Sheena, Queen of the Jungle

Tagged: Film | TV | Publication | Comics | Character

1. US Pulp Magazine. One issue, Spring 1951, published by Glen Kel Co; no editor named.

Sheena – a sort of female Tarzan – was one of the few characters to make the transition from Comics to pulp magazines (rather than vice versa), having first appeared in Jumbo Comics in 1938. The solitary issue of Sheena, Queen of the Jungle contained three Sheena stories by James Anson Buck. The character was also featured in the pulp magazine Jungle Stories. [MJE/FHP]

2. US tv series (1955-1956). Nassour Studios, Inc. Based on the Comics character created by Will Eisner and S M "Jerry" Iger. Produced by Edward Nassour. Directors included Carl K Hittleman, Arthur Pierson. Writers included Eisner, Frank Gruber, Terence Maples. Cast includes Chris Drake, Irish McCalla and Neal the Chimp (as Chim). Syndicated. 26 28-minute episodes, some now believed to be lost. Black and white.

Preceding Wonder Woman in comics by four years in the UK and three years in the US, Sheena is believed to be the first female action heroine in comics. She was one of the first in the 1950s to make the transition to Television, played by magazine cover and pin-up star Irish McCalla. This version of the character was more faithful to the comic than later ones, with Sheena as a kind of female Tarzan who has grown up in the jungle and is now its protector. She defends the animals and jungle resources from assorted villains including treasure hunters, poachers, and occasionally more exotic criminal types. Sheena is able to communicate with the animals via Telepathy, although here she mainly relies on knives and spears to carry the day. Often captured, she is usually able to free herself without help; when all else fails, wildlife agent Bob Rayburn (Drake) is on hand to assist her. McCalla herself was quite athletic, and performed her own stunts until a vine gave way resulting in a broken left arm. Her Sheena probably remains the best despite the limitations of early television and McCalla's minor acting abilities. In the new century the series was rebooted as Sheena (2000-2002). [GFi]

3. Film (1984); vt of Sheena (1984).

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