Sunday, September 5, 2010

Golden Age Heroine - Sheena, Queen of the Jungle

Today I feature one of the all-time original super heroines - one who established an entire genre of comics during the Golden Age - Sheena, Queen of the Jungle! Initially created by the Eisner-Iger Studio in New York, Sheena first appeared in a British tabloid called Wags in 1937, predating even Superman, Batman and certainly Wonder Woman. By 1938 she was back in the U.S., packaged into the new comic book medium and presented in the first edition of Jumbo Comics from Fiction House, a publisher renowned for its jungle comics. Sheena went through a couple of origins (either the daughter of an explorer father or missionary parents), she also had a changing supporting cast over time. It didn't really matter - the only thing that mattered was Sheena. Conceived as a female version of Tarzan with elements of H. Rider Haggard's "She" - hence the name - she became the prototype of all the fair skinned jungle princesses who followed her, throughout the Golden Age and continuing through today. She got her own title in 1942, the first female character to do so, successfully running through 1953 (Fiction House stopped publishing comics in 1954). She was converted into a TV character in 1955-56 with Irish McCalla in the title role, then a movie character in 1984 starring Tanya Roberts, and back to TV in a short-lived series with Gena Lee Nolan cast as the jungle queen in 2000. There have also been a couple of other comic adaptations as well and I suspect the various media are not finished with the character yet. The action figure presented here today was made using a Savage Land Storm figure and the head from an Invisible Woman, both from Toy Biz. And don't even ask how that upper part of her costume was suppose to stay together with her swinging through the trees - I don't even want to go there.
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