Cho and Murray on Jungle Girl Season 2
While the temperatures will be cooling in November, Dynamite is readying something that will keep you warm – Jungle Girl Season 2, by Frank Cho, Doug Murray and Adriano Batista.
The new miniseries continues the tale of Dynamite’s well…jungle girl as
she encounters more visitors from worlds that aren’t her own, beasts
that see her as a lovely meal, and countless others who would do her
The first Jungle Girl
miniseries was a success for Dynamite, and opened the door on Jana and
her world, which, as Murrary describes, is part Verne, part Burroughs
and part Abrams.
The craziness is just getting ready to roll again, and we spoke with Cho and Murray about the project.
: Frank, how involved with Jungle Girl
are you this time out? The original concept started in your files, and then...what - you and Doug fleshed it out together?
: It's a very laid back and organic process. Doug and I
bounce ideas off around over the phone and at conventions until
something sticks. They Doug takes the ideas we discussed and craft it
into an exciting coherent story. There were few times I wonder how Doug
was going to fit our jumbled ideas into a seamless plot, but he does it
every time. Doug is an amazing writer.
: Doug - Season 2 is a pretty direct continuation from the first Jungle Girl
series. For those who may have missed it, can you give us a quick
summary of the introduction the cast had to Jana, and what she's about?
: Sure--Jana is 'the Jungle Girl', actually born in
this strange land which I think of as half Jules Verne's 'Mysterious
Island', half E.R. Burrough's 'Pellucidar' and half the island from Lost
(I'm not all that big on math). Jana is very familiar and comfortable
with this strange land--and quite capable of handling most of its
creatures. Her best friend is Togg, a Neanderthal who is part of her
'tribe'. Togg is a little younger than Jana and is not yet, officially,
an 'adult'--but he's pretty good at what he does. Mike Mize is a DEA
agent who was dropped in the Jungle when the group he was investigating
got drawn into the strange 'white event' that plunges people and things
to Jana's world. Jana saw the plane appear and met Mike (and the
others) when she investigated the crash. Mike thinks of himself as a
pretty competent sort of guy--but compared to Jana and Togg, he's
really like a child in this land.
: And where are things when this series gets rolling?
: I start series two right where series one broke off--Jana
and her friends watch as another white event delivers something really
odd--a space shuttle, into her land. Rather than chase it down, Jana
decided to go to the place where she believes these 'events' start--the
God Mountain in the center of the Land.
: Frank, despite the size of Jana's costume, you're still
doing the design work for the series, correct? What does that invovle?
: I basically design the major characters and Adriano does the
rest. At times, Adriano seems to reading my mind. I wanted that Edgar
Rice Burroughs lost city and Willis O'Brien's King Kong look, and
Adriano's been nailing it.
: In that vein, how much input do you have with Adriano? Do
you get to see the pages before they go for coloring, or is it more of
a chat before he starts, and you let him do his thing?
: In the first mini-series, I nudged him a bit on the visuals,
but now I just let him go. The thing I love about Adriano's art is his
clear sense of story-telling... and his ability to draw good looking
: What was your feeling on how the first Jungle Girl series
turned out? Anything you're looking to see implemented this time that
didn't make it last time?
: I've been very happy how things are turning out so far. In
the first mini-series, we tackled the jungle. In the second series,
we're exploring the coastline and the sea. And where's there a sea,
there's a giant killer squid.
: Doug, this is your second outing with Jana. Who is she,
and what do we really know about her? Despite her title role in the
comics, she's really not what you'd call a "hero," right?
: Jana isn't so much a hero as a survivor. She grew up in the
most savage environment imaginable--and she's learned how to prosper in
that environment. Everything around her falls into two
categories--people and food. And that food can be anything from a
Tyrannosaurus Rex to a pill-bug.
: What have you learned about her, as a character?
: I've learned that Jana is stronger physically then I first
imagined her--she has to be to survive in her home environment. And
I've learned that although she has been raised in a very savage land,
she doesn't let her emotions dictate her actions--unless she's hungry,
then all bets are off!
: Clearly, the inspiration here is from the classic pulp
"jungle girl" type stories. How do you use those as a foundation, while
making the story and characters resonate with a contemporary audience?
: I try to put Jana is somewhat more modern storylines then
the older Jungle Girls--I don't want to deal with lost safaris or the
elephant's graveyard--I want to deal with dinosaurs, saber-tooth cats,
and the elder Gods of HP Lovecraft. Jana's 'Jungle' is more than it
appears--and it is not really of this Earth--it is outside, although
everything in it is of the Earth.
: Same kind of question for you, Frank - you're doing the
covers for this miniseries - you've clearly got your own style that you
do them in, but what do you look at for inspiration on them?
: For inspirations, I look at old Ray Harryhausen and Hammer movies, back when women looked liked women with hips and bosoms.
: Doug, who is with her in this series? Still mostly the same characters from season 1?
: Aside from Togg and Mike, Jana meets up with Captain Mason,
Gower, and Marsh--an odd bunch who started out exploring the polar ice
cap in a WW-1 Submarine back in 1920 or so. Now they're in a different
sort of sea--and it’s not cold at all.
: What gets things rolling in the first issue?
: Things get rolling when Jana and the boys get to the inland
sea that surrounds the God Mountain--getting across that sea becomes
their primary objective--but there are some roadblocks--Mer-Men, killer
Nautiloid creatures, and something sleeping deep under the sea--and
it's not a Little Mermaid!
: Final word to you Frank - any last words for people who may be on the fence about picking this up?
: Giant Squid, German U-boats, mermaids, dinosaurs, machine
guns, lost cities, and a hot jungle girl running around in leather
bikinis. What more can you want?