Monday, May 16, 2011
Tough blondes of the jungle
Characters like Sheena the Queen of the Jungle, and Lorna the Jungle Girl (who was demoted after five issues of being Lorna the Jungle Queen), were strong, beautiful, capable women battling men and beasts in a world of beastly men. Nowadays plots like these aren't so unusual, but in the 1940s and '50s they were. Women were mothers, "sweethearts," nice girls who, if they worked, did it until they got married and then raised a family. I can't imagine Sheena having babies. Though stronger than most men, Sheena is still very sexy, even as she grabs a man by the short and curlies and flings him through the air into the treeline. Maybe that's what appealed to some of the guys who read Jumbo Comics. Sheena's mate, Bob, gets in messes all the time and she has to go in and rescue him. In the splash panel he's looking kind of useless. Brave Sheena holds him like a child while simultaneously holding off the enemy.
Guys who read Sheena might've had a secret yen to have a strong woman come in and rescue them. (Doc Wertham would have an opinion on such fellows.) Anyway, I see it as harmless fun, even as I cast my glims over panel after panel of pulchritudinous jungle babery.
This story is drawn by Robert Webb and is from Jumbo Comics #103, 1947.
Lorna also had a boyfriend problem. Greg, her significant other, is a male chauvinist. He's constantly ranting about how women don't belong in the jungle, all while Lorna is pulling his sorry ass out of trap after trap. In his story she saves him from some commies! It's from Lorna the Jungle Girl #9, 1954, drawn by Werner Roth.
Is the jungle big enough for two powerful women like Sheena and Lorna? Maybe we could get them to fight for the honor of being true queen of the jungle. A nice mud wrestle would do. In the meantime Bob and Greg could put on aprons and bake cookies.