It's Bananas



Cover to Gold Key's Magilla Gorilla #1 © 1964 Hanna-Barbera Productions. 
Scan from and link to GCD.

Purim was the other day. You often see it "translated" as the Jewish Halloween or the Jewish Mardi Gras. A festival, like Chanukah, rather than a holy day, such as Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, it is indeed a time for people to dress up and make merry. [I had originally, and mistakenly, named Pesach (Passover) as a holy day, but despite its importance to Jewish history and the deprivation endured by foreswearing leavened bread it's actually a festival.]

The original idea behind the costumes was to emulate characters from the Book of Esther, out of whose events the festival arose, but like Halloween, where outfits are no longer limited to spirits and demons, in most communities a wider net is cast. Our synagogue had an annual Purim Carnival for the kids, and one year I made a pretty decent Mork (as in "...from Ork").

What does this have to do with comic books?

I can't think of Purim without thinking of
Magilla Gorilla. While it wasn't a standout among Hanna-Barbera fare, you probably remember it if you grew up in the '60s or '70s watching Saturday-morning TV: "Magilla / Gorilla / Gorilla for sale..." The big ape would languish in the pet-store window, get adopted, and after some hijinks he'd end up back there by the end of the episode.

Anyway, The Book of Esther is also known as The Megillah. "Megillah" can also mean simply "scroll"; you may have heard the phrase "the whole megillah", i.e., "the whole dad-gum story". So I can't think of Purim without thinking of Magilla Gorilla, and I can't think of Magilla Gorilla without thinking of, you guessed it, one of my favorite comic books — which remind me of even more, and so on, and so on.

DC Special #16, dated Spring 1975, was a comic that I owned so early and loved so much (to pieces, apparently) that the cover had been removed from my memory entirely until now. The series was, until late in its run, all-reprint, each thick issue packed with themed stories from days past. The cover feature of #16 was Super-Heroes Battle Super-Gorillas, and it had four gorillarific stories involving Superman, Batman & Robin, The Flash, and Wonder Woman. A search on The Grand Comics Database reveals not only its cover but the existence of a later stand-alone Super-Heroes Battle Super-Gorillas one-shot, and I can't wait to track it down for my leaner, cleaner, more cherished collection. More to come when the cable connection lets me load more covers.


Covers to DC Special #15 and Super-Heroes Battle Super-Gorillas #1 © 1975, 1976 DC Comics. 
Scan from and link to GCD.

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