?Why do we love apes so much? Perhaps because they’re so human-like — which is why ape characters are so often good or evil instead of, you know, just throwing poop. Cartoons, comics and pop culture are full of heroic simians and diabolical monkey villains; people don’t make movies about hyper-intelligent koalas or giant killer goats, but make a movie about an ape and you’ve made a fortune on DVD sales alone. Clint Eastwood wouldn’t be caught dead in a movie with a mischievous grasshopper, but he did two movies with an orangutan named “Clyde.” For some reason, people just love seeing apes getting into trouble, wearing human clothes, and solving mysteries. So where does that lead us? To the best ape heroes and villains ever!
THE 5 GREATEST APE HEROES:
5) Cornelius from Planet of the Apes
?Charlton Heston would have been nothing without Cornelius the chimpanzee behind him. Blah blah Ben Hur, blah blah Ten Commandments, they’re all small change when compared to the relationship between Heston’s Taylor and Roddy McDowall’s ape man. For him to be seen with a stinking human took some ape balls, and then to go into the Forbidden Zone took even more ape balls and probably a naked red ass too. In the third movie he was killed, but he’s probably in ape heaven now, swinging on a tire swing and eating ants with a stick.
4) Diddy Kong from Donkey Kong Country
?While he’s now been downgraded to a punching bag in any Smash Brothers game or a generic driver in any Nintendo racing game, people forget that Diddy Kong was a hero in his own series for a while that was surprisingly good. He was able to break free from his family stigma of kidnapping women and chucking barrels at Italians in overalls to chasing down a crocodile who stole bananas. It’s the monkey equivalent of Darth Vader turning his back on the Dark Side, and throwing Emperor Palpatine over a railing.
3) Gorilla-Man from Agents of Atlas
?There should be an unofficial rule in comics where any team of heroes needs to have an intelligent ape on it (“intelligent” being the key word). The Justice League has Congorilla, Tom Strong’s team has King Solomon, and the Agents of Atlas have Gorilla-Man. Cursed with apparent immortality and a talky mouth, Gorilla-Man whups a whole lotta ass for the sometimes-evil-sometimes-not Atlas Foundation. He’s the only ape on the list of heroes who can actually bring the fury of a mad simian down on his enemies (Diddy Kong doesn’t have much mad fury, he’s really little).
2) Lancelot Link, Secret Chimp
None of the other apes on this list could balance a successful spying career with the hard life of a bubblegum psychedelic rock musician. But Lancelot Link traveled around the globe, fighting other apes in people clothes and still turned up at least once per episode with his band “The Evolution Revolution,” which is a much cooler name than “Candlebox,” “The Bee Gees,” or “Bread.” Dear God, Bread is the worst name for a band, isn’t it? Which would you rather see, if you got a flyer on the street for these two bands? Evolution Revolution or Bread? Forget that one is only chimps playing fucking instruments, which concert sounds more fun?
1) Detective Chimp from Shadowpact
?Lancelot Link and Detective Chimp both solve crimes, but only Detective Chimp has a drinking problem. This might not be heroic, but it is totally awesome. The good detective here is a chimp that dresses like Sherlock Holmes and solves supernatural mysteries, and he hangs out on message boards with Batman, Oracle, and the Riddler. If that weren’t enough to put him about Link, he once was Dr. Fate for a little while. And he lives in a bar. And he’s awesome.
You’ve seen the best, now fear the rest, starting on the next page.
THE 5 GREATEST APE VILLAINS:
5) Curious George
?He may not be conscious of his awfulness, but Curious George is a threat and a menace to everyone he comes in contact with. He escapes from his cage, vandalizes homes, feeds an ostrich a bugle, prank calls the fire department, swallows puzzle pieces, and wastes ink. Let’s not forget that he’s even shown huffing ether in Curious George Takes A Job. Not even Doctor Doom huffed ether.
4) Monsieur Mallah from Doom Patrol and Teen Titans
?Whereas Gorilla-Man represents the “good” side of the smart ape coin, Monsieur Mallah represents the “WTF” side. We’re okay with the fact that he’s gay. Hell, we’re even okay with the fact that he wears a beret waaaaay after they went out of style. But when he’s in love with an evil brain in a jar (specifically, the Brain), that’s where we just say no. Mallah’s gotten his bare gorilla ass handed to him by the Doom Patrol, the Teen Titans, and the Outsiders, and he’s currently dead, but it’s only a matter of time before some writer with a monkey-in-beret fetish brings him back.
3) King Kong
The greatest of the great apes, he’s the one who put the beasts on the map (shut up, Cheetah from Tarzan). When we’re introduced to him, it’s during his regular meal of woman, right before he beats on a T-Rex. Then he comes to New York, beats more people up, peeps on some woman, then smashes airplanes out of the sky. Later, he went over to Japan and threw down with Godzilla, who was supposed to be a good guy. People died, folks. He ain’t no hero.
2) Mojo Jojo from The Powerpuff Girls
You need to be pretty badass for Devo to write a song about you. They never wrote a song about Megatron or Dracula, but they did write one about Mojo Jojo. And it’s good. He’s not, but the song is. Mojo Jojo fights the Powerpuff Girls, talks in a staggered speech pattern, and tries to take over the world. Eventually he will learn that taking over the world is really anticlimactic, since you have to deal with things like renewable resources, international commerce, and global warming, but for now, he can dream.
1) Gorilla Grodd from The Flash
?In all honesty, he’s the most powerful talking ape, hero or villain, ever. Not only is he super-smart, he’s also really, really evil. He’s the one who killed Monsieur Mallah — by beating him to death with the brain-in-a-jar he loved so much. He’s crippled the Flash’s friend Hunter Zolomon, turning him into the evil Zoom. He’s killed the Flash’s wife, but only in Wednesday Comics, so that doesn’t really count. But he’s bad. Batman put together a scenario once where Grodd had enslaved the entire world, because it was a possibility. Yikes.