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Tag Archive: Planet of the Apes


Just shy of her 47th birthday, Koko the gorilla passed away Tuesday in her sleep at the Gorilla Foundation’s preserve in Woodside, California, in the Santa Cruz Mountains.  Koko represents a giant leap in the future of humanity’s relationship with the animal kingdom–she could sign more than a thousand of words of American Sign Language and understood 2,000 words of spoken English, she liked to rhyme words, she could read and paint (painting not only real objects but expressions of her thoughts and emotions, even naming her paintings), and could play a musical instrument–the recorder.  She proved years of human scientists wrong, conveying clearly to the world that she had complex thoughts and feelings, sharing compassion, laughter, love, and care for others.  And she became famous for all she showed the world, and had well-known friendships with the likes of Mr. Rogers and Robin Williams.

Born on the Fourth of July in 1971 at the San Francisco Zoo, the western lowland gorilla was named Hanabi-ko, which is Japanese for “fireworks child.”  Koko’s ability to communicate with humans via American Sign Language put her twice on the cover of National Geographic, one photo featuring her own selfie (long before selfie was a term).  That was thanks to her long-time friend and researcher Dr. Francine “Penny” Patterson, who began teaching Koko in 1974 when she was three years old.  Over the course of her incredible life she proved that gorillas could communicate about objects that weren’t present, had the ability to recognize themselves in a mirror, and further, they could convey personal memories.  Koko invented new sign-language words for things she didn’t know the word for, she knew the meaning of what she was communicating, and she was even a teacher–another primate learned sign language by watching videos of Koko signing.

Her relationship with her first cat was covered by the mainstream press.  For her twelfth Christmas she wanted a pet cat, and for her following birthday she was allowed to select one from a litter of abandoned kittens, which she named All Ball, reflecting the roundness of the cat and her own fondness for alliteration.  All Ball died when she sneaked out of her room and was hit by a car that year, and Koko reacted like any human would, with profound grief, which she conveyed in words via signing.  Koko adopted several more cats over the next 30 years, adopting two most recently in 2015 that she named Miss Black and Miss Grey.  Koko was preceded in death by her friend Michael, her gorilla friend who also could sign, who passed away in 2000.  She was living with her friend Ndume, a male gorilla, when she passed away.

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A month ago here at borg.com we discussed looking outside the comic book medium for the artwork of your favorite comic book artists.  You don’t need to look too far outside of comic books to find the next great artwork from fan-favorite cover artist Ryan Sook.  Every year just in advance of San Diego Comic-Con, comic book stores are stocked with the annual update to The Overstreet Comic Book Price Guide.  First published in 1970, the 1,200 page log of nearly every comic book published to-date arrives at its 48th volume this summer, dated 2018-2019.  Known as the go-to guide for prices for a generation of collectors, Robert M. Overstreet’s book of prices and thumbnail photos is also a source to glean what’s happened in the past year by way of comic book trends.  It features its own hall of fame for comic book legends, plus full-color sections highlighting some of today and yesteryear’s best covers.

For this year’s comic book store exclusive hardcover edition, Gemstone Publishing tapped Ryan Sook to create a cover to commemorate 50 years of Planet of the Apes films.  Sook reached beyond the original to reflect imagery from throughout the Planet of the Apes movie saga– a great homage to the original shocking environment as Charlton Heston’s astronaut Taylor arrives in the future horrifying world of human scarecrows, with General Ursus leading the charge and the creepy denizens in Beneath the Planet of the Apes, the return to the past by spaceship for the apes in Escape from the Planet of the Apes, to the militant world and apes under arrest in Conquest of the Planet of the Apes, culminating with the eagerly-awaited first appearance of The Lawgiver in Battle for the Planet of the Apes.  The familiar image of Roddy McDowall behind John Chambers’ Oscar-worthy make-up takes center stage–McDowall connects all of the films alternately as Cornelius and Caesar (and later as Galen in the TV series), and here he cleverly blocks the identity of the planet.

You can only purchase this edition of the Overstreet Comic Book Price Guide in comic book stores, so put in a call to Elite Comics to make sure you get a copy when this new edition arrives in July.

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It’s been fifty years since talking apes first took over theater screens across the world.  Planet of the Apes first screened for U.S. audiences in the spring of 1968, ushering in the dawn of a new age in sci-fi and dystopian film and the rise in a level of movie make-up on a scale not seen before.  In the battle for your movie-going dollars, the conquest was won many times over by each additional entry in the franchise.  All told nine times the story would gain new light on the big screen–so far–it would return with four sequels, two television series, numerous graphic novel adaptations, a remake, and a modern film saga.  Fortunately for fans the war will never end.  Beneath it all was Pierre Boulle’s original novel published only five years before, La Planète des singes, still in print and available here.  All these years later you still cannot escape the iconic imagery, first and foremost that way-too-far-past the spoiler alert image of the upper half of a destroyed Statue of Liberty perched on the beach.  And we eagerly await each new way to title a sequel that the next creators taking over can come up with.

How many kids sat up at the end of the film asking how the Statue of Liberty got all the way to the ape planet?  Somehow even the young ones got it, and we’d get our early taste of movie tie-ins in the form of trading cards and model kits (my own prize for weathering a hernia surgery at 4 years of age was the great Dr. Zaius model from Addar Plastics Co.).  As part of the observance of 50 years of the original film, Entertainment Earth has just begun accepting pre-orders for its first-ever line of Kenner-style vintage action figures (click on each of the six images below to learn more and/or order).   General Ursus looks great!  (Toymaker Mego had its own line of larger figures back in 1974).  The 50th anniversary is also celebrated with a Monopoly tie-in, 1960s style (available here) and a great retrospective look from Abrams Books at the vintage trading card series (reviewed here).  No single box set assembles all the films, although you can get a recent release of the original five films here and the recent trilogy here, all at Amazon.

   

When we speak in terms of genre landmark franchises we usually begin with the 50-year mark of longevity with the big or small screen, including James Bond, Doctor Who, Superman, Batman, and most recently Star Trek.  Planet of the Apes took its first step into that rare class with the novel’s anniversary in 2013, but it is now forever cemented with legendary status.  Here is a vintage TV trailer that played on your wood-grained Zenith console 50 years ago this week (although most of the U.S. watched this in black and white, as the new-fangled color TV was too expensive for the average household):

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The Forbidden Zone was once a paradise.  Your kind made a wasteland of it….  Would an ape make a human Monopoly game, with ape street names? … Don’t look for it, Taylor.  You may not like what you find.  –Dr. Zaius (paraphrasing a bit)

In its most recent earnings statement, toymaker and licensor Hasbro reported that its gaming unit revenue for the second quarter was up significantly over last year.  Its franchise brand revenues, driven by growth in games like Monopoly, resulted in a 21 percent revenue increase for the company, to $545.7 million.  What does that mean for fanboys and fangirls?  Not only is Monopoly thriving, the 115-year-old marathon board game about real estate that we’ve all played over the years is here to stay.  Although it was slow to adapt to computing (the bootleg game Monopole was popular before then-owner Parker Brothers jumped in), to keep up with the times Monopoly partnered with municipalities, sports teams, movies, and other brands to keep Monopoly fresh.  What?  You missed the U.S. Navy edition?  The Ford Thunderbird edition?  The Superman Returns and Pokémon editions?  The Heinz, Doctor Who, and Batman and Robin editions?

It’s a madhouse.  A madhouse! … We finally really did it.  You maniacs! –Astronaut George Taylor

For its next franchise tie-in, Hasbro has partnered with 20th Century Fox Consumer Products to release this summer’s strangest mash-up game: Monopoly: Planet of the Apes Retro Art EditionIt’s not just your typical Monopoly tie-in with a popular franchise.

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The granddaddy of American genre franchises offers up its next entry next week.  Billed as the final chapter, War for the Planet for the Apes at a minimum will bring the reboot universe into a complete trilogy story, focused on star Andy Serkis as Caesar.  The story continues two years after the events in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes (directed by Reeves), the sequel to the first of the reboot series, Rise of the Planet of the Apes (co-produced by Clark).  So unlike many franchises these days, the same people are creating the beginning, the middle, and the end.  Thanks to director Matt Reeves and producer Dylan Clark, we should have some continuity among the films.

War for the Planet for the Apes introduces to the films Woody Harrelson as a military leader bringing mankind’s last stand to the apes.  War for the Planet of the Apes co-stars Karin Konoval (The X-Files, Tru Calling, Fringe, Supernatural, Psych, Arrow), Judy Greer (Ant-Man, Tomorrowland, Jurassic World), Chad Rook (Timeless, Supernatural), Ty Olsson (Continuum, Supernatural, Battlestar Galactica) and Steve Zahn (That Thing You Do!, Sahara).  

The final poster is out (above, top) and a few more trailers revealed.  We have a full scene below featuring the introduction of Zahn, known for his comedic performances, revealed as a new ape referred to as “Bad Ape,” a reference given by humans while he was kept at a zoo.  Quickly we see what all the buzz is about with respect to the show’s special effects and Andy Serkis’s unique acting talent.  Will the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences award Serkis with a full acting Oscar, breaking the barrier for motion capture performances?  Also, make sure you watch below the very sly teaser of sorts incorporating what looks at first blush to be someone’s YouTube upload from a visit to a zoo.  First up, here is a great look behind the scenes at the motion capture technology and Andy Serkis’s role:

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Gary Gerani, Topps editor for hundreds of classic trading card series returns with a new book in Abrams ComicArts’ unprecedented series of hardcover books recounting the  classic Topps “non-sports” trading cards.  This time Gerani looks at the entire collection of Planet of the Apes images featured throughout three series chronicled on cardboard by Topps in Planet of the Apes: The Original Topps Trading Card Series.

In nearly 500 pages Gerani includes the fronts and backs of all 44 cards from the original 1969 Topps set documenting the original film starring Charlton Heston, all 66 cards based on the 1975 television series (featuring Roddy McDowell and Star Trek’s Mark Lenard), and all 90 base cards, 10 sticker cards, and 44 chase cards from the 2001 reboot film directed by Tim Burton and starring Mark Wahlberg.  If you’re a Planet of the Apes fan, a fan of either of these incarnations of the several adaptations of Pierre Boulle’s 1963 science fiction novel Monkey Planet, or a POTA completist, you’ll learn something new about the franchise now spanning nearly five decades.

    

Although you’ll get exactly what you’d expect–full color images of the fronts and backs of the cards, Abrams’ trademark bubble gum cover and wax pack wrapper jacket, and promotional images–the real insight is found in Gerani’s knowledge as a Topps and Hollywood insider.  Working directly on the second and third series and working with the creators of the original series, Gerani provides an understanding of the business of designing a trading card series, the challenges (like celebrity image licensing restrictions), and high points (like finding that perfect image for a card that fans will love).  Many cards use photos taken on the shooting set, so they give different vantage points to the actors and sets than found in the films.

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WETA’s perfected motion capture technology is sure to drive fans of one of science fiction’s most enduring franchises to the theaters this summer when War for the Planet of the Apes takes the planet by storm.  The third installment of the reboot Planet of the Apes movie series now has a second trailer.  The granddaddy of American genre franchises offers up its next entry with star Andy Serkis reprising his role as Caesar, with director Matt Reeves and producer Dylan Clark.

The story continues two years after the events in 2014’s Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, also directed by Reeves, the sequel to the first of the reboot series, 2011’s Rise of the Planet of the Apes (Dylan Clark was a producer on that film, too).  The film introduces Woody Harrelson as an arrogant, General Custer-esque military leader bringing mankind’s last stand to the apes.  He doesn’t look all that sympathetic, and we’re sure we will be cheering for the apes in this picture.  Caesar and orangutan Maurice (Karin Konoval) lead a raid on a village of humans and it looks like certain doom for the humans.  As fans of the series know, when an outcome is inevitable, it’s quality story telling and effects that will be key to making this a great film.

War for the Planet of the Apes also stars Judy Greer (Ant-Man, Tomorrowland, Jurassic World), Chad Rook (Timeless, Supernatural), Ty Olsson (Continuum, Supernatural, Battlestar Galactica) and Steve Zahn (That Thing You Do!, Sahara).

Here is the second trailer for War for the Planet of the Apes:

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At New York Toy Fair 2017 Super 7–formerly partnered with Funko–proved yet again that no other toy company compares when it comes down to sheer volume of licenses it holds, and the company continues to venture into the obscure and retro as shown in its line of ReAction, classic 3 3/4-inch Kenner-inspired action figures we have covered here at borg.com since day one.  We’ve seen Alien, Arrow, Back to the Future, Big Trouble in Little China, Breaking Bad, The Bride of Frankenstein, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, The Creature from the Black Lagoon, The Crow, The Dark Crystal, Dracula, E.T., the Extra-Terrestrial, Escape from New York, The Fifth Element, Fight Club, Firefly, The Flash, Frankenstein, Friday the 13th, The Golden Girls, The Goonies, Gremlins, Halloween, Hellraiser III, The Invisible Man, Jaws, The Karate Kid, Masters of the Universe, The Mummy, The Nightmare Before Christmas, A Nightmare on Elm Street, The Phantom of the Opera, Predator, Pulp Fiction, The Rocketeer, The Rocky Horror Picture Show, Scarface, Scream, Star Trek, Suicide Squad, Taxi Driver, The Terminator, Terminator 2: Judgment Day, Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Tomorrowland, Trick or Treat, and The Wolfman.  

What more could you want?

How about Planet of the Apes, Hellboy, Shogun, Robotech, the classic Batman 1966 TV series, Iron Maiden, Heavy Metal, The Toxic Avenger, Street Fighter 2, Nosferatu, Alfred Hitchcock, and more Alien, plus figures from the sequel Aliens, more Masters of the Universe, and more of those ultimate retro action figures that never were: The Worst. (Follow the links to learn more and order available figures from Entertainment Earth).

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With Planet of the Apes you’ll see Cornelius, Zira, Taylor, an Ape Soldier, and General Ursus.  With Robotech, at least six VF series robots, six Shogun figures, Batman, Robin, Batgirl, and several villains from Batman ’66, as well as the classic Batmobile.  Hellboy features Hellboy, Abe Sapien, Liz, and Lobster Johnson.

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Motion capture fans take note: WETA looks like it has perfected the technology and we have plenty of great special effects to look forward to in War for the Planet of the Apes. The third installment of the reboot Planet of the Apes movie series now has a full trailer. The granddaddy of American genre franchises offers up its next entry with star Andy Serkis, director Matt Reeves, and producer Dylan Clark.  Serkis is again Caesar, the star character of the original movie series.

The story continues two years after the events in 2014’s Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, also directed by Reeves, the sequel to the first of the reboot series, 2011’s Rise of the Planet of the Apes (Dylan Clark was a producer on that film, too).  The film introduces Woody Harrelson as what appears to be an arrogant, General Custer-esque military leader bringing mankind’s last stand to the apes.  He doesn’t look all that sympathetic, and we’re sure we will be cheering for the apes in this picture.  Caesar and orangutan Maurice (Karin Konoval) appear to lead a group of armed apes to raid a village of humans, or it the other way around?

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War for the Planet of the Apes also stars Judy Greer (Ant-Man, Tomorrowland, Jurassic World), Chad Rook (Timeless, Supernatural), Ty Olsson (Continuum, Supernatural, Battlestar Galactica) and Steve Zahn (That Thing You Do!, Sahara).

Here is the first full-length trailer for War for the Planet of the Apes:

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The third installment of the reboot Planet of the Apes movie series now has a teaser to go with its name.  The wordy-but-consistent with the franchise title War for the Planet of the Apes was featured at New York Comic Con today, with star Andy Serkis, director Matt Reeves, and producer Dylan Clark revealing the teaser plus a scene showcasing Serkis’s lead character Caesar taking on a new nemesis.

Woody Harrelson plays an aggressive ape leader referred to as Colonel.  The film pits the Colonel against lead protagonist ape Caesar, with plenty of sparring over the course of the film.  In the brief clip shown to Con attendees, Caesar and orangutan Maurice (Karin Konoval) lead a group of armed apes to raid a village of humans.  The story continues two years after the events in 2014’s Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, also directed by Reeves, the sequel to the first of the reboot series, 2011’s Rise of the Planet of the Apes (Dylan Clark was a producer on that film, too).

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Matt Reeves, Andy Serkis, and Dylan Clark before the release of the teaser in Times Square Thursday. (Andy Serkis, Twitter)

War for the Planet of the Apes also stars Judy Greer (Ant-Man, Tomorrowland, Jurassic World), Chad Rook (Timeless, Supernatural), Ty Olsson (Continuum, Supernatural, Battlestar Galactica) and Steve Zahn (That Thing You Do!, Sahara).

Here is the teaser for War for the Planet of the Apes:

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