Sheena, Queen of the Jungle

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Researched by: razorback

Sheena, Queen of the Jungle is a fictional, American comic book jungle girl heroine, published originally by Fiction House. She possessed the ability to communicate with the wild animals after having grown up with them since being orphaned in the jungle. She was fiercely proficient in fighting with knives, spears, and bows, and improvised with makeshift weapons. Her primary ability was to surprise her opponents, either human or animal.

She was the first female comic-book character with her own title, with her 1937 (in Great Britain, 1938 in the United States) premiere beating Wonder Woman #1 (December 1941). Sheena, herself a distaff Tarzan, inspired a wealth of similar comic-book jungle queens. She was predated in literature by Rima, the Jungle Girl, introduced in the 1904 William Henry Hudson novel Green Mansions.

Sheena debuted in Joshua B. Power's British magazine Wags #1, in 1937. She was created by Will Eisner and S.M. "Jerry" Iger of the comic-book packager Eisner & Iger, one of a handful of studios that produced comics on demand for publishers and syndicates, and whose client Editors Press Service distributed the feature to Wags. To help hide the fact their studio consisted only of themselves, the duo signed their Sheena strip with the pseudonym "W. Morgan Thomas". Eisner said an inspiration for the character's name was H. Rider Haggard's 1886 jungle-goddess novel She.

Sheena first appeared stateside in Fiction House's Jumbo Comics #1, and subsequently in every issue (Sept. 1938 - April 1953), as well as in her groundbreaking, 18-issue spin-off, Sheena, Queen of the Jungle (Spring 1942 - Winter 1952), the first comic book to title-star a female character. Sheena also appeared in Fiction House's Ka'a'nga #16 (Summer 1952) and the one-shot 3-D Sheena, Jungle Queen (1953) — the latter reprinted by Eclipse Comics as Sheena 3-D (Jan. 1985) and by Blackthorne Publishing as Sheena 3-D Special (May 1985). Blackthorne also published Jerry Iger's Classic Sheena (April 1985. Fiction House, originally a pulp magazine publisher, ran prose stories of its star heroine in the latter-day pulp Stories of Sheena, Queen of the Jungle (Spring 1951) and Jungle Stories vol. 5, #11 (Spring 1954).

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