This month brings the conclusion of the PLANET OF THE APES trilogy. To commemorate, ComicsVerse is going Ape! We’ll be focusing on all things simian by looking at some of our favorite pop culture primates. For more articles in this series, click hereToday let’s look at some forgotten apes in comics…

We all know of the mighty apes like King Kong, Gorilla Grodd, and Dr. Zaius, but what about the forgotten apes? Never fear because today is the day — the day we remember the forgotten apes in comics! Even when the mighty have fallen, somehow, these forgotten apes have made it through the test of time and still live today.

8. Ultra-Humanite

Ultra - Humanite - Young Justice - Forgotten Apes

First appearing in ACTION COMICS #13 by Jerry Siegal and Joe Shuster, Ultra-Humanite was the first supervillain that Superman faced and the first arch nemesis Supes had before Lex Luthor. He would transfer his advanced and growing mind to host bodies so his mind and super abilities could expand, but the host bodies would burn out.

When he placed his mind in an albino white gorilla from Gorilla City, he finally found a host to allow his mind to advance further. Appearing throughout DC comics, he also has had exposure across the animated universe appearing in TEEN TITANS, JUSTICE LEAGUE, and YOUNG JUSTICE. Although he may not act as the first name that comes to mind for most fans, his super intelligence, strength, power in telekinesis, and telepathy make him a formidable foe.

Ultra-Humanite made a mark in the animated universe, and seeing him on the big screen would be an interesting choice. With an upcoming SUPERMAN sequel in the works, even as an intro villain he has potential to at least shake things up for big red momentarily.

READ: Need some Justice League history? Check out our essential reads HERE! 

7. Gleek

Gleek - Screenshot of SUPER FRIENDS- Forgotten Apes

The little blue monkey first appeared in SUPER FRIENDS #7, shortly before his debut on season 2 of the TV show. Gleek served as comic relief on the show (as if there wasn’t enough already) and was teamed up with The Wonder Twins. Along with the Wonder Twins, Gleek fled the carnival life on planet Exxor to Earth where they then adventured with the Super Friends.

With having the ability to stretch his tail to any length, and capacity to understand humans and animals, Gleek does not serve many purposes aside from being adorable. He is just a blue monkey in a romper and a cape when it all comes down to it.

Since SUPER FRIENDS in the 80s, Gleek only appeared in a short-lived 5-episode Adult Swim show, THE NEW ADVENTURES OF THE WONDER TWINS in 2007. However, Gleek has recently returned in CAVE CARSON HAS A CYBERNETIC EYE, where artist and writer Tom Scioli’s backup story SUPER POWERS features short adventures of Gleek and The Wonder Twins. The brief 1-2 page storylines are more than enough for this goofy trio.

6. Titano

Forgotten Apes - Titano - Cover of Superman 138

Titano, created by Otto Binder and Curt Swan, first appeared in SUPERMAN #127. Once a normal, albeit extremely intelligent, chimp named Toto, he was selected for an experimental space mission due to his high intellect. During this mission, a Kryptonite meteor collided with Toto’s ship along with a Uranium meteor passing by. This altered the chimp’s genetic sequence causing his size and strength to increase dramatically.

After crashing back on Earth, he battled Superman in Metropolis. Then he was given the name Titano by Lois Lane after she wrote a story about his rampage in the city. Short lived for his mighty size; he is one of Supes’ more formidable foes due to his enhanced strength and Kryptonite vision. He has appeared numerously in Superman storylines but has never lasted longer than one shots stories or single episodes.

I’m not sure if he is worth putting production money into as even a small villain. If the DCEU expands a bit more, seeing his robotic body in the Fortress of Solitude would make a great Easter egg or maybe along with a Daily Planet headline: “Monkey shot into space shot down by unknown rocks!”

5. Detective Chimp

Forgotten Apes - Detective Chimp - Injustice Vol 3

Back in 1952, Detective Chimp made his first appearance in ADVENTURES OF REX THE WONDER DOG #4. He was originally known as Bobo after his kidnapping from Equatorial Africa in 1953 by Fred Thorpe, who used him for a carnival act as “Bobo, the Detective Chimp.” A success in the carnival due to his high intelligence, Bobo met Rex, the Wonder Dog. Rex later leads Bobo to the Fountain of Youth where Bobo gained the ability to speak to any living creature, as well as eternal youth. After the death of his owner, Fred Thorpe, Bobo began to do detective work on his own.

Detective Chimp hasn’t had any large appearances since the “Day of Vengeance” storyline in 2006. In the DAY OF VENGENCE, Detective Chimp, who has now become a drunk at the Oblivion Bar, talks a group of mystical characters into battling the Spectre. He even at one point bonds with the helmet of Doctor Fate which grants him additional powers and helps GCPD capture the Trickster.

Other than holding a pivotal role in volume 3 of the video game based comic INJUSTICE, the little guy just hasn’t had anyone find a way to make a series out of him. However, Detective Chimp did appear in BATMAN: THE BRAVE AND THE BOLD episodes “The Golden Age of Justice” and “Gorillas in Our Midst.”

4. Dr. Pogo

Forgotten Apes - The Umbrella Academy Vol 1

Gerard Way, who is now running DC’s YOUNG ANIMAL imprint, began his comic career with THE UMBRELLA ACADEMY. Doctor Pogo serves as a friend and aid to those at The Umbrella Academy. Pogo was fairly crucial in Volume One of the series until his death at the hands of one of the former students. Then a younger Pogo appears in the second volume of the series and helps get Spaceboy, Kraken, and Séance to Kennedy’s assassination. For now, he may be lost to history, serving as a perfect candidate for the forgotten apes.

With still some talk about THE UMBRELLA ACADEMY becoming a T.V. show, there is hope for Pogo. Details on Volume Three of the series have not surfaced so far, but Gerard Way may not forget about this friendly ape just yet.

READ: Curious on what Gerard Way has been up to lately? Learn more about DC’s YOUNG ANIMAL imprint here! 

3. Monsieur Mallah

Forgotten Apes - Monsieur Mallah

Monsieur Mallah first appeared in DOOM PATROL #86 in 1964, created by Arnold Drake and Bruno Premiani. Holding an I.Q. of 178, Monsieur Mallah is a militant super-intelligent gorilla raised in France. The scientist who created Mallah was nearly killed in an explosion, but Mallah found a way to save his brain. Mallah then transferred it to a robot host, hence the scientist donning the name The Brain.

After years of battling the Doom Patrol and the Teen Titians, the relationship between Mallah and The Brain got even more bizarre. In DOOM PATROL #34 in 1990, written by Grant Morrison, Mallah transferred The Brain into Robotman’s new body.

Here the two confessed a love for each other and kissed before Robotman’s new body exploded due to a self-destruct mechanism. Although they didn’t die, now we have this inter-species couple causing chaos in the DCU. They have appeared in several animated series including TEEN TITANS, BATMAN: THE BRAVE AND THE BOLD, and YOUNG JUSTICE.

READ: Curious about DOOM PATROL? Catch up with our review of issue 1 here!

If these romantics ever hit the big screen, it would be a shock to all, even fans of the book. If a Doom Patrol movie ever did happen hopefully the current creative team will have some input for it. Gerard Way is writing the current DOOM PATROL book so who knows when he may slip these two into the series!

2. Congorilla

Forgotten Apes - Cry For Justice #1 Cover

Congorilla first appeared in MORE FUN COMICS #56 in 1940, created by Whitney Ellsworth and George Papp. Explorer and adventurer Congo Bill was a protector to his home in Africa. Chief Kawolo was on his death bed when he offered a magical ring to Congo Bill. The ring was sacred and gave Bill the ability to transform into the legendary Golden Gorilla.

CONGOBILL was first a DC Comics adventure strip before appearing in various titles like ACTION COMICS. He then disappeared for some years before having his own mini-series in 1992, and again in a 4-issue miniseries in 1999. He returned in 2009 for the post-FINAL CRISIS series CRY FOR JUSTICE.

Congo Bill starred in a movie serial in 1948. Although the Golden Gorilla didn’t appear, the series was focused on Congo Bill’s adventures in Africa. Unfortunately, he has yet to debut in any other media. With DC’s REBIRTH in full effect, there’s a chance we will wind up back in Africa to add more stories to the Golden Gorilla. So for now, he lands on our list of forgotten apes.

1. Marvel Apes

Forgotten Apes - Marvel Apes Vol 1 cover

Finally, the last of the forgotten apes is a series that I’m sure no one remembers, the simians of MARVEL APES. MARVEL APES is a four-issue limited series in 2009, written by Karl Kesel and artwork by Ramon Bachs. A part of the MARVEL Multiverse, it features characters like Spider-Monkey, Captain Ape-erica, and the Ape-Vengers.

Also in 2009, MARVEL released PRIME EIGHT which was another ape storyline but not connected to the previous planet of apes. DC did a similar series back in 1999 called JL-APE: GORILLA WARFARE. So, no wonder MARVEL had to do their own monkey spin off eventually. With Marvel’s multiverse in shambles right now, who knows if we’ll ever get a glimpse of these apes in the future.

READ: Monkeys still on your mind? Learn about Y: THE LAST MAN potentially being a T.V. series here!

Forgotten Apes

There you have it! The eight forgotten apes in comic book history. Although these apes are not completely forgotten, slowly, they’ve begun to disappear in the comic book universe. Never say never in comics though — who knows when these apes will be relaunched in a new (and hopefully better) way.

Check back to see what else ComicsVerse will be tossing your way during this Ape-tacular month!

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