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CSBG Archive

Silver Age September – The Bizarrely Awesome Detective Chimp!

After a month of spotlighting the strange (if endearingly strange) history of comic books (and especially the Silver Age), I think it is worthwhile to show the comic books of the Silver Age that are simply great stories period. Here is an archive of all the Silver Age comics features so far!

Today we look at a sampling of John Broome and Carmine Infantino’s delightfully odd Detective Chimp back-ups from the pages of The Adventures of Rex, the Wonder Dog. I picked a year at random (as they are all fun strips) – so here is a sampling of two cool 1957 Detective Chimp tales!


Here is the basic concept for the strip from Detective Chimp’s first appearance back in Rex #4 in 1952…

The twist on the series is that Bobo is a bit of an idiot savant. He is brilliant at certain things and hopelessly naive at others. To wit, he’s smart enough to build his own bathysphere, but doesn’t know what a submarine is.

That comes up in our first story, “The Mystery of the Talking Fish,” from Rex #32…

As well as our second, “The Case of the Chimpanzee’s Camera,” from Rex #34…

Broome and Infantino (who was inking his own pencils here) only had six pages in each issue, so it is remarkable the amount of charm they packed into these pages. These are cute stories with an endearing lead character in Bobo. And the formula was an easy one to continue with new adventures every issue, as Bobo is just that inquisitive and naive. Very cool stuff.


nice to see dectective chimp show up for thought he was a worthy canidate for this colum. mostly due to the fact he is a talking chimp.

mostly due to the fact he is a talking chimp.

He doesn’t seem to actually be a talking chimp in these ones.

I like the later Detective Chimps that I read where he talks. He’s especially good in Brave and the Bold cartoon. The art on these is awesome too, Carmine does a great job. The writing is harmless and isn’t objectionable I suppose, but doesn’t seem to be anything to write home about. It is 1957 though, so with the post-Wertham era in full effect and no competition from Marvel yet or pretty much any other company I guess this must have been pretty good for its day. John Broome does seem to be a less bad writer when he avoids science fiction.

Awesome, indeed. But that’s the craziest-looking chimp I’ve ever seen. That snout is amazing. And I guess nobody told Broome and Infantino that chimps can’t swim.

This chimp is special!

“I know him– he’s Bobo, the Detective Chimp!”


The chimp built a bathysphere complete with rivets in a week singlehandedly with no apparent workshop and you’re hung up on the fact that his swimming is unrealistic?

Not to criticize, but you pick backup stories from Rex the Wonder Dog over actual Rex the Wonder Dog stories?

Where’s the Showcase reprint of these stories? Put in the Rex the Wonder Stories too. 500+ pages of Gil Kane and Infantino art would be great.

That is, beyond a doubt, the best Carmine Infantino artwork I’ve ever seen. Thanks for featuring this.

“Hey, that’s no ordinary monkey!”
“Hey, you’re right! It’s an ape. What an idiot I was to say otherwise.”

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