Cliff Mason

First Appearance: Jann of the Jungle #1 (September 1954).
Appearances: Jann of the Jungle #8-17, Jungle Tales #1-7.
Years Active: 1950s.

Cliff Mason is A Great White Hunter, quite similar to Greg Knight. Mason, a big, beefy, Adolph Menjou-mustache wearing American, is a skilled hunter and stalker. He's also a responsible Great White Hunter, or at least as responsible as someone like him can be; he treats the natives well, respects the jungles he works in, and when he wounds a dangerous animal he stalks it until he kills it, regardless of the danger to himself. He operates in jungles around the world, from the Congo to India to the Brazilian rain forest. Like Greg Knight, Mason has little but contempt for the "dude hunter," who Mason feels gets in the way of the professionals, especially when dangerous game, like man-eating tigers, are a-prowl.

In later stories Mason worked primarily in the Congo with his African sidekick Kai-Su; in proper Allan Quatermain/Umslopagaas fashion, Mason always treats Kai-Su like a sidekick, but also respectfully. Mason's stories ranged from the relatively prosaic, in which he hunted man-eating tigers or lions, to the fantastic, in which he fought against giant man-eating spiders. One notable aspect of Mason's stories was that they were written somewhat better than the average Great White Hunter story, so that there's some real tension in the stories as well as a genuine feeling of atmosphere, of being in the jungle and being in danger.

As far as I know Mason never met up with Jann, Lorna, Greg Knight, or any of Atlas' other jungle characters.

The picture on the right is of Mason oh-so-carefully bringing his rifle around so that he can gun down a tiger that's developed a taste for manflesh. The tiger's got the drop on Cliff, so he has to move slowly and carefully. It's a surprisingly taut moment, and a well-executed one. (What can I say? I think the Cliff Mason stories are surprisingly well-done for their time and place, and well worth reprinting.)

Note: There's no textual linkage between Cliff Mason and Clark Mason, and of course positing a relationship between two people based on something as flimsy as a similar last name--a last name, moreover, which is fairly common--is a dubious proposition. But still, the Wold Newtonian in me thinks that it'd be neat if Cliff and Clark were brothers.

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