One of the biggest apes in pop culture history will find a new home in the pages of BOOM! Studios’ Kong on the Planet of the Apes. Written by Ryan Ferrier and drawn by Apes and Kong comic alum Carlos Magno, the November-debuting series will kick off right where the 1968 adaptation of Pierre Boulle’s Planet of the Apes novel left off.
This six-issue limited series will find Dr. Zaius and General Ursus returning to the Forbidden Zone to destroy the evidence of human dominance Charlton Heston’s Taylor discovered. Instead of digging up a human shaped dolly saying, “Mama,” though, the walking-talking primates discover something far more troubling: King Kong!
How will the cultured and evolved denizens of the Planet of the Apes take to meeting an unmistakable throwback to their earlier days? Ferrier’s keeping the larger details close to the vest, but we do know that a trip to Skull Island is on the books. CBR talked to Ferrier about that journey, plus his own longtime love for these characters, and what their introduction will mean for the world at large.
CBR: When I first heard of this title, I had a real head-slapping moment of “why hasn’t anyone thought of this before?” What was your reaction at the outset?
Ryan Ferrier: That was my first reaction as well: genuine surprise that it hasn’t happened before and that I hadn’t been obsessively plotting it for decades already. But then came the excitement; pure, unbounded excitement, to say the least. Not only is this a dream gig for me, but it’s so much fun.
Before going into this project, what were your relationships with Planet of the Apes and King Kong?
To say these properties are close to my heart is an understatement. It’s no surprise to anyone that knows me that I am the biggest Planet of the Apes fan. For me, PotA is that fandom; the big, lifelong, die heard thing I’ve always adored. And in comics specifically, this is my dream gig. And Kong… who doesn’t love Kong? Who wasn’t mesmerized by the books and films growing up. I’ve always had a propensity for writing non-human characters in my comics, and that aside, if you saw my apartment, you’d see it’s full of PotA stuff. I’m that geeky about it.
Carlos Magno has worked on both Apes and Kong comic projects in the past. Did that change how you tackled your scripts at all?
Carlos’ work is amazing. I’ve loved his work on Apes and Kong thus far, and was absolutely thrilled to hear he’d be returning for our series, and I’m honored to work with him. If anything, it put me in a headspace of feeling energized and really confident about how this story would come together. Knowing how good he is, and how he works, that is a huge confidence boost. Not only that, but he’s a fan and a seasoned pro with these characters. The scripts are written knowing how good Carlos is, how much he’s trusted, and with incredible passion and excitement; so really, it’s the ideal situation for me as a writer.
What can you tell us about how everyone’s favorite giant ape winds up that far in the future?
Well, without giving too much away, I will say this, as I’ve seen some speculation on the hows and whens: time travel, though prevalent in the mythology, is not present in our story. We’re diving into the roots of the fantastic story by Joe DeVito, which was also expanded upon in Kong of Skull Island by James Asmus and Carlos Magno. So there isn’t one Kong, but rather they are a species of giant ape. How this species has ended up thousands of years into the future is a big element of the story we’re telling here, and we’re really thrilled with how it’s going to unfold.
How does Kong react to seeing not humans examining him, but fellow apes?
How Kong interacts with our apes, and how they interact with him, is a huge driving point of the story we’re telling. With the apes specifically, there are many conflicting ideologies and motives at play.
Without spoiling too much, I’ll just say that Kong’s response to the apes is as profound as theirs, and that relationship — both between Kong and the apes, and within the apes as well — will certainly change throughout the story. As a writer I’ve been blessed with being able to play with and expand upon such rich characters like Cornelius, Zira, Dr. Zaius and General Ursus. And we really are exploring a Kong that is different than what we’ve seen before; he’s not just a rampaging beast, but the last of an entire species with a huge legacy and history behind him.
The story moves from the Forbidden Zone to Skull Island. How has that place evolved during the ape uprising and conquest?
The idea of adventure and exploration, of discovery, is a huge part of this story, it’s themes, and our characters’ motivations. We are seeing Skull Island thousands of years in the future, but the way that it’s survived, even in the face of global destruction, plays heavily into the apes journey. Skull Island is mysterious, it’s own microcosm outside any civilization, and that’s an element we really wanted to preserve and explore, alongside our apes.
Kong on the Planet of the Apes #1, by Ryan Ferrier & Carlos Magno, is scheduled to smash into stores in November from BOOM! Studios.
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