Classic Comic Cover Corner – Strange Adventures #8

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Every Sunday morning we showcase a classic comic cover, complete with compelling commentary, for your cordial contemplation. It’s the Classic Comic Cover Corner!

Strange Adventures #8 – May, 1951

Cover art by Win Mortimer

Strange Adventures #8 - May, 1951
Strange Adventures #8 – May, 1951

If you are like me you’ve been enjoying the Cosmos television series, hosted by everyone’s favorite astrophysicist, Neil deGrasse Tyson. Well, he may not be everyone’s favorite astrophysicist. The anti-evolution crowd is up in arms over Tyson and his new show, and the creation versus evolution debate is almost as entertaining as the science series is itself; with the fervor over the issue making me think about one of my all-time favorite comic covers, Strange Adventures #8.

In a Gardner Fox story titled, “Evolution Plus”, poor Ralph Gains is desperately trying to convince an astonished Ruth that he’s not really a gorilla. The tale is actually pretty elaborate and complicated and involves an Evolution Machine that is stolen from Ralph and used for nefarious purposes as the thief travels forward on the evolutionary scale before finding himself back at the beginning, as a Gorilla. It’s enough to make Devo say, “Wha…?”

Legendary DC Comics editor, Julius “Julie” Schwartz, took note that this book was a huge seller and the comics publisher began putting intelligent apes on their covers on a regular basis in order to capitalize on their popularity. And to this day, whenever you see an ape on the cover of a comic, it’s likely in an attempt to spike sales.

What is it about apes that is so appealing to us? Do we see ourselves in them, or is it really because we share the same DNA on some level? Whatever side of the evolution argument you are on, you’ve got to admit that apes are just plain cool, and you can’t argue with that science.

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About the author

Bob Leeper

Bob Leeper is the co-owner and manager of "Arizona’s Pop Culture and Alternative Art Network," Evermore Nevermore. He is the co-creator of the pop culture events Steampunk Street and ENCREDICON, and is a member of the Phoenix Film Critics Society. He also curates the Facebook fan site The Arizona Cave – AZ Fans of Edgar Rice Burroughs, and is one of the few brave and bold fans of Jar Jar Binks.