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Friday December 10, 2010 10:27 am

Planet Of The Apes: The Lexicon




Posted by Tom Mason Categories: Editorials, Movies

Planet Of The ApesOne of the many things that I love is Planet of the Apes. I’m not OCD about it and I don’t get bent out of shape when other creative people take the project and run with it. I just enjoy the idea of a planet where Apes have replaced people as the ruling elite and the Apes have all the advantages.

Ever since I first saw Charlton Heston running through a cornfield, pursued by Gorillas on horseback with guns, I’m been nuts for the Apes. Think about that for a second: Gorillas on horseback with guns. How can anyone not love that?

Here are my four favorite Apes-based projects:

(1) Planet of the Apes: The original and still the best. Heston found the perfect role for his Shakespearean-tragedy scenery chewing, some of the moments are truly horrifying, and Jerry Goldsmith’s score is haunting. I can’t wait for my own kids to be old enough to appreciate it.

(2) Conquest of the Planet of the Apes: The big Apes-revolt movie. Caesar rises up against the abuses of the human elites and the stage is set for the Apes to start running the show. I've visited the LA locations where the Ape Management exteriors and riot scenes were shot which I know puts me on the super-nerd list. (I’m already in line for the upcoming remake.)

(3) Terror on the Planet of the Apes: Doug Moench and Mike Ploog created this serial that ran in the back of Marvel’s Planet of the Apes magazine for several issues. Think about that - Moench and Ploog and Apes. It’s a lot of fun - I read it again not long ago and it’s still all good. One of my favorite things either of those guys has done. Richard Guion’s Giant-Size Marvel blog has a taste of it.

(4) Planet of the Apes: Sins of the Father. This is the ringer of the bunch. I was Malibu Comics' editor of the one-shot and my friend the late Mike Valerio wrote it, and my other pal Mitch Byrd illustrated it. It filled in some pre-movie backstory with a murder mystery and I just enjoyed the heck out the whole thing.

Of course, your own list may vary.

Rich Handley is another Apes aficionado and he writes books about it.

His latest is The Lexicon Of The Planet Of The Apes. And it comes with this tag: “If you've longed to learn more about Planet Of The Apes... if you've devoured the films and TV series, as well as the comics and novels that continued their story... if you're tantalized by time travel and titillated by trivia... if you think you know all there is to know about simian society” then this 420-page extravaganza is for you.

Rich sent me the details and this is Ape-history in one handy form, the ultimate Ape-reference book that makes the Sacred Scrolls look like a pamphlet: 3,200 alphabetical entries, 50 indexed categories, every character, creature, device, institution, location, weapon, vehicle and more. And not just from the movies, either. Rich includes the TV series, animated cartoons, comic books and novels and novelizations. It’s all illustrated with more than 800 images, “including a number of obscure and rarely seen photographs and illustrations.” If anyone can find that stuff, it's Rich.

Lexicon Of The Planet Of The Apes is published by Hasslein Books and available at Amazon. And while you’re there, check out Rich’s other Apes-based book, Timeline Of The Planet Of The Apes, which slots every Apes-based project - movie, TV series, cartoon, comic book, novel - in its appropriate place chronologically.

You can’t go wrong with Apes at Christmas! To paraphrase the Sacred Scrolls: "Ape shall always gift Ape."

[Artwork: Cover to Lexicon Of The Planet Of The Apes, © Hasslein Books]

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