Comic Creators Monkey Around to Help Real Primates in Need

Comics Help Primates in Need
Some things just go together...

Milk & cookies.

Aliens & Predators.

Chocolate & peanut butter.

Comics & monkeys.

OK, so that last one might be a new addition to the usual list. But when fan-favorite characters like Hit-Monkey and Congorilla keep showing up with heroes like Spider-Man and Batman, it's pretty obvious there's some sort of comic-simian synergy at work in the world.

Now a group called Panels for Primates is combining comics and monkeys to raise money for the Primate Rescue Center, a charity that provides lifetime care for monkeys and apes in need. The weekly webcomic anthology debuted in October on the Acti-I-Vate site and features a new primate-filled story by different comic creators every Wednesday.

"When all is said and done, I hope to have 80 to 100 pages of primate comics up on Act-I-Vate," said Troy Wilson, who co-edits the charity comics after founding the site along with John Schlim Jr. of Fablewood Studios.

Dozens of creators have come through with donated scripts and artwork, including Stuart Moore, Rick Geary, Rahsan Ekedal, and David Petersen. Wilson said he'll soon be featuring work by Mike Carey, Roger Stern, and Carla Speed McNeil.

"It's a very worthy cause," said Stuart Moore, whose story already appeared on the Panels for Primates site. "But to be honest, I approached the project more as an artistic challenge than anything else. The rule was that all the stories had to feature monkeys. I started playing with an idea about time travel and a Russian cosmonaut monkey, like the ones they launched into space in the '50s. When I saw the finale of Battlestar Galactica, it all fell into place. As I told the editors, it makes fun of Planet of the Apes, BSG, and the Cold War, all in four pages."

The goal is for readers to donate at least once to the Primat Rescue Center during the months-long run of Panels for Primates on ACT-I-VATE. Wilson said he recommends that readers donate to the Primate Rescue Center via the yellow PayPal button, and tell the Primate Rescue Center via a comment at the end of the donation process that it's a Panels for Primates donation, so creators get credit for the funds raised.

"The PayPal button allows them to use their credit card to donate very small amounts," Wilson said. "A couple bucks per person would be great."

April Truitt, executive director of the Primate Resource Center, said 100 percent of the funds donated through Panels for Primates will be used for the direct care of the more than 50 residents.

"We provide lifetime care for monkeys and apes who are cast off from biomedical research, the exotic pet trade, roadside zoos, and the entertainment industry," Truitt explained. "While it might not occur to most folks that this is a widespread problem in the U.S., we and all our sanctuary colleagues operate at full capacity and maintain a waiting list for new arrivals."

Wilson said he hopes the webcomics can eventually be pulled together into a collection that can raise even more money for primates in need. But for now, he's enthusiastically promoting Panels for Primates to a comic audience that already loves monkeys.

"I was going to say that primates and comics go together so well because primates climb trees and comics are made of trees. But digital comics kind of blow that theory right out of the water," he said. "Maybe they go together so well because both comics and our fellow primates are such excellent funhouse mirrors for us."

Readers who want to check out the Panels for Primates website should click here to access the site at Act-I-Vate. Those who donate should use the yellow PayPal button and be sure to note in the comments section of their donation that they were on the Panels for Primates site. For more details on the Primate Rescue Center, visit the organization's Facebook page.

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