Bookshelf: Garrison’s Gorillas #1 (Comic Book)

Bookshelf examines printed matter relating to television. While I love watching TV, I also love reading about it, from tie-in novels to TV Guides, from vintage television magazines to old newspaper articles.

Garrison’s Gorillas #1
January 1968
Dell Comics

One season wonder Garrison’s Gorillas ran for 26 episodes on ABC between September 1967 and March 1968. Ron Harper starred as Lt. Craig Garrison, the leader of a group of convicts who use their various talents to fight the Germans during World War II. The men are promised their freedom should they survive the war. The cast included Cesare Danova as Actor, Brendon Boone as Chief, Christopher Cary as Goniff, and Rudy Solari as Casino.

Dell published five issues of a comic book tie-in based on Garrison’s Gorillas; the fifth issue reprinted the first. This first issue, with a cover price of 12 cents, was published in January 1968 according to the indicia.

Scan of the front cover to the first issue of Dell's Garrison's Gorillas comic book, published in January 1968.
Cover to Garrison’s Gorillas #1 (March 1968)
Copyright 1967 Western Dell Publishing Co., Inc./Selmur Productions, Inc.

There are three stories in this issue. “Break Out” runs ten pages and sees Garrison and his men steal a train loaded with weapons, hijack another train carrying prisoners, and liberate a concentration camp. In “The Gremlins,” which also runs ten pages, a forger named Inky joins Garrison’s Gorillas on a mission to alter blueprints to an experimental German fighter plane with radar controlled weapons. Finally, Garrison’s Gorillas rescue a leader of the French Maquis in “The Frame-Up,” which runs 12 pages.

All three stories feature scenes of violence and killing but also reflect the criminal expertise of the Gorillas. Actor impersonates German soldiers and officers, Goniff uses his pickpocket skills to lift an ID badge, and Casino cracks the lock on a secure door. Chief’s main contribution is killing Germans by throwing knives.

Scan of a page from the first issue of Dell's Garrison's Gorillas comic book, published in January 1968.
Page from Garrison’s Gorillas #1 (January 1968)
Copyright 1967 Dell Publishing Co., Inc./Selmur Productions, Inc.

Like most comic books based on TV shows, the characters only vaguely resemble the actors who played them on screen on television. I was able to identify many of them based on their outfits, however. Garrison wears a corduroy jacket in most of the stories, for example, while Casino is usually shown with a handkerchief tied around his neck.

Do you remember watching Garrison’s Gorillas on ABC during the 1967-1968 season? Did you read this issue of Dell’s tie-in comic book or any of the others? Hit the comments with your thoughts.

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2 Replies to “Bookshelf: Garrison’s Gorillas #1 (Comic Book)”

  1. Enjoyed reading this. I have no recollection of ever seeing the show, but was looking through some old family photos a while back and found one from 1972 of me (age 7) on holiday here in the UK with a copy of the Garrison’s Gorillas Comic Album clearly in view. Getting your mitts on American comics was just about the most exciting thing at that time and the name, if not the show itself, has stuck in the memory.

  2. I recall having watched Garrison’s Gorillas but don’t recall the comics. Combat was really my favorite of that genre of TV shows.

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