Jungle Heroes: Part Two

1960s

Kona
"Kona, Monarch of Monster Isle" was a comic book series that was first published in 1962 and lasted 21 issues. The character appears to be a mix of the caveman hero and jungle hero types.

Jungle Boy
The 19th episode in season one of the popular TV series "Gilligan's Island" was titled "Gilligan meets Jungle Boy". According to Wikipedia the episode aired Feb 6, 1965. A 13 year old Kurt Russell played Jungle Boy.

Naza
From Dell comics "Naza, Stone Age Warrior" was published in the mid 1960s, with issue No. 3 in 1964. There are about ten issues in all.

Anthro
I'm only speculating that the popularity of Bomba in the 1960s led to the creation of Anthro from DC Comics in an attempt to cash in on Bomba's success...who, let's not forget, was actually cashing in on Tarzan's success. Anthro was a caveman however, so I could be wrong about Bomba having anything to do with influencing the creation of the Anthro comic. It's an interesting coincidence however, that both comic book titles were published by DC Comics in 1968. With his long hair, it seems that Anthro is more like Tarzan's son Korak than Bomba.

DC Comics Anthro No.1, July-Aug 1968. Cover art by Howie Post. This caveman character first appeared in DC Comics Showcase No. 74, May 1968, again illustrated by Howie Post. Alas, Anthro's own comic series only lasted 6 issues.

George of the Jungle
George started out in the late 1960's as an animated Saturday morning television character. Intended to be a spoof of the jungle hero character, George was created by the same American team behind Rocky and Bullwinkle. The character proved to be very popular and was spun off into comic books and other merchandise. The cartoons were seen on TV in reruns throughout the 1970s and early 80s. Selected episodes were also made available on VHS sometime during the late 1980s or early 1990s.


In 1997 Disney produced a live action "George of the Jungle" film starring a buff, loin cloth clad Brendan Fraser as George (above). The movie was very well done and proved to be more successful than the studio anticipated. When Brendan Fraser was unavailable for a sequel, a direct to VHS movie "George of the Jungle 2" was instead produced in 2003, starring Christopher Showerman in the role of George.

More recently in 2007, a new animated TV series was produced in Canada. For this series George was redesigned to look very different from the 1960s cartoon. I absolutely loved this series. It's very well done and is very, very funny! The first season episodes were later made available as a DVD set.

Special Zembla, No. 25, June 1970
Zembla
Sporting long brown hair and a bright yellow leopard print Speedo type outfit (with a thin strap across one shoulder), Zembla has been a popular jungle hero in France since the late 1960s or early 1970s. By 1971 the Zembla comic book series already included over 100 issues. In 2000 a new "Special Zembla" comic book series was published featuring different styles of fantasy or cartoon artwork on the covers.

Kimba
I don't know much about this one. "Kimba roi de la jungle" is a French comic book series that seems to be based on a live action TV show or movie. Some issues are dated 1966 and others 1967.

Kali No. 76, Oct 1972 This is a smaller sized comic but I've shown a large picture of it so that Kali's face would be visible.

Kali / Zora
This is a jungle hero with long brown hair who, instead of the typical leopard loin cloth, wears a solid red fabric wrap (though sometimes it is blue or white) similar to Mowgli. The charater is from the "Kali" comic series in France, that seems to have started in 1967 and continued until at least 1980. Kali has a female compaion who's name I'm assuming is Zora, as both characters are also featured in "Zora" comics from the same time period.

Toka Jungle King
"Toka the Jungle King" was published by Dell Comics in 1964 and lasted 10 issues, until 1967. Toka seems to be an aboriginal warrior but fights leopards and alligators just like Tarzan. The name "Tokka" was also used in the 1991 movie "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Secret of the Ooze" for one of the film's villains, an evil mutant snapping turtle.

Tanka
This is another French Tarzan clone, with short blond hair, who appeared in the "Nevada" comic series published during the 1960s. I'm not certain when this original series started or ended. As of 2004, Tanka became part of the Hexagon Comics group of characters to be re-imagined and, presumably, featured in a new comic series. However, I'm not certain if any new comics have yet been published or if the artwork seen on the Hexagon website is just conceptual.

Yataca
According to wikipedia, the French comic series "Yataca" was produced from 1968 to 1989. This is another jungle hero with long blond hair.

1970s

Rahan
Another Caveman, which seems to have little if any influence from Tarzan, is the blond haired Rahan from France. This was a very successful character that appeared in large format comics during the 1970s. Shown above is No. 19 from the soft cover Nouvelle Collection series. If I'm not mistaken, this is the second series of Rahan comics. The artwork for Rahan is quite remarkable and is why I started collecting Rahan books. I know a little French but unfortunately not enough to read these comics! It would be awesome if they published them in English some day.


An animated TV show starring Rahan was produced in the late 1970s or early 1980s. Hasbro also produced a very rare doll of Rahan as part of the 8 inch Super G.I. Joe series from the 1970s, sold only in Europe. The doll has rooted hair and does not resemble Rahan very closley, but is interesting none the less. I have also seen a more comic accurate doll-like figure of Rahan with the hair sculpted as part of the head. In the 1990s small PVC figures of Rahan and a saber tooth tiger were produced by Papo. Lastly, the children's comic magazine Pif often published the Rahan stories. On occasion the magazines were sold with a Rahan toy tooth necklace or a Rahan toy knife.


Below is a children's drinking glass that features Rahan. There are at least two other glasses in this set that I've seen. On one of them Rahan is fighting a green dinosaur or sea monster, on the other he is kneeling next to a monkey and smiling. I'm not certain what year they are from, possibly the 1970's or 1980's.


Rahan also has his own official website where you can learn the history of the character, or buy Rahan books and other products: http://www.rahan.org/fr/index.html
Below are images from the Rahan website showing the limited edition Rahan statue from August 2011. It is one of the nicest Rahan collectables ever to be made available and can be ordered through the Rahan website.



Kamandi: The Last Boy on Earth
DC Comics also has a blond haired hero. Kamandi: The Last Boy on Earth was first published in Oct 1972 and lasted until 1978 with a successful run of 59 issues. Though Kamandi is not a caveman or jungle hero, his primative situation along with the talking animals he fights with in each issue seems to suggest that he belongs within the genre of "jungle hero" comics. The character has appeared in other DC Comics titles in a guest role, such as with Batman, Superman and Karate Kid, and today is well intergrated into the DC Comics Universe. Although not nearly as successful as Bomba, Rahan, or Ka-zar, Kamandi's popularity is growing and the character has developed a loyal following. In the late 2000s a Kamandi action figure was included in the DC Universe collection produced by Mattel.

 Here is the cover of Kamandi: The Last Boy on Earth, Vol. 2, No 4, March 1973 (at left) and Vol. 4, No. 36, Dec 1975 (at right).

Kicking action! Go Kamandi!!! I really like this cover. What an unatural pose. The green reptile villains add to the campy awesomeness. Vol. 5, No. 44, Aug. 1976 (at left). Since his introduction in 1972, Kamandi's look was updated significantly. At right is Vol. 7, No. 58, Aug/Sept 1978. He's changed alot in seven years!

Zangar
The character Zangar appeared in the 3 issue "Jungle Adventures" comics series, published by Skywald Comics in 1971. Zangar has long red hair and wears leopard patterned trunks.

Akim Album No. 72 with Zarawa on the cover (he's the one with the blond hair). This special "album" book is a thicker book like comic. It includes the regular sized Akim issues No. 409, 410, 411 and 412. These issues were first published from August to October 1976. The cover image above is originally from the cover of Akim No. 410.
 
Jaro, Jungle Boy of Jupiter
A short 8 page comic about Jaro was included in issue No 4 of "DC 100-Page Super Spectacular: Weird Mystery Tales" published in 1971 by DC Comics, which was then under the ownership of National Periodical Publications Inc. The Jaro story appears on pages 82 to 89. Credits for the writer, artists or creator were not listed on the inside cover or first few pages, and the back cover and last two pages are missing from my copy, so I don't know who created the story.  I had this vintage comic for several years before I even realized that the Jaro story was in there, as it's an odd place to find a jungle hero. Most of the other stories are "shocking" horror stories (rather than the gory kind) or science fiction tales; the sort of thing that you would see in the original Twilight Zone TV series.
 

The Jaro story takes place in the futuristic year 2001, when we have apparently developed the ability to travel to Jupiter. This allows for three male travelers to go on a jungle safari to see the exotic space animals that live there. The group includes Terry Mason (not to be confused with the popular detective character, Perry Mason, who first appeared in novels in 1933, and was very popular on radio and later television through to the 1990s), Tom (who seems to be wearing a bowl on his head), and Ward (the trouble maker). While on the planet Jupiter, the group visit Crater Island where much to their astonishment they discover an earth boy living in the adjacent jungle. The narrative clearly indicates that this is an origin story about the first time Jaro meets Terry Mason, and seems to set up future stories with the characters. Jaro is able to speak to the animals using his special trumpet, and also flies around on a beaked Gryphon-like bird creature which isn't named in the story but is a companion for Jaro.
 
 
This is the only Jaro comic that I know of, as I don't have any other issues from the "DC 100-Page Super Spectacular" comic book series. A quick search online shows that other issues mainly have to do with DC Comics main cast of superheroes, while a few issues feature love stories aimed at teenage girls. Yet, there were over 200 issues in this series so it's possible that Jaro may have made another appearance.

Zan / Zarawa
A jungle hero from Italy, "Zan della Jungla" has long blond hair past his shoulders, is very strong and wears a leopard pattern Speedo. Essentially, he is a blond Conan the Barbarian in the jungle. I gather the comics were first published in Italy in 1974, and later in France where Zan became Zarawa and was published within the Akim comics.

Kong the Untamed
Another caveman hero from DC Comics, "Kong the Untamed" lasted five issues beginning in 1975. Kong has long blond hair and wears a brown loincloth.

Tragg
Another caveman, Tragg was a very short lived character. Published by Gold Key/Whitman/Western Publishing Company in 1975, Tragg and the Sky Gods lasted only 8 issues. Tragg also appeared in Gold Key Spotlight, No. 9, 1977. Issues were later reprinted in 1982.

Western Publishing Company's Tragg and the Sky Gods, No. 9, 1982 republished edition. Originally published in 1975. Tragg's hair is blond on the cover, but is coloured brown inside the comic!

Tono and Kono: The Jungle Twins
Published by Gold Key/Western Publishing Company in 1975, this is a very campy take on the Tarzan jungle hero. While the idea of jungle hero twins is silly enough on it's own, the idea is actually borrowed once again from Edgar Rice Burroughs who had double Tarzans appear in several of the original Tarzan novels. Burroughs also wrote the children's books, The Tarzan Twins (1927) and Tarzan and the Tarzan Twins (1936). The Gold Key Jungle Twins comic was first published in 1972 and lasted 18 issues. The only differrence between the two heroes is that Kono wears a necklace and Tono does not.

Gold Key, The Jungle Twins, No. 16, Sept 1975.

I've included a picture of the first panel to show how the characters are depicted inside the comic. Gotta love that goofy hair!

Tiki shown in danger on the cover of Safari, No. 133, Sept 1978

Tiki
This character is from a French comic so I'm not certain about the story concept. Tiki is a young teenage character. If there were a contest for skimpiest loin cloth he would win it. It looks like its made out of wigs! I'm not really sure what the deal is with Tiki. He doesn't seem to be a "jungle hero" like the others listed here, but rather just finds himself in trouble and has to run away from danger. The comic is called "Safari" which may have been first printed in the 1970s. I have issue No. 133, and it is dated 1978.

Korg
"Korg: 70,000 B.C." is a comic book published by Charlton Comics Group from 1975-76, lasting 9 issues. The comic series is based on the Hanna-Barbera live action TV series starring Jim Malinda as Korg, Bill Ewing as Bok, Naomi Pollack as Mara, Christopher Man as Tane, Charles Morteo as Tor, Janelle Pransky as Ree, and narrated by Burgess Meredith. The TV series was created by Fred Freiberger.

Grok, Zon, Trag and Orm


"One Million B.C" is a series of caveman action figure dolls produced by Mego in 1975. Seen above are, from left to right, Grok, Zon, Trag, and Orm. I'm missing the cavewoman, Mada, from this set. Mego's "One Million B.C." series of dolls has nothing to do with the popular 1966 Ray Harryhausen stop motion film "One Million Years B.C" that starred Raquel Welch, or the original 1940 film "One Million B.C." that the 1966 film was based on.

Tarr
A barbarian from the French comic series "Tarr" published between 1976 and 1988 in hardcover books. Not unlike many others on his list, Tarr has long blond hair and wears a very skimpy loincloth. He is shown as a warrior type with a sword and shield, often with a submissive half naked woman crawling about his ankles. Earlier comics show Tarr wearing a unique pair of purple elf-like shoes. These were later replaced with the standard fur-trimmed barbarian boots. Here is a great website for Tarr images: http://www.gwthomas.org/taar.htm

1980s

Dar / Beastmaster
The Beastmaster is a movie from 1982 about a jungle hero / barbarian type of character named Dar, played by actor Marc Singer (who also starred in the popular Sci-Fi TV series "V"). Dar has the ability to communicate telepathically with his pets: an eagle, a tiger and two ferrets. A sequel was released in 1991 followed by a TV movie in 1996, with Marc Singer continuing in the role of Dar for each. Actor Daniel Goddard later portrayed the character of Dar in a television series. It was produced in 1999 and lasted three seasons with 66 episodes. Marc Singer made a guest appearance in the third season.
Yor
Yor is the main character in the 1983 film "Yor" from Columbia Pictures. I have yet to see the movie so I'm not certain if Yor is intended to be a caveman, jungle hero or barbarian type of character but his appearance is the same as all the above. He has shoulder length blond hair and wears a rather skimpy loincloth. The character was portrayed in the film by actor Reb Brown. A press photo caption explains "The mysterious gold medallion that Yor wears around his neck is the only clue in his quest to learn about his origins."

1990s

Oombah
One of only two Canadian contributions to this list , "Oombah, Jungle Moon Man" is a single issue comic published by Strawberry Jam Comics in 1992.

2000s

Takeena, Jungle Boy
"Jungle Boy" is a 43 minute animated DVD produced by Abbey Home Media Group in 2004. The text on the back cover provides Jungle Boy's name Takeena and give a synopsis of the story, which seems to be "borrowed" mostly from the first Tarzan novel, and partially from the Jungle Book.

D'Leh
"10,000 B.C.", is a Warner Bros. movie from 2008 about a caveman hero, D'Leh, payed by actor Steven Strait and directed by Roland Emmerich.

2010s


Zedgar the Wild Jungle Dude and Kazak
The second of two Canadian additions to this list are my own characters. In February 2014 I posted a photo of my three jungle hero characters on my puppetry blog. I had made hand puppets of them which I sell online and at events for artisans. Shown here are Pharoah Shuss the Lion Man (Zedgar's nemesis), superhero Canadian Crusader (who isn't a jungle hero), Zedgar the Wild Jungle Dude, and Zedgar's mentor Kazak. I'm working on a 12 page "Mini Preview" comic book about Zedgar which I'll be posting online soon! Mini comics based on my other hero characters, including Canadian Crusader, can be read at www.PythorComics.ca


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