Saturday 8 March 2014


Neal Adams, Apeslayer
Neal Adams finds his Killraven artwork, "improved upon,"
by an uncredited, "collaborator."
Somehow, no matter how hard one might try, it's the subject that can never be escaped.

It's the power and majesty of Apeslayer!

Just twelve Planet of the Apes covers posted two days ago were enough to bring out the reader demands for Apeslayer covers

Reader, I cannot let you down.

As we all know, in the 1970s, always happy to jump on a bandwagon, Marvel UK took to reprinting US Marvel's Planet of the Apes stories.

There was only one problem.

The UK Planet of the Apes came out once a week and the US ones only came out once a month.

Needless to say, this meant that, within weeks, the UK mags had run out of material to reprint.

This might have defeated lesser men, but the editorial staff of Planet of the Apes were not lesser men. Not for them the barren wasteland of despair. Instead they had an idea worthy of Peter Griffin himself. They simply got Amazing Adventures' War of the Worlds stories and redrew the Martians to look like apes.

They then renamed Killraven, "Apeslayer," called Carmilla Frost, "San Simian," and Bob's your uncle - not to mention being a monkey's uncle.

It was a brilliant plan. There was not one person who could possibly notice the trick they'd pulled.

Well, of course, everyone noticed the trick they'd pulled. It was a little difficult not to, what with there being tripods blundering around all over the place.

But no true British comic lover could care about that. Despite the basic duffness of the idea, it's hard not to look back on Apeslayer with affection - and I suppose it could be claimed he was Marvel UK's first super-hero, beating even Captain Britain to the punch.

Anyway, here are the covers to the breathless issues our hero featured in.

Apeslayer, Planet of the Apes #23

He's very macho, isn't he? I get the feeling he'd have got on with Bill Savage from 2000AD's Invasion strip.

Apeslayer, Planet of the Apes #24

Apeslayer, Planet of the Apes #25

A rare chance to directly compare Apeslayer to Killraven.
In fairness to Apeslayer, he might not have been what you could call original but he could at least fight bad guys without looking like he'd just blundered in from the set of Zardoz.

Apeslayer, Planet of the Apes #26

Apeslayer, Planet of the Apes #27

Hold on. Where's Apeslayer? All of a sudden, he can't even make the front cover of his own comic.

Apeslayer, Planet of the Apes #28

How could anyone have guessed they were really reading a War of the Worlds story? I mean, it's not like there's a load of tripods around to tip us off.

Apeslayer, Planet of the Apes #29

Apeslayer, Planet of the Apes #30

Sadly, after this issue, Apeslayer was never seen again.
What happened to him?
Who can know? But, judging by the fact that the comic carried on for years afterwards, I can only assume he failed totally in his mission to rid the Earth of the Apes' rule.
Poor old Apeslayer. All that hard work for nothing.


Kid said...

It puts me in mind of when Wham! renamed The Red Ghost 'The Apemaster' in its reprinting of FF #13. There was no redrawing required, but it confused the hell out of me when I saw the same tale reprinted in an issue of Marvel's Collectors' Item Classics'. I felt I'd wandered into an alternate universe.

Anonymous said...

Steve, I was that one person who didn't notice the trick they'd pulled ! I knew nothing about this whole Killraven/Apeslayer thing until I read about it on the internet ! You have to give them credit for ingenuity but at the time I found the whole Apeslayer storyline rather boring and was glad when it finished - the following "King Arthur" story was much more to my liking. Thanks for showing those covers though - the painted one with the gorillas was just there 'cause it looked nice I presume.

John Pitt said...

I was one of those who saw Apeslayer as the bad guy! I DIDN'T want anyone slaying my beloved apes and was on THEIR side . In much the same way I would be totally AGAINST Absalom Daak.
Anyway , nice to see these comparison covers. " Nicking " stories became a finely crafted art in 2000AD. Hands up anyone who spotted The Prisoner ,Soylent Green , Pet Cemetary and Pale Rider , to name a few.

Anonymous said...

I never came across Apeslayer. My uncle has a complete run of PotA weekly but never let me read them. So my knowledge of him comes from the internet.

But is it just me or does Apeslayer closeky resemble Skull the Slayer from a few years later?

Steve W. said...

There is indeed a touch of Skull the Slayer about him.

Anonymous said...

Ah, this is more like it....I realize these things are subjective but even so, your PotA top twelve clearly suffered from an absence of weird crab people with ape faces.

I've long had a fondness for all of those 70s "swords and science in a world gone mad" comics - even Skull the Slayer - so also enjoyed the inclusion of a few Amazing Adventures covers for comparison (and the reference to Zardoz:). Btw, didn't Marvel UK also reprint some of that Killraven stuff again in their Star Wars comic? Can't be totally certain - I wasn't into the films, so only got it regularly while it ran Starlin's Warlock - but I'm sure I saw an issue with those Adams pages from AA 18 (without added apes)....

Thanks for this, Steve, it was much appreciated.


Steve W. said...

Sean, I don't recall Killraven appearing in the Star Wars comics but that could just be down to my memory playing tricks on me.

Dougie said...

Killraven definitely ran for a while in b/w. It seems to have been in the Empire Strikes Back weekly incarnation of the Star Wars comic. I think it stopped just before the Death/Birth sequence which was a bit too full-on for the action figure audience, even in the early 80s.