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I Love Ya But You’re Strange – Good Look Absorbing Their Dark and Sinful Will!

Every day this August I’ll be spotlighting strange but ultimately endearing comic stories, one a day (basically, we’re talking lots and lots of Silver Age comic books). Here is the archive of past installments of this feature.

Today we take a look at one of the stories from the first issue of Strange Tales. It is drawn by Manny Stallman called “The Beast.” I don’t know who wrote it. It contains some…interesting theories about gorillas. Apparently, gorillas are inherently evil or something. Read on to find out more!

The issue opens up with an anthropology student visiting the Gorilla cages at the zoo. Then a fellow student comes by that our guy, Phillips, really hates. The other fellow is Paul Lorenzo. At least I presume that’s how it goes, they refer to him as “Paul” and “Lorenzo” at different points, so I presume that’s suppose to be his first and last name. Or it is just a screw-up. Either or.

So anyhow, Paul has some…interesting theories about gorillas.

Isn’t that some crazy stuff? I love Paul’s dialogue.

Look at what happens when they realize who is breaking into the exhibit…

Paul’s dialogue is so great! “I’ve always felt he was a kindred soul – seeking evil and power!”

Paul’s awesome dialogue continues, as he appears to be hitting on the professor now. So anyhow, Paul does, indeed, turn into an ape and he starts going nuts on the other two guys (because, after all, apes are evil, dontcha know).

However, out of NOWHERE, with absolutely no explanation given…

Phillips is a bit of a jerk, too. What, you go back to taunt Paul? That’s kind of messed up.

Like this whole story, really. And yes, there is a good deal of racist sub-text involved. Great art by Stallman, though.

22 Comments

randypan the goatboy

August 10, 2011 at 6:24 am

I would have loved to be a fly on the wall at this story pitch.” What? apes are evil incarnate…it all makes sense now. Run with it, tell the world”.I love how the guy who is the brand new ape kicks the crap out of the real ape. he must have used some kind of trick on the real ape…something along the lines of ,” oh my god…its faye wray”

randypan the goatboy

August 10, 2011 at 6:28 am

did anyone else notice a little hint of racism in this story? At one point before he becomes the gorilla he goes from being a white guy to a black guy…and then into an ape. maybe its just me, but it is almost like subtext or something I cant quite identify

It’s embarrassing that you completely glossed over the racism in this story: to get to “ape,” the Caucasian man must become African: Panel 3, Frame 7

The guy’s slowly turning into an ape – darkening his skin is going to have to be part of the process, right? It’s not like the guy hypnotizes him to think back to Africa. He thinks back to Medieval times and then (in a page I didn’t share) to neanderthal times and then even further back to primordial time.

That said, sure, the panel does look weird. And I’d certainly agree with sub-textual racism. I just don’t think it is overt.

Yes, nothing says “evil incarnate” like a group of largely peaceful vegetarian animals.

I do understand what they were trying to do. They were riffing on the whole Jekyll and Hyde thing where Hyde (Jekyll’s evil side) would often resemble more of a primitive man in the movies. The idea that what people deem as evil coming from more animal impulses. However, it’s the execution that’s just screwy.

The story reeks of racism. Not blatantly, sure — but its certainly there. Everything the guy says about the apes (and his appearance, esp. in the regression panels) point to old caricatures of and stereotypes about Africans. Most obviously, it was long argued in the scientific community that Africans were more primal and ape-like in appearance, manner, etc. and therefore less evolved (and less worthy of autonomy/respect) than Europeans. I find it hard to ignore that subtext for the story.

Oh sure, I’m fine with noting it as a sub-text.

I’m just surprised Phillips got through all that without calling his Thunderbolt for help. “Say, you don’t really want to become an ape, do you?”

Wow wow wow…that is beyond awesome.

I don’t really see the racism to be honest. I mean, how could they turn him from a white guy into a dark colored ape without him turning darker at some point in the process. Also, he kind of had those facial features even when he was 100% human white guy.

What confuses me is the doctor says the man will retain his human form but mentally go back to an apelike state. Yet when they actually do the process, he does indeed become a physical ape. Am I missing something here?

Also, I love that in being transported backwards through the evolutionary process of mankind, he goes back to an era where humans fought dinosaurs. Never mind that the gap between the last dinosaur and the first human is about 65 million years! That to me is an even crazier bit that the all gorillas are evil theory.

I think it is that the doctor doesn’t exactly know what will happen.

Clearly, the writer never met Cornelius and Zira.

By the way, is the title meant to be “Good LUCk” rather than “Good LOOK?”

So, Paul’s a furry, then?

Daniel O' Dreams

August 10, 2011 at 10:37 am

“I like all evil things…. and brute force.”
So I’m guessing your the protagonist of the story right?

Does the man turned ape kill the doctor?

Also, I love that in being transported backwards through the evolutionary process of mankind, he goes back to an era where humans fought dinosaurs. Never mind that the gap between the last dinosaur and the first human is about 65 million years! That to me is an even crazier bit that the all gorillas are evil theory.

Well, that’s true on our world, but both the Marvel and DC earths have dinosaurs surviving in remote corners of the globe right up to the present day. Not that they were thinking about that kind of continuity way back then, but as it happens it fits in just fine.

I’m an ape and I’m 100% evil.

What?

The idea of apes being inherently evil is an old one, and was quite common in Western culture until recently. At one time it was commonly thought that since Man was created in the image of God, then apes and monkeys (they weren’t clearly distinguished in the old days– the word ‘ape’ originally referred to a macaque) must have been created in the image of Satan.
Even in the 19th Century and the first half of the 20th, apes were usually seen as having all the negative qualities of humans, with few, if any, of the positives. Watch practically any old movie with a gorilla.
It’s kind of shocking to realise that almost nothing of actual ape behaviour was known to science before the 1960s.

See! That Dian Fossey was full of crap! Gorillas are natures most hateful and evil creatures! Why just look at those tiny mad eyes!

Also, if I didn’t know better (which I don’t) I would swear that this is some sort of bizarre come on. I mean holding some guy forcibly, whilst talking about absorbing the wicked sinful ways of apes, causing you to be locked in with him all night…. I think Paul may have been interested in more than just evil and brute force.

I am in love with Paul’s dialogue, that’s how awesome it is.

When did this comic come out? I wonder if it was influenced not just by Jekyll and Hyde, but by the movie ‘Monkey Business’ – maybe the writer saw it and thought, what if this same story was done as a horror, not a comedy?

Whatever the genesis, it’s fascinating and brilliant! Love these features (although I have a hard time distinguishing the ‘almost hiddens’ from the ‘love ya but you’re strange’)

Alex F

Mary made the point I was going to make–the Ape is Evil or at least More Savage trope has a long history. I’m more forgiving of it in a 1950s story than some of Geoff Johns’ Flashes (where he asserts Grodd’s ultra-scary because he’s an Animal, not a Civilized Man).
That being said, it is underwhelming that Paul the Gorilla Man never actually does anything with his new utter evil soul.

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