Planet of the Apes #1

Planet of the Apes #1, August 1974

No prizes for guessing why I’m running this cover today. It’s a big goodbye to Charlton Heston, star of the first two Apes movies and a couple of other flawed but interesting SF films in the early ’70s: The Omega Man and Soylent Green. More famously, of course, he featured in numerous epic, often Biblical, movies throughout the ’50s and ’60s. And it’s worth mentioning he was in Orson Welles’s other great movie, A Touch of Evil — a personal favourite.

Marvel launched its magazine version of the movie series at the same time the Apes TV show was getting off the ground. All this Apes activity was apparently due to a recent showing of the first Apes film getting record ratings — a peculiarity that was later put down to bad weather keeping people indoors on that night. While the TV show only lasted a dozen or so episodes, Marvel’s magazine ran on for two and a half years, presenting comics adaptations of all five of the films alongside new material set in the same continuity.

Interestingly, rights issues meant that Charlton Heston’s likeness couldn’t be used in the adaptation, so artist George Tuska had to draw a generic astronaut as lead. Even then there was some trouble —  and some art corrections required — when the studio felt that the faces were still too much like Heston.

Anyway, a fond farewell to Charlton Heston.

Cover art by Bob Larkin

©2008 Twentieth Century Fox