IDW Publishing and BOOM! Studios will celebrate the holiday season by releasing the first issue of a five-issue mini-series crossover event featuring Star Trek and Planet of the Apes. While we wait for The Primate Directive #1, please join TrekMovie for a look at Trek and Apes of Christmas Past, Present and Yet to Come.
A television series, films, animation, tie-in books, comics from several publishers, magazines, soundtracks, toys, coloring books, book-and-record sets, reference books, fan fiction, fan art, cosplay and more. Sound familiar? This is the Trek universe we live in and we are not alone. With some minor modifications in order and magnitude, and the addition of a literary point of origin, this also describes the Planet of the Apes universe, about to collide with Star Trek this December. Presented here for your education, amusement and/or consternation, an epic look at Trek and Apes (mostly Apes) past, present and future. When finished, you’ll be fully prepared for The Primate Directive.
Apes of Christmas Past
Planet of the Apes was originally conceived as a science fiction novel. Written by Pierre Boulle in 1963, La Planète des Singes, was almost immediately translated and published in English for US and UK readers, and produced as a film in 1968.
Boulle also wrote the novel that inspired another celebrated film, The Bridge on the River Kwai. Memory of his work seems to have faded over time, overshadowed by the media franchise inspired by Planet of the Apes, but a recent article published by the BBC (click on the photo below) reminds us about this very interesting writer.
If you haven’t read the novel, take a listen at the BBC Radio adaptation of Planet of the Apes which is available on YouTube.
Pierre Boulle’s Planet Of The Apes – BBC Radio Adaptation 1 of 7
The movie starring Charlton Heston, Roddy McDowall, Kim Hunter, Maurice Evans, James Whitmore, James Daly and Linda Harrison, was released in 1968. Movie fans were enthralled by the apes and the twist ending, fueling interest in the film sequels that followed. The screenplay by Michael Wilson and Rod Serling is the subject of some controversy with a more in-depth view at Rod Serling Memorial Foundation website. Both articles are interesting reading.
All four of the Apes film sequels were novelized. The last of these novelizations was written by David Gerrold, a writer well known to Trekkies. Those were the good old days of 95-cent paperbacks. A short-lived television series (14 episodes) which aired 1974-75 and an equally short-lived cartoon series (13 episodes) from 1975-76, also spawned several novelizations. You can find a list of the Apes books at Tony’s Trading.
Return to the Planet of the Apes was the title of the animated cartoon. It looks like most, if not all, of the 13 episodes are available on YouTube and elsewhere for your entertainment.
Return to the Planet of the Apes cartoon, 1975
Of course, there were soundtracks, including Wonderlands Records “Theme From Star Trek/Them from Planet of the Apes TV Series” with the memorable Apes’ Shuffle. Click on the embedded audio track below the album cover to listen. You must listen over and over again until The Primate Directive #1 is released!
Wonderland Records WLP 301, 1975
Apes’ Shuffle by the Jeff Wayne Space Shuttle
British toy company, Palitoy, produced a series of action figures for Star Trek and Planet of the Apes which shared advertising, forever tying these two franchises together, along with Space: 1999. I don’t know much about the toys, but the art for this ad is sensational.
And let there be fan fiction! Well, I only found a few examples of Star Trek/Planet of the Apes fan fiction, but one of them is quite good and you won’t have to track down an obscure fanzine to read it thanks to the intertubes.
In 1975, Paul Gadzikowski wrote, Trek to the Planet of the Apes, which was published in Berengaria #6. The story features a character named Gil Paul. Anyone recognize the name? Perhaps he’s a character from Australian television? In any event, I was confused, but the story has some amusing moments.
The fanzine Alnitah #5, published in 1977, contains The Six-Million Credit Space Trek written by Margaret Austin and illustrated by Michael Eason. This story is a comic strip mash-up of Star Trek, 2001: A Space Odyssey, Space: 1999, Mission: Impossible, UFO, The Bionic Man, Lost in Space, and yes, you got it, but just barely, Planet of the Apes.
Alnitah #5 Trek and Apes
In 1994, Star Trek novelist Dayton Ward wrote Evol-Q-Tion, a novella published in Side-Trekked #1 with illustrations by John Goldie. Ward used characters from the Planet of the Apes television series in his novella which you can read at Alara.net. Ward’s story is a straightforward Next Generation tale and one of the better fan-fic stories I’ve read.
Yes, there are Planet of the Apes comics. Lots of them. More than 180, not including a multitude of reprints and translations. Curiously, the first comics were manga, published in Japan, and never translated or reprinted for US readers. The first US comic was an adaptation of the second film, Beneath the Planet of the Apes, published by Gold Key in 1970. You can read the comic over at Hunter’s Planet of the Apes Archive. In 1974 Marvel began publishing Planet of the Apes tales in magazine format, in the US and UK. You can read many of the Marvel comics that were published, as well as other comics-related material at Hunter’s Archive.
Star Trek comics fans are familiar with the Power Records book & record sets, comics that you could read along with an audio tale on a record or cassette tape. Planet of the Apes book & record sets featuring adaptations of the films are also available and can be found on YouTube.
Power Records – Planet of the Apes (Read Along)
As is the case with Star Trek comics, Apes comics have been translated and published in many other countries. This reprint from Mundi-Comics features some terrific cover art. There were also some original Planet of the Apes comics, written in Spanish and Hungarian.
Beginning in 1990, Planet of the Apes experienced a brief three-year renaissance in the hands of Malibu Graphics/Adventure Comics. Malibu kept the franchise alive with a black & white series of comics, often published with cover art featuring fearsome gorillas, nearly naked humans or scantily clad apes. Really.
In 2001, director Tim Burton’s big budget remake of Planet of the Apes spawned another brief run of books from Dark Horse Comics. More gorillas and nearly naked humans in several mini-series and an ongoing series.
If you need to brush up on the history and minutiae of the Planet of the Apes universe, Rich Handley has written two indispensable references, shown below, both published by Hasslein Books. You can also find a nice compact history of Planet of the Apes compiled by Don Kaye for Rolling Stone.
Apes of Christmas Present
Which brings us to the present and the ongoing reboot of Planet of the Apes which began in 2011. Rise of the Planet of the Apes, directed by Rupert Wyatt, starring James Franco and Andy Serkis, has galvanized the franchise all over again.
With the new film series comes renewed fan interest, often expressed in fan art, photo-shopping, and cosplay. Click on the ape in command to see more.
Fan art isn’t really found in fanzines any more. Today, websites like Deviant Art are home to an astonishing range of fan and professional art, including sketches and paintings with a Trek Apes theme.
Instead of fanzines, 21st century fans are expressing their affection for media franchises like Star Trek and Planet of the Apes with video, and of course, Starfleet has visited Ape City on YouTube.
Planet of the Apes Meets Star Trek Part 1 of 2
BOOM! Studios jumped on the Apes bandwagon with comics based on the new films in 2011 and continues to publish entertaining stories and movie adaptations. At present, a six-issue adaptation of the 2014 film Dawn of the Planet of the Apes is underway.
For those of you who like lists, Rich Handley is also deeply immersed in Star Trek and Planet of the Apes comics. He has published two indices at the Hasslein Books website that you can download. Both lists are updated regularly. WARNING: combing through these lists of comics may be hazardous to your monthly budget!
In October, IDW Publishing and BOOM! Studios gave New York Comic Con attendees a tantalizing preview of December’s Trek/Apes crossover mini-series, The Primate Directive, publishing an ashcan comic containing the first five pages of issue #1.
Star Trek/Planet of the Apes: The Primate Directive Ashcan, October 2014
Written by Scott Tipton and David Tipton, art and cover by Rachael Stott, back cover art by George Perez, colored by Charlie Kirchoff, lettered by Tom B. Long, edited by Sarah Gaydos (IDW Publishing) and Dafna Pleban (BOOM! Studios)
In brief, my reaction was “Apes with guns! Sulu and Uhura as Klingons! What’s not to like about this?” and I don’t think you’ll be disappointed either. I’m particularly impressed with Rachael Stott’s artwork, but you can judge for yourself. See the StarTrek.com article Star Trek/Planet of the Apes Issue #1 Preview Pages posted October 26.
Apes of Christmas Yet to Come
The first issue of The Primate Directive is scheduled for release on 31 December 2014. The story takes place just after the events of the first film, Planet of the Apes, but before the major events of Beneath the Planet of the Apes. The mini-series is written by @Scott_Tipton, whose website is Comics 101, and his brother, @David_Tipton of Blastoff Comics. The artist is a talented newcomer from the UK, Rachael Stott, who tweets @RachaelAtWork. There is a superabundance of cover artists including George Perez, Tone Rodriguez, Juan Ortiz and more. The editors are @SarahGaydos of IDW Pubishing and Dafna Pleban from BOOM! Studios, currently tweeting as @DafnaDOOM. Four of the five issues have been solicited and we can probably expect a collection some time next summer. There will be at least eight covers for the first issue. You can examine six of them at a cover gallery posted by IDW and here are two more variants.
Star Trek/Planet of the Apes #1 (of 5)
Scott Tipton, David Tipton (w) • Rachael Stott (a) • Stott, Juan Ortiz, George Perez, Tone Rodriguez, John H. Midgley, Charlie Kirchoff (c)
It’s the crossover nobody ever expected! STAR TREK: The hope for the best of mankind’s future! PLANET OF THE APES: A chilling look at the fall of humanity! How could these worlds possibly collide? What could possibly cause Captain Kirk and the crew of the Enterprise to side with Dr. Zaius to protect Ape City? And what does Colonel George Taylor have to say about it? It’s a madhouse! A madhouse!!
FC • 32 pages • $3.99
Star Trek/Planet of the Apes #2 (of 5)
Scott Tipton, David Tipton (w) • Rachael Stott (a) • Stott, Joe Corroney (c)
The colossal crossover nobody ever expected continues! Captain Kirk and the Enterprise crew have landed on the Planet of the Apes–but how?! And how are the Klingons involved? Plus: Taylor meets up with Kirk and Spock, but will he greet them with open arms? Or flying bullets?
FC • 32 pages • $3.99
Star Trek/Planet of the Apes #3 (of 5)
Scott Tipton, David Tipton (w) • Rachael Stott (a) • Stott, Kevin Wada (c)
It’s the battle for the ages! Taylor has escaped the Planet of the Apes, and Captain Kirk must bring him back! Plus, the Klingon/Gorilla alliance makes its move against Dr. Zaius and Ape City!
FC • 32 pages • $3.99
Star Trek/Planet of the Apes #4 (of 5)
Scott Tipton, David Tipton (w) • Rachael Stott (a) • Stott, J.K. Woodward (c)
An uneasy alliance has been forged between Captain Kirk and Colonel Taylor! But will it be enough to prevent Commander Kor and his Klingons from toppling the regime of Doctor Zaius?
FC • 32 pages • $3.99
Star Trek/Planet of the Apes #5 (of 5)
Scott Tipton, David Tipton (w) • Rachael Stott (a & c)
FC • 32 pages • $3.99
And if you still need more Apes after all this is said and done, Sequart.org, the same folks who brought us New Life and New Civilizations: Exploring Star Trek Comics are doing it all over again for Planet of the Apes comics, including a chapter on The Primate Directive. Don’t miss out on the fun!
By the way, if you haven’t picked out a Christmas present for yourself or a loved one, there’s still time to order the ebook edition of New Life and New Civilizations: Exploring Star Trek Comics, edited by Joseph F. Berenato, with a foreward by David Gerrold. It’s the perfect gift! Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to everyone!
You can pre-order Star Trek comics at a discount from Things From Another World, just click on the banner.
Mark Martinez is an obsessive-compulsive Star Trek comics reader and collector. You can visit his website, the Star Trek Comics Checklist for more than you ever needed to know about Star Trek comics.