Monday, 23 February 2009


And all these years I thought I'd imagined the whole thing.
Back when Planet Of The Apes was the biggest thing ever ( ie. For most of the early '70's ), Marvel, of course, published their own adaptation's, mostly written by Doug Moench. Equally naturally, Marvel UK reprinted that stuff in a weekly format, along with backups like Gullivar Jones. Well, for years, I've had this memory in the back of my mind that Planet Of The Apes Weekly also ran a great serial called Apeslayer. It was all about an escaped slave who, with a band of like minded warriors, fought against the domination of Earth by the apes. It was a great strip, and I vaguely recalled that it might've been drawn by Herb Trimpe.

A year or so back, I bought the Essential Killraven, and really enjoyed it, especially as I'd only ever really seen the McGregor / Russell stories, and was keen to see the beginnings of the strip.
Except the early issues started to look familiar. Really really familiar.
This can't be right. This looks like what little I remember of Apeslayer. But it's Killraven, clearly it's Killraven. What the @*&! is goin' on? Am I in a Bob Haney story?

Well, thanks to the excellent Hunter's Planet Of The Apes Archive site, the truth can now be told. ( Hope he doesn't mind me liberating these scans for the cause ) 'Cos it turns out, that somebody at Marvel UK decided to extensively redraw the Killraven strip, and call it Apeslayer. Why? God knows, but here's the evidence:

And it's not just the covers that were changed, it's the hairstyles too:

And the names:

The apes now came from Mars, ( I guess it was too complicated to change all those tripods ), and every human bad guy was now an ape, but what I don't get is why change Killraven's hair, of all things?
For that matter, why change the strip at all? Why not just run it as is? What did they think? we were gonna go: " Killraven? Oh yeah, it's a great strip, but the comics' called Planet Of The Apes, and there's no apes in it, so I'm gonna stop buying it. "
I can only assume that Marvel UK had run out of reprints from the USA Apes magazine, and had to wait to play catch-up, so in the interim, had to run something.
By Issue 30 ( the end of The Warlord story ), Apeslayer was outta there, to be replaced by a new Doug Moench / Rico Rival serial, so I guess they caught up in the end.

Still, I'm glad I now know I didn't imagine it. It's like when someone swears blind that Captain Pugwash's crew included in it's ranks Master Bates, Seaman Staines & Roger The Cabin Boy. That can't be true. Can it?


  1. Man, I love posts like this! I know zero about the Marvel's British comics, so learning stuff like this is what I thrive on! Keep it up, man! I may not comment as often as I'd like, but I'm still reading and loving ever post!

  2. And I thought I was the only person who remembered Apeslayer...
    You're correct about the reason behind the adaptation: the Apes were probably even more popular here than in the States ( the TV show had just hit )and the weekly schedule of the comic was eating up the new material faster than Marvel could produce it. It seems like a lot of work for some unfortunate artist, though. I'm not sure Marvel UK was responsible: I thought the comics were packaged in the US by Marvel staff like Larry Leiber but published here.

  3. Cerebus, you're probably right about Leiber, he did seem to do a hell of a lot of british covers, Apes & Captain Britain among 'em.
    An' Mr. Groovy, no worries. Lots more brit Marvel comin' up!

  4. oh, man, I'd completely forgotten about Apeslayer!!! I remember at the time having a wee handful of the original Amazing Adventures issues, and being totally baffled by the changes. it WAS way cool, though.

    I tell ya: this blog is fast becomming one of my favourite places. keep it up, pete, mate.