorilla comics. If you have any gorilla cover comics that you want to sell or "donate" to me, e-mail me at greg@lethargiclad.com.


Even TV's Wonder Woman could not resist a gorilla!


Links

I plan to have a large collection of gorilla-related links, but right now I only have one, The Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund. This page has lots of great information about Mountain Gorillas, and gives you information about how you can sponsor one of the remaining 650 Mountain Gorillas in the world.

Other links

This site picked as YAHOO CANADA'S SITE OF THE WEEK for May 10th, 1999


Modified August 25, 2002
E-mail Greg at greg@lethargiclad.com