Angel and the Ape
Created by E. Bridwell, Howie Post and Bob Oksner
Like, groovy! ANGEL BEATRIX O'DAY is a New York city-based private eye, who runs the O'Day and Simeon Detective Agency. She's 5'10" and 140 lbs, has blue eyes and platinum blonde hair, and tends to favour short dresses and skirts. But the dumb blonde jokes stop here. She's also a crackerjack sleuth, with a keen eye and a sharp mind. She speaks twelve languages (Mandarine and Cantonese Chinese, Japanese, Dutch Afrikaans, Swahili, Ancient and Modern Greek, Latin, Spanish, German, Russian, and Atlantean), and excels at computer hacking and cryptography. And she's not someone to push around, either. She a deft hand at Karate and Kung Fu, a world-class fencer, and a crack shot. She favours a stainless steel Detonic 45 ACP, but is also pretty handy with a knife.
So it's probably a good idea not to try and push this lady around.
Her sometime-partner, meanwhile, is more the strong silent type. His name's SAM SIMEON, and he's a successful comic book artist who nevertheless lends a hand now and then. Surprisingly, given that he's at 5'9" and weighs in at 550 lbs, Sam's not there for muscle -- Angel can take care of herself, thank you -- but he does bring certain skills to the team. He tends to use his brains more than his brawn, though rumour has it he's pretty slick with an X-Acto knife. And, oh yeah, Sam's a big ape.
But don't mention that to him. He's kinda sensitive about it.
Originally, the fact that Sam was a gorilla was played totally deadpan. Supposedly Angel and Sam met when she and her father, Professor Theo O'Day, were travelling in Africa. Suffice it to say that the O'Days were suitably impressed. It's not every day you meet a talking gorilla, after all.
But in the 1991 mini-series, Phil Foglio retooled Angel's and Sam's back story. It was revealed then that Sam was in fact a refugee from the secret Gorilla City, and the grandson of long-time Flash (you know -- the fast guy with the winged feet and the red suit) arch-enemy Gorilla Grodd. As well as the power of speech, however, Sam has also been blessed (or maybe cursed) with a variation of Grodd's "force of mind", that allows him to to convince people and apes of whatever he wishes. Not something that endeared him to his fellow gorillas, given his grandfather's history. So Sam figured that following the O'Days stateside wasn't a half-bad idea.
Anyway, regardless of Sam's origins, upon returning to the States, Sam discovered an aptitude for art, and became a talented comic book artist, working at Brainpix and later DZ Comics, where he has created successful characters like Attilla Gorilla, Jungle Woman, and the Deus Ex Machina Man. Meanwhile, Angel's agency has became quite successful as well,, and the two have have cracked some pretty strange cases, many involving DC's super-hero community.
Over the years, since their first appearance in Showcase Presents, way back in 1968, Angel and Sam have appeared in a couple of short series, and occasional guest appearances in various DC books, often inked by the legendary Wallace (Wally) Wood. In their latest incarnation, a mini-series that hit the racks in August 2001, Angel is still a top-notch private eye by day, and her sidekick is still the strong, silent type. But given that this latest outing will be a four-part Vertigo mini-series, and that it's co-scripted by Howard Chaykin, I figured it would be a safe bet it might be a little darker and more twisted than the wide-open innocence and goofy humour of the original series, which shared a lot of its campy tone with the original Batman television series of the sixties.
But I was wrong. The humour's a little more risqué, and Angel certainly shows off a lot more flesh, but the same whacky, cartoony humour pervades the series.
Oh, and if this isn't too much monkey bidness for you to be involved in, check out Bobo the Detective Chimp.
- "Angel and the Ape" (#77 (September, 1968) .
- "The Case of the Going, Going, Gone Go-Go Girls!" (November-December 1968, #1)
- (January-February 1969, #2)
- (March-April 1969, #3)
- (May-June 1969, #4)
- (July-August 1969, #5)
- (September-October 1969, #6).
- "Christmas with the Super-Heroes" Issue (#34)
Includes unpublished Angel and the Ape story by Oksner and Wally Wood.
- (March 1991, #1)
- "The Apes of Wrath"(April 1991, #2)
- "Family Feud" (May 19991, #3)
- "Monkey See, Monkey Doom!" (June 1991, #4)
- "Model Behavior" (October 2001, #1)
- "Death Becomes Her" (November 2001, #2)
- "36DD For Death" (December 2001, #3)
- "Deus Ex Machina!" (January 2002, #4)
Respectfully submitted by Kevin Smith. Thanks to Mr.
Lamb Frys for the heads-up. The bananas are in the mail.
Black and white illustration is an alternate cover by art Adams from the upcoming Vartigo mini-series, from The Art Adams Gallery.
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