Real Name: Dr. Erik Gorbo

Identity/Class: Human mutate (presumably deceased)

Occupation: Research scientist

Group Membership: S.H.I.E.L.D. (Supreme Headquarters International Espionage Law-Enforcement Division: Dum Dum Dugan, Julia, Nick Fury Sr, others)

Affiliations: Julia (unrequited romantic interest)
   formerly Mole Man (Harvey Elder)

Enemies: Captain America (Steve Rogers), Falcon (Sam Wilson), Mole Man (Harvey Elder), Moloids

Known Relatives: None

Aliases: The Gorilla

Base of Operations: S.H.I.E.L.D. HQ, Manhattan, New York

First Appearance: Captain America I#135 (March, 1971)

Powers: Gorbo, as the Monster Ape, had superhuman strength (Class 10, enabling him to lift/press ten tons), durability, and agility. Gorbo could transform from this form to his normal human form via injections of additional amounts of sera, or the use of the antidote. In either form, he could sense the thoughts and control the wills of most animals. Gorbo was a genius in the field of biochemistry (or mad scientistology).


Height: (Gorbo) 4'8"; (Monster Ape) 10' (both by estimation)
Weight: (Gorbo) 90 lbs.; (Monster Ape); 2000 lbs. (both by estimation)
Eyes: (Gorbo) Brown; (Monster Ape) red (no visible sclera)
Hair: (Gorbo) Brown; (Monster Ape) black (see comments)


History: (Captain America I#135) - Dr. Gorbo was a scientist working for the original SHIELD (Supreme Headquarters International Espionage Law-Enforcement Division) in charge of their bio-chem research. He lusted after a SHIELD desk clerk named Julia, who thought he was nice enough but kind of creepy. Gorbo was a small, unimposing specimen, and though he considered himself the greatest mind in SHIELD, he longed for brawn and muscles to impress other men and women. In an attempt to gain these features, he created a serum out of the blood cells of a captive ape and drank it. However, the serum affected him more strongly than he anticipated, and he was transformed into the form of a giant gorilla, while still retaining his normal intellect.

   Gorbo first decided to use his new power for criminal purposes. He would commit thefts in gorilla form, and then return to normal, so that he could not be traced. He even used dogs and other animals to prevent the police from approaching him. Later, after gaining some confidence from his successes, he asked Julia out. She declined because of previous plans to watch Project: Earthdig, a plan to dig the deepest hole ever in order to be able to safely bury atomic waste. Angered that Julia had chosen it over him, Gorbo planned to sabotage the Project. However, Captain America was on hand and confronted the Monster Ape. As they struggled, they fell down deep into the pit.

(Captain America I#136) - Before the two could be killed by the impact at the bottom of the hole, they were struck by an inertia beam which slowed their fall and allowed them to land safely. The beam was used by the Mole Man who then captured the two, desiring vengeance for the hole dug into his subterranean realm. Captain America attempted to convince the Mole Man that the destruction was inadvertent, but Gorbo told him that Cap was a spy sent by the surface world. Gorbo briefly joined forces with the Mole Man in an effort to capture Cap and gain vengeance on the surface world. However, when the Mole Man threatened to destroy the nearby SHIELD base, Gorbo remembered that Julia was there and would be killed. Gorbo leapt in front of the Mole Man's weapon as it fired, blocking the blast, but was mortally wounded in the process. With his dying breath, Gorbo told the Mole Man that Cap was not a spy, and he called off his attack on the surface world.

Comments: Created by Stan Lee and Gene Colan.

   Dr. Garbo is referred to as the Gorilla throughout much of the story, but does call himself a Monster Ape at one point, and the original Marvel Index series#8A calls him the Monster Ape, so I'll respect their author-ity.

   Nice, classic, old-time origin.

   Due to sympathy, the Mole Man may have saved him or at least would have given Gorbo a proper burial since the Monster Ape was a misunderstood, homely scientist, looking for love--much like the Mole Man was--Kyle

   Adventures Into Weird Worlds#3 (March, 1952) "Nothing Can Stop Me"--a weak man uses an experimental Strength Serum derived from a gorilla to impress a girl, but it transforms him into a gorilla, which is a similar motivation for Dr. Erik Gorbo. Plus Franz Lukoff was turned into an ape-like creature from monkey glands in Strange Tales I#21 (August, 1953) 5th story-"The Monkey Glands"

   On the covers of both issues he appears in he is depicted as having white fur in ape form, but as the images on this page show his fur is black within the story.

   In terms of estimating his height - we have a few reasonable, if not ideal, shots of his ape form standing next to Captain America. For Gorbo it's trickier - the only person we see him standing near is Julia, and we never see her standing near anyone whose height we know. The closest she comes is when she and Sharon Carter share a scene. As such I've ASSumed that Julia is around average height for an American woman, 5'5", and used that to then estimate the significantly shorter Gorbo. In terms of weight, Gorbo is heavyset but not fat, while the Monster Ape's weight is estimated from that of a large gorilla (440 lbs and 6' tall standing upright) upscaled to take into account the Monster Ape's greater size. - Loki

Profile updated/edited by Kyle Sims

CLARIFICATIONS: Dr. Gorbo, the Monster Ape should not be confused with nor does he have any known connection to:

Are you sure about that?  Because, the steroid he developed, using that gorilla's DNA, wouldn't have been mutagenic enough, in itself.  So, here are a couple hypotheses to mull over.   

1) The gorilla was actually Everett Hale, the 1950's Gorilla-Man, now mentally devolved to a true ape's IQ.  This option can now be discounted, given we've seen Hale retains his human intellect. - Loki

2) It was an ex-Beast of Berlin, donated to either the Bronx Zoo or the Central Park Zoo by East Germany, mostly for goodwill propaganda purposes.   

Either way, it was ultimately used by SHIELD as a lab animal, for the testing of a Super-soldier Serum variant developed by Dr. Wilma Calvin, circa this same

images: (without ads)
Captain America I#135, p13, pan2 (main image)
Captain America I#136, p5, pan5 (Gorbo headshot)
Captain America I#136, p19, pan4-6 (death)
Captain America I#135, p8, pan1 (Gorbo full body)
Captain America I#135, p9, pan2 (ape, full body)

Captain America I#135 (March, 1971) - Stan Lee (writer/editor), Gene Colan (pencils), Tom Palmer (inks)
Captain America I#136 (April, 1971) - Stan Lee (writer/editor), Gene Colan (pencils), Bill Everett (inks)

First Posted: 09/08/2001
Last updated: 10/02/2022

Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.

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