“Be careful what you wish for.” Those words have served as an often ignored warning for those seeking that which is not worth having. In the comic world, a quest for immortality leads to one man spending eternity trapped in the body of a gorilla. How much do you know about him?
Created by artist Robert Q. Sale and an unknown writer, the first Gorilla-Man made his debut in Men’s Adventures #26 in 1954. Before becoming the intimidating ape, Ken Hale was a thrill-seeking soldier who despite his penchant for life-threatening feats was terrified of actually dying. During his adventures, Hale heard of an African legend that stated: “If you kill the magical Gorilla-Man, you become immortal.” After traveling to Africa, Hale initially found himself unable to murder the beast. He then wandered deeper into the jungle, becoming lost and sick. The gorilla later came across Hale and, in an act of self defense, Hale killed it. In killing the gorilla, Hale obtained the immortality he sought, but also took on the curse of the Gorilla-Man. He was now damned to spend the rest of his immortal life in the body of a gorilla.
For a time, Gorilla-Man operated his own team, while also serving as a guide for the original X-Men. After proving himself to be a formidable ally, Gorilla-Man teamed with the Avengers, SHIELD’s Howling Commandos unit, and the Agents of Atlas. Throughout the “Secret Invasion” storyline, Gorilla-Man was working alongside Human Robot in an effort to rescue Namora from the Skrulls. A later storyline saw Norman Osborn gains a prominent position in the American government, leading Gorilla-Man and the Agents of Atlas to frequently work against his interests.
After returning to operating on his own, Gorilla-Man was tracking a group of heroin dealers who were running out of an underground facility in Chinatown. In the course of his investigation, Gorilla-Man discovered that Wolverine, Master Po, and Fat Cobra were also looking into the drug dealers. Together they uncover a vast underground empire that is endeavoring to control all crime aboveground as well. Using each of their unique skillsets, the heroes manage to successfully obliterate the criminal group. Currently, Gorilla-Man serves as a member of Black Panther’s burgeoning Agents of Wakanda.