REVIEW: SAVAGE! JUNGLE PRINCESS – VOLUME ONE / AUTHOR: JOHN A. SHORT / ARTIST: GABRIELLE NOBLE / PUBLISHER: KULT CREATIONS / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW
Small press comics have one advantage over the more mainstream publishers: they can get away with all sorts of pulpy nonsense without causing a public outcry. If DC or Marvel attempted to produce the raunchy, tongue in cheek silliness that is Savage! Jungle Princess then the internet would probably have caught fire by now and the book withdrawn from sale. Which would be rather a pity, as it’s rather fun. Reminiscent of Norman Pett’s Jane and Steven Dowling’s Garth, it owes more to the Carry On movies than anything else.
Savage! Jungle Princess is incredibly daft. It’s the tale of Friday, a red-headed young lady who talks as if she was taught English by a Mary Poppins chimney sweep. She finds herself stranded on a desert island after escaping some Nazis, who are also scantily clad and female. Friday is naked when we first see her and of course finds some slightly torn clothing later on. She quickly teams up with Arabella Savage, Princess of the She-Nar tribe and after the obligatory shower scene they deal with the first wave of Nazis.
It gets sillier from that point on. It turns out that the island is filled with magical treasures including a fountain of youth and the philosopher’s stone, so it regularly gets invaded by wicked people looking to steal its secrets. In addition to some mild bondage and ladies swimming in low cut clothing, we have Nazis, zombies, zombie Nazis, dinosaur duels, ninjas and alien technology.
The artwork is so straightforward and the storytelling so simple that it’s impossible to take this book any way other than as a piece of fun. With its tongue rammed firmly into its cheek and its heart on its sleeve, it is so filled with ridiculous cliché and dumb ideas that it’s hard not to love it, at least a little bit. Savage! Jungle Princess is never going to win an Eisner, but Short and Noble certainly deserve a round of drinks simply for producing this utterly daft piece of comic fun. If you’ve ever looked at a 1940s comic strip and asked yourself “Why don’t they make them like that anymore?”, then this should answer your question.