Small House of Everything

Small House of Everything

Saturday, March 1, 2014

VOODA (1955)

How many white jungle queens does it take to change a light bulb?  I have no idea, but surely, out of all the umptitty-ump white jungle queens out there in Comic Book Land and Pulpland, there has to be at least one who knows how to do it.  I mean, there's a passel of them out there.

And one of them is Vooda.  Seriously, that's her name.

In the June 1955 issue (#26), Vooda is talked into starring in Hollywood's latest jungle epic, replacing a shallow star in "The Intruders."  And in "The Trek of Danger," Vooda is tricked into going on a long journey, allowing an evil rival to convince the natives that Vooda has died.  Alas, Vooda's outfit is pretty modest throughout.  No tiny leopard skin outfits for this jungle queen!

The jungle is a pretty big place -- big enough for a few more jungle characters.  In "Trapped!," Kimbo the Jungle Boy faces off against the evil witch doctor Taglee and an ancient powerful weapon; in the end Kimbo proves that good outlives evil.  (Doesn't it seem like kids in the Fifties had to be reminded of that over and over again?)  In "Congo Champ," Zaan, a clean-cut boxer who has retired to his family's small farm in Africa, is thinking of going back into the ring when two crooked promoters kidnap his father, hoping to force Zaan into signing with them.  (Again, Fifties kids learn a moral lesson:  Things should be "acquired by honest means, the only true reward for any man.")

Also in this issue, two one-papers:  a funny animal strip featuring Koko the Kongo Kid and an unfunny strip in which Uncle Otto has a dream.

To comply with postal regulations, comic books usually had a two-page print story in each issue.  This time it's "The Ape Trail!"  White boy of the jungle Ken Hammond crosses paths with a mad scientist who has been transplanting the brains of humans into the bodies of apes.

As you can tell, none of this is very P.C., and the truly innocent among us might well ask why there were no black jungle queens.  The "white man's burden" has always been a racist concept, but those of us who grew up with Tarzan and Bomba and Sheena can still enjoy such stories while rejecting the conceit behind them.

No comments:

Post a Comment