Jann isn't deterred by wild animals. Artist: Jay Scott Pike.


Medium: Comic books
Published by: Marvel Comics
First Appeared: 1954
Creators: Don Rico (writer) and Jay Scott Pike (artist)
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There were second-generation superheroes almost as soon as there were superheroes. If there weren't a lot of superheroes at first who were inspired by superhero parents, at least the father/sons team of The Black Owl with Yank & Doodle was a going concern within a few years. In other genres, Ellery Queen is a good example of a detective hero who comes from a family tradition of detective heroing. But unless you …

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… count Tarzan's son, Korak, introduced in Edgar Rice Burroughs's 1915 novel The Son of Tarzan, not a lot of jungle heroes carry on a legacy of jungle heroing. Jann of the Jungle, a Sheena-inspired vine swinger from the 1950s, did.

Jann was introduced in Jungle Tales #1 (September, 1954), which opened with an exciting action scene in which a woman was about to defeat a lion, armed only with a knife. On the second page, a director called for a cut in the action, and the woman, actress Eva Dawn, was replaced by her stunt double, Jane Hastings. Jane, who impressed the natives, was hailed as Jann, a legendary white jungle queen type who had lived in the area a generation or two back, until she got romantically involved with an outsider and left with him. Jane liked the story, and adopted Jann as a professional name.

There followed a hair-raising adventure in which Jane, now re-dubbed Jann, displayed real jungle prowess. It turned out the original Jann had been her grandmother. At the end, she decided to stay in the jungle and carry on as Jann. The director, Pat Mahoney, also stayed and became a regular in her series.

Jungle Tales was published by Marvel Comics, which at the time was operating under the imprint Atlas. The writer was Don Rico, who has credits all over the industry, but at the time seems to have been specializing in Marvel's white jungle princesses — his other creations include Lorna the Jungle Girl and Leopard Girl. It was drawn by Jay Scott Pike, whose highly varied credits include The Black Rider and Combat Casey.

There was a tendency in the 1950s, for anthology-style comic book titles to be changed to that of their most prominent character. Funny Stuff becoming The Dodo & the Frog and Giggle Comics becoming Spencer Spook are only examples. Jungle Tales became Jann of the Jungle with its 8th issue (November, 1955). Inside, the contents remained the same — Jann shared the comic with Waku, Prince of the Bantu (one of the few black characters to appear in comic books of the time); Cliff Mason (a Congo Bill type); and "The Unknown Jungle" (non-series nature stories). Waku was gone almost immediately, replaced by a second Jann story, but the others continued.

Jann's title lasted until #17 (June, 1957). Then she was forgotten until 1972, when the company launched a revival of its old Jungle Action title, as a vehicle for reprinting old 1950s stories. Jann shared that title with Tharn (formerly Lo-Zar), Lorna and "The Unknown Jungle".

The title continued at least for a year or two, but starting in the 5th issue (July, 1972), The Black Panther crowded out the reprints.


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Text ©2009-10 Donald D. Markstein. Art: © Marvel Comics.