Tarzan ain’t the one one swinging from vines and carrying skimpy furs. Within the Golden Age of Comics (the Nineteen Forties, largely, with bits of the ’30s and ’50s tagged on at both finish), comics performed host to a lot of jungle characters, each female and male. The lads tended to be referred to as “lord of the jungle” or “jungle boy,” whereas the ladies might be women, princesses, goddesses, and, after all, queens.
As it’s possible you’ll think about, this style is rife with racism of every kind. You’ve obtained a healthy dose of the white savior trope: all the jungle queens/women/boys/lords are white and “take care” of Black natives who’re too gullible or silly to take care of themselves. The Black characters are drawn within the stereotypical fashion of the day, and whereas I attempted to keep away from deciding on photos with the worst racism, some may need slipped by means of.
Regardless of their weak factors (which weren’t considered weak factors again then), jungle comics had been extraordinarily common, attributable to each the thrilling tales and the scantily-clad girls (not in that order). They’ve left a legacy within the type of characters like Marvel’s Ka-Zar, who keep it up the proud custom of befriending massive toothy animals and stabbing at anybody who invades “his” jungle.
Not being too aware of this style, I assumed it was time I discovered. And what higher approach to study than by means of theoretical violence? I picked six “jungle queen” comics from Comedian E-book Plus, which incorporates a huge array of public area titles, at random. Then I put their names in a mug and pulled them out two by two to find out who could be going up in opposition to whom. Lastly, I learn every queen’s debut story to find out which one would come out victorious in a battle with the opposite.
So right here we go, people. Let’s discover out which queens are powerful sufficient to rule all of them!
Sheena, Queen of the Jungle Vs. Nyoka the Jungle Lady
Sheena: Sheena first appeared in a British journal, Wags, however we’ll be her U.S. debut in Jumbo Comics #1-4, printed by Fiction Home in 1938.
Haughty and ruthless, Sheena guidelines with an iron fist. When two white males stumble into her clutches, she takes them hostage and solely lets one go to seek out out what another white individuals are doing so near her “empire.” Whereas Sheena does get to do some combating, largely she simply factors at her enemies and has males do the combating for her. She even must be rescued by one of many two white guys. Boo! Present some initiative!
Nyoka: Nyoka has the excellence of first showing on movie: Jungle Lady, in 1941. She obtained her personal comedian — first referred to as Jungle Lady, then Nyoka the Jungle Lady — printed by Fawcett in 1942. Regardless of being a “jungle lady,” Nyoka’s first journey is about within the desert. I’ve been lied to.
So Nyoka is the daughter of a lacking scholar, which makes her the goal of two totally different teams — one good, one dangerous — who need her to translate an vital papyrus for them. She then turns into a pawn in her personal title, continually falling into traps or moving into hassle that solely a giant robust man can save her from.
Battle!: Gotta give Sheena props for being the oldest jungle queen on the listing and paving the way in which for the others. However regardless of supposedly being “fierce in battle,” she’s the kind of queen who delegates slightly than doing a lot herself.
In opposition to anybody else, I’d say Sheena is the loser, however Nyoka is not only a very pathetic heroine; she isn’t even an actual jungle lady. So Sheena wins, largely by default. All Sheena must do is order her boyfriend to beat up Nyoka’s boyfriend, and that’s the top of that.
Rulah, Jungle Goddess Vs. Taanda, White Princess of the Jungle
Rulah: Debuting in Fox’s Zoot Comics #7 in 1947, Rulah is notable for being created by Matt Baker, essentially the most distinguished Black artist of the Golden Age.
“Rulah” is basically Jane Dodge, a bored wealthy pilot who crashes her aircraft within the African jungle, which ruins her garments. Baker was recognized for drawing girls in skimpy outfits, so that is an excuse for him to place Jane in a bikini.
After she prevents a conflict by exposing the scheme of another white girl (whose presence is rarely defined), the natives insist that Jane show her power by combating a jaguar to the dying. She does, they usually declare her a goddess, which convinces her to remain without end.
Taanda: Delivered to you by Avon, White Princess of the Jungle ran for 5 points in 1951-52.
After her explorer mother and father had been killed, Taanda was raised by an area chief as his personal. Now she is aware of the best way to train knowledge and mercy in addition to do extra down-to-earth issues like wrestling gators. All of these abilities are put to make use of when she has to cease a white poacher from stealing animals that her personal tribe had trapped first.
Battle!: Rulah would undoubtedly win Miss Congeniality since she has the most effective character of the jungle queens — an actual go-getter, she is. And I give White Princess credit score for drawing the Black characters to appear like actual folks, even when it’s nonetheless fairly racist.
However that’s not what this contest is about. I feel I’ve to provide it to Taanda right here. She was raised within the jungle (which has zebras in it now, I suppose), whereas Rulah continues to be a newcomer studying her manner round. Taanda’s superior data of the setting gives her with a essential edge over Rulah’s admittedly spectacular improvisational abilities.
Fantomah, Thriller Lady of the Jungle Vs. Tegra, Jungle Empress
Fantomah: Debuting in Fiction Home’s Jungle Comics #2 in 1940, Fantomah is a mysterious spirit who, in her first look, serves as a protector of animals. Particularly, she guards the elusive elephant graveyard, guiding dying elephants there and ensuring that any poachers who defile the place die horribly.
However her best function is her cranium face. As you may see within the panels, she normally seems as a lovely girl in a sheer gown. However when she’s offended with somebody, she turns right into a skeleton or a disembodied, floating cranium. Completely superb. She does, nevertheless, lose factors for killing a few harmless searching canines. They didn’t ask for that!
Tegra: Tegra, Jungle Empress #1 from 1948 is technically Tegra’s solely look. Fox modified her title to Zegra within the second difficulty.
In case you thought floating cranium heads had been wild, Tegra spent her debut combating males from Saturn and their paralysis ray! She has a panther for a pet, swings from bushes, and guidelines over her “folks” with nothing greater than a giant knife. Regardless of residing within the jungle, Tegra clearly has some scientific background, as she accurately identifies the radium mud on the Saturnians’ ship and makes use of it to defeat them.
Battle!: I’ve been a fan of my lady Fantomah for years, so I’m biased, however Tegra gave her a run for her cash within the “bananapants bonkers” division. Tegra is actually extra action-oriented, whereas Fantomah simply kind of sits again and watches the poachers get hoisted by their very own petard (although it’s potential she was influencing their actions by means of her mystic powers).
That mentioned, Tegra is rather more of your common jungle queen, whereas Fantomah is a supernatural creature. In the event that they crossed paths, Tegra’s data of science could be no match for Fantomah’s capacity to lure her to a becoming, ironic finish.
Properly, I, for one, certain obtained much more selection out of those jungle queen comics than I assumed I might. I undoubtedly was not anticipating males from Saturn to indicate up. Whereas the racism inherent on this style solid a pall over my enjoyment, I did come to treat a few of these jungle girls with a kind of fondness. In a special setting, I may need loved them much more.
Jane Dodge particularly presents a compelling idea: she’s impartial, fearless, and intelligent — and within the public area. What do you say, readers? Anybody wish to take a stab at rehabilitating this “goddess” right into a human heroine?