Friday, November 7, 2014

Not to beat a dead buffalo, but...

So, I wanted to follow up this reference a little bit more, not with more about bison, but about gorillas - or one gorilla figure in particular.

Man-Ape is one of my favorite comic book villains - heck, one of my favorite comic book characters. Fifteen-year-old Walaka devoured his first appearance in this "Full-length Bullpen Blockbuster" issue of Jungle Action, which had just become the hero Black Panther's solo title. I dug the contrast between the two: white and furry v. black and sleek; big and powerful v. lithe and agile; usurper v. regent. It had all the trappings of classic conflict, and I guess it continued long after I stopped reading mainstream comics. 

But one thing about the character dynamic bugged me, even back in the day, and moreso now.

Black Panther is T'Challa, the ruler of the African nation of Wakanda (at least he was when I knew him; he might have a different job now), and his "senses and physical attributes have been enhanced to superhuman levels by the heart-shaped herb." This is some kind of magic plant (whose properties and accessibility vary with continuity glitches).

Man-Ape is M'Baku, a former Wakandan official who attempted to overthrow T'Challa and continues to oppose him after the coup failed. He "possesses various superhuman abilities as the result of a magical ritual in which he killed a sacred White Gorilla, bathed in its blood, and consumed its flesh."

Now, here's what gets me: Gorillas are predominantly herbivorous, eating shoots and leaves and occasionally fruits (although some lowland gorillas will eat ants and termites as well). Panthers, on the other hand - any big cats of the genus Panthera - are carnivorous.

Given this, wouldn't it make more sense to eat special meat in order to become a magical panther-warrior and eat special herbs to become a magical gorilla-warrior?

Oy vey, sometimes I can't believe the things that stay with me...

The quote abut T'Challa's powers comes from; 
poor second-stringer Man-Ape doesn't even get a listing there, 
so I had to go to the Marvel Wikia for his quotation.

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