Continent of the Apes (or, Monkey See, Monkey Doo-doo)

March 14th, 2011 by | Tags: , ,

Written by SEAN RYAN
FLASH FACT! Africa belongs to him!
One-shot • On sale JUNE 15 • 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US • RATED T

Seriously DC Comics: get a black friend. Male or female, it doesn’t matter, just get one. We’re easy to find. Get one and then ask him if it’s cool to have Africa ruled by a monkey. Just run it by them, real casual-like. “Hey man, what do you think about this?” If they give you the gasface or their eyebrows narrow… change your plans.

How come Africa is always the one continent that someone gets to rule ALL of? No one rules an entire continent in the real world, and Africa has dozens, if not hundreds, of distinct peoples and cultures. I get that treating it as something other than a homogeneous Dark Continent would require, I dunno, opening Wikipedia or something, and that it’s just easier to make up a country with an African sounding name. I get that you guys don’t actually care about colored folks. They’re just action figures yet to be produced, a checkbox waiting to be ticked on the path to a “diverse” universe. Your track record has proven that, and as much as I wish otherwise, I can’t really fault you for it. You’re in the business of making profit, and black people don’t sell to the pet market you’ve groomed. It is what it is. This is the world we live in.

But for really real, though: you seriously need to get a black friend.

‘Cause you’re looking real stupid right now.

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65 comments to “Continent of the Apes (or, Monkey See, Monkey Doo-doo)”

  1. I too get angry about 4 word solicits from shitty event comic tie-ins.

    I’m with you 99.9% of the time David, but this seems like a blatant overreaction over nothing.

  2. @Tanner: Yeah man, I’m over here raging and spitting venom, instead of sighing and rolling my eyes.

    It’s cool that you’re with me 99.9% of the time, but you don’t get to tell me I’m overreacting. This isn’t even 250 words, I’m just pointing out something stupid.

  3. Wow. That would be like having all of Asia being ruled by a giant panda. Perhaps we can get them to have each continent ruled by some large, ferocious animal just so the quasi-racism & over-generalization will be equal. A large kangaroo for Oceania, an anaconda for South & Central America, you get the idea.

  4. I just saw the cover and instinctively knew I wasn’t going to buy it. Thank you for illuminating why my subconscious put away its wallet.

  5. @Daniella Orihuela-Gruber: Would Ice Cube and Jennifer Lopez arrive to liberate the South American citizens?

  6. @Daniella Orihuela-Gruber: North America is ruled by a weeping bald eagle. The eagle cries for freedom.

  7. Nicely put, David.

  8. Telepathic super intelligent gorilla conquers world = not racist
    Telepathic super intelligent gorilla conquers Africa = racist

  9. @Dan Lokhorst: Yep, you hit the nail on the head, champ.

  10. I bet the only reason they made this book was so they could use that awful pun in the title.

  11. You know what I like about Marvel’s Africa?


    Geezus, DC…

  12. Uhg.

  13. What about Australia?

  14. This just in… the North Pole and Santa’s Workshop been taken over by militant penguins!!

    Wait a sec, I think Futurama did an episode like that already….

    Yeah, Tanner this wouldn’t be a problem if..you know… DC at least TRIED to develop an African character/nation that wasn’t…you know…simian… :raise:

  15. Gorilla City is in Africa. Megalomaniacal simian with plans for world conquest has to start somewhere.

  16. I was about to say “but they’ve got Wakanda” and then realized just how fucked up all of cape comics are in regards to Africa, Marvel’s just less so.

  17. when else has africa been taken over by a single entity?

  18. I dunno if they’re being blatantly ignorant, or if they’re just going with natural progression.

    To me it’d make sense if Grodd started with Africa, because Gorilla City is in Africa, no? If your power source/consolidated power/etc is in Gorilla City, given that they’re prone to having advanced technology, you wouldn’t want to overextend yourself and start in Europe or America. You’d start somewhere close to home. Besides the abundance of natural resources, you’ve got plenty of people to mind control into an army. From there it’s just a stone’s throw into Europe.

    When conquering the world, you *really* don’t want to overextend yourself unless you have a solid platform to leap from.

  19. Since when have Gorillas been recategorized as monkeys?

  20. Grodd just knows better than to fall victim to one of the classic blunders.

  21. @CapoDelBandito: And if he’s really smart, he won’t get involved in a land war in Asia.

    Man, I can’t say this is overtly racist, but whoever approved it really didn’t give it much though. The title pun isn’t even any good, and I love bad puns…

  22. Grodd is not a monkey, he’s a gorilla — a member of a hyper-intelligent, telepathic race of technologically-advanced gorillas based on the African continent. Said race is also more ethically- and morally-advanced than humans, and as such wants nothing to do with us until we learn how to live harmoniously with nature. There is no racism here, just a manufactured controversy based on your political correctness and extremely limited knowledge of a comic book character.

  23. @Alex Ryking: No, Grodd is the manufactured thing. Grodd isn’t real, Grodd’s gorilla race isn’t real, Grodd is a fictional character and as such is a symbol for real things. Racial issues, African issues, cultural issues, those exist. You should invest time in having a little less knowledge of comic book characters and a little more knowledge of real things. Why the fuck would they be from a place called Gorilla City? Did Gorillas really name themselves Gorillas? Come the fuck on dude, it was a stupid poorly thought out concept from decades ago when that Dark Continent bullshit was second nature to anyone doing Africa stories that, for some reason, was allowed to survive people making the general decision to be less shitty about things. There’s no good excuse for this or 99% of other cape comics to get made, and people keep using a fictional history to justify socially ignorant decisions made in them. Fuck that.

  24. Sometimes a telepathic Gorilla in a comic is just a telepathic Gorilla in a comic

  25. @Nod: I’m not saying Grodd is a symbol for those issues, I don’t want to get misconstrued as saying that, but when the telepathic Gorilla in the comic is King of Africa it’s a little more than just a telepathic Gorilla in a comic. My mother grew up with “Nigger Brown” in the crayon box and tried to sell me on there not being any racism behind it, same for the golly doll my grandmother got me as a baby. Intent isn’t necessary to be offensive.

  26. @Nat: It’s not even the best Grodd pun out there. “Guerilla Grodd” is championship-level material. “Grodd of War” is just… boring. It’s on that “Kneel Before Grodd!” level.

    @Space Jawa: The easy choice is a koala or a kangaroo, but I’m hoping for a giant baby-eating dingo.

    @zodberg: In comic books? Often. In real life? Never.

    @CapoDelBandito: The problem isn’t the progression. Like you said, that makes sense, and I’m totally cool with that being a piece of a plot. The problem is that this is yet another instance of Africa being treated as one whole, rather than a collection of independent countries with their own cultures. It’s AFRICA! instead of Africa, a continent. It’s just more Dark Continent garbage, where people don’t actually want to bother doing the due diligence to figure out what the deal is. It’s like why DC has a plan for the Batman and Justice League of Africa, but the US gets a Justice League all to itself.

    It’s like JLA Classified: Ultramarines, the Morrison/McGuinness joint that’s basically a flawless cape comic. It opens with “AFRICA: Now.” Africa is HUGE! Only halfway through the issue do we find out that it’s in Kinshasha, in Congo. Why? Who would open an issue like “EUROPE: Now.” or “NORTH AMERICA: Now.” They wouldn’t even do “USA: Now.” Why does Africa not get the specificity that other countries get?

    @nod: Since who cares, get a life.

    @Alex Ryking: Golly, I guess I been told. I had no idea gorillas aren’t monkeys 🙁

    Get real, man. I know who Grodd is. I’ve been reading comics forever, and I’m particularly fond of the Ultramarines arc that featured Grodd and Geoff Johns and Scott Kolins’s Flash, which actually made me a believer in the big dumb ape, who is not actually a real ape but a dumb idea someone made up decades ago. (he also eats meat, which gorillas do not do, and he’s a telepath, but hey! who cares about semantics like those?)

    You can kick rocks with that “manufactured controversy” and “political correctness” garbage. I said this looks stupid, and it does. I pointed out why it looks stupid, and guess what! My reasons are valid. This isn’t a controversy. It’s me pointing out something that looks dumb and plays into old, outdated garbage that should’ve been left behind decades ago. It made me roll my eyes, and I made a post that explained why.

    Or it’s me just not knowing who Gorilla Grodd is, being all angry black man over nothing, if only I read comics I could truly understand what this story is about.

    Ooga booga, massa.

  27. @Alex Ryking: “There is no racism here, just a manufactured controversy based on your political correctness and extremely limited knowledge of a comic book character.

    …Do you even go here?


  28. How come Africa is always the one continent that someone gets to rule ALL of?

    If it makes you feel any better, remember that Zod was going to give Luthor Australia in Superman II.

  29. My favorite part of this is the “You know nothing about this Grodd fellow!” statement.

    Hey, David, remember before this blog was 4thletter and you called it “guerilla grodd” instead? Crazy times.

  30. Game. Set. Match. To Gavok…LOL

  31. @Jack: Fuck off Jack. Quit manufacturing bullshit present-day controversies with your idiotic historical revisionism and your political correctness. You think the concept of Gorilla City — with gorillas who are more technologically and socially advanced than humans — was some racist code for “Niggers are inferior?” You’re a fucking moron. If the gorillas are really supposed to be some racist’s stand-ins for African-Americans, WHY WOULD THEY BE SUPERIOR TO HUMANS?

    Pull your head out of your ass.

  32. “Having all of Asia being ruled by a giant panda” would be probably the most awesome thing ever.

  33. @david brothers: 1) If you knew that gorillas weren’t monkeys, you shouldn’t have referred to a gorilla as a monkey. Don’t get pissy because I corrected you. 2) You pointed to something that, in your opinion, looks stupid and then claimed it was racist as well. I pointed out why I found your opinion on the entire subject stupid. If you don’t like criticism, then don’t have a public blog with public comments. 3) Why don’t you suspend your disbelief for ten seconds and think as a writer would about a story set in an alternate DC timeline in which the Flash never became the Flash? Maybe it would occur to you that a being like Gorilla Grodd, unchecked by the Flash, might take over the entire African continent. Then you could think about Grodd’s motivation for doing so (because Grodd already lives in the continent, because it is already divided among several weak governments and therefore easier to conquer, because it has vast mineral deposits). But I guess being negative, hypersensitive, and throwing around accusations of racism is much easier than being positive and constructive.

  34. @Maddy: It’s a public blog with public comments. Don’t like it? Tough shit.

  35. @Alex Ryking: You’re dumb, man. Use your brain instead of leaping to hit that “political correctness” button like a schmuck. Look at what I said, not what you think I said. But I guess if we’re gonna Nerd Court it up off in this, then let’s get it done:

    1. You didn’t correct me. You were the exact kind of pedantic nerd that everyone else hates. The title of the post: “Continent of the Apes (or, Monkey See, Monkey Doo-doo).” I clearly know that gorillas are apes, people use monkeys to refer to apes, and that they are two different things, and I made a joke involving that knowledge. You felt like you just had to correct me for some reason, presumably to put me in my place regarding my knowledge of monkeys and apes, fictional or otherwise. I’m getting pissy? Dog, you were mad before you even posted.

    2. I didn’t claim it was racist. I think it’s racially suspect and buys into old, racist assumptions of Africa, sure, but when did I say it was racist? Saying that Africa being treated as one entity throughout the history of comics is hot garbage and stupid is something else entirely. You brought that to the table. What I said is right there in black and white. Reread it until you get it.

    And I’m perfectly fine with criticism. I’ve been lit up before and had someone change my mind. That’s why I have public comments, and why I haven’t banned you for being an unbelievable douchebag.

    3. My disbelief has been suspended, I know how Grodd works, and I know how stories unfold in comics. I’m tired of Africa being treated like the Dark Continent in my fiction, and I see no reason to suspend my disbelief on that subject any further. Why don’t we get a story about how KGBeast expanded his power base and took over Europe? Oh right, because Europe has countries that people care about, and Africa is just Africa.

    But yeah, man. I’m the one being hypersensitive here, with this 240 word post with a joke for a title and a tongue in cheek point raging against the machine. I should be positive and constructive instead! I’m just a big old Negative Nelly! Do some research before you try to condescend to me. I just spent a month praising comics with regards to Black History, and if you knew a single thing about me, instead of what you appear to have made up about me, you’d understand that I’m a pretty positive writer. My record speaks for itself.

    You’re a clown, but have fun proving me wrong, I guess.

    And learn how to use a comment system. You can respond to more than one person at a time.

  36. Actually, I thought about it, and today’s not the day for me to be trying to suffer fools gladly. You’re done, crybaby.

  37. @david brothers: I think it’s one of those natural stereotypes that just occurs, IE: All americans are fat, Canadians only know about beer and hockey, Wales isn’t it’s own separate thing just a southern part of England, Australians are all criminals.

    It’s also kinda a two sided coin, like when some people refer to their ‘African Heritage’. I used to joke with a friend of mine “Funny, you don’t look like you just came form Cairo”. It’s all lumped together sorta like countries from Central America: it’s apathy and not really caring, it’s just one typa place, etc etc.

    On a related note: I asked my fiancee (she’s born and raised in South Africa) how she’d feel if a telepathic ape took power back home and she informed me that it wouldn’t be much different than it is now, unless he used super Gorilla City tech to distribute electrical power properly.

  38. >People hating Gorilla Grodd
    Damn, i thought this was a good blog D:

  39. @Alchemy: My favorite comic book character is Eddie Brock. This is a horrible blog.

  40. @Gavok: Your favorite is Venom, Esther’s favorite is Batgirl, and my favorite is… is…

    oh crap oh crap

    i don’t even like comics! no wonder this is an awful blog!

  41. Grodd was born and raised in a secret city somewhere in Africa, why wouldn’t he choose that continent to rule?

    That’d be like me taking over North America. Holy crap a white male ruling North America, how racist can you get?

    And the reason we don’t get a story of KGBeast ruling Europe is because this is a Flash event. Grodd is a top Flash villain, of course he’s going to be featured.

  42. Jeezus people, stop being dense it’s not that Gorilla Grodd conquered Africa, it’s that IT’S ALWAYS AFRICA that gets conquered in things like this. Plus it’d be like a villain saying “I conquered America” and showing him conquer the USA, Canada, Mexico, and a few other Central American nations.

  43. @Alex Ryking: U mad?

  44. I thought it was usally Australia getting conquered in events like this.

  45. Alex Ryking: “1) If you knew that gorillas weren’t monkeys, you shouldn’t have referred to a gorilla as a monkey. Don’t get pissy because I corrected you.”

    Be prepared to get pissy, Alex, because your high school biology knowledge is out of date. Modern taxonomy is based largely on cladistics, where organisms are grouped based on their evolutionary history. While this upends the whole Linnaean classification system, it has the benefit of actually being based in observable fact. Each “clade” consists of a species and its evolutionary descendants.

    So, for instance, the clade of theropod dinosaurs would include expected organisms like Tyrannosaurus and Deinonychus, but also would include all modern birds, since they are descended from that lineage. Consequently, all modern birds are in fact theropod dinosaurs, since clades are inclusive.

    A more relevant example is that of Catarrhini, the primate division that gave rise to the old world monkeys, such as various baboons and mandrills, and the great apes, including gorillas, orangutans, and humans. Catarrhini are monkeys, descended from monkeys, sharing an ancestor with the new world monkeys like marmosets and capuchins, and since clades are inclusive of everything descended from them, all of the descendants of the catarrhini are also monkeys. Again, that includes every ape, from the chimpanzee to the neanderthal to you and me, even to alien-augmented apes like Gorilla Grodd.

    So yes, Grodd is a monkey, and so are you.

    (More detailed information, along with a linked transcript, here.)

  46. Yeah, this is making way too many assumptions about a shitty tie-in book that’s only gotten a four word description.

  47. Isn’t Flashpoint a sort of alternate timeline/villains win, temporary-canon thing? Like House of M? Oh shit, in House of M a super powered Jewish guy takes over the world! Way to play up that conspiracy theory, Marvel.

  48. @SJ: Hey, dummy: this is making exactly zero assumptions, and is instead pointing out the wonkiness evident in the title and four word description alone. Dummy.

  49. With comics’s propensity for making terrible, lazily-thought out storytelling decisions and treating their audience with something less than respect, why are people always so quick to defend them when someone points this out? Don’t worry, David isn’t taking away your white male privelege, people who don’t like this post. He’s just saying a comic looks shite and lazy.

  50. @Tom Foss: Damn, Tom Foss dropping knowledge all over this place. Good point though, arguing semantics is dumb, especially when we have a horrible pun of a title to be argued about!


  51. If they’re working from the conceit that Grodd built machinery to amp up his natural mind-controlling powers to cover a larger area, and that’s why he’s ruling the entire African continent, that could be a workable angle. Unfortunately, the “lazy writing” angle is so much more likely…

  52. […] second, by David Brothers, is a powerful reminder that racism — even the unconscious, unintended variety — is […]

  53. Well it seems like in Flashpoint Aquaman and Wonder Woman conquered Europe (and are fighting over it) so it’s not like it’s exclusive to Africa, they’re lumping all of Europe together too (and every cover seems to feature Big Ben which makes no sense unless every “Europe” scene is in London). It’s still wrong the way Africa continues to be thought of, but it’s not only Africa in this case.

  54. I thought that cover looked pretty cool actually. I was thinking about buying it, but apparently Francis Manapul is just doing the cover.

    But I guess there’s always somebody who finds something offensive, and that’s just how the world works.

  55. @Jeremy: “But I guess there’s always somebody who finds something offensive”
    I guess that means it can’t actually be offensive, then. I guess black people have never been called monkeys. I guess there’s nothing to see here because robots don’t exist, and zombies don’t exist, so racism doesn’t exist because I’m a straight white male and my mellow must remain unharshed.

  56. @James W: If you think I’m criticizing you or David for seeing something offensive where others don’t, I’m not. I saw a cool Gorilla Grodd cover, David saw an offensive stereotype. We all have different beliefs, backgrounds, and interests. Its only logical that inevitably what some find acceptable others find unacceptable. That’s just the way the world works.

    And I’m tired of the internet assuming everyone is white or that people not with their side are on some fucking “white privilege” trip. We are text on a message board with names attached to them. Don’t go make an ass out of yourself bringing up things that aren’t actually true.

  57. No man, I’m a straight white male. I was being sarcastic, but not looking to attribute anything to you. Because: fool’s game, like you say.

    I think if you’re genuinely musing on “we all get our buttons pushed by different things, world’s weird”, you might find a more neutral phrasing for it, because “there’s always somebody…” reads very much like the kind of “looking to be offended/manufactured controversy” stuff espoused by morons.

  58. Well its true isn’t? There’s always somebody who finds something offensive, whether its your mother looking appalled at the latest Mortal Kombat, or certain groups not liking a Muslim Batman or bloggers seeing hoary stereotypes in super-intelligent gorillas. Maybe they have valid points, maybe they don’t. But that’s fine. If the world just tried to create safe, PC things, it would be a pretty boring place.

  59. I do grok the idea that it’s frustrating to present “Africa” as a homogeonized place that no one apparently gives enough of a crap about (or believes anyone else does) to present in concrete and researched terms. As do I agree that it’s discomfiting that there isn’t anything in DC Africa but Gorilla City and a highly bowlderized Egypt, when in the real world the continent is home to like a billion people and some of the world’s largest and most important countries–and dozens of very different polities and hundreds (if not thousands) of unique ethnic groups.

    But, I don’t think that’s what this ad does. Don’t get me wrong: I can all but guarantee the story does, but not the ad.

    “The Republic of the Congo, the Democratic Republic of the Gongo, Uganda, Rwanda, the Cameroons, Angola, Gabon, and Nigeria belong to Grodd” is a little long. I think it’s an acceptable short form: for example, people talk about Napoleon conquering Europe as a meaningful hyperbole that need not be (and would not be, there) geographically accurate.

    Now, the aspect of Grodd stories that I personally question is why Solovar’s son has a Nigerian name. Do they speak Igbo in Gorilla City? If so, why? That makes no sense to me. And yeah, the meaning is fitting, but so what?

  60. we get it, hermanos, you’re black. congrats. nobody cares.

  61. @super nintendo chalmers: Wait, I’m what?! Since when?

  62. @david brothers: Sorry, man. I meant to tell you earlier but… I didn’t know how you’d react.

  63. Really? This whole time I thought Uzumeri was the black David. Tell Comics Alliance to stop putting their Davids beside each other at panels.

  64. That was a lot of angry stuff to read. Made my night, especially that ridiculous Alex guy. Anyway I kind of agree with what Mikoyan said as far as the “acceptable short form” thing and all that.

    But I can also totally see your point, David. As a student of geography I also get upset when everyone refers to “Africa” as if it’s some monolithic entity. I mean, at least do what most of us do with Europe and have the courtesy to split it up a little. Y’know, like, West Africa, North Africa, etc and all that. Still a lot of significant divisions within those greater regions, but sometimes you have to talk about more than one country without naming them all. But that whole “Africa is more than just a homogeneous continent” thing also applies to Kwanzaa and some of that other stuff.

    Either way I’m definitely not going to read this comic anyway, but that’s more because I don’t really like DC all that much and especially not Flash.

  65. […] links!: Flashpoint Controversy, More Flashpoint Controversy, More Flashpoint Controversy, Even more Flashpoint Controversy, Flashpoint Map, Coloring Mistakes?!, Lady Ghost Rider, […]