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Presenting the most unscantily clad jungle girl in jungle girl history- Nyoka the Jungle Girl #24

June 12, 2012

When you think, “Jungle Girl,” you think of babes cavorting in dense underbrush while garbed in various states of undress, from the leopard-print bikinis of Sheena to the wispy gowns of Rima. Now, I’m not saying that Nyoka, the star of her own little eponymous series, dresses like a Mayflower pilgrim. Far from it. But the plunging neckline of her blouse and her short little red skirt are rather prudish in the TITILLATE ME world of juggy jungle vixens. I mean, she even has footwear. She might as well be wearing a burka when placed among her peers. Granted, a lot of this comes from her origins: Nyoka, a daughter of a man of science, has an affinity for the jungle, but she’s not a true jungle denizen like the aforementioned dames. She hasn’t “gone native,” as it were. But still.

Nyoka’s fictional debut came in a 1941 film serial entitled, surprise, Jungle Girl, which was loosely based on the works of Edgar Rice Burroughs. (Emphasis on “loosely.”) It was your standard “white people go to Africa and meet white people dressed as black people” 1940s screen fare, and has perhaps rightly been relegated to the dustbin of history and clips on YouTube. But the serial spawned a sequel, and, of course, there are still these musty old comic books kicking around, keeping the Nyoka flame alive. This particular issue has a three-part story that’s about as stereotypical an old-timey jungle adventure as you can get. It features a witch doctor. A witch doctor with a big old pot above an open flame. Will he roast Nyoka? Is he up to some unknowable witch doctor scheme? Let us investigate.

Nyoka’s giving a couple of men in pith helmets a guided tour of the jungle when one of the gents (Dwight) strays and comes upon the aforementioned witch doc, who’s brewing up an evil “human jaguar” potion (said doc also has the standard trouble with articles and pronouns):

Dwight and his pasty, knobby knees get captured, and the witch doctor, who had to force the brew down a fellow jungle-dweller’s gullet Mola Ram-style, finds a much more willing subject in poor Dwight — but not before Dwight gets in a “White Man’s Burden” thought balloon:

Yeah. Guess what — IT WORKS, and soon Dwight is menacing Nyoka in goofy fashion from the tops of trees:

Even though Nyoka might not have the best jungle girl wardrobe, human jaguars aren’t much of a threat to her, and in no time she’s knocking Dwight out with a rifle butt and tying him up with vines:

So there’s a little bondage — I hope that makes up for the clothes thing for all the fetishists out there.

Nyoka ends up getting captured by the witch doctor, her other male companion comes to the rescue, and they eventually use the witch doctor equivalent of waterboarding to learn the antidote:

AND ALL IS ONCE MORE RIGHT WITH THE JUNGLE WORLD.

This a relatively enjoyable little story (no clue on the creative staff behind it), and a decent example of the old jungle tropes. The visual sense of humor displayed as Dwight perches on top of a tree has a quality that you don’t often find in contemporary fare. There’s also — thankfully — an utter lack of bones through noses and large rubbery lips. And that’s about all you can say about this comic. It is what it is. (I prefer my ancient comics to have a dose of John Wayne punching people or something similar, thank you very much. But that’s just me.)

The Nyoka character, who had her comics start at Fawcett (which published this book), has passed through a number of publishing houses over the years. She most recently wound up at AC Comics in the 1980s, and has languished since. Perhaps the world is ready once more for her unique jungle babe fashion sense. Would she be tarted up a bit more? Would her more Europeanized underbrush wardrobe find a welcoming home in the new millennium? We may never know.

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