Real Name: Nelson Bates

Identity/Class: Alternate reality (Earth-77013) human technology user

Occupation: Billionaire Industrialist

Group Membership: None

Affiliations: Starlight Special Effects; formerly Bates Industries

Enemies: Spider-Man (Peter Parker)

Known Relatives: Unidentified ex-wife

Aliases: Gorilla Man, "King Kong Wannabe"

Base of Operations: New York City

First Appearance: Amazing Spider-Man Newspaper Strip (September 26th, 1998)

Powers/Abilities: Nelson Bates wore a specially designed armored suit that gave him the realistic appearance of an eight-foot-tall gorilla. The costume's hydraulics and mechanical design provided him with increased physical abilities allowing it to lift approximately five to ten tons and gave him ape-like speed and agility. The suit allowed him to make great leaps but required a running start to achieve greater distances. The suit's armored body was bullet and flame proof and offered him enhanced protection from physical and energy-based damage. It contained an internal oxygen supply good for 1-hour duration before needing to replenish it. This internal air supply also provided the suit's wearer protection from gases or other airborne hazards. The suit could be accessed via a hatch located in the chest unit and was capable of comfortably allowing a normal sized person to sit inside.

Nelson Bates was a billionaire industrialist and was skilled in business and finance.

He was as an elderly man and wore glasses.

Height: Unrevealed; (human form) 5'7"; (with costume) 9' (both by approximation)
Weight: Unrevealed; (human form) 160 lbs.; (with costume) close to a ton (both by approximation)
Eyes: Blue
Hair: Balding with black, greying patches

(Amazing Spider-Man Newspaper Strip - September 26th to December 19th, 1998) - Industrialist Nelson Bates, one of the world's richest men had everything; wealth and power was his, but he grew bored and was no longer satisfied with his economic conquests. After watching a news broadcast of Spider-Man taking down the Helper, a criminal conman who stole money through his fake Help Givers charity, he set his sights on the hero as his next conquest. He soon became a recluse after firing all his employees, divorced his wife, and liquidated his assets into cash. After some thought, he concluded that to attract Spider-Man's attention, he had to become the world's greatest criminal and commit crimes. After a casual stroll in the zoo, he marveled at how strong and fierce the gorillas looked and decided to hire an engineer to construct him a costume based on this form. Nelson Bates then flew to California in his private helicopter and hired Starlight Special Effects in Hollywood to commission him a large, armored ape exoskeleton impervious to bullets and fire and granting super strength. He also promised the company he would pay a million dollars a year if they kept his secret. Calling himself the Gorilla, he returned to New York to challenge Spider-Man.

(Amazing Spider-Man Newspaper Strip - September 26th to December 19th, 1998) - He first tested his gorilla battle suit by breaking into a jewelry store and surviving a hail of bullets from responding police officers and easily made his escape. Satisfied with the results, he next planned to confront Spider-Man.

(Amazing Spider-Man Newspaper Strip - September 26th to December 19th, 1998) - In order to gain Spider-Man's attention, he broke into a hospital and stole all the blood plasma that placed the hospital's patients at risk and while being filmed live by a TV news crew, issued Spider-Man a challenge to face him and he would release the stolen blood. Spider-Man, hearing his challenge, sought him out and the two began to fight while scaling the side of a building. Spider-Man, sensing he was overmatched and that there was danger to helpless bystanders and property, swung away leaving Nelson Bates to believe he was victorious. With the adrenaline flowing from the sudden exhilaration of his victory, he craved more.

(Amazing Spider-Man Newspaper Strip - September 26th to December 19th, 1998) - He sought a new thrill to feed his adrenaline-fueled ego. Although he was wealthy enough to buy hundreds of Van Gogh paintings, he decided to use his armored gorilla suit to steal one from an art dealer but during the heist was chased into the subway by some policemen where he easily eluded them.

(Amazing Spider-Man Newspaper Strip - September 26th to December 19th, 1998) - A few days later, even though he believed he had beaten Spider-Man in their first encounter, he plotted a new challenge against him on where his victory would be in unmasking the hero. He then approached J. Jonah Jameson while wearing his gorilla costume and threatened him into publishing his challenge on the front page of the Daily Bugle which twice went ignored by the wall-crawler. After issuing a third challenge in the Daily Bugle where he offered Spider-Man his choice of locations for their battle the web-swinger finally accepted. Unknown to Nelson Bates Spider-Man had a plan to defeat him. Spider-Man approached Joe Robertson about his accepting the Gorilla's request to do battle and convinced the Daily Bugle editor to assist him in renting a construction crew for a few hours. Sometime later, the Gorilla arrived at Spider-Man's chosen battleground, a wide-open field and began to gloat saying Spider-Man was a fool for choosing such a location where he could not use his webs to swing away and avoid his crushing attacks. Rushing towards Spider-Man, he suddenly fell into a trap, a deep pit lined with fifteen-inch-thick concrete walls that Spider-Man had a construction crew build for him. Unable to climb or jump out of the hole, his limited oxygen supply slowly began to fail, leaving Nelson Bates to reluctantly vacate it only to be webbed up by Spider-Man. His identity was now exposed in front of Joe Robertson and J. Jonah Jameson who was manning a video camera and was then arrested by the police. As he was being taken away, he bemoaned to not be put in a paddy wagon and the police officer responded by apologizing that the Ferrari was in the shop!

Comments: Created by Stan Lee & Larry Lieber.

Nelson Bates must have been suffering some mental breakdowns prior to his decision to use his wealth to attack Spider-Man. A billionaire who sold all his companies and liquidated all his assets seemed insane enough but to also divorce his wife for no other reason but to crusade against Spider-Man, now that is crazy! His wealth and celebrity may have kept him from any long prison terms, and he may have only been given probation due to his lack of any criminal record. He is likely plotting a way to get his revenge, but we will never know as the newspaper strip apparently ceased publication after the death of its writer, Stan Lee in 2018.

Starlight Special Effects company on this world, had costumes and props based on some real Hollywood monsters and included the Creature from the Black Lagoon, the Hulk, Tarzan, a werewolf, and a Xenomorph from the Alien movies stored in one of its warehouses. The company was likely based on the real-world FX company, Industrial Light and Magic which ironically is now owned by the Disney company, the parent company of Marvel Comics.

Profile by AvatarWarlord.

The Gorilla has no known connections to:

Starlight Special Efects

This was a movie special effects and prop company based in Hollywood, California. Nelson Bates hired and paid 5 million dollars to two men (unidentified) who worked there to design and build him an armored gorilla suit. After the suit was complete and tested in front of Nelson Bates, the wealthy industrialist offered them each one million dollars a year to keep this a secret.

--Amazing Spider-Man Newspaper Strip (September-December, 1998)

images: (without ads)
Amazing Spider-Man Newspaper Strip, 1998 Oct 13, pan2 (main image)
Amazing Spider-Man Newspaper Strip, 1998 Oct 9th, pan2 (Nelson Bates)
Amazing Spider-Man Newspaper Strip, 1998 Oct 23, pan3 (action)
Amazing Spider-Man Newspaper Strip, 1998 Dec 15th, pan1 (Trapped by Spider-man)
Amazing Spider-Man Newspaper Strip, 1998 Oct 12th, pan1 (Starlight Special Effects)
Amazing Spider-Man Newspaper Strip, 1998 Oct 12th, pan2 (SSE designers)

Amazing Spider-Man Newspaper Strip (September-December, 1998) - Stan Lee (writer), Larry Lieber (pencils and inks)

First Posted: 07/20/2021
Last updated: 07/20/2021

Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.

Non-Marvel Copyright info
All other characters mentioned or pictured are ™  and © 1941-2099 Marvel Characters, Inc. All Rights Reserved. If you like this stuff, you should check out the real thing!
Please visit The Marvel Official Site at:

Special Thanks to www.g-mart.com for hosting the Appendix, Master List, etc.!

Back to Characters