Gorillas in popular culture

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A poster for the 1933 film King Kong

Representations of gorillas are common in popular culture in the Western world[1] with the full range of electronic media having gorillas as mascots, gorillas behaving like humans, and humans behaving like gorillas.

Ape – gorilla defined[edit]


  • The French sculptor Emmanuel Frémiet won a medal of honour at the Salon of 1887 for his masterly Gorilla Carrying off a Woman ("Gorille enlevant une Femme"). The sculpture depicts a gorilla abducting a woman, something totally alien to actual gorilla behaviour.[2]
  • The Frémiet sculpture has somehow caught the public's imagination as witnessed by the repeated popularity of the King Kong theme.


Gorilla Grodd


  • In The Adventures of Tintin comic The Black Island, a gorilla called Ranko was featured, who people thought was a monster.
  • Gorillas were frequently used as a gimmick to sell comics during the Silver Age of Comic Books: see Gorillas in comics.
  • Congorilla was a golden gorilla who from time to time exchanged brains with African explorer Congo Bill in DC comics, beginning in January 1959 in Action Comics #248.
  • Marvel Apes, a Marvel Comics mini-series in which The Gibbon is transported into an alternate earth where all the Superheroes have simian counterparts (Captain Apemerica).
  • In the Planet of the Apes comic books, normal-sized gorillas fill security/military roles.
  • Grease Monkey is a science fiction series centered around intelligent gorillas.
  • In the space opera webcomic Schlock Mercenary, one of the recurring characters is an uplifted gorilla (i.e. a gorilla that has genetically enhanced, human-level sentience). This gorilla also bears the name Kerchak.
  • While he does not appear much in other media, Grodd's nemesis Solovar rules a city of hyper-intelligent gorillas.


Magazines and literature[edit]

A monstrous German gorilla in a World War I propaganda poster (Harry R. Hopps; 1917)
  • Fester Bestertester, the protagonist of Don Martin's Mad strip National Gorilla-Suit Day is beset by gorillas (or persons dressed as gorillas). "National Gorilla-Suit Day" is celebrated every year on January 31.
  • In the award-winning novel Ishmael, written by Daniel Quinn, a gorilla teaches the protagonist about the history of humanity and the effect "civilized" culture has had on other species.
  • The novel Congo features "killer" gorillas
  • In The Uplift War, a science-fiction novel by David Brin, gorillas transported to the planet Garth for experiments in uplift play a significant role in the plot.
  • In the North American Confederacy alternate history series by L. Neil Smith, gorillas (along with other greater primates) are recognized as sentient beings and are granted full citizenship in the eponymous political entity. In the first novel in the series, The Probability Broach, a gorilla, Olongo Featherstone-Haugh (pronounced "Fanshaw"), is mentioned as having served as the largely ceremonial Vice-President of the NAC. The second novel, The Venus Belt, states that he was then elected as the equally ceremonial President of the NAC from 1996 to 2000, retiring after one term.
  • In the Animorphs book series, one of the main characters, Marco, shapeshifts into the form of a gorilla as his main 'battle morph'.


Online games[edit]

  • Gorillas are also Beasts in the popular fantasy MMO World of Warcraft some can be tamed and used by the Hunter Class in the game though they are not nearly as commonly used as other potential pets.
  • In the popular superhero-themed MMO Champions Online, Dr Silverback is one of the most important heroes of the setting and a contact for the players.
  • The team-based multiplayer shooter Overwatch features a hero named Winston, a gorilla who was born and raised on a futuristic lunar colony and received an education in science, enabling him to become an advanced engineer and scientist himself.



Stage and theatre shows[edit]

  • A Young Man Dressed As A Gorilla Dressed As An Old Man Sits Rocking In A Rocking Chair for 56 Minutes and Then Leaves, a stage show features a man wearing a gorilla suit doing exactly what is said in the title.


Video games[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Quammen, David (April 4, 2013). "Book Review: Planet of the Ape -'Between Man and Beast,' by Monte Reel". New York Times. Retrieved April 6, 2013.
  2. ^ Gott, Ted (2005). "Stowed Away:Emmanuel Frémiet's Gorlla Carrying Off A Woman". Art Journal. 45. Retrieved August 19, 2017.
  3. ^ Cooper, Alice. "Thrill My Gorilla." Constrictor. [S.l.]: Premium Masters, 1994.
  4. ^ Dead Milkmen (Musical group). Big Lizard in My Backyard. El Segundo, CA: Restless, 1985.
  5. ^ Flaming Lips. "Shaved Gorilla." Telepathic Surgery. Culver City, CA: Restless Records, 1989.
  6. ^ GabbaniVEVO (2017-02-09), Francesco Gabbani - Occidentali's Karma, retrieved 2017-04-08
  7. ^ Scarpone, Cristian (2017-02-15). ""Occidentali's Karma" lyrics - Francesco Gabbani (Italy, Eurovision 2017)". Eurovision 2017 Predictions, Polls, Odds, Rankings | wiwibloggs. Retrieved 2017-04-08.
  8. ^ Ghostface Killah. "Gorilla Hood." The Pretty Tony Collection Chapter 2. n.p., n.p., 2008
  9. ^ Project Pat. "Gorilla Pimp." Mista Don't Play Everythangs Workin. New York: Hypnotize Minds/Loud Records, 2001.
  10. ^ Spin Doctors. "Gorilla Boy." Here Comes the Bride. New York: DAS, 1999.
  11. ^ Taylor, James. "Gorilla." Gorilla. Burbank, Calif: Warner Bros, 1975.
  12. ^ Zevon, Warren. Warren Zevon. Los Angeles, Calif: Imperial, 1969.
  13. ^ Zevon, Warren. "Gorilla, You're a Desperado." Bad Luck Streak in Dancing School. [Miami, Fla.]: Columbia Pictures Publications, 1980.
  14. ^ Z-Ro. Screwed Up Click Representa. Houston, TX: Presidential Records, 2002.

External links[edit]