Monday, April 10, 2006

Amusing Obscure Comic Characters: Congo Bill

Haven't done one of these in a while.

At first merely an adventurer and soldier of fortune, the man known only as Congo Bill soon came to appreciate the native beauty of Africa and her creatures, becoming a noted naturalist and trapper, and refusing to kill any animal unless left no other choice. His honesty, integrity, and courage made Congo Bill a legend and the African authorities, and there was almost nowhere he was not welcome.

While working for a time as a special investigator and troubleshooter for the World-wide Insurance Company, Congo Bill came into contact with Janu, the Jungle Boy, actually the orphaned son of a famous guide, now living wild in the jungle.

For the next several years Congo Bill served as guardian and father-figure to young Janu, until the boy left for America to receive a proper education.

Sometime later Congo Bill attempted to save the life of Chief Kawolo, an old friend and tribal witch doctor, who had fallen off a cliff. Despite Bill's best efforts, the old man knew he was dying and bequeathed Bill a final gift–an ornate ring carved with the image of a gorilla. By rubbing the ring, the dying man explained, Bill would be able to trade identities for one hour with Kawolo's tribal god, a golden gorilla. To humor the old man, Bill accepted the ring, believing the story to be silly superstition, until an avalanche trapped him in a cave and he has no other hope of freeing himself except to rub the ring. Instantly, Bill found his mind in the body of the golden gorilla, while the gorilla's mind inhabited his body. Now a unique hybrid of man and beast, Bill freed his body from the cave and carved a new legend across Africa over the next several years as the remarkable man-ape called Congorilla.

Finally, Janu, now college-educated, returned to Africa and convinced Congo Bill that industry was the hope of Africa's future. Retiring from the brush, Bill and Janu opened a small industrial firm that soon became a large conglomerate with Bill as its president and Janu as vice-president.

Though financially successful, Bill found little satisfaction in the world of business, and when the world was threatened with extinction, Bill once more became Congorilla, joining a number of other Forgotten Heroes (see the Forgotten Heroes) and Superman to save humanity from destruction.

Edit: The Gorilla has a rail gun. Maybe not as good a find as a Small Pox Green Lantern, but, hey, the gorilla has a rail gun.


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