Lorna the Jungle Girl

First Appearance: Lorna the Jungle Girl #1 (July 1953).
Appearances: Lorna the Jungle Girl #1-26, Jungle Action v2 #1-4, 6, Astonishing Tales #9.
Years Active: 1950s.

Ah, Lorna. She's a winsome, delicate shrinking flower. She is a blonde. Sometimes she wears a tiger-striped or red and black striped shirt, leopard-skin shorts, and a gold belt from which hung a knife scabbard. She also wears a necklace of teeth and has gold armbands. She fights evil in the jungle. She has a pet monkey Mikki (Mikki is at least partially sentient, and can communicate with Lorna), and is a rival and uneasy friend (and perhaps lover--she's definitely attracted to him) to Greg Knight.

Lorna is the acknowledged queen of the jungle. She's friends with and commands (in that order) the other animals in the jungle, including elephants. Lorna works with the local natives, including the tribe of Chief M'tuba, an old friend of hers, and treats them well. She's also a friend to the colonial police as well as the native police, who are portrayed in a surprisingly positive way; white men are shown trying to steal the "land rights" from the native Africans, something one would rarely see in an Atlas story about cowboys and Native Americans. As well, on occasion the jungle in her stories is shown as being even more outré than normal, with bloodthirsty and seemingly sentient "traveling creeper of doom" vines passing up killing Greg Knight to strangle a truly bad man, but then drawing back out of deference to Lorna. In another story Lorna shows a friendship with "Agu the giant," a King Kong-sized ape who seems to understand English and willingly obeys Lorna's requests/commands; she had saved his life in an earlier story and that sealed their friendship. And in a third story Lorna and Mikki fight against a giant "hybrid...half crocodile, half ape." (The story that introduces Agu also features "Serpo the Giant Cobra," a character who appeared in Jungle Boy, Lo-Zar, and Man-Oo stories--and therefore all three of those are in the same continuity as Lorna and Greg Knight.)

Lorna's origin is somewhat standard for Jungle Queen characters. Lorna was the daughter of a retired big game hunter, her mother having died during her birth. Lorna was raised in Africa with her father, who had been in the jungle for 35 years and loved it. Unfortunately, that wasn't enough to help him when "Numa! The Lion!" attacked. He managed to shoot the lion, but it gored his leg badly enough that it had to be removed by M'tuba, a local native guide and friend to both Lorna and her father. "In the weeks that followed, Lorna's father was helpless in bed, recovering from the loss of his leg! Lorna had to do the hunting for both of them." Fortunately, Lorna had been raised by her father to be a good hunter, just like he was. (He really wanted a son, but was happy enough with Lorna.) While her father was languishing she began putting her skills to good use, discovering that rifles can jam and that her wits were more important than firearms. When her father died she decided that she would become the great hunger that her father wanted. M'tuba taught her to use the spear and knife as well as the skills of the forest, tracking and hunting. After killing the local witch doctor and appointing M'tuba to replace him (the witch doctor, a headhunter, had it coming) (a headhunter in Africa? What-ever), she vowed to "travel deeper into the jungle...as my father would have wanted me to...to seek out others who may need help!" M'tuba gave her Mikki, his pet monkey, and off Lorna went to fight evil and do good. M'tuba, as it happens, was featured in at least one story on his own, in which he told a tale from his past which showed him to be a capable warrior, a wise chief, and a crafty native of the jungle as well as a friend to Numa, the lion.

Note: As for her skills and origin, think Sheena, Queen of the Jungle, the first and true Jungle Queen.

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