A soldier of fortune, Ken Hale lived for thrills and adventure. Fearing old age and death, he sought immortality on the African continent. He heard tales of a gorilla that stands like a man, and that if he killed it, he would live forever, never aging. He hunted the beast, but when he met it, he could not kill it. Leaving it alive, Hale wandered the jungle, becoming lost and sick. The gorilla found him and forced Ken Hale's hand. Ken killed the beast in self defense, not knowing that he had just taken the curse of the gorilla man upon himself. He obtained his immortality, but it came along with spending the rest of his immortal life in the body of a gorilla.
Ken Hale was created by artist Robert Q. Sale and an unknown writer back in 1954 in an issue of Men's Adventures, which was published by Atlas Comics, Marvel's predecessor.
Major Story Arcs
Agents of Atlas
In 1958, Ken Hale was part of a team put together to rescue President Eisenhower. The team consisted of James Woo, Venus, Marvel Boy, and M-11 The Human Robot. After the rescue mission, the team stayed together for about six months before being broken up due to political pressure. Ken moved to the Congo after this, and remained there for years. After some time he ended up working for S.H.I.E.L.D.'s Howling Commandos unit. This led Ken to be a part of the events in the miniseries Agents of Atlas. Ken was most recently seen in the Marvel Secret Invasion One-shot "Who Do You Trust?" as part of the Atlas team striking back against the Skrulls. A gifted tactician, he is James Woo's field lieutenant.
Wolverine: Goodbye, Chinatown
Logan has been called upon by Master Po to stop a drug war breaking out in the San Francisco, Chinatown, underground. Their first stop is a warehouse owned by the Jade Claw, that is store house for heroin. After Logan kills all the guards in his usual Berserker style, he is jumped by Gorilla-Man. Gorilla-Man explains that he has been fallowing this crew for three days and they were about to lead him to their source but then Logan stabbed them all.
Gorilla-Man and Logan get in an argument and while they try to kill each other, Master Po, learns of secret passageway. The passageway takes Logan, Gorilla-Man, Master Po, and Logan's pal Yuen Yee, underground where the group comes across a tunnel that goes from San Francisco to China. They also learn that Jade Claw is using real dragons to transport her drugs, and she has hired some Kung-fu masters to guard the route.
Logan, Gorilla-Man and Master Po are jumped by Darkstrider, Razorfist, Rock of the Buddha and Soulstriker. Soulstriker punches Gorilla-Man's soul, a fact that Gorilla-Man keeps harping on. The fight comes to an abrupt end when Soulstriker captures Master Po and Yuen Yee. When Gorilla-Man and Logan give up to save the boy and old man, they are tied to two dragon to be drawn and quartered for their trouble.
After the villains leave, Gorilla-Man uses his opposable big tow to untie them and Fat Cobra finishes the rescue. The three make brief introductions and continue on to find Yuen Yee and the Jade Claw. When they come across three dragons Logan has a plan. They let them selves get eaten and sneak into Jade Claw's compound inside the dragon's stomachs.
Once inside the compound the three heroes make the dragon's vomit them up and they begin to fight the Jade Claws forces. They are helped when Master Po shows up with some dragons of his own and these dragons tip the scale in the heroes favor.
After the battle Gorilla-Man, Logan, Fat Cobra, Master Po, Yuen Yee, and the rescued slaves of Jade Claw are all seen at a pub in Westchester, sharing a pint. When asked what happened to Jade Claw, Gorilla-Man response is, last he'd seen her she was running back to China.
Powers and Abilities
As Gorilla-Man, Hale possesses the body, and therefore the strength, agility, and endurance of a mountain gorilla, while still retaining his normal human intelligence. He is an expert in weapons usage with a preference for firearms, and is a skilled hand-to-hand fighter. Gorilla-Man also has been granted immortality, thus he does not age and has retained the same level of strength and physical prowess over decades. It is noted he has opposable toes.