Friday, February 08, 2013

Go Ape Day: Adventures on the Planet of the Apes!

Marvel Comics did a terrific job in the 1970s of expanding and developing the simian universe of the Planet of the Apes films. They not only published an outstanding black-and-white magazine (replete with articles about the making of the five feature films and television series), the company also released a color comic-book line adapting the films, "Adventures on the Planet of the Apes" (presented by the ubiquitous Stan Lee). 

I remember, I always purchased my copies at a huge comic-book booth inside a building at the Englishtown flea market in New Jersey. Those were great days to be a kid. 

In this particular issue, from November 1975, the first Apes feature, Planet of the Apes, is adapted in loving detail, with even a few embellishments. The story picks up here with Taylor (who looks nothing like Charlton Heston...) shot and unconscious after the cornfield hunt. He is dragged to a truck/cage, where he will make the journey to Ape City. One of the ape hunters claims to have heard the injured man speak, but his simian cohort warns him that "attributing intelligence to a human is a sin...a very serious one." 

Unlike the filmed version, we're also made privy to Taylor's thoughts on the long ride to the simian metropolis as he comes to. "This is insane," he muses during an interior monologue, "and I can't say a word about it. My throat's been ripped open. If I lose much more blood, I'll..." And then he collapses. How's that for some exposition? 

This issue follows Taylor to Ape City and the blood transfusion with lovely Nova, as well as his first encounter with kindly chimpanzee behavioralist, Dr. Zira. "World of Captive Humans" also introduces Dr. Zaius, probably my favorite character in the entire Apes saga, and Cornelius. The issue ends with Taylor's shocking note to Zira ("My Name is Taylor.")

I've kept quite a few of these ape comics for more than thirty years ago. I remember when I was in middle school, when I stayed home sick, I would drag all the comics out of my closet, order them sequentially, and read them oe after the other, from start to finish, reliving the movies.. 


  1. I did have a Planet of the Apes shirt in the 1970s, and am now continuing to build my Apes collection as an adult, but I've never had any of the comics. Thanks for adding items to my list.

  2. Anonymous5:05 PM

    John, those truly were great days to be a kid in the '70s, Planet of the Apes and all.


  3. As usual, I love all of your spot-on Apes commentary. a while back I found a youtube version of the 'Escape' book and record set that I nearly wore out as a kid. I could almost recite the lines and it was a real trip to revisit it: