Heroes and Villains – Planet of the Apes: Visionaries, Royal City + more

This week’s Heroes and Villains is all over the map! A classic reimagined, an instant classic, and something that’s…not a comic? Don’t worry! It’s comics adjacent so we’re cool. Onward!

Planet of the Apes: Visionaries
Dana Gould (W)
Chad Lewis (A)
Boom! Studios

Picture if you will, a peek behind the curtain: A mild-mannered comics columnist receives an email from his editor stating, “Planet of the Apes looks cool.” 

“Pfft!” he balked, “Pfft! I say! Since when has Planet of the Apes been ‘Cool?’”

He’s about to find out how wrong he was. Also he had, like, a pig face the whole time. Spooky!

And scene.

The original Planet of the Apes film predates me by a fair few years. By the time I was in short pants, the epic twist from the end of the film had already been reduced to nerdy shorthand and spoiled for generations to come. I think it may have actually been hardcoded into my DNA as a testament to how epically my father’s mind was blown upon his initial viewing in 1968.

In brief, it was a movie I never paid much attention to. I already knew the ending, so what was the point? I was comfortable to acknowledge it as an important piece of sci-fi history that got us where we needed to go.

That brings us to Planet of the Apes: Visionaries, an adaptation of an earlier draft of Rod Serling’s take on the film. As a I telegraphed above, I was kind of lukewarm to the franchise, but this…this really did it for me. 

This adaptation is quite different from the finished film (spoilers: no “damn dirty apes” here) but still shares some of the same beats that even a causal fan can identify. I came away from reading the book thinking it would have been a superior film had they the time and budget to realize Serling’s vision. 

With that in mind, Gould and Lewis did a brilliant job of adapting the script for the page. It definitely felt like something Serling would have done on The Twilight Zone if he had been allowed to take it to the next level. To me, there was something inherently silly about the original film which was entirely absent from this take. It comes off as more of a “cerebral” piece of sci-fi rather than the B-movie camp everyone knows and loves.

I guess you could say that I’ve gone ape over this adaptation. I’ll show myself out.

Royal City #14
Jeff Lemire (W/A)
Image Comics

Royal City has finally come to an end and I’m sad to see it go.

A couple months back I wrote about how much I consistently enjoyed the book and how devastated I was to see it end. But, as far as I’m concerned Jeff Lemire can do no wrong so I know that his decision to end the book is the right one.

Lemire wrote about finding the natural end point of the story and this issue does indeed wrap things up nicely. It’s a weird feeling for a comic book to have a finite run especially since Action Comics recently hit 1,000 issues and most TV shows aren’t considered a success until they get that syndication money. I hadn’t imagined this was the “never-ending battle” they’ve been talking about all this time

Now that the series is all said and done, it was refreshing to read a story about a family and their ghosts. I’m desperate for more of these characters and the world they live in. But, as this issue so deftly illustrates, things change, things end…and that’s okay.

CARTOON CORNER: DISENCHANTMENT

Out last week from Netflix and Matt Groening was Disenchantment…a show that the lazy are calling “Like Futurama but in medieval times!” I don’t have the strength left to make a pun about how “enchanted” I was by this show since the Planet of the Apes one took it all out of me…but I really enjoyed the show.

Chances are good that if you like The Simpsons and Futurama you’ll like this show too. I found the show to be refreshingly serialized (probably thanks to Netflix) and tailor-made for binge watching. Disenchantment also seemed a little more free than its predecessors (probably thanks to Netflix) not having to confirm to major network standards and practices gives the show a joy that you don’t often see in animation of late.

The voice cast is populated with Groening regulars like Billy West and John DiMaggio (Fry and Bender from Futurama) and gives the show a feeling a familiarity. This allows the newer additions to the Groening-verse (Abbi Jacobson, Eric André, and Nat Faxon) room to explore their characters and turn in some great performances.

 

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