Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Gorillas Don't Have Sideburns. Flash #106

Gorilla Grodd may be the best-known talking gorilla supervillain in comics. He started off pretty inauspiciously, though. He didn't even get the cover of Flash #106 and gorillas almost ALWAYS got the cover.

Grodd's first appearance was as a second feature in Flash #106. Grodd arrives in Central City Park at the controls of an "all-purpose craft" which flies, submerses in water and bores through the Earth. immediately, the citizens of Central City begin reporting strange gorilla sightings.

These sightings trouble actor Fred Pearson who plays a gorilla on the stage in a play "The Great Gorilla" (I'm not generally a devotee of live theatre, so maybe I'm a poor judge, but does anyone out there think a theatre is going to pack the house every night with a dude in a gorilla suit?). Pearson keeps blacking out after and sometimes before the show and now people are seeing a gorilla in the streets at night. Fred calls his friend, policeman Barry Allen (aka the Flash) for some help.

On his way to meet with Fred, Flash spots a gorilla and gives chase, but the gorilla out-maneuvers the Fastest Man Alive in all-purpose craft. Flash then goes to meet with Pearson and hears his strange story first hand.

Meanwhile, we are introduced to Grodd who spends a lot of time thinking expositionally to himself about how he came from Gorilla City- a secret, hidden city in Africa populated by super-intelligent gorillas. Grodd is Gorilla City's lone criminal mind and he has come out into the human world seeking Solovar, the missing ruler of the gorillas. Solovar alone holds the power to control others by "force of mind". using his own telepathy, Grodd locates Solovar as a captive in a circus. Grodd rips the secret from Solovar's mind and returns to Gorilla City.

Solovar escapes from the circus and seeks out the Flash. Enlisting Flash's aide, Solovar and the Scarlet Speedster rush to Gorilla City where they quickly defeat Grodd. Apparently the spinning attack Flash uses on Grodd jots the force of mind power right out of him.

Flash returns home and tells Fred Pearson that his troubles are over.

This story is really short and really unimpressive. Apart from the fact that it features talking gorillas and a gorilla city, it really doesn't have much about it that speaks of the impact it will have for years to come.

As we have previously seen, evil talking genius gorillas are nothing new to DC at this time. And even an embryonic version of Gorilla City had been previously seen in a 1950's Congo Bill story- albeit a more rustic version made of bamboo and huts. Still, Grodd had something to him that made him return again and again, arguably becoming Flash's arch-enemy (or is that Mirror-Master or Captain Cold?- ask Pat at The Silver Age, that discussion can really drag out!). Even so, gorillas do not have sideburns.


  1. A neat write up on Grodd Aaron! He's always been one of my all time favorite G's... I think your side-burn observation is worthy of enshrinement (somewhere) :)
    Oh, my vote goes to Professor Zoom, the Reverse Flash as Barry Allen's greatest enemy.

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