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Title: Congorilla  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Robert Bernstein (comics), Secret Origins, List of Justice League members, Fictional gorillas, 1999 comics debuts
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia


Art by Mauro Cascioli.
Publication information
Publisher DC Comics/Vertigo
First appearance More Fun Comics #56 (June 1940)
Created by Whitney Ellsworth (writer)
George Papp (artist)
In-story information
Alter ego William Glenmorgan
Team affiliations Forgotten Heroes
Justice League
Notable aliases Congo Bill
Abilities Body of the Golden Gorilla, healing factor, ability to grow larger

Congorilla, originally a human character known as Congo Bill, is a Robert Bernstein and Howard Sherman. The character first appeared in More Fun Comics #56 (June 1940).


  • Publication history 1
  • Fictional character biography 2
    • Justice League 2.1
  • Powers 3
  • Other versions 4
    • JLA: The Nail 4.1
    • Flashpoint 4.2
    • Twilight Of The Superheroes 4.3
  • Notes 5
  • In other media 6
    • Film 6.1
    • Miscellaneous 6.2
  • References 7
  • External links 8

Publication history

Congo Bill was a long-running DC Comics adventure comic strip, running in various DC Comics titles from 1940 until Action Comics #248 (January 1959), when Congo Bill was transformed into Congorilla (the title of the strip was likewise changed). The Congo Bill strip was a standard adventure strip, often reminiscent of Alex Raymond's Jungle Jim newspaper strip.

Action Comics #191 (April 1954) saw the introduction of Janu the Jungle Boy, a young boy brought up in the jungle after his father had been killed by a tiger. The strip was a moderate success and moved from More Fun Comics to Action Comics with issue #37, where it stayed until issue #248, when it was transformed into Congorilla. In 1954, DC awarded Congo Bill his own title, which lasted for seven issues (August/September 1954 – August/September 1955).

The Congorilla series ran in Action Comics until issue #262, after which it was transferred to mini-series of his own in 1994, where Congo Bill is betrayed by his (now corrupt) ward Janu, who usurps the Congorilla identity and Bill is forced to fight his adopted son to the death. Congo Bill became blind in his left eye, making it hard for him to see after fighting his son to the end. In 1999, DC Comics once again brought Congo Bill back for another four-issue limited series under the company's mature readership Vertigo Comics imprint. Congorilla returned in the 2009 series Cry for Justice, joining a proactive splinter faction of the Justice League. Following that series, Congorilla became a full-time member of the Justice League.

Fictional character biography

William "Congo Bill" Glenmorgan[1] was born in 1898, the son of a Scottish gamekeeper. At one point he was a member of the IRA,[2] and during World War I he served as soldier in the Battle of the Somme in France 1916 and also Battle of Flanders Field in Passendale, Belgium. He worked his way up a spy in Austria.[3] He later became a globe-trotting adventurer, and for a time worked for the Worldwide Insurance Company, protecting policies they had written and saving the company from fraudulent payouts.

Bill grew content to live in his adopted African home, swearing to protect it from harm. There he befriended a witch doctor known as Chief Kawolo. When Kawolo was mortally injured in a fall, he summoned Bill to his bedside, and offered him a magic ring. Kawolo told the skeptical Congo Bill that, by rubbing the ring, he could transfer his consciousness into the body of the legendary Golden Gorilla. He accepted the ring to humor his friend's dying wish. Several weeks later, an earthquake trapped Bill in a deep cave. With no possible escape, Congo Bill hopelessly rubbed the magic ring. Instantly, his mind was transported into the body of the Golden Gorilla. Racing to the cave-in, he used his massive strength to clear the blocked entrance and wondering what had become of his body without him being "home". He realized that when his consciousness entered the body of the Gorilla, the creature's consciousness entered his own body. Bill decides to use his new powers to fight crime in the jungle. He is later assisted by Janu, a young boy raised in the jungle.[4]

Justice League

Years later, Bill (now known as Congorilla) is trapped in his gorilla form upon the death of his human body. He becomes the protector of a band of gorillas, and friend of the South African hero Freedom Beast. When the gorillas and Freedom Beast are slaughtered by hunters, Congorilla decides to seek justice.[5] After the trail leads to the villain Prometheus, Congorilla teams up with Starman, and eventually a splinter faction of the Justice League. After Prometheus's death, Congorilla becomes a full-time member of the Justice League.

During his time with the League, Bill faces off against such foes as the rogue

  • Congo Bill and Congorilla at Don Markstein's Toonopedia
  • Congo Bill at the Comic Book DB
  • Congorilla at the Comic Book DB
  • ‍ '​s appearancesCongo BillA Comprehensive Index of
  • Congo BillDCU Guide:

External links

  1. ^ Justice League of America vol. 2, #47 (September 2010)
  2. ^ Evans, Chris (April 5, 2010). "WC10: Spotlight on James Robinson".  
  3. ^ Justice League of America vol. 2, #44 (June 2010)
  4. ^  
  5. ^ Justice League: Cry for Justice #1
  6. ^ "Justice Society of America" (vol. 3) #41 (September 2010)
  7. ^ "Batman: The Return of Bruce Wayne" #1-6 (May – November 2010)
  8. ^ Justice League (vol. 2) #60
  9. ^ JLA: The Nail #3
  10. ^ Flashpoint: Grodd of War one-shot (June 2011)
  11. ^ Congo Bill at the Internet Movie Database


  • Congorilla appeared in issue #19 of the comic book tie-in to Young Justice. This version is a gorilla deity who was a member of Solovar's troops until the entire gorillas were experimented upon by Brain and Ultra-Humanite. Congorilla was the only one to escape. In the present, he watched over some gorillas in a safe haven that is unknown to Monsieur Mallah. Following the gorilla troop's liberation, Congorilla left them.



In other media

Prior to debuting as Congorilla in Action Comics #248 (January 1959), Congo Bill encountered the legendary golden gorilla in Action Comics #224 (January 1957). He also encountered the similarly named Kongorilla in Action Comics #228 (May 1957).


A future version of Congorilla appears in Alan Moore's rejected proposal for the limited series Twilight of the Superheroes. Now a crime boss in the superhero ghetto that hosts most of the retired or aged Golden Age crime fighters, Congorilla has remained in the body of the Golden Gorilla for decades, since his aging human body became too fragile. However, the body of Congo Bill refuses to die, still inhabited by the spirit of the Golden Gorilla, now hidden away in Congorilla's apartment.

Twilight Of The Superheroes

In the alternate timeline of the Flashpoint event, Congorilla is killed by Gorilla Grodd in Gorilla City's arena.[10]


In the Elseworlds story JLA: The Nail, Congo Bill (in his Congorilla form) makes an appearance in Professor Hamilton's Cadmus Labs.[9]

JLA: The Nail

Other versions

Before becoming Congorilla, Bill was a skilled hunter and aviator. As Congorilla, Bill's simian body grants him super-gorilla strength, endurance, and agility, a regenerative healing process, and the ability to increase his height to tremendous levels.



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