Jungle Girl – Frank Cho

Jungle Girl 1So are you a chauvinist or is your inner feminist telling you to read this ironically. Any title in the “Jungle Girl” or “Cave Girl” genre is a precarious balance of female empowerment and titillation. Dating back to the Edgar Rice Burroughs Era of the last century when feminism didn’t really exist a strong female heroine was a valuable thing. In our modern world when women are theoretically equal surely this archetype is outmoded.

Jana (the titular Jungle Girl) is a strong and capable character, makes rational decisions, and takes time to help others. There is strong hint of a backstory and you are curious to know more about her. Her skimpy fashion sense is on a par with the male characters but she does find time to change her outfits whilst on the run from dinosaurs and forest fires. Her figure is a balance between curvy and athletic and her breasts are in proportion to the rest of her anatomy. So far so good.

Sexism is brought up both overtly, by a tribe of chauvinists, and more subtly by a female character from the outside world. As the book puts you firmly on Jana’s side there really isn’t any debate. I didn’t feel she was particularly objectified and while both beautiful and sexy she never felt helpless or inferior to the male characters or the reader, in fact it is probably the opposite.
The art will be one of the key draws for many readers. Frank Cho has a reputation for this type of work, particularly as he wrote and drew the modern version of Shanna the She Devil, but in this book he only writes and does the covers. Shanna is identical in looks to Jana (they even rhyme) but they are different characters.

Adriano Batista does an excellent job on art duties with wonderful poses and composition. There can be some confusing elements with motion but overall things are great and his depiction of Jana isn’t as sexualised as Cho’s work can be. The colouring is outstanding, having a matt feel despite using digital elements.

This is a great hardcover, jet black with silver lettering, and the page stock is high quality which displays the image and colours well. There are two pages of sketches as far as extras go which doesn’t seem worth it.

As a fan of the genre, and what it can potentially deliver, this a fine example. Although it uses the ‘plane crash visitors’ trope and there is some confusion about how much Jana knows about the outside world – she knows what a garden is but not what a house is. It does put both imagination and effort into the story and characters. The narration/ monologues are unusual and it feels like a throwback to the 1940’s but it shouldn’t spoil your fun.

Overall a Thumbs Up!

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