I was eleven in 1968 when the original Planet of the Apes was released. I didn’t see it in the theatre, so by the time it came out on TV it was probably 1969 maybe even 1970. Everything about that movie caught my imagination, but the ending where Charlton Heston discovered he was not on another planet but home, on earth, was burned in my consciousness.
I caught every movie after that and the dreadful TV series also but the best continuation of the saga for me came in the ’70s when Marvel published the black and white magazine with the main feature being drawn by Mike Ploog, who really captured the essence of the villages and body language that was needed to make the Planet of the Apes come alive. His art had a definite Will Eisner feel to it that really worked for that series.
Fast forward to Hollywood bringing the Apes into the new millennium and a renewed interest in the franchise brought the Apes back to comics as well.
I first discovered Gabriel Hardman and Corinna Bechko in their creator-owned series Invisible Republic published by Image. I liked the gritty style and the storytelling of the Bechko/Hardman team. They are also married to each other. The Invisible Republic ran for 15 issues and has taken a hiatus since, probably so the creators could pay some bills as the Image series peaked at about 22,00 copies.
I understand that they went to do some work for DC on Green Lantern, but I have not seen any of their work since issue 15 which was released in March 2017.
I am always on the lookout for something new that grabs my attention, and on a recent visit to my local comic shop, I discovered the Planet of the Apes: Before the Fall Omnibus by Hardman and Bechco and it was thick enough to choke a horse.
It was put out under the BOOM label and after dropping $52.99 I ran off to once again enter The Planet of the Apes!
This story takes place twenty years before Taylor crash-landed and really fleshes out Ape society. There are 4 story arcs that are collected with Hardman and Bechko being joined by Marc Laming (Star Wars: The Force Awakens) and Damian Couciero (Old Man Logan).
With three creative artistic teams, it is surprisingly cohesive and does not interrupt the story as so often artistic changes will do.
I am not going to give away any of the story. Suffice it to say, I haven’t enjoyed The Planet of the Apes so much since Mike Ploog and the great black and white mags of the seventies!
So if you are looking for a satisfying trip to the Planet of the Apes, this is it!
Continued Happy Collecting!