I’ve been impressed lately by a number of blogs that follow an entire comic series from the first issue up. Here’s one where the writers are reading all 108 issues of Jack Kirby and Stan Lee’s Fantastic Four run, in order, for the first time.
So, never being one to let a good idea go unstolen, I’ve decided to do something similar. Now, there aren’t too many series where a gorilla is the star (the first issue of a Gorilla Grodd title was written and drawn in the mid-70s, but was never published), so my options in that regard are a little limited*. I figure, being a huge Jack Kirby fan, the nearest I can get is to cover Jack’s 1978 magnum opus, Devil Dinosaur — which, eagle-eyed readers will notice, co-starred a little fellow by the name of Moon Boy. He’s a proto-human, but close enough to a gorilla for my purposes. Hey, what am I — a zoologist??!
Before I get to looking at the series as a whole, a little history might be in order. Back in 1972, DC tried, and failed, to get the rights to publish a series based on the Planet of the Apes movies. Publisher Carmine Infantino turned to his star artist, Jack Kirby, and asked him to come up with something similar. Kirby being Kirby, his response was Kamandi, the Last Boy on Earth. In that series, Kamandi is a youth wandering a devastated future Earth where all animals are intelligent and have the power of speech lording it over the poor down-trodden humans. Though it is by no means Kirby’s strongest creation, it is a lot of fun and proved to be his biggest hit at DC, and one of DC’s longest runs of the 70s.
Kirby left DC in 1975 to return to Marvel. After he’d been there a couple of years, Marvel heard that an animation studio were looking into the possibility of producing a Saturday-morning cartoon show based on Kamandi. Liking the idea of having their own property to exploit, Marvel asked Kirby to come up with something similar (sounds familiar, eh?). Kirby being Kirby, his response was Devil Dinosaur — a series nothing like Kamandi.
Reviews of the individual issue of Devil Dinosaur can be found here:
*yes, okay, Angel and the Ape. I’ll be looking at that series once I finish with Moon Boy. As it were.
Image ©2013 Marvel Characters, Inc