Comics are full of monkeys. It turns out that monkeys are fun to draw! And also cute. In honor of Tor.com going ape this week, I’ve put together some of my favorite simians featured in comics.
The archetypal Monkey King is one of the main characters in Gene Luen Yang’s American Born Chinese. Yang tells the Monkey King’s story as a story of identity, making a parallel to the story of the Asian-American immigrant. The Monkey King is looked down on by the gods and must prove himself by being true to himself; the immigrant must similarly find a balance between the culture of the country he now lives in and his original identity. This book is very good; it’s won the Michael L. Printz Award. And also there is a monkey who flies around on a cloud.
Root Nibot and Colleen Coover’s Banana Sunday is adorable. (So is everything else Colleen has ever done—check out her latest book, now just out, Gingerbread Girl.) There are three apes in this book, and they’re representations of the classic see no evil / hear no evil / speak no evil tropes. Add high school to that story, and then there are hijinx! Adorable hijinx.
Mike Mignola’s Hellboy is one of the classic comics series, because is art is 100% gorgeous and his writing is just as good. (Also sometimes there are pancakes, which are an important classical element.) In Box Full of Evil, Hellboy fights a monkey. Who is enslaved by a demon. It is awesome. If you are interested in dramatic monkey fights, this is the book for you.
The most famous monkey in the DC Universe is Gorilla Grodd the Flash’s arch-nemesis. He is not cute at all (as you can see), but he can read your mind! And also beat you up. Enough said.
Guerillas is a book about using monkeys as soldiers. Oh, U.S. government. When will fictional-you learn that this really isn’t a good idea? In the end, it turns out monkeys are not good at understanding the concept of country loyalty. Surprise!
Monkeys in space! James Vining’s First in Space is a non-fiction graphic novel about the first monkeys to go to outer space. They get monkey-shaped space suits and everything! And as are most animals that go to outer space, the monkeys contained in this book are super-cute.
Bonus book: Eric Shanower and Skottie Young are doing adaptations of Baum’s classic Wizard of Oz series. They contain flying monkeys! Also they are very pretty.
Comics full of monkeys! What are your favorites?
Gina Gagliano likes kittens more than monkeys, but Tor.com has yet to come and ask her to write for their kitten!week.