Monday, May 23, 2016

Number 1896: Jungle Jive Week: Lorna meets her sexist boyfriend

We have three stories this week featuring jungle women.

Issue #2 of Lorna the Jungle Queen #2 (1953) introduces us to Lorna’s boyfriend, the “mighty white hunter, Greg Knight.” Greg is a guide, leading rich “sportsmen” to unwary prey for the purposes of bagging trophies. Lorna is in the background for most of the story, watching and listening.

Greg is a male chauvinist. From this point on his relationship with Lorna is that of a downer, a naysayer telling her a woman can’t do what a man can, all while Lorna is pulling his keister out of one mess after another.

The story is by Don Rico, the pretty artwork by Werner Roth.


Anonymous said...

The angry spoor of the... the killer rogue! The crabby fool of the boyfriend character has some charm -storywise- but it's Werner Roth who created a good looking comic book jungle and jungle queen that makes this fun to read. Thanks, Pappy.

Brian Barnes said...


That was something else.

Hates humans, but falls in love in one panel. Literally stalks the guy, a guy who deserves to be dangling at the end of those tusks! "He's even more handsome up close." Gag. Says he's hot to his face (ladies, stop giving that away to egomaniacs, it doesn't help.) Finally, gives him credit for the kill!

Jungle goddesses my a@@, more like jungle boy-crazy high schooler.

I can't tell if this is the world's best pitch-perfect parody or there's something darker here. Because of that, I love it.

BTW, this is sexist in it's own right, but generally men are more visually oriented, and women are more emotionally oriented. This is a line, not a B&W thing, but Lorna very much acts like a man would act (she's all in for how Greg looks, and ignores his behavior or attitude towards her.) Show how it was written by a dude!

Alicia American said...

I dunno, Pappy, this dude dont seam that sexy 2 me?

Pappy said...

7f7, Atlas/Marvel did have some "good girl" artists working on their jungle heroine strips, which kept their sales up, I'm sure.

Pappy said...

Brian, here you go, from Alicia, "this dude don't seam that sexy 2 me?" (Thanks, Alicia, for helping.) These jungle stories may show strong women, but they are srong women envisioned by men, and filtered through their fantasies.

These were also the days of white hunters and trophy gathering through senseless slaughter of jungle critters who were minding their own business. Those attitudes, sexist and about animals were common in their day. I'd say we have done an about face on some of them, but maybe not enough. Because old attitudes die hard, many might not even notice the changes made since it was published over 60 years ago. It might take another 60.

Unknown said...

Numa the lion -- taken from ERB's Tarzan vocab. Seems in common usage now. Wonder how ERB arrived at it?

Daniel [] said...

Even during the original run, Greg's chauvinism would have been transparently foolish; he's supposed to be seen as grossly foolish. So I don't see these stories as such were pitched at the Gregs of the world, though there might have been some hope of getting dimes from the customers who ignored the stories and simply looked at the images.

I don't know that many girls would have enjoyed these stories, but they are something like an inversion of the Clark/Lois fantasy. The laugh, after all, is on Greg for being too much of a chowder-head to appreciate Lorna for what she really is. There at least would have been many girls either single and feeling unappreciated or in relationships but feeling that their boyfriends failed to value them in other than those rôles traditionally gendered as feminine.

That leaves another sort of reader; that's the guy who sees Lorna as she is (and surely would even were he part of the story, without the advantage of a readers' perspective). In real life, he wasn't an un-super Clark Kent longing for a Lois Lane; he was a Clark Kent longing for a woman whom he saw as more than a Lois Lane, but a woman who was interested in some other fellow. However, it would seem rather masochistic to keep buying stories in which one's own character were so diminished as not even to appear!

Gene Phillips said...

It seems to me that a lot of female-oriented strips-- Wonder Woman, Black Canary, Blonde Phantom-- simply reversed the genders of the Superman/Lois/Clark relationship, with the "ordinary" girl not being recognized by the "chowder-headed' male. The usual pattern was for the male lead to be fascinated with the glamorous heroine and not with her alter ego.

Here, Lorna has no alter ego, so Greg is alternately fascinated with her and dismissive toward her.

I think the story intends to be critical of rampant game-hunting, but the writer needed a good reason to bring Greg into contact with Lorna, and that was the simplest way to go.

Grant said...

It's too bad, but the last year shows that stories about creepy trophy hunters are as topical as ever, between that miserable dentist, and Trump's miserable kids (the male ones, at least), and stories that DON'T get a lot of publicity.

Pappy said...

Grant, I tend to agree, and I'm glad you picked up on it.

A couple of months ago on TV I saw a woman who leads an organization for women hunters proudly displaying pictures of her kills. In one she is squatting near a dead adult giraffe. I could not believe anyone could be proud of killing any creature, but especially not a giraffe.