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Not-Planet of the Apes

Here’s a science fiction limited-series comic that came to us from CEX last year: Josif 1957. “You know about Laika, the Cosmonaut dog sent into orbit on Sputnik 2. But no one knows about Josif, the first gorilla in space! Born on Josif Stalin’s birthday and subjected to terrible genetic experiments, Josif soon grew far too powerful. The leadership of the Soviet Union did all they could to stop him. But not everything went as planned!” It’s written by Davide Barzi, and illustrated by a talented young Italian artist, Fabiano Ambu.

image c. 2024 CEX Publishing

King of… TV?

Interesting Disney news we got from Animation World Network: “Disney+ has begun development on a new live-action series based on the famous 1933 King Kong film, Deadline reports. Disney Branded Television is producing, with Paper Girls creator Stephany Folsom on board as writer and executive producer… According to Deadline, the series will be an ‘action-adventure drama that brings the classic monster story into the modern age, with a return to Skull Island and the dawn of a new Kong.’  The show will be based on Merian C. Cooper’s original films as well as the newer King Kong novelizations by Joe DeVito, digging deeper into Kong’s origin story and mysterious home.” Important side note: “This new King Kong series is not related to the Monsterverse movies from Legendary Entertainment, which, due to a complicated, tangled web of rights, could only use the name ‘Kong’ to refer to their giant ape in the films Kong: Skull Island and Godzilla vs. Kong.  We’ll next see a Monsterverse Kong on the small screen with the animated series Skull Island via Netflix.” Big news on the big ape front.

image c. 2022 Universal Studios

Mom is a Monkey. Kind of.

Thanks to ASIFA Hollywood we found out about Ape Star, a new Scandinavian animated film directed by Linda Hambäck. Based on a popular children’s book by Frida Nilsson, the set-up is pretty simple: “Joanna is a feisty young orphan who wants to be adopted more than anything else. When her potential new mom drives up to the orphanage, she gets a big shock as the door opens and a talking gorilla steps out.” An English dub is making its way into streaming services now. Take a look at the trailer on YouTube.

image c. 2021 Lee Film

Man on the Island of Monkeys

And no, we’re not talking about Kong of Skull Island either. Cartoon Brew has an article about a new animated film in development called Kensuke’s Kingdom. “Based on the bestselling novel by War Horse author Michael Morpurgo and adapted for the screen by screenwriter Frank Cottrell Boyce (Hilary and Jackie, Welcome to Sarajevo, The Railway Man), Kensuke’s Kingdom follows the story of a young boy who washes up on a tropical island overseen by a mysterious Japanese soldier named Kensuke, who lives there with a family of orangutans as his companions.” Directed by animation veterans Neil Boyle and Kirk Hendry, the film combines a variety of 2D techniques for a rather unique overall look. No word yet on any plans for international distribution, but the Cartoon Brew article includes a proof-of-concept short film the directors have been showing around lately. It gives you a good idea what the film might look like.

image c. 2017 Lupus Films

The Mice Have Competition…!

Ape and Armadillo Take Over the World is a new hardcover Toon Book for young readers, written and illustrated (in full color) by James Sturm. “How much fun would it be to take over the world? Armadillo is trying to come up with a plan for global domination…but with every new idea, being a bad guy seems a little less fun. Young readers will delight in star cartoonist James Sturm ‘s tender depiction of how far a true friendship can take you.” Order it over at the Toon Books site.

image c. 2016 Toon Books

image c. 2016 Toon Books

Big Ape Before the Movie

BOOM! Studios have been granted an exclusive right to create a new prequel back-story for King Kong himself, taking place before even the original 1933 movie. “Award-winning publisher BOOM! Studios and DeVito Artworks LLC are excited to announce Kong of Skull Island, an original, limited comic book series… featuring the famous gargantuan ape, King Kong, created by Merian C. Cooper, and grounded in artist/author Joe DeVito’s ground-breaking literary property Skull Island.” This new full-color 6-issue mini-series is available now, and BOOM! has a lot of preview stuff on-line.

image c. 2016 BOOM! Studios

image c. 2016 BOOM! Studios


All Right You Big Ape, Draw!

Fans of comic book art how-to’s would be wise to look up the Pen & Ink series from Boom! Studios, where professional comic book artists go into the details of their creative process in a step-by-step manner. For the next installment, Boom! have tapped the creators of the popular series Six-Gun Gorilla (which we’ve covered here previously). Now artist Jeff Stokely (aided by insights from writer Simon Spurrier) bring us Six-Gun Gorilla: Pen & Ink, which re-creates the first two issues of the comic in a large 11 x 17 inch black & white format with commentary on each panel. You can check it out over at Previews.

image c. 2015 Boom! Studios

image c. 2015 Boom! Studios

Does He Advertise Luggage?

Meanwhile, in another part of the DC Comics universe… Vertigo to be exact. Astro City is of course the well-known “different take on the super-hero concept” comic written by Kurt Busiek. All sorts of characters waltz in and waltz out of its pages, and in Astro City #23, it’s an ape. Yes, Sticks is a talking gorilla, but he’s not in town to be a superhero… he just wants to play the drums in a rock band! This first issue of a 2-part story arc is illustrated by Brent Anderson with, of course, a painted cover by Alex Ross. Look for it now.

image c. 2015 Vertigo Comics

image c. 2015 Vertigo Comics

And More From DC’s Convergence

Looks like Harley Quinn and her lady-pals aren’t the only ones running into talking animals this month. In Convergence: Adventures of Superman #1, the Man of Steel and Supergirl journey through the mysterious Phantom Zone — and wind up battling an army of intelligent apes from the world of Kamandi, Last Boy on Earth! Fortunately Kamandi and some less destruction-minded animals are there to help out. This one is written by Marv Wolfman, one of DC’s superstars. The art is by Andy Owens and Roberto Viacava, with a cover by Mikel Janin. Again, it’s on the shelves right now.

image c. 2015 DC Comics

image c. 2015 DC Comics