- Posted by Johanna on August 3, 2010 at 1:07 pm
- Category: Comic News
After I was snarky about Savage Beauty, an upcoming jungle girl comic from the folks who bring us Captain Action and published by Moonstone, Ed Catto contacted me. Ed and I have had many positive conversations in the past, and he treated my asking “Did we really need another half-naked jungle girl comic?” more seriously than I deserved. (I’m not sure what his official title is, but he’s one of the key guys behind the Captain Action comic company.)
Ed wanted me to know that they’re attempting another approach, based on the question: “Is there a way to re-invent the Jungle Girl genre in a way that’s not prurient and is meaningful?” He provided the following background material, arranged in three key points, to answer both his and my questions:
Our stories will be “Real World” to the extent that medium allows. So even though I love ERB [NB: Edgar Rice Burroughs, writer of Tarzan], we won’t be about “lost cities” or “archeologists and their beautiful daughters”. Our drama will focus on real-world issues in Africa today: ethnic cleansing/genocide, poverty, slavery, pirates, corruption, etc. Early on, we realized there is so much real-life tragedy and drama that we don’t have to make up stuff. It’s all there. We’re serious about “ripped from the headlines”. We’re constantly clipping and emailing stories from the paper. In fact, today’s horrible NY Times report on Somali is on the short list for a story around issue #8.
We’re going to do something that I don’t think anyone has ever done. Each month, we are going to “put our money where our mouth is” and donate a full-color ad page to a charitable organization. We view this as a way to help causes get the word out. Right now, our initial list includes Oxfam, Just a Drop, Compassion International (the division that builds schools in Kenya), and Invisible Children (with whom our writer/partner Mike Bullock has worked before).
We’re taking great strides to prohibit this from becoming a prurient series. True, just the way superheroes wear masks and capes, our heroines wear leopard skins. That’s kind of the conceit of the genre. But we’re demanding that all our artist shy away from the overly chesty images. Some guys, like Thomas Yeates, get that immediately and give us images of strong women. We’re also working with Dan Parent (illustrator of various Archie comics) for cover images. While this series will have some guns and fighting in it, otherwise it will be appropriate for most middle school+ kids.
Johanna again: I’m impressed by the real-world connections (something I’ve been looking for in comics), and it’s thoughtful of them to donate an ad page. I’m not sure, given the covers (shown below), how well the third message has made it through to the art team, though, since the focal point is squarely aimed at the cleavage. Perhaps that is something that will continue improving over the series run.
The lead characters of the comic are two step-sisters named Lacy and Livy Rae. Ed went on to tell me about the young girls who served as inspiration for them, but he understandably didn’t want me to mention their details or names. Still, it’s cool to know that they’re thinking “is this something I can show the girls?” while putting together the comic. I’ll wait and see before drawing any more conclusions.
Update: Savage Beauty will be on sale in January, with a preview ashcan available at the October New York Con. And I’ve been given another cover example, art by Thomas Yeates, from a future issue to show some of the different approaches they’re taking. I’ve added it above — it’s the sepia one.