Tygra running through the jungle.


Medium: Comic books
Published by: Standard Comics
First Appeared: 1947
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White jungle goddesses like Zegra and Tiger Girl, following the template of Sheena, were popular in American comic books as superheroes went into decline in the mid-1940s. At the company known variously as Standard, Nedor and Better Comics, where the likes of Doc Strange and The Black Terror had formerly held …

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… sway, they were represented by Princess Pantha, Judy of the Jungle, and this one — Tygra of the Flame People.

Tygra started in Startling Comics #45 (May, 1947), replacing Front Page Peggy, who transferred to Fighting Yank's back pages. Like a lot of jungle heroes, such as Rulah, Thun'da and the movie version, at least, of Tarzan, she got where she was through a mishap that occurred when she was flying over it. Fortunately, plane crashes don't kill or injure future jungle heroes, but they do make it quite impossible to get home.

"Home" in Tygra's case, was a less-unexplored part of the African jungle. She was Lynn Thomas, who worked at a medical mission in the Congo region run by her father, whom the locals called "Doctor Bwana". The tribe served by the mission was beset by a mysterious epidemic, which threatened to wipe it out if not stopped. Doctor Bwana heard of an experimental drug made by a London professor, and Lynn volunteered to undertake the arduous flight there. Coming back, her plane was brought down by a storm.

She mistakenly swallowed the experimental drug, thinking it was an essential nutrient, and that superheroized her. Seeing her fend off a lion with her bare hands, the natives, who called themselves The Flame People, concluded she must be some sort of demon, and attacked. But they were no more effective against her than the lion. They stopped attacking when one of them realized who she must be — "The Tawny One", sent from supernatural climes to rule them.

They dressed her in a tiger-skin bikini and called her Tygra, tho where both the name and the outfit came from weren't mentioned. Also not mentioned was what became of the natives whose lives depended on the medicine she'd ingested.

Tygra went on to a typical career in the back pages of an anthology comic book. With Lance Lewis, Space Detective (no relation) on the cover, she had small adventures in the 10-pages-or-less range, alongside Jefferson Jones, The Sea Eagle, and other denizens of the late issues of Startling Comics.

But not for long. Startling lasted only until its 53rd issue (September, 1948). After that, she was gone. She left behind no spin-offs, no influence on the field, and no apparent clamor for her return. She did return once, decades later, when AC Comics (The Avenger, Fighting Yank) reprinted one of her stories. She was also the subject of an attempt by AC to put her in with Nyoka and a couple of others, in a group called The Wild Side. Then she was gone again.


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Text ©2008-09 Donald D. Markstein. Art © Standard Comics.