Review by C.J. Bunce
What do a submarine, a space shuttle, dinosaurs, sea creatures from 20,000 leagues, flying saucers, and a female Tarzan have in common? They’re all part of Frank Cho’s Jungle Girl.
Frank Cho is one of our favorite artists and he’s also a great guy, always eager to chat at the next comic convention. He’s a double threat–his artwork is second to none, but many don’t know how humorous his writing can be, as illustrated in his University² series of comic strips and his Liberty Meadows series. He’s also a great all-around writer, and so it’s no surprise that he combined his trademark jungle women art with his love of dinosaurs and spun them into a series that he plotted and handed over to other writers and artists to execute. That 15-issue comic book series coming your way this month in the Jungle Girl Complete Omnibus, a giant 392-page trade paperback edition from Dynamite Entertainment. With stunning visuals and a female Tarzan named Jana born into Earth’s distant past, the only things that would make the book even better would be if Cho wrote and illustrated more than the cover art for it.
But don’t overthink that–Adriano Batista (Red Sonja, Battlestar Galactica), who is responsible for the interior art for season 2 and 3, conjures equal parts Frank Cho and Michael Turner–a great pairing of styles for this kind of story. More interesting than most Conan and Red Sonja tales, and the Tarzan stories, Jungle Girl is the kind of comic book you could imagine Robert E. Howard and Edgar Rice Burroughs only dreaming of creating. Cho’s story as envisioned by co-creator and script writer Doug Murray (Red Sonja, The ‘Nam) is a fully-realized, layered adventure that belongs along with the top creations in the genre. Plus, it adds in some unexpected twists you might find in not only Michael Crichton’s Jurassic Park, but Timeline, too.
The Complete Omnibus features all three “Seasons” of the Jungle Girl series collected for the first time in one book. And those only familiar with the first two seasons will finally get to see how Jana came to live in this lost world. One drawback is that the artwork in season three, by Jack Jadson, seems at times to be as if he’s drawing a completely different character for some other book–like Black Widow is swapped in to replace Jana.
Cho fans will be happy to see that this edition incorporates Frank Cho’s stunning variant covers throughout its pages, plus those of Adriana Batista and Fabricio Guerra, and several Batista sketch pages.
Courtesy of Dynamite, here is a look inside the all-new Jungle Girl Complete Omnibus:
Earlier editions of this omnibus sell for hundreds of dollars online. Add the new Jungle Girl Complete Omnibus in trade paperback (with a list price of $39.99) to your pull list at Elite Comics or your local comic store, or grab it here at Amazon. Dynamite currently lists it as available June 24, 2020. If you love Jungle Girl, also make sure to check out Cho’s earlier series, Shanna the She-Devil, available at Amazon here.