Wednesday, November 17, 2010


Speaking of erotic jungle girls, get Shanna's dialogue as she wrestles with her pet python. This second modern-jungle-girl adventure, which appeared as a backup strip in issue 9 of the black-and-white magazine THE RAMPAGING HULK, was written by the fan-favorite Steve Gerber. Said dialogue goes:

"Yes-- yes! *Gasp* Make me struggle-- to be *Gasp* free!"

This issue's cover date is June 1978, so this dialogue, which sounds like something William Marston's WONDER WOMAN might say during a bondage-session, appears seven years before Gerber pitched a reboot of WONDER WOMAN to DC in response to DC Comics' CRISIS restructuring. At the very least one assumes Gerber was attempting to appeal to an older readership that might be reading the non-Code HULK magazine, for throughout the adventure Shanna, Marvel's roadshow version of the classic SHEENA, is much more violent and aggressive than the mild character Gerber worked on when she debuted in the early 1970s.

The main thrust of the story is not Shanna's odd relationship with her pet snake, but her opposition to a cult of murderous Kali-worshippers. Artist Tony deZuniga rises to the non-Code occasion by depicting loads of bloody mayhem as Shanna pretty much wipes out the whole cult. She ends by feeding the cult's leader to the python. This is probably the most noteworthy tale in the history of this minor character, and a fitting salute to the pulpy thrills of jungle comics.


  1. Though it seems obvious now you've made the connection, I never once drew a line between this story and Gerber's interest in Wonder Woman. I've always been curious what his take on a series might have been -- the WW he depicted in the Phantom Zone miniseries with Gene Colan was absolutely right on target, it seemed to me -- and now that I'm more familiar with Marston's outlook than I was in 1978 (!) this suggests Gerber wouldn't have found that outlook too daunting to work with. I regret never asking him about this when I had the chance.

  2. Hi Richard. I talked a little with Gerber when he came to a local convention. I guess it must have been about '85-86 since he talked about the WW project as if it still might be a possibility. He said he'd like to sort out Marston's rather cavalier use of the Greek gods-- he didn't think a warrior cultus would've been worshipping Aphrodite-- and he mentioned the artist he had in mind (don't recall the name). He may've said that DC had balked about getting the art in timely fashion, or maybe I picked that up elsewhere. Of course Gerber's own vulnerability to "the dreaded deadline doom" may've been a factor that kept DC editors from accepting his proposal, since they went with a pro who didn't have a reputation for blowing deadlines. I liked the Perez WONDER WOMAN but I wish we could've had both.