"Rowdy" Roddy Piper Reported Dead at 61
Ape-ril concludes here! It’s certainly been a rip-roarin’ ride. Some readers dig it, others have clearly been worn down by too much awesome– but all good things must come to an end, and hence, we come to today’s column. Who will be the last ape standing!?
112. Sky Ape
It could’ve been King Solomon from Tom Strong, or the Weeping Gorilla from Promethea, or Ape-X from Squadron Supreme, or Man-Ape or the Gibbon or the JLApes or Big Max or Cy-Gor (not really) or Man-Ape or Sock Monkey or, hell, I could’ve stretched the definition of comics to fit Gleek in there, but no. There can be only one more, and it’s got to be Sky Ape.
Sky Ape was a little mini-series published by Slave Labor that was later picked up by AiT/PlanetLar and spawned a few sequels, like Sky Ape: Waiting for Crime, Sky Ape: All the Heroes, and Sky Ape: King of Girls, seen above. Created and written by pals Phil Amara, Michael Russo, and Tim McCarney, and drawn by Richard Jenkins, Sky Ape is a Pythonesque, madcap tale of, you know, an ape. With a jetpack.
Kirk Madge is our ape in question, and he’s a millionaire crimefighter with a mysterious past who happens to be a talking gorilla. He’s accompanied by people like Ms. Francis Bird, Paper Bob, Smashing O’Hara, Peyton Fenway, and Mister the Fake Lion. There is even a Pirate Steve who pre-dates Steve the Pirate from Dodgeball. These guys were ahead of the pirate comedy curve. Oh yeah.
If things like talking gorillas, randomness, pop culture references, and angry fire hydrants amuse you, pick up one of the trades. You get get ‘em off Amazon or find them cheap at a con or something.
The internet presence of Sky Ape isn’t massive, but it’s there. Visit the Official Sky Ape Website for art and profiles and random stuff, read this fantastic review of the first book which includes some sneaks at interiors, or check out these pages from King of Girls.
What have we learned from this ape escapade? I’ve learned that apes, gorillas, monkeys, or whatever the hell you feel like calling them, despite what science tells you, are engines through which laypeople can be informed and entertained. If it weren’t for gorillas, would we know anything about the horrors of Nazism, Communism, or France? Would we know about brain transplants, interdimensional travel, pheromones, or zoot suits? Would we have some of the best detectives in comics? Would we have comics’ greatest love story? Would we have a gorilla firing off automatic weapons? Who knows? Maybe we’d have some of that. But it wouldn’t be as great. If I know one thing, it’s that everything is better with monkeys. Or apes, or whatever.
I’ve taken you through a grand tour of apes the comics world has to offer, and even then, only the relatively big names. There are hundreds of others lurking out there in the pages of comics you never knew existed, and I urge you to dive into the bins and find them.
My work here is done. (Until tomorrow, anyway, when I launch into more wacky hijinks.)
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