Obscure DC Characters: Y

Yango The Super-Ape

Superboy v.1 #172 (March 1971)

Noted Kryptonian anthropologist, Professor An-Kal, aware of Krypton's pending destruction, places his young experimental ape, Yango, into an escape rocket. After years of intense conditional-cybernetic brain-programming, time that he had devoted to Yango since birth, An-Kal was not about to let Yango perish. The Science Council of Krypton would not accept An-Kal's revolutionary "genetic alterance" theory. The bitter scientist has decided to send his small friend to the jungles of Earth, to carry on his work. Of course, elsewhere on Krypton, the scientist Jor-El and his wife Lara prepare to send their son, Kal-El, to Earth as well. As Krypton explodes, the two rockets, equipped with warp-engines, travel through space until they reach Earth. Whereas Jor-El has sent his son to the heartland of America, An-Kal has sent his small ape to the mountains of Kenya, "Gorilla Country", where he hopes Yango will be accepted and respected.

Fifteen years later, in Kenya, an ivory-poacher prepares to gather the elephant he has just killed. The poacher's bearers scream out "Yango! Yango!" as a large ape swoops down and carries both the poacher and the elephant off. Later, game-preserve officers have no luck interrogating the frightened natives, so they radio Superboy for help. At that moment, elsewhere in the jungle, two hunters who have been commissioned by a zoo to bring back some live gorillas, kill one in order to draw out the others. As they and their bearers set up nets, Yango swoops down and carries off the two hunters. Again the game-preserve officers are summoned but cannot get a clear picture from the natives as to what exactly has transpired. Believing that the gorillas will search out their lost brother, Superboy acquires a gorilla hide and poses as the fallen ape.

Soon, the other gorillas arrive and carry the disguised Superboy back to a camouflaged cave. Superboy cannot believe what he sees when he is carried inside ... a great arch, carved into the shape of a gorilla's head, wearing a crown containing a glowing red sun symbol. Superboy notes that the glowing orb reminds him of similar symbols from Krypton. Superboy is then carried through the arch into the inner cavern. There he sees an entire underground ape city! A giant statue of a garbed ape, again wearing a glowing red sun crown, stands over a large throne. Superboy suddenly hears gunfire. It is the three captured humans, who have gotten free and are trying to escape. Superboy then hears an unseen entity yelling words in his original Kryptonian tongue! As the men try to shoot their way out of the cave, Superboy tries to help, but he is exposed by the other apes as a human. The apes call for Yango, their protector. The large super-ape, Yango, flies in, ripping the gorilla disguise off of Superboy. Yango tells his brothers that he will deal with the human impostor. Yango and Superboy fight with one another, but they soon realize that they are both facing a stalemate. Superboy addresses Yango in Kryptonese, taunting him. The angry super-ape grabs Superboy and throws him through the cavern wall and into orbit.

Superboy, surmising that the super-ape is from Krypton, uses his ability to break the time-barrier to discover the secret of Yango's origins. Superboy then returns to the jungle, where he finds the three men being chased by a group of gorillas. The men are shocked when Superboy gathers them up and brings them back to the cave. In Kryptonese, Superboy explains to Yango that he has learned of the ape’s past. He trusts that Yango will not kill the poachers because he has chosen to protect the animal world, instead of using his mighty powers to conquer the planet. Superboy allows Yango to teach the men a lesson by leaving them imprisoned in the cave for a short while. Superboy flies off, bidding his new ally farewell.

This was his only appearance.

Yankee Doodle

Written by Rich Meyer

The character of Yankee Doodle has a rather strange history. He was a Silver Age super-hero who didn't appear in print until 1992. Now as strange as that might seem, Yankee Doodle became something considerably stranger than I think his original creators could've ever envisioned.

DOOM PATROL #51 (January 1992) marked the first appearance of the man known as Yankee Doodle. But he was apparently originally intended to see print back in May of 1964, in SHOWCASE #50. In fact, the cover of DOOM PATROL #51 features a re-colored version of the Mike Sekowsky/Frank Giacoia cover for that issue.

For some strange reason, both the cover and Yankee Doodle were pulled from SHOWCASE #50, which instead did an issue of reprints of old King Faraday adventures (under the collective title of "I Spy"). The only information we have on the original treatment of the character can be found on the cover: Prof John Dandy used a strange spray to become the blank-faced Yankee Doodle, "master of disguise".

He looked considerably like Steve Ditko's The Question minus the hat, a similarity that Morrison would actually use in the DP story. The concept of the character may have also influenced the creation of The Unknown Soldier in STAR-SPANGLED WAR STORIES.

Grant Morrison brought in Yankee Doodle during the final Brotherhood of Dada story arc he did in Doom Patrol. For those not familiar with The Doom Patrol, the team was originally a group of three "freaks" (Cliff Steele/Robotman, Larry Trainor/Negative Man, Rita Farr/Elasti-Girl) brought together by the enigmatic Niles Caulder, who was also known as the Chief. The team went through various incarnations, and started handling very strange and surrealistic menaces under the auspices of Morrison (best known for his work on ANIMAL MAN).

According to Morrison's story, John Dandy worked as a special government operative attached to the Pentagon's Unusual Operatives Division. He had used his cover as an archaeologist to steal the research notes of a Professor Rodor, which helped him create a special gas (housed in a special ballpoint pen) that solidified on contact with air to produce a malleable skin. He adopted the codename of "Yankee Doodle" and was apparently very successful in his work for the government.

Longtime comics fans will recognize that Rodor was in fact the man who provided the Question with the unique technology to create the blank facemasks he wears as a part of his costume. At this point, the origin of Yankee Doodle takes a leap off the diving board of the surreal.

Dandy volunteered to follow a bureaucrat into the City Under The Pentagon because the man had stolen a lot of sensitive documents. The City is a sort of other dimensional netherworld from which the Pentagon derives power, strange operatives and even policy at times. At least that is my personal interpretation of what Morrison was trying to get across to the readers. No one who goes down there is ever really the same again, and Dandy was no exception.

"There were garbled radio messages of enormous structures walking, people or things with tunnels for eyes...and then we lost all contact" was how the Major tried to explain it to Ms. Roddick as they went to see Dandy to enlist his aid. A year later, something claiming to be John Dandy came back. Something strange had happened to his face, and he told everyone that he had swapped his original face for what he had now.

Dandy was brought up out of the City to help the government in its quest to prevent Mr. Nobody (of the Brotherhood of Dada) from becoming President. Mr. Nobody had used the bicycle of Albert Hoffman to create a near-nationwide state of hallucinogenic bliss, and he was now offering the voters the opportunity to enter the Painting, the quasi-dimension that had changed him from old Doom Patrol enemy Mr. Morden into the two-dimensional and multi-facted Mr. Nobody.

Dandy and the government forces attacked Nobody and the Brotherhood at one of their rallies. They made short work of most of the Brotherhood of Dada, and Dandy hurled one of his many faces onto Mr. Nobody's, which changed him back into Morden and allowed Dandy the opportunity to impale him on a piece of wood. The Love Glove (a Brotherhood of Dada member) and Cliff Steele prevented Dandy from finishing the job. Military snipers destroyed the only method of saving Mr. Nobody by incinerating the painting, and he eventually just faded away. Cliff tossed Dandy across the street into the roof where the snipers were located, possibly killing him in the process.

Any one who read Grant Morrison's Doom Patrol series knows he has a definite knack for making the weird out of the mundane...Cliff Steele was the only real normal character in the book after a while, and he was a human brain encased in a robot body. Yankee Doodle was another example of this, but it was much easier to take than a lot of these metamorphoses because we didn't really know the character...Dandy had a history but the readers had never met him before this single story. It wasn't like the transformation of Larry Trainor into Rebis, or even Rhea Jones' changes during the Geomancers storyline.

Appearances: Doom Patrol (2nd series) #51, 53

Yggadris, the Living Planet

First Appearance: Mystery In Space #60 (June 1960)

Yggardis is a sentient, tentacled planet that scours other worlds for life forms to populate it—which die within 24 hours of the transplantation. Originally thwarted by Adam Strange, Yggardis later joined (on a long-distance-basis) the Enchantress' team of Forgotten Villains, who battled the Forgotten Heroes and Superman in DC COMICS PRESENTS #77-78.

The entity is also mentioned in WHOS WHO's Forgotten Villains entry. He is listed as a "sorcerer" who, along with Krakow, an 18th century Polish mystic, and the Enchantress, were the focus of the Forgotten Villains' plans.

The Yellow Peri

Bob Rozakis and Kurt Schaffenberger's creation, the Yellow Peri, first crossed paths with Superboy in NEW ADVENTURES OF SUPERBOY #34 and 35 (1982). Teenager Loretta York had discovered a magic book that transformed her into the Yellow Peri. Her own inexperience and a devilish imp named Gazook made Loretta more of a threat than a help and the Boy of Steel finally threw the book into outer space, erasing York's memories of the Yellow Peri in the process.

Years later, the book fell back into Earth's atmosphere and returned to Loretta, now married to a shady character named Alvin Grant. Grant hoped to use the Yellow Peri for a get-rich-quick scheme. When Superman entered the picture, Alvin tried unsuccessfully to pit his wife against the Man of Steel. In the end, Superman agreed to leave the book in Loretta's possession until she proved unworthy of the power (ACTION #559).

Months later, Clark Kent and Lois Lane encountered the Grants and, once again, Alvin was trying to make a quick buck and the Yellow Peri's magic was backfiring. Unable to destroy the book, Superman encased it in lead, erasing the Grants' memories of the Yellow Peri once more. Loretta tumbled upon the lead-sealed book (ACTION #567) but whether she ever recovered her memories is unknown.


Action Comics #559, 567

The New Adventures of Superboy #34-35

Who's Who '87 #26

THE YELLOW PERI (variant):

The Kingdom: Planet Krypton #1

Original text copyright DC Comics unless otherwise noted. Used without permission.