Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Lord of the Jungle Annual #1

We have a guest review for you today, as our pal Glen Davis takes a look at the first Lord of the Jungle Annual.

Here's Glen:

For a long time, the practice of publishing annuals went out of fashion, along with five-week events. They simply weren't selling, and really weren't worth the money.

Most annuals seemed to be little more than a mediocre, meaningless fill-in story, with relatively easy to find reprints and a couple of character description pages for back up, maybe some pin-ups.

Dynamite decided to revive the Annual with Lord of the Jungle.

A notation informs us that this story takes place after issue #8 of this series, which is still several months away, but appears to be between the first novel, Tarzan of the Apes and the second novel, The Return of Tarzan. This places it well before World War I, probably 1908-1910.

After encountering an orphaned lion cub, Tarzan is captured by a boastful Great White Hunter and shanghaied to New York City to face an undefeated fighter. It's never quite made clear whether this fighter, Starker the Superlative, is a boxer, a wrestler, or some kind of whatever they called a mixed martial artist back then.

There's a bit of anachronism here, as Starker appears to be some kind of proto-Nazi, and at the same time, a victim of anti-German feeling in the United States. However, there was very little anti-German feeling before WWI. Theodore Roosevelt was a big fan of the country, as were many other influential Americans.

Nazis were not any kind of movement until the 1930s, either. At least the artist didn't give Starker duelling scars or a monocle. He just looks almost exactly like the mechanic who beat up Indiana Jones in Raiders of the Lost Ark before getting shredded by a propeller.

After an anti-climatic fight, followed by a rather easy escape, and denouement, Tarzan is shipped back to the jungle in a meaningless story. Dynamite didn't have to revive THAT part of the annual.

Grade: C-



Anonymous said...

On the cover, Tarzan looks as if he is sashaying down a jungle fashion runway, showing off his GIGANTIC thigh muscles!
Thanks for the morning laugh, Chuck!

Sam Kujava

Glen Davis said...

I accidentally omitted that there aren't reprints, pin ups or character profiles backing up the main story, either.

Chuck said...

Sam, you're right, that is one provocative pose.

Glen, it shouldn't count as an annual if it doesn't have at least one of those things in it!

Glen Davis said...

I didn't call it an annual, Dynamite did!

Glen Davis said...

Looks like DC is trying their hands at Annuals again in October.

Chuck said...

I think they've already started - I think Batman Annual #1 (yeah, right) came ut last month. It was... ok. But not really a special enough story to merit an annual.