No. 203 – Elevator of the Apes

Ugoo-Robert, leader of the All-new Ape Gang, from prog 2088’s (2018) Judge Dredd story Elevator Pitch[1], written by Rob Williams and drawn by Chris Weston v Koba, played by Toby Kebbell, from Dawn of the Planet of the Apes (2014)[2]

The “All-new” Ape Gang refers back to the Judge Dredd story The Ape Gang [or Monkey Business] appearing in prog 39 (1977); written by John Wagner and drawn by Mike McMahon; the leader of which was named Don Uggie Apelino, and which featured mutated, intelligent apes (or “uplifts”), the result of cerebral cellular engineering, inhabiting a Mega-City One ghetto known as The Jungle.[3]

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, a re-reboot[4] of the successful Planet of the Apes (1968) franchise – based on the novel La Planète des singes (Le cercle du nouveau livre, 1963) by Pierre Boulle (1912–1994) – is the sequel to Rise of the Planet of the Apes (2011), the plot of which is loosely based on the film Conquest of the Planet of the Apes (1972), and is followed by War for the Planet of the Apes (2017), loosely based on the film Battle for the Planet of the Apes (1973).

Koba of the Apes series is a bonobo, or “pygmy” chimpanzee, as distinct from the larger common chimpanzee; an endangered species of great ape which, looked at in a certain light, sort of makes pitting him as an antagonist all kinds of dodgy.[5]

Notes:

  1. An “elevator pitch” is a US business idiom meaning a succinct and persuasive sales pitch, ie. one that can be presented successfully within in the constraints of a single elevator ride
  2. Koba was played by Christopher Gordon in Rise of the Planet of the Apes, but it seems to us that Ugoo-Robert was more likely based on Koba’s lengthier and more memorable on-screen appearance in its sequel
  3. At least up until The Jungle’s obliteration during The Apocalypse War (progs 245270 (1982))
  4. Although Tim Burton’s uninspiring 2001 remake Planet of the Apes was a financial success, Fox nonetheless chose not to follow it up with a direct sequel
  5. The overall dodginess of ghettoised ape gangsters in Judge Dredd notwithstanding

No. 48 – Big in Japan

Prog 1752’s (2011) Low Life[1] cover [from an idea by Matt Smith] featuring Dirty Frank by D’Israeli[2] v Musashi Gorô Sadayo Dies in Battle at the Age of Fifteen [前太平記辛島合戦 武蔵五郎貞世討死図] [detail] by Katsushika Hokusai [葛飾北斎] (1760–1849)

15 year-old 10th century samurai Musashi Gorō Sadayo died battling imperial troops at the Battle of Karashima [not the Battle of Mt. Shimahiro, where the remainder of the rebellion was put down] after is lord, Taira no Masakado (†940), proclaimed himself the new emperor of Japan in 939.

Ukiyo-e [浮世絵, “pictures of the floating world”] woodblock prints and paintings flourished in Japan in the 17th–19th centuries. “Big in Japan” is an expression originating in the 1970s used to describe western based musical groups who achieve success in Japan but not necessarily in other parts of the world.

D’israeli’s own detailed account of this cover’s creation appears on his excellent blog here.

Notes:

  1. Series created by Rob Williams and Henry Flint
  2. Matt Brooker, aka D’Israeli D’Emon D’Raughtsman