The Silver Age of comics had a lot of weird stuff happen. More often than not, that meant throwing stuff at the wall and seeing what stuck, metaphorically speaking.
I thought I’d get a decent-sized entry out of this week’s column, a pair of characters I vaguely remembered, but there actually isn’t much to them. But here we are anyway with the team of Angel and the Ape.
The year was 1968, and writer E. Nelson Bridwell created a pair of new characters for the pages of DC’s Showcase title that, well, look at the name. “Angel” was private detective Angel O’Day. She manages a private detective agency called “O’Day and Simeon”. Simeon is her friend and partner Sam. He’s a talking gorilla. After their premier in the pages of Showcase, the pair got a seven issue run on their own series.
As a side job, Sam (AKA “the Ape”) was a comic book artist, just like Merryman of the Inferior Five and Captain Carrot. I’m guessing that was the go-to profession for DC’s sillier characters. Plus, according to legend onetime DC head honcho Julius Schwartz once said you could guarantee a lot of sales if you slapped a gorilla on the cover, which may also explain where these two came from.
Now, quite frankly, that’s about all there is to say about Angel and the Ape. They do occasionally pop up here and there. In fact, DC tried reviving them twice. Once was for a similar humor title, and then later they got a Vertigo title co-written by Howard Chaykin and with covers by Arthur Adams. Quite frankly, Chaykin’s presence on characters like this scares the hell out of me, so I really don’t want to dig any deeper than that into the Vertigo version.
Then again, Art Adams can apparently draw a cool ape.
If anything, the second attempt worked to create connections between Angel, Sam, and the rest of the DCU while also explaining how Sam could walk around during the day and not be recognized as a talking gorilla. It seems Sam was the grandson of Gorilla Grodd, giving him low-level telepathic powers that made him look human to small groups of people. And Angel was the half-sister of Dumb Bunny of the aforementioned Inferior Five, who were also created by Bridwell.
So, yeah, that’s about it. Told ya there wasn’t much there.