It’s a great time to be an Apes fan. Though we’re likely never to see a return to the kind of Ape Mania that raged in the mid-70s, summer 2011 has seen some premium primate projects. Rise of the Planet of the Apes was one of the best blockbusters of the year, boasting a surprisingly strong box office report and plenty of opportunity for sequels. Archaia released a prose novel called Conspiracy of the Planet of the Apes brimming with art from the likes of Jim Steranko, Joe Jusko, Mark Texeira and more. As for straight up comics, Boom Studios already has an Apes ongoing, but something was missing.
Nobody in comics draws a better gorilla than the artist behind Agents of Atlas. Hardman’s even drawn a coloring book for the LA Zoo where his wife and collaborator Corinna Bechko works. With all the Apes inspired illustrations popping up online, where was Gabe? Then some monkey drawings popped up in his feed and his absence from the franchise seemed even more glaring. When I got home from Rise a couple weeks back, foaming at the mouth with excitement for more, Bechko expressed her love for Kim Hunter’s Zira, the compassionate Ape City biologist from the 1968 film. I should’ve known.
Last week it all came together. Hardman and Bechko are set to unveil Betrayal of the Planet of the Apes in November from Boom. It’s set around the period of the original Planet of the Apes and features some familiar faces.
The husband and wife team talked to CBR about the project.
Here’s what Bechko had to say about the status quo:
“I think it’s safe to say that you’ll see some facets of ape society you’ve never seen before. Sure, the law says that Ape Does Not Kill Ape. But what happens when one does? The death penalty is certainly out of the question. And exactly how do humans fit into Ape City? We see them as complete outcasts in the first film, but their relationship to the apes is obviously more complicated than that.”
Hardman shared this exclusive concept art featuring the book’s central character, a gorilla named Aleron.
Hardman describes a fairly rad story:
“At heart, “Betrayal” is a political thriller with a heavy dose of action and adventure. In our story, a former Gorilla General, a war hero, is accused of a crime from his days in the military. He finds himself on the run, imprisoned and fighting for his life. When he uncovers a plot to bring down the government, his only ally may be the newest council member: Dr. Zaius.”
We can’t wait to get our filthy pawns on this mini!