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FIRST ISSUE: SHEENA, QUEEN OF THE JUNGLE

An admirable first issue must, above all else, contain such matter as will compel a reader to buy the second issue. At the same time, while provoking curiosity through mysteriousness, a good first issue must avoid being so mysterious as to be cryptic or incomprehensible. And, thirdly, it should introduce the title’s principals, preferably in a way that makes us care about them. Fourth, a first issue should include a complete “episode”—that is, something should happen, a crisis of some kind, which is resolved by the end of the issue, without, at the same time, detracting from the cliffhanger aspect of the effort that will compel us to buy the next issue. A completed episode displays decisive action or attitude, telling us that the book’s creators can manage their medium.

The first issue of Sheena Queen of the Jungle, a revival title, exists mostly to give Moritat a chance to draw the sumptuous Sheena in her scanty leopard-skin costume in as many different poses as he can devise. He is aided and abetted by writers Marguerite Bennett and Christina Trujillo who supply a tale in No.0 so simple that only Mortat’s pictures make it memorable. The plot, so to speak, is that Sheena, sworn protector of her forest, sees a flying saucer (or something like one, but small, not large enough to have passengers) and takes steps to prevent its “invasion” of the region she is protecting. Every step she takes shows her in a different and attractive pose. By the end of the book, she’s destroyed the saucer.

And then we get the last page: no longer in the jungle, we see a young man looking at his computer screen, eating spaghetti and saying, “What did I just record?”

That might bring me back. Moritat’s drawings definitely will.

 

Sheena

But in the second issue -- No.1 -- all we have are more pin-ups of Sheena. No outright nudity, though: these pictures could have survived quite well in the repressive 1940s. The story is about as vacuous as the one in No.0. I’ve had enough.

For more Rants & Raves with its comics news and reviews, gossip and cartooning lore, visit www.RCHarvey.com

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