The Unpublished Doug Moench Apes Stories
With incredible tenacity, Rich Handley managed to track down author Doug Moench, who wrote what most people consider are the best of the Planet of the Apes stories for Marvel's Apes magazines in the 1970s. It turns out that Mr. Moench had written other stories that were never published, and thanks to Rich's dedication and Mr. Moench's generosity, they're available here for the very first time ever.

I'll let Rich take over:


After Marvel finished its adaptation of Battle for the Planet of the Apes, the magazine needed to move in a new direction, now that all five films had been adapted. To that end, as of issue 30, writer Doug Moench intended to make his Derek Zane storyline (about an inventor lost in the future after building a time machine to rescue Taylor's crew) the main focus of the book.

The result was "Journey to the Planet of the Apes" (originally known as "Return to the Planet of the Apes," but re-titled due to the animated series using that same name). "Journey" would have been a multi-arc storyline that would have lasted until around issue #60, taking Zane on a variety of adventures into other eras and, ultimately, to other worlds. Moench completed an 18-page outline for the first chapter of the saga, entitled "The Secret of the City."

The storyline was cut short, however, when Marvel—pressed for increased licensing fees from APJAC Productions—abruptly canceled the magazine before issue #30 could be produced. This first chapter of "Journey" thus remained unpublished, as did several other stories Moench had written for upcoming issues.

"Future History Chronicles VI: The Captive of the Canals" would have picked up where the fifth chapter of that story left off, with the main characters finding a great city known as Sexxtann, and encountering Her Majesty's Cannibal Corps. In part 6, readers would have learned more about the Cannibal Corps, while also meeting Her Majesty, a giant female gorilla captured by the humans of Sexxtann, known as the Industrialists—descendants of citizens from several African nations who blamed apes and Caucasian humans for the planet's devastation, and thus decided to form their own isolated civilization. In an interview I conducted with Mr. Moench for Simian Scrolls magazine, he described the tale as a "King Kong riff."

Moench also wrote a new chapter of "Terror on the Planet of the Apes, Phase 2," subtitled "To Meet the Makers." This story, which took place immediately following the previous "Terror" chapter, introduced the Makers' latest creation: Smashore, a 9-foot-tall albino Gorilloid with a hole in his head to propel bombs, a utility belt, bionic eyeballs able to shoot death rays, and laser-shooters in his fingertips—a reminder that although it was set in the Planet of the Apes universe, Marvel's "Terror" was, first and foremost, a comic book.

The above three unpublished tales are now available, after 30 years of obscurity, thanks to Doug Moench, who provided them to me as research for my book, Timeline of the Planet of the Apes. Moench has graciously allowed his work to be shared with fans for the first time ever.

Moench also wrote a fourth story, "Forbidden Zone Prime," of which he no longer retains copies. Unlike the above entries, which appear to exist only in script or outline form, "Prime" was fully illustrated and lettered before its cancelation, and would likely have been published in issue #30 had the series not been prematurely canceled. A number of pages from "Forbidden Zone Prime" have surfaced online, and can be found on this site, in the Marvel Ultimate Edition section.


Thanks, Rich!

And here are the links to PDFs of Doug Moench's original unpublished scripts.


Copyright © 2013, Hunter Goatley. All rights reserved.
Last updated 14-DEC-2013 08:11:01.12.