Art by Mauro Cascioli.
Publication information Publisher DC Comics/Vertigo First appearance More Fun Comics #56 (June 1940) Created by Whitney Ellsworth (writer)
George Papp (artist)
In-story information Alter ego William Glenmorgan Team affiliations Forgotten Heroes
Notable aliases Congo Bill Abilities Body of the Golden Gorilla, healing factor, ability to grow larger
Congorilla, originally a human character known as Congo Bill, is a fictional character, a superhero appearing in comic books published by DC Comics and Vertigo Comics. Originally co-created by writer Whitney Ellsworth and artist George Papp, he was later transformed into Congorilla by Robert Bernstein and Howard Sherman. The character first appeared in More Fun Comics #56 (June 1940).
Congo Bill was a long running DC Comics adventure comic strip, running in various DC Comics titles until Action Comics #248 (January 1959), when Congo Bill was transformed into Congorilla (the title of the strip was likewise changed). The Congo Bill strip was a standard adventure strip, often reminiscent of Alex Raymond's Jungle Jim newspaper strip.
Action Comics #191 (April 1954) saw the introduction of Janu the Jungle Boy, a young boy brought up in the jungle after his father had been killed by a tiger. The strip was a moderate success and moved from More Fun Comics to Action Comics with issue #37, where it stayed until issue #248 when it was transformed into Congorilla. In 1954, DC awarded Congo Bill his own title, which lasted for seven issues (August/September 1954 – August/September 1955).
The Congorilla series ran in Action Comics until issue #262, after which it was transferred to Adventure Comics, where it ran until issue #283. Since the demise of its own series, Congorilla has mainly been seen as a guest star in other titles, including as part of the Forgotten Heroes. The character finally received a mini-series of his own in 1994, where Congo Bill is betrayed by his (now corrupt) ward Janu, who usurps the Congorilla identity and Bill is forced to fight his adopted son to the death. Congo Bill became blind in his left eye making it hard for him to see after fighting his son to the end. In 1999, DC Comics once again brought Congo Bill back for another four-issue limited series under the company's mature readership Vertigo Comics imprint. Congorilla returned in the 2009 series Cry for Justice, joining a proactive splinter faction of the Justice League. Following that series, Congorilla became a full time member of the Justice League.
Fictional character biography
William "Congo Bill" Glenmorgan was born in 1898, the son of a Scottish gamekeeper. At one point he was a member of the IRA, and during World War I he served as soldier in the Battle of the Somme in France 1916 and also Battle of Flanders Field in Passendale, Belgium. He worked his way up a spy in Austria. He later became a globe-trotting adventurer, and for a time worked for the Worldwide Insurance Company, protecting policies they had written and saving the company from fraudulent payouts.
Bill grew content to live in his adopted African home, swearing to protect it from harm. There he befriended a witch doctor known as Chief Kawolo. When Kawolo was mortally injured in a fall, he summoned Bill to his bedside, and offered him a magic ring. Kawolo told the skeptical Congo Bill that, by rubbing the ring, he could transfer his consciousness into the body of the legendary Golden Gorilla. He accepted the ring to humor his friend's dying wish. Several weeks later, an earthquake trapped Bill in a deep cave. With no possible escape, Congo Bill hopelessly rubbed the magic ring. Instantly, his mind was transported into the body of the Golden Gorilla. Racing to the cave-in, he used his massive strength to clear the blocked entrance and wondering what had become of his body without him being "home". He realized that when his consciousness entered the body of the Gorilla, the creature's consciousness entered his own body. Bill decides to use his new powers to fight crime in the jungle. He is later assisted by Janu, a young boy raised in the jungle.
Years later, Bill (now known as Congorilla) is trapped in his gorilla form upon the death of his human body. He becomes the protector of a band of gorillas, and friend of the South African hero Freedom Beast. When the gorillas and Freedom Beast are slaughtered by hunters, Congorilla decides to seek justice. After the trail leads to the villain Prometheus, Congorilla teams up with Starman, and eventually a splinter faction of the Justice League. After Prometheus's death, Congorilla becomes a full time member of the Justice League.
During his time with the League, Bill faces off against such foes as the rogue Starheart and Eclipso, and becomes close friends with Starman and Supergirl. After Batman Inc. appoints the vigilante Batwing as the official Batman of Africa, Congorilla realizes that the continent is too big for one hero to handle. He ultimately chooses to resign from the JLA in order to help organize the superheroes of Africa into a more efficient team, as well as to find a worthy successor to carry on Freedom Beast's legacy.
Prior to debuting as Congorilla in Action Comics #248 (January 1959), Congo Bill encountered the legendary golden gorilla in Action Comics #224 (January 1957). He also encountered the similarly named Kongorilla in Action Comics #228 (May 1957).
In other media
- Congo Bill was filmed as a 15 chapter movie serial by Columbia Pictures in 1948. The series starred Don McGuire and Cleo Moore and was produced by Sam Katzman. The series was reissued in 1957 when Moore had become a famous film star.
- ^ Justice League of America vol. 2, #47 (September 2010)
- ^ Evans, Chris (April 5, 2010). "WC10: Spotlight on James Robinson". Comic Book Resources. http://www.comicbookresources.com/?page=article&id=25567. Retrieved June 17, 2010.
- ^ Justice League of America vol. 2, #44 (June 2010)
- ^ Greenberger, Robert (2008). "Congorilla". In Dougall, Alastair. The DC Comics Encyclopedia. New York: Dorling Kindersley. p. 87. ISBN 0-7566-4119-5. OCLC 213309017.
- ^ Justice League: Cry for Justice #1
- ^ Justice League (vol. 2) #60
- ^ Flashpoint: Grodd of War one-shot (June 2011)
- ^ Congo Bill at the Internet Movie Database
- Congo Bill and Congorilla at Don Markstein's Toonopedia
- Congo Bill at the Comic Book DB
- Congorilla at the Comic Book DB
- A Comprehensive Index of Congo Bill's appearances
- DCU Guide: Congo Bill
- Daniels, Les (October 1995). DC Comics: Sixty Years of the World's Favorite Comic Book Heroes. Bulfinch. ISBN 978-0821220764.
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Look at other dictionaries:
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