Sunday, September 11, 2011

Review: Marvel Masterworks Atlas Era Jungle Adventure Vol. 2

Collects Jungle Action Nos. 1-3, Jungle Tales Nos. 1-4 and Lorna, The Jungle Girl Nos. 10-12 (cover dates September, 1954- March, 1955).
Writers: Don Rico and Paul S. Newman
Artists: Werner Roth, Al Hartley, Joe Maneely, John Forte, George Tuska, John Romita, Sr., Fred Kida, and others.
These 1950s Atlas Comics are so much fun to read, and often have terrific artwork to boot. There are several features which repeat themselves in the anthology titles collected here:
Lorna, The Jungle Girl- This is probably my favorite in the book, with great writing by Don Rico and what must be Werner Roth's finest artwork. Like I've mentioned in my blog posting about Vol. 1, I always considered him a bottle of the barrel type of artist for his run on The X-Men in the '60s, but he really shines when depicting jungle scenes with trees, animals, and non-superhero people. Great stuff.
The Jungle Adventures of Greg Knight- A regular back up feature in Lorna's magazine, he is a member of Lorna's supporting cast. While I question the man's sanity and/or sexual orientation for shunning Lorna's continual advances, he is an all right guy for the era.
Jann of the Jungle- A pretty generic but enjoyable female jungle heroine riff.
Waku, Prince of the Bantu- I really enjoy this strip, as Waku uses his brain more than his brawn. There's still plenty of action and adventure here, though. Fred Kida is arguably in his prime during this era.
Cliff Mason, White Hunter- This strip features crisp, clean artwork by Joe Maneely. Maneely is an absolute master, and it is one of comics' great tragedies that he died at such a young age. One can only imagine “what if” when it comes to what he could have achieved if he had lived.
Lo-Zar, Lord of the Jungle- The umpteenth Tarzan rip-off, one can either write them all off as cheap knockoffs or do what I do, simply admire the artwork and the craftsmanship of the execution of the story.
Man-oo the Mighty- A strip from a gorilla's point of view, the third party narrative carries the story in this dialogue, and human, free series.
Leopard Girl- Al Hartley's cheesecake in a leopard skin catsuit is a lot of fun. The concept is silly and would never work today, and maybe that is why I like it so much.
There are other features in this book, but they didn't really stick with me well enough to bother commenting about them. Consider this another fine addition to the ever expanding library of Atlas Era Marvel Masterworks.
The OCD zone: Y-A-W-N. The same beautiful restoration, both in original color palette and in linework, the same wonderful paper, and the same superb sewn binding. I am glad to be lulled into a place of contentment with this line of hardcovers.

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