That Time I Really Really Liked Detective Chimp

What I find memorable may not be what you find memorable, but I guess that's what blogs are for. (Oh and for cheap shots against the Outsiders.) I've probably said it before, but I loved the old Secret Origins series, never more than when they went for the more oddball characters and concepts. One particular favorite was the all-HQ issue, which I've discussed before, but special mention goes to the all-ape issue (Secret Origins #40, May 89) as well. Great cover, for one thing. The origins inside covered Gorilla City, Congorilla and if that wasn't enough, Detective Chimp.

And this weird little story illustrated entitled "If u cn rd ths" by Rusty Wells*, Andy Helfer and artist Mark Badger is what I most remember. To account for Detective Chimp (can I call him DC?)'s hyper-intelligence, this story proposes a tiny spaceship manned by a classic double-act bent on enhancing the intelligence of Earth's dominant species and improve their society. They choose Bobo the Chimp and enter through the mouth.
Check out the handy map. The stomach's pretty groovy, but let's get to the brain:
The upside down visual stimuli is a particularly nice touch. I was pretty surprised at how similar to Superman's origin this all was.
Well, aside from the microscopic aliens putting a jackhammer to his brain and the total lack of Krypton or Jimmy Olsen turning into monsters... Anyway, the intelligence sets in, and our boy Bobo has to deal with mysterious deaths and the backstabbing you expect from museum politics.
BEST. AGATHA CHRISTIE MOMENT. EVER!

So did our tiny aliens make a mistake in choosing a monkey as the dominant species of Earth?
Not from their perspective, they didn't.

And given that this is the DC Universe, I think it's fair to say apes do play a dominant role there.

*With a scripting assist from Émile Zola (see BEST AGATHA CHRISTIE MOMENT EVER!).

4 comments:

rob! said...

i used to buy SO just for Mark Waid's super-fun letter columns. that was a really cool book, i wish it was still around!

Siskoid said...

As do I. If I were running the DC Machine, you can bet I would bring back Secret Origins and Who's Who both.

De said...

Chances are if a comic features either a) monkeys or b) apes, I'll probably buy it. Make it a definite buy if the monkeys and/or apes have the ability to speak. Talking monkeys rule.

Siskoid said...

My friend Carolynn made it a point to get me a comic with a monkey on the cover as part of a Christmas gift. Reportedly, the comic store guy looked at her funny.

In return, I finally made a banner with a monkey on it for my blog.

 

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