The iconic novel-turned-movie-turned-a-bunch-of-things franchise Planet of the Apes is returning to comics - and returning to Marvel Comics.
Marvel Comics has announced plans to produce Planet of the Apes comics again beginning in early 2023, specifically noting there will be multiple comic book series as well as collections and reprints of previous Planet of the Apes comics. Although no specific new comics were announced, Marvel has released a pin-up by long-time company artist Salvador Larroca - a strategy they used previously when they acquired the comics publishing rights for Conan the Barbarian, Aliens, and Predator.
The choice here to depict the Planet of the Apes franchise as it appeared in the original '60s film franchise as opposed to the more recent relaunched film franchise could be read as Marvel, at least initially, focusing on stories set in the original film series' continuity.
The first announced project from this new Planet of the Apes line at Marvel Comics is a huge collection of '70s comics that adapted the first two movies. Planet of the Apes Adventures: The Original Marvel Years Omnibus will collect Adventurss on the Planet of the Apes #1 - #11, a 1975-1976 run by writer Doug Moench and artists George Tuska and Aldredo Alcala. This new collection - the first time it's ever been collected - will hit stands in March 2023.
At its heart, the Planet of the Apes franchise is a near-future sci-fi story about evolved apes growing to take over human society. Originally told in the 1963 novel La Planète des singes by Pierre Boulle, the 1968 film adaptation, Planet of the Apes, escalated it to be a worldwide phenomenon - using the best of thoughtful science fiction, along with the possibilities of Hollywood special effects and the entrancing performance of Charlton Heston. The success of the film kicked off an entire film franchise, a spin-off cartoon, toys, and yes, comics.
The manga publisher Akita Shoten was the first to create Planet of the Apes comics, but Marvel Comics did quite a number of them in the mid '70s. In addition to adapting all of the films released at the time as comics, Marvel published original material, as well as magazines about the franchise. The Planet of the Apes franchise was so popular that in the UK, Marvel adapted some of its Killraven comics into Planet of the Apes stories under the name 'Apeslayer.'
The Planet of the Apes comic book license was held previously by BOOM! Studios, from 2011 to 2019. The Planet of the Apes license is owned by 20th Century Fox, and following Fox's acquisition by Walt Disney Studios, it was easy to imagine some of these comics licenses deals would be reconsidered given that Planet of the Apes and Marvel Comics are now under the same Disney umbrella. Similar situations occured with sci-fi licenses such as Star Wars, Aliens, and Predator.
"We're thrilled to welcome Planet of the Apes back to the House of Ideas!” Marvel Comics' editor-in-chief C.B. Cebulski said in the announcement. "The new saga in the pipeline is going explore the limits of what this beloved franchise has to offer through bold comics storytelling, and we look forward to setting foot on this new adventure!"
Can't wait until 2023? We feel ya. Check out our summer 2022 comics guide.