Gail Simone, writer of Red Sonja #17, talks with writer Doug Murray about Jungle Girl Season Three #4, both on sale now. Cover Art by Frank Cho.
GAIL SIMONE: Okay, when I first saw the Jungle Girl covers, after admiring the gorgeous artwork, I have to admit I pretty much dismissed her without even looking inside. It wasn’t until I sat down to read the omnibus edition for research in including Jana in the Swords of Sorrow crossover that I started to see how fun she could be. What attracted you to the character, what appeals to you about her? What would you say to a new reader who was thinking of picking up the book, but had no experience with her before?
DOUG MURRAY: I co-created the character with Frank Cho so I have to say that I was attracted to the concept of the character. I didn’t want to just do another “Jungle Babe in Bikini” thing—I wanted someone who had a little more to her. The setting, the “Lost World,” gave me things to work with. For example: Jana has always lived with the dinosaurs, hunted them for food. She knows what’s dangerous and what’s not; thus, when she meets a T-Rex it’s not a huge menace to her, it’s a carrion eater that’s not worth bothering with.
Anyone who hasn’t read Jungle Girl shouldn’t be fooled by the covers (which are, of course, wonderful Frank Cho pieces). Instead, they should look for a story about someone — a sort of “Noble Savage” — who has learned to live in a very dangerous world and enjoys doing so.
GS: Additionally, your Jana seems more mature, a little less innocent and naive, than in previous stories. Is that accurate, and if so, what made you choose to give her more gravitas?
DM: Jana is the chief hunter for her tribe, she has responsibility—something she takes very seriously and something that gives her a bit of weight. By Series Three, she has to stop the world from ending—she’s the only one that can do it. A real adult task.
GS: It’s also interesting that in this issue, Jana is wearing actual clothing. What is it about this story that called for ditching the fur bikini?
DM: In Series Two, I ended with Jana fighting the Sleeping God’s people underwater. She was using a scuba-type suit from Captain Mason’s submarine. As Series Three starts immediately upon her return, she’s still wearing that wetsuit—looks good, though, right?
GS: The Jack Jadson art is very nice, it’s got a lovely grace to it. Is there anything you’d like to say about the art team?
DM: Throughout my comic career I’ve been blessed with great artists. Michael Golden on The Nam; Frank Cho; Adriano Batista; and now, Jack Jadson. It’s a blessing as I believe comics to be a collaborative art form—if the art doesn’t work, it doesn’t matter how good or bad the story is—and vice versa. Jack’s done a fine job of telling the story—and I’m grateful for that.
GS: Finally, why is THIS story an important one to tell, for Jana and for you?
DM: This was planned as the very last Jungle Girl adventure—it takes her full-circle, from the end of her world to the beginning of a new life (all I can say without spoiling too much). What could be more important than that?
For more on Jungle Girl: Season Three #4, click here.