Primates in Peril


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We are witnessing a grand time for comics. I can’t remember an era of comics that has witnessed so many ground breaking stories coming out one after another. Secret Invasion has fans begging for more and Final Crisis is one of the best DC books in years. However with so many books coming out all at once, there’s bound to be a couple ideas that just don’t make sense. The latest example of that is Marvel’s newest idea: Marvel Apes. Fans around the world were heard all join in on a chorus of asking, \\"Um…Why?!\\"

Here is the description of the first issue of Marvel Apes #1 taken from Marvel’s website:

"Flingin' feces, True Believer-- the entire Marvel Universe has gone APE!
Just when he thinks life can\\'t get any worse or weirder, Marty Blank – a.k.a. that lovable loser, the Gibbon -- finds himself and the brilliant-and-beautiful Dr. Fiona Fitzhugh transported to a world where monkeys rule and humans don\\\\\\'t exist!
SEE the spectacular simian city of Monkhattan!
MEET the hominoid heroes and villains – SPIDER-MONKEY! DOC OOK! IRON MANDRILL! SIMIAN TORCH! THE APE-VENGERS! And more!
THRILL to the return of Speedball!
CONTAINS No-Ads, as we are thrilled to present you backup tales exploring the Apeiverse!
LEARN the dark secret of the primate planet!
WORRY that the fate of the entire universe is in the hands of the Gibbon!
Not a hoax, not a dream, not an imaginary story - just the most not-to-be-missed mini-series of the season! If you only buy one (well, two) comics this month about super-powered, intelligent apes-in-capes, it must be MARVEL APES!\\"

I really am at a loss for words. It would appear that someone at Marvel has read my column, Things You Need to Make a Comic Great and totally agreed on the part about monkeys.

The first issue of Marvel Apes, penned by Karl Kesel and with art by Ramon Bachs, hits comic shops this week. Along with the first issue, nearly all the Marvel books coming out will also have variant ape covers. You can preview some of them at Entertainment Weekly’s website.

On the newest Marvel podcast, senior art director Jeff Suter interviewed Marvel Apes scribe Karl Kesel on the new train wreck, um, pardon me, series. When Suter asked Kesel his reaction to getting the phone call about doing the series, Kesel admitted it was "Stunned disbelief." Yeah, well us too Karl.

Listen, I love all comics, but at my core I really am a Marvel kid. And this, this is just ridiculous. I just don’t see how this could possible be successful. Of course each issue comes with a parody of a classic Marvel cover, which has become Marvel’s favorite thing to do since it was such a hit with the Marvel Zombies books. Why not just do one issue with a collection of parody scenes with Marvel character’s as apes, just to get it out of your system. Sure people will buy it for the covers, and when they come out with second printings with other parody covers people will buy those too. And when they inevitably come out with the Diamond Select Marvel Apes action figures fans will scoop them up. The sad truth is as long as there are bad ideas to be had there are fans that are willing to pay for them. Or so Marvel hopes.

Do yourself a favor and put that $3.99 towards another book, maybe even an indie book you’ve been meaning to try. Or just buy a couple tacos, or whatever. As long as we keep supporting lame attempts at entertainment such as this they’ll keep pumping them out. Give it a year and you can pick this up in the $.05 bin at a con.

Now let’s be reasonable for a second here. I haven’t actually read the book, and I’ll be the first to admit it’s not exactly fair for me to pass judgment at this point. However, IT’S MARVEL CHARACTERS AS APES! How could this possible be good?! How I ask you? It’s not going to change anything that’s actually going on in the Marvel Universe right now. The only hope is that it might be humorous, but even that is asking for a lot being that this premise is so absurd. This sounds like something DC would do. Oh wait, THEY ALREADY DID! Does anyone remember the huge hit JLApe?

I promise you all, I only offer up this criticism because I hold Marvel up to such high standards. I have been thoroughly enjoying all of the Secret Invasion stuff going on. Perhaps you have to have a certain amount of throw-away concepts just to generate some revenue from time to time to be able to finance such big risks like Secret Invasion or other titles, but I can’t help but feel there are classier ways to do it. One can’t help but wonder, has the House of Ideas run dry?



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