Wednesday, November 17, 2010


Having just done an entry for modern-day jungle girls, here's one of the few exceptions to the "short fights" rule of the Golden Age.

Nyoka originated not from comic books but from a 1941 film serial entitled JUNGLE GIRL. (The serial listed Edgar Rice Burroughs as a derivation because he'd published a story with the same title, but the Burroughs story had no real relationship to the serial concept.) Fawcett Comics licensed Nyoka after the character had enjoyed a rare second serial appearance. Nyoka went on to appear in comics till the close of the Golden Age. She even rated a negative comment from Doctor Wertham in SEDUCTION OF THE INNOCENT.

Fawcett Comics, unlike their competitor Fiction House (home of SHEENA), didn't make Nyoka a super-glamorous jungle beauty, but usually depicted her as she is on the cover of NYOKA #70, clad in sensible jungle garb. But at times Fawcett made up for the deficit by upping the violence capacity-- in effect, treating Nyoka the same as any of their male heroes, who were also known for being pretty knockabout. In NYOKA #70, Nyoka meets three male conspirators masquerading as "jungle ghosts" for some damn reason. She tackles all three at once, nearly whipping them with nothing but fisticuffs (no evidence of judo or similar skills here). She gets knocked out from behind, but later recovers, ambushes the threesome again and again brings pain by the truckloads until the Jungle Patrol arrives to save the malcontents for prison.

Admittedly, not every NYOKA comic is this violent, and many of her adventures are much more sedate than those of Sheena and the rest. GCD credits this particular issue to writer Rod Reed and artist Bert Whitman.

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