If you’re the kind of monkey maniac who goes ape over apes…well, there’s no better place for you than DC. Editor Julius Schwartz famously observed a trend in the 1960s that books were somehow more likely to sell if they featured an ape on the cover. Look, your explanation is as good as ours (there was clearly some monkey business happening behind the scenes), but what can’t be debated is that this caused DC to go bananas for all things ape! It’s a love affair that continues to this very day, culminating in the ultimate showcase of the most satisfactory simians in serialized comics—our brand-new Ape-ril Special!

Which, um, actually came out in March…but let’s not split hairs around the telepathic gorillas.

Speaking of, you know who doesn’t get a story in the special? Gorilla Grodd, who’s a real piece of work and is NOT on this list of DC’s five best apes.

Monsieur Mallah

This French guerilla gorilla may be a long time Doom Patrol enemy and devoted member of the Brotherhood of Evil, but he’s also got a heart the size of…some animal bigger than a gorilla. The unconditional love he has for his master Brain, a literal human brain in a fancy jar, is one that stretches the parameters of what love can be. Unlike Gorilla Grodd, who’s never loved anything but himself. The world is bigger than just YOU, Grodd.


Congorilla was once Congo Bill, one of DC’s oldest heroes. Debuting in 1940, Congo Bill spent the first nineteen years of his life on the shelf as just your average jungle-delving adventurer. Until, that is, he chanced upon a magic ring which granted him the ability to swap minds with a golden gorilla, as majestic as he was powerful. Naturally, Congo Bill used this ring to fight crime under the name “Congorilla.” Eventually, when Bill’s human body was crushed, he took up permanent residence in his gorilla form, and even joined the Justice League! You know, because some gorillas know how to be part of a TEAM and RESPECT each other. Ever heard of it, Grodd?

Space Ape

The enormous, whimsically named “Space Ape” is one of the newer inductees to the Green Lantern Corps, having transferred during a brief merger with the Sinestro Corps. Secretly, Space Ape is actually the lost Prince Lorix, rightful ruler of his homeworld, but he’s left that world behind for reasons still unknown. But here’s a thought, maybe it’s because SOME apes aren’t about that POWER TRIP. They actually CARE about how their actions affect others and take some RESPONSIBILITY. You hear me, you underhanded, manipulative son of a—

Fine. I’m over this. Moving on.

Detective Chimp

Not everyone knows this, but chimpanzees are actually taxonomically considered to be apes, not monkeys! You’ll do well to remember that should you ever meet Bobo, the TRUE world’s greatest detective (no matter what anyone in Gotham says). With the problems of the mundane world all too easily solvable for his advanced skill set, Detective Chimp spends his time unraveling the inexplicable with the mystic teams of Shadowpact and Justice League Dark.

But you know something? I don’t think it would take Detective Chimp to solve this little mystery of WHO KEEPS EATING HALF THE YOGURTS IN THE BREAK FRIDGE AND PUTTING THE REST BACK. You think you’re being CLEVER, Grodd? That we wouldn’t notice that they’re all already opened and half empty? You LEAVE YOUR FUR IN THE CUPS! THERE’S NO ONE ELSE HERE WITH HAIR ON THEIR KNUCKLES! You’re supposed to be a hyper-intelligent ape, Grodd, why did you think you could keep getting AWAY with this?

Mogo, The Bat-Ape

Ace the Bat-Hound isn’t Batman’s only devoted animal companion. For crimes of the jungle, the Caped Crusader is known to rely on—okay, I’m not over this. I’m sorry. Those yogurts are for EVERYONE! If you just took a reasonable amount and finished them, no one would even be mad! I just don’t get you, dude. Is it because you’re “evil?” Trying to fit in with the Legion of Doom? Well, I’m sorry, but this is pure bush league. I never hear about Sinestro taking extra puddings, or Lex Luthor stealing multiple cakes—okay, that’s a bad example. But STILL, maybe if you weren’t so selfish, you’d actually make the cut next time we do a Top Five Apes list. Yeah, use your super-powered brain helmet to think about THAT. Actions. Have. Consequences.

And don’t even get me STARTED on Ultra-Humanite. What a $#!%.

Ape-ril Special #1, featuring some of the many fabulous apes of the DC Universe (but not Gorilla Grodd!), is now available in print and on DC UNIVERSE INFINITE.

Alex Jaffe is the author of our monthly "Ask the Question" column and writes about TV, movies, comics and superhero history for DC.com. Follow him on Bluesky at @AlexJaffe and find him in the DC Community as HubCityQuestion.

NOTE: The views and opinions expressed in this feature are solely those of Alex Jaffe and do not necessarily reflect those of DC or Warner Bros. Discovery, nor should they be read as confirmation or denial of future DC plans.