Leopard Girl

First Appearance: Jungle Action v1 #1 (October 1954).
Appearances: Jungle Action v1 #1-6.
Years Active: 1950s?

Leopard Girl was a jungle queen who wore a full-body leopard skin, complete with a leopard-head on her head, ala Hercules with his lionskin. In her civilian identity she was mild-mannered "Gwen," an assistant (along with "Peter"...hmm...) to the noted scientist and philosopher Dr. Hans Kreitzer, who is in the jungle doing "research." But when evil threatens, Gwen slips away, lets her blonde hair down, and changes into Leopard Girl. Peter and Dr. Kreitzer are relatively intrepid, always curious and trying to investigate the curiousities of the jungle, but they inevitably get themselves in trouble and need Leopard Girl to rescue them.

I don't know if Gwen ever had a proper origin; if she did and I can find it, I'll put it here. As I said above, she's Gwen, "timid little secretary to Dr. Hans Kreitzer, renowned scientist." There seems to be no hint of romantic attraction between Gwen and Peter; the Leopard Girl stories I read are absent of the seemingly-inevitably romantic subplots of most comics. Gwen is even independent enough to drug Peter and Dr. Kreitzer to get them out of the way when she needs privacy to do her work. Gwen and Leopard Girl are both quite independent, and although there's the slightest hint in a couple of the stories that Dr. Kreitzer is aware of Gwen's other identity and indulges her this hint is not brought up in other stories. Dr. Kreitzer and Peter treat Leopard Girl with a great deal of respect, even awe. Gwen, like Jann of the Jungle and Lorna the Jungle Girl, is a responsible member of the jungle, treating the animals and the natives of the jungle with respect and affection; she is friends with the leaders of the natives and with Todo, one of their lead warriors. Gwen helps the local inhabitants of the jungle with all of their problems, whether they are evil white hunters or rogue members of the tribes themselves. She does not kill those she captures, of course; that sort of thing is sometimes done by Lo-Zar, but never by one of Atlas' female characters. Leopard Girl merely turns her captives over to the local police.

The Leopard Girl stories, like those of the other Atlas jungle characters, range in tone. Sometimes she fights a wounded, maddened lion and is forced to kill it. (Well, more truthfully she has a bunch of leopards friendly to her kill the lion.) In other stories she goes up against an evil native and defeats him with the help of the ghost of her late friend Giboga the "high priest," who with a number of other ghosts was "freed by the angry gods" to defeat the evil native. Giboga then tells a surprisingly unsurprised Gwen that he'll be back.

Leopard Girl has all the usual Jungle Queen skills. And when she wants to she can utter the "cry of the leopard" and summon a group of leopards to help her.

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