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Planet of the Apes (Malibu Graphics)

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Planet of the Apes was a black and white comic book series published by Malibu Graphics under their "Adventure Comics" imprint from April of 1990 to June of 1992, spanning a total of 24 issues and one Annual. The series was written by Charles Marshall, and took place two generations after the events of Battle for the Planet of the Apes, involving the descendents of Caesar and Aldo. Marshall's series proposal showed a deft balance of adventure, humor, action and the inevitable parallels to our own modern society. The series was divided into a number of story-arcs:

  • Issues #1-4 (later collected as Monkey Planet): Introducing the new characters living in Ape City and the confrontation between Alexander and Ollo.
  • Issue #5 (Loss): In the aftermath of the battle, someone tries to murder Alexander.
  • Issue #6 (Welcome to Ape City): A stranger arrives, giving new readers a fresh introduction to all the characters.
  • Issue #7 (Survival of the Fittest): Alexander is lost, and Grunt meets another giant gorilla character.
  • Issue #8 (Here Comes Travellin' Jack!): A Christmas issue with a thinly-disguised ape Santa.
  • Issues #9-11: Alexander and the Swamp-Apes confront Ollo and the Forgotten Apes.
  • Issue #12 (Bells): Alexander and Coure are married, witnessed by all their friends and Ollo.
  • Issue #13 (Frito & JoJo's Excellent Adventure): Focusing on the bumbling gorilla soldiers.
  • Issues #14-17 (Countdown Zero): After the ape revolution, three astronauts return to a completely changed Earth.
  • Issue #18 (Gorillas in the Mist): The guilt-ridden suicide of Dr. Moto.
  • Issue #19 (Quitting Time): During the revolution, an Ape Management employee's fears are realized.
  • Issue #20 (Cowboys and Simians): Focusing on the 'Ape Riders'.
  • Issues #21-24 (The Terror Beneath): The re-animated spirit of Governor Breck wipes out most of the characters.

With the exception of Countdown Zero and Quitting Time, all issues concerned the central cast of characters (though the former tied-in loosely). There seemed to be a jump of quite a few years between Bells and Frito & JoJo.. which was concurrent with the spin-off mini-series Ape Nation. Artists Kent Burles and Barb Kaalberg were hired to bring Charles Marshall's scripts to life initially. After issue #11, Burles and Kaalberg made way for M.C. Wyman and Terry Pallot, who had already worked on Ape Nation.[1]

The series dealt with similar themes to those of Battle..; the struggle of the newly-liberated apes to integrate humans into their society. Although the coda to Battle.. had shown a future with ape and human children learning together, by the time of Caesar's grandson only one human child in Ape City was still able to talk - Simon. Instead of dying after his battle with Caesar, Aldo had in fact survived and led his followers into exile. One of this tribe, Ollo, had massacred all of his community before becoming head of the Ape City army. Like Aldo before him, Ollo took advantage of Alexander's absence in the Forbidden Zone to seize control, but he too was unsuccessful and went into exile. Many of his supporters mimicked his battle scar and some went with him. One - Colonel Urchak - was sent on a grueling road-building project into the uncharted territories of the Mud People.

Ollo's plots to take his revenge on Alexander included provoking a war between the Forgotten Apes and their Swamp Ape neighbours in the Forbidden Zone, briefly stealing Coure's infant son, and forming a somewhat contradictory alliance with Simon's human tribe and a group of stranded Tenctonese aliens. All attempts had little success, and Ollo met with an anti-climactic death at the hands of the ghost of Governor Breck. Other stories explored the outer reaches of the Ape Planet, such as the Ape Riders in a Wild West-inspired region and the mystical Lightfeet tribe. Countdown Zero detailed the story of three astronauts who find the world they knew devastated. The grand-daughter of two of them eventually turns up in Alexander's city. Quitting Time was a one-episode story set at the same time as Conquest of the Planet of the Apes. The final story tied-up loose ends by annihilating all of the communities outside of the Ape City in a bizarre combat between the super-powerful resurrected ghosts of Breck and Caesar. Ultimately, Alexander's society survives and once again promises to start a new era of co-operation between apes and humans.

Malibu Graphics published a number of Apes one-shots and mini-series including Urchak's Folly, Blood of the Apes, Ape Nation and The Forbidden Zone - which all linked to the regular title to some extent - and Ape City and Sins of the Father (set before the original Planet of the Apes movie). Malibu also issued trade paperback collections of the first four issues of their regular Planet of the Apes line, and of Marvel Comics' adaptations of the first three films and original story Terror on the Planet of the Apes from the Planet of the Apes Magazine.

See Also: Malibu (Adventure) Comics Timeline

IssuesEdit

Malibu 1 1

Planet of the Apes - issue #1, page 1


NotesEdit

  • The setting of this series is difficult to pin down. Some publicity for the comic stated that it "takes place 100 years after the final film in the series, Battle for the Planet of the Apes",[2] other publicity placed it 100 years after the death of Caesar, which would help to explain how there was time for humans to have lost their intelligence, the Forgotten Apes to have evolved healing powers, and for Aldo's tribe (and others) to have established their own culture before being massacred. However, it is difficult to understand how Caesar's grandson and Virgil's son are still in the prime of their lives a full century later. Dayton Ward's Chronological History has the events starting in 2080;[3] Rich Handley uses the official calculations to arrive at a date of 2140.[4]
  • It is also worth pondering when the astronauts from Countdown Zero arrived back on Earth. They believe they have only been away for 16 months, having left just as apes were starting to be taken in as pets, but they have missed the introduction of ape slavery and the revolution, to find Spanish-speaking apes and no surviving humans. Given that August Burrows is still alive shortly before Anne leaves for Ape City, she would have to have been back on Earth for almost 130 years at that point; it's possible these astronauts, too, passed through a time disturbance.

ReferencesEdit

  1. Ape Nation #1 editorial - Tom Mason (1991)
  2. Welcome Back to the Planet of the Apes, by Edward Gross - 'Comics Scene' #13 (June 1990)
  3. The Planet of the Apes Chronicles, by Paul A. Woods (2001)
  4. Timeline of the Planet of the Apes: The Definitive Chronology, by Rich Handley (2008)

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