Taanda confronts more danger than just a rogue elephant. Artist: Everett Raymond Kinstler.


Original medium: Comic books
Published by: Avon Periodicals
First Appeared: 1951
Creators: unknown writer and Louis Ravielli (artist)
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Jungle girls — scantily-clad feral ladies who swing through trees — have been around since the novel Green Mansions, by Henry Hudson, was published in 1904. They reached comic books …

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… in 1938, when Fiction House put out Sheena, Queen of the Jungle, but had a real proliferation roughly from Tiger Girl (1944) to Jann of the Jungle (1954). White Princess of the Jungle, which Avon Periodicals (Space Detective, Peter Rabbit) launched with a July, 1951 cover date, was a small part of that proliferation.

The title character, Taanda, was pictured in an inset as part of the cover logo, and its caption made it easy to read the title as Taanda, White Princess of the Jungle. But her name wasn't actually part of the title as it appeared in the indicia.

The writer of the first Taanda story is unknown. The artist has been identified as Louis Ravielli, who has scattered credits in non-series stories published by Avon or Atlas/Marvel comics, in addition to his later co-creation of an aviation hero for Avon, named Captain Steve Savage. But the artist most closely associated with Taanda is Everett Raymond Kinstler, who is assumed by some to be her creator.

Kinstler is a famous American portrait artist, whose works include the official portraits of Presidents Ford and Reagan, who got his start in comic books during his teens. For Taanda, he drew covers of the first three issues, as well as contents illustrations on the inside front covers. He also drew several actual stories in those issues. Another artist who did a lot of Taanda's stories was Gene Fawcette (Supermouse).

Taanda was an authentic jungle princess, that of the mostly-black Tauruti tribe. But she was the friend of all jungle dwellers who desired to live in peace and harmony with their neighbors. Peeves included evil white hunters, scheming witch doctors and others who would disturb the tranquility of her domain. Which is pretty average for a jungle girl who functions as a comic book hero.

Avon tended not to be very good at keeping its titles in print for a long time. Taanda stayed in print for five issues, the last of which was dated November, 1952. A few years later, Israel Waldman's IW/Super Comics (Phantom Lady, Firehair), which would reprint anything that wasn't nailed down, put her in a couple of issues of Jungle Adventures and Top Jungle Comics. Still later, Waldman with his partner, Sol Brodsky, put her in another series of Jungle Adventures, along with Jo-Jo the Congo King and a "new" Tarzan clone named Zangar. In the 1990s, AC Comics (Femforce) reprinted a couple of her stories in Jungle Girls, which also contained Nyoka, Judy of the Jungle, Princess Pantha and a couple of others.

Other than a few fans who pay special attention to scantily-clad feral ladies who swing through trees, there hasn't been much interest during recent decades in Taanda, White Princess of the Jungle.


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Text ©2009-10 Donald D. Markstein. Art © Avon Periodicals.