Friday, July 18, 2014

Angel & Ape #2

Of all the quirky titles that DC published near the end of the Silver Age, this must surely be the oddest.  Well, aside from Brother Power the Geek.  This happens to be the only issue I own; I don't think I've even read another.

The talent is certainly first-rate: Sergio Aragones on the script and art by Bob Oksner and Wally Wood.  Oksner is probably the least-known today of that trio, but in the 1960s he was DC's go-to guy on humor.

Apparently the premise of the series is that Angel O'Day and Sam Simeon are partners in a private investigation office, although in this issue there is no evidence of a client; they more or less function as law enforcement.  Sam has another job on the side; he's a "cartoonist" for Brain Pix Comics, where his boss is the wacky and devious Stan Bragg (obviously intended as a parody of Stan Lee).

The plot is pretty simple: Someone has convinced the Bikini family (a group of circus performers with larceny in their hearts) to combine their forces:

They kidnap Angel and thus Sam must rescue her.  But first he has to deal with the self-promoting Stan Bragg:

An early reference to the fact that Stan didn't do much of the real "writing" at Marvel?  Sam quits and decides to try his luck at DZ Comics:

But Stan comes up with an ingenious plot to win Sam back:
Stan's assistant convinces Sam to stay at Brain Pix in order to atone for the "death" of Stan.

Some of the humor in the series comes from the fact that very few people seem to realize that Sam is an ape:

Angel leads the circus crooks to Brain Pix's building, where she and the cops make short work of them:

The noise outside is enough to wake the dead:
Overall the issue is amusing, if not quite laugh out loud funny, and the artwork is terrific.


Anonymous said...

Angel and Sam returned in 1991, in a 4-issue mini-series written and drawn by Phil Foglio and worth checking out. It was revealed that Angel was the half-sister of Athena Tremor (a.k.a Dumb Bunny of the Inferior Five), and Sam was the grandson of Flash foe Gorilla Grodd. This was a time when DC was bringing back many of its older and more obscure characters and fitting them into the post-COIE continuity. Thanks for this glimpse of the originals. (You're right about Oksner's art. Despite his cartoony style, he drew beautiful women, making him the perfect artist for this title.) -- Jim

Anonymous said...

I had issue #1, as well as their first appearance in Showcase #77.

In the Showcase issue, they did have a client, a man who had been injured in a skiing accident in Europe. Unknown to him, secret blueprints had been hidden in his cast, to smuggle them into the US. When the spies tried to kill or kidnap him to retrieve the plans, he hired Angel and Sam to protect him.

In A&A #1, they got involved in the case by chance. Angel was moonlighting as a go-go dancer to earn extra money, and got kidnapped by a mad scientist. He planned to hypnotize the dancers to commit robberies. Sam rescued her, then together they rescued the dancers and caught the villain.

At the time, I liked the series. If I were to read it today, I would probably think that it was too self-consciously cute, and trying to hard to be clever and cool. Just like a lot of late 1960's pop culture stuff.

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