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March 3, 2013

Character Spotlight: Congorilla

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Written by: Dr. Bustos
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Since our last few characters had the powers of animals, I decided that the best way to continue that theme is with a DC staple: gorillas. Years ago, it was said by a DC editor that when you put a gorilla on the cover, it sells more comics. This proved to be quite true for a long time, and so DC has a long list of gorilla heroes and villains. Since so many of them can be explained in just a sentence or two, I’ll do that later. Today, though, we’re here for one of the first gorilla heroes, Congorilla! Who is this golden ape and how did he come to be? Let’s find out!

Sweet jacket!

William Glenmorgan, Congo Bill to many, was born in the tail end of the 19th century. He fought in many battles and wars, mostly spending the time being a spy. He also helped inspect insurance claims for fraud; this guy does it all. Settling down in DC’s Africa, where it’s I guess this vague spot of land, Bill’s life was changed by his dying friend, Chief Kawolo. While dying, Kawolo requested with his last breath that Bill take and wear his ring, claiming the ring would allow him to posses a golden girl when rubbed. Bill took the ring, and later when he was trapped in a cave in he tried the ring as a last resort, and found it worked. Bill could trade minds with the golden gorilla, but since the ring was on his human finger, he couldn’t turn back until he found his old body.

I'd be terrified in this situation.

Bill took on this new ability of the near indestructible and immortal golden gorilla to go on further adventures. By the time he found his body it was too late; his body had died of old age and he was permanently the new golden gorilla. In his early years as “Congorilla,” he had a boy sidekick named Janu, who was basically Mowgli. Later, he teamed up with Freedom Beast (Remember him?) to protect a group of gorillas. Sadly, Freedom Beast died, and Bill found it to be his responsibility to gain vengeance for him and the gorillas. Bill went on to team up with Starman and a faction of the Justice League to help stop the ones responsible for the deaths.

I miss the times for Mr. Nice Ape.

To help him find someone worthy of wearing the Beast helmet, Bill joined the Justice League. Bill helped out in the time that Batman was considered dead, and stayed until Batman came back and was able to join the League again. Bill then returned to Africa to find that Batwing (one of Batman’s new members of Batman Inc.) had come to inspire him to unite all the heroes of Africa to protect the continent, while he was still looking for a Beast successor.

I smell sitcom!

In the new 52, Bill was considered for the Justice League International team, but was turned down. So that’s the tale of a man of war who became a golden gorilla. I would prefer to be able to turn into a golden gorilla and back with ease, but that’s a sweet power. So with DC having so many gorilla characters, I’m going to mention a couple more. Gorilla Grodd, Monsieur Mallah (my favorite), and Ultra-Humanite (since technically not always an ape, it’s a good one to end on). Batman had a gorilla villain, Gorilla Boss, a mobster who had his brain put into that of a gorilla! Gotta love comics for stuff like that. See you next time!


Recommended Reading

More Fun Comics #56
Action Comics #224
Action Comics #248
Justice League of America Vol. 2 #47
Justice League of America Vol. 2 #60

Alexander Bustos




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