Legendary artist Alex Raymond (1909-56), who had ghosted work for several cartoonists, most notably for Lyman Young’s Tim Tyler’s Luck and Chic Young’s Blondie, convinced King Features Syndicate chief Joe Connolly that he could create a space strip better than Buck Rogers with Flash Gordon, and, on 7 January 1934, he proved himself. Flash Gordon launched that day and instantly became a star in the KFS universe with Raymond as one of King’s stellar creators. That he added the Big Game Hunter adventures of Jungle Jim atop the Sunday Flash Gordon was a brilliant move, creating even more engaging entertainment for newspaper readers.
Here are some facts about the comic:
- Raymond drew Jungle Jim from January 7, 1934 until April 30, 1944 when he went into the Army. Austin Briggs and then Paul Norris rode it out until August 1954.
- Jim Bradley is the classic pith helmet adventure character, a big game hunter who encounters various bad guys and defeats slavers, smugglers, bandit gangs, and renegade animals along the way. Since he spends most of his time in the wilds of Burma, Ceylon, and Indo-China, it’s only natural he became a guerrilla fighter against the Japanese during WWII.
- His lifelong companion is Kolu, a Hindu native who wears a turban, and calls him “Tuan Jim.”
- In 1937 a twelve-part Universal serial based on Jungle Jim starred Grant Withers.
- In 1948 a Columbia feature titled “Jungle Jim” starred Johnny Weissmuller, and they used him again for a one-season (1955-56) TV series produced by their “Screen Gems” unit. (Note this was after the strip ended).
- A radio series lasted from 1935 to 1952.