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Monday, August 11, 2014

DC was all about the Monkey Business in the Silver Age

The Flash #172

During the beginning of the Silver Age of comics, publishers were looking for anyway to sell more comics. The most important selling tool was the comic books covers themselves, it was the first thing customers would see. So many different gimmicks were tried to increase sales, at one point DC comics realized that every time a gorilla appeared on a cover there was an increase in sales for that title. It was theorized those in charge that kids loved gorillas so more and more started appearing on the covers of DC's comics.

 A common criticism of the gorilla comic covers, as well as other gimmicks employed during the Silver Age was that the covers would rarely correspond with the actual plotline in the comic book, as they were usually just created to grab the casual comic reader with a snappy cover. Many of the comics with gorilla covers only featured a panel or two with the actual gorilla plotline. 

Later it is believed that DC had an unwritten rule that there could be no more than one gorilla cover per month across all of its titles (except, of course, during the occasional "gorilla month"). The sales continued to increase, many devoted comic collectors would buy is oddball issues as well as the casual reader. The trend lasted well into the 1970's.

During this time many long lasting gorilla based characters were introduced, including Gorilla Grodd, The Ultra Humanite and Congorilla. Gorillas were also turned into everything from baseball players:
The Brave & The Bold #49
to witches,
Strange Adventures #106
and even gangsters.
Strange Adventures #201

I have a number of these issues in my on collection and I am a big fan of Gorilla Grodd. I guess like everyone else I was caught up in the whole monkey business. Many of these issues with gorilla covers are now highly sought after today. One of the highest price is the first appearance of Grodd from The Flash #106 valued by Overstreet at about $3,200 in mint condition.

The Flash #106

We are currently compiling a DC comics gorilla cover checklist and it should be ready shortly. Follow our blog so you don't miss it. If you know of any please send us a photo and a description of the issue, only looking at titles from the Silver Age. We can be reached at
So what are you waiting for go hunt some gorilla comics.

Good Luck on Your Hunt!