Back to the Jungle: Cho and Murray on Jungle Girl Season 2

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 harm.

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.

Newsarama: 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?

Frank Cho: 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.

NRAMA: 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?

Doug Murray: 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.

NRAMA: And where are things when this series gets rolling?

DM: 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.

NRAMA: Frank, despite the size of Jana's costume, you're still doing the design work for the series, correct? What does that invovle?

FC: 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.

NRAMA: 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?

FC: 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 women.

NRAMA: 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?

FC: 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.

NRAMA: 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?

DM: 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.

NRAMA: What have you learned about her, as a character?

DM: 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!

NRAMA: 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?

DM: 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.

NRAMA: 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?

FC: For inspirations, I look at old Ray Harryhausen and Hammer movies, back when women looked liked women with hips and bosoms.

NRAMA: Doug, who is with her in this series? Still mostly the same characters from season 1?

DM: 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.

NRAMA: What gets things rolling in the first issue?

DM: 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!

NRAMA: Final word to you Frank - any last words for people who may be on the fence about picking this up?

FC: 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?

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