Most people say that the “famous” quote from Silver Age editor Julius Schwartz “Put a gorilla on the cover!” is just an urban myth, but it is impossible to deny that there were some amazing stories involving apes and monkeys that came out of the DC Universe. But not every monkey gets to climb to the top of the tree.
Very few primates have stuck around to be a lasting impression on the whole landscape of the DC Universe. These are the top bananas of the DC primate world ranked in their current level of importance.
Titano was a very intelligent chimpanzee named Toto. He befriended Lois Lane after she cleaned pie off his face. Toto was then test subject in an experimental rocket ship. Almost immediately, a uranium meteorite crashed into a stray Kryptonite meteor. The radiation bathed the chimpanzee and caused the rocket to malfunction.
The ship crashed to Earth and opened as Toto grew to gigantic proportions. Toto recognized Lois Lane in the crowd and scooped her up. She called him Titano. The ape began to rampage through Metropolis. Superman tried to stop him, but found that the ape had developed Kryptonite eye beams. Remembering that Toto mimicked human behavior, Lois convinced Titano to put on a pair of lead-lined goggles that had been specially made. Subdued, Superman flew Titano through the time stream to the Prehistoric past.
9 Beppo the Super Monkey
Superman’s biological father Jor-El used Beppo as a test subject for Kal-El’s escape rocket. Somehow, Beppo stowed away on Kal-El’s final rocket as it escaped Krypton’s destruction. Disappearing after the ship landed, he didn’t turn up again until Kal-El had grown into Superboy.
Beppo, having gained the superpowers under Earth’s yellow sun, caused a great deal of trouble in Smallville but Superboy convinced the monkey to follow him into deep space and to stay there. Eventually, the young monkey encountered Supergirl, who introduced him to Comet the Super-Horse and Streaky the Super-Cat. Together with other animals, Beppo founded the Legion of Super-Pets.
King Solovar is the king of the intelligent gorillas of Gorilla City. Like Gorilla Grodd, Solovar possesses “force of mind” powers. Under Solovar’s rule, Gorilla City became a technological Utopia far beyond that of the human populations in Africa. Solovar erected a force field that hides the city from prying eyes.
In modern times, humans captured Solovar and brought him to the Central City Zoo. He contacted the Flash with his mental powers and revealed the location of Gorilla City to the first human in years. Later, deciding to aid the world in solving its problems, Solovar let the world know of the existence of Gorilla City and applied for membership in the United Nations. He advocated peace between humans and apes but was killed by a lethal car bomb supposedly set by humans manipulated by Gorilla Grodd.
The Ultra-Humanite is actually a human brain in the body of a mutant albino ape. The unnamed criminal genius possessed such vast mental energy that it gave him powers like telepathy and telekinesis. These energies slowly destroyed the Humanite’s body. One of his abilities was to transfer his brain into other bodies, most famously, actress Delores Winters. In this form, he battled the war-time All Star Squadron and Justice Society of America many times.
In the Gorilla body, the Ultra Humanite kept this form for some time as it was the most intimidating and the strongest body he had possessed in decades, both in obvious strength and standing up to the rigors of his mental energies. He fought Infinity Inc., the New Teen Titans, and the rejuvenated JSA in this form.
6 Monsieur Mallah
Monsieur Mallah is the constant partner of the Brain, a disembodied brain in a canister. The scientist who possessed the Brain had raised the intelligence of the ape Mallah to a genius level. The scientist also trained Mallah to be his laboratory assistant. The scientist believes that his colleague Niles Caulder was jealous of his work and had arranged an explosion that destroyed his body.
Mallah saved the scientist’s brain, attached it to a computer network, and preserved it in a canister with defensive weapons. Mallah and the Brain gathered others to create the Brotherhood of Evil to take over the world and get revenge on Caulder. Caulder had assembled The Doom Patrol to counter the machine-gun-wielding ape and his compatriots. Mallah and the Brain also caused problems for the Teen Titans on occasion.
5 Sam Simeon
Sam Simeon is originally an intelligent gorilla from Gorilla City but is currently living in New York City. Sam is also the grandson of the villainous Gorilla Grodd and has inherited his “force of mind” powers.
Sam usually only uses these powers to make people see him as a normal human being and not as a large mountain ape. Sam works as a comic book illustrator and occasionally helps his friend Angel O’ Day in her private detective agency. Sam has his private detective license and is skilled in firearms, but prefers the life of an artist.
Coming from the planet Exxor, Gleek started out as the star attraction in a traveling carnival. Unhappy there, he escaped and became the pet of the shape-shifting teenagers Zan and Jayna, aka the Wonder Twins. When Superman brought the pair to Earth at the request of their father, Gleek accompanied them and hangs out at the Hall of Justice.
Gleek’s tail is prehensile and can extend to nearly any length that he desires. It is also extremely strong and can bear weights far greater than his body could bear. Gleek is more intelligent than Earth monkeys and is able to perform complex actions and understand commands.
Congorilla, the Golden Gorilla, is the mystical ape worshiped by an unnamed African tribe that was befriended by renowned hunter and explorer William “Congo Bill” Glenmorgan. The chief gave Congo Bill a magic ring that allowed him to transfer his consciousness into Congorilla’s body and control its many superhuman abilities, including strength, agility, stamina, enhanced senses, regeneration, size alteration, and immortality.
Together, they had decades of adventures. In a plot orchestrated by the villain Prometheus, Congo Bill’s human body, his entire troupe of gorillas and his friend the African hero Freedom Beast were all murdered. This trapped Bill’s consciousness in the gorilla’s body for all time.
2 Gorilla Grodd
An outcast citizen of Gorilla City, Gorilla Grodd is a frequent foe of Barry Allen and Wally West. Grodd has vast psionic abilities that give him the ability to place multiple minds under his complete control and the ability to create convincing illusions. Grodd is physically stronger than a gorilla his size and is a genius.
Grodd first encountered the Flash when he led a group of gorillas to take over Central and Keystone Cities, not realizing that the long-missing King Solovar was imprisoned in the city’s zoo. An attempt to turn all the pets of Central City against their owners was thwarted by Wally West and Rex the Wonder Dog. Grodd also crippled Hunter Zolomon, leading to him becoming the villain Zoom.
1 Detective Chimp
Detective Chimp (aka Bobo) was a simple but intelligent “helper mascot” to the local sheriff. Bobo’s life changed when Rex the Wonder Dog took him to Florida to the legendary Fountain of Youth where Bobo gained immortality, heightened his intelligence to genius levels and the ability to speak to all animals, including Humans.
Bobo took on his own clients. But having no legal standing, he couldn’t enforce payment. He became an alcoholic and stayed in the other dimensional Oblivion Bar. When The Spectre destroyed magic and transformed the Phantom Stranger into a mouse, the Stranger went to Bobo in the Bar and they formulated a plan to bring a group of mystical heroes together called Shadowpact to battle the Spectre. Later, Bobo also aided the mystical branch of the Justice League Dark.