Planet of the Art-y Apes

Planet of the ApesThe question isn’t whether or not illustrations of talking gorillas belong in the home, it’s how many people you have to step over to get ’em.

The entire original Planet of the Apes franchise (1968 – 1973) has been given the ink treatment by some human artists who’ve artistically interpreted the species-superior apes. Even Dr. Zaius would be impressed.

Available randomly through Mondotees.com, the 24”x36” limited edition prints are being sold as a series for $230 banana skins (ape speak for cash money). That they’re up for grabs as a set is good as it would be a crime against the future to break up the collection.

So who are these humans that’ve honored their ape masters? First up is an illustration by Martin Ansin who represented the first Planet movie. The art is rendered in hues of yellow and orange, the color of many species of fruit. Fruit is what apes eat. Talk about synergy!

Beneath The Planet of the Apes / Escape From the Planet of the ApesNext up are depictions of Beneath the Planet of the Apes by Ken Taylor and Escape From Planet of the Apes by Rich Kelly. Ken’s art encompasses all the elements that made Beneath a mind-blowing sequel, from the bleeding statue of the Lawgiver to the radiation-scarred mutant’s underground church cathedral and the nuclear bomb they all worship. (There’s never a problem with the collection plate when your God can blow up at any moment.)

Rich wisely chose to illustrate the iconic opening scene of Escape when the ape-o-nauts removed their space helmets and revealed themselves to the Earth’s past. I would’ve freaked if Rich painted the scene where Dr. Otto Hasslein, the President’s Science Advisor, gooned out that humans will one day be house pets to monkeys, shoots Zira and the marines shoot Cornelius, her legally wedded husband. I can handle a lot, but this would be too painful for even a speaking human like me to take.

Conquest of the Planet of the Apes / Battle For The Planet of the ApesPhantom City Creative portrayed Conquest of the Planet of the Apes and its star Caesar, the now grown surviving offspring of the slain (excuse me, I need a moment), Zira and Cornelius Simian. How noble and wise he looks.

Battle for the Planet of the Apes was envisioned by Florian Bertmer and acts as a crime scene photo (even though it’s illustrated). I say this because the primary law among the simian culture is that “Ape shall not kill Ape.” It’s OK to kill man, though. In fact, it’s encouraged in the context of Ape City. But to kill one of your own? An unforgiveable affront to your race – and very human of you.

Go Ape For Your CountryThe final poster is a rendition of the famous 20th Century Fox promotion that was a nice tongue-in-cheek spin on J.M. Flagg’s “Uncle Sam Wants You” recruitment propaganda back in 1917. (Flagg’s version was a spin on the 1914 poster by British Lord Kitchener, who had a cool handlebar moustache.) This version has the ridiculously cool Alamo Drafthouse movie theater as the call to arms, using General Ursus in place of an unnamed gorilla foot soldier depicted in the original advertising.

When I was but a budding human, the Admiral Twin Theatre (they had really good popcorn) had an advertising poster that said, “Go Ape For A Day,” showing all five Planet of the Ape movies back-to-back. I plopped down in the sixth row for almost nine hours of Ape-y action, consumed three pounds of red vines, six packs of M&Ms™, one gallon of Coke™ and two large popcorns hosed down with real butter. (The “butter” they put on movie popcorn today is anything but.)

So if you’re an Apes fan, this set is the must-have fashion statement of the year. Unless you’re an ape yourself. Then it would be burlap.

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