Sheena is one of the most famous female comic book characters ever created, and one of the earliest in the context of Golden Age American comics. But I feel sorry for any Golden Age Sheena completists out there — because some of this material is as tough as it gets for a vintage collector. I’ve never even seen a copy of her first appearance in UK weekly Wags #46, for example, and I’m not sure I know anyone who has seen one. And as for her U.S. comic book debut in Jumbo Comics #1… that is another incredibly tough comic book to get. However, when it comes to her own series Sheena, Queen of the Jungle #1-18 (1942-1953), ComicConnect has you covered this week, as they’ve got the best Registry Set of the series up for auction this week in their Event Auction #47.
Sheena has a surprising connection to fellow comics superstar Wonder Woman which comes by way of its publisher Fiction House and its editor Jack Byrne. It’s fairly well-known that Wonder Woman’s creation was heavily influenced by Olive Byrne, the polyamorous life partner of William Moulton Marston and Elizabeth Holloway. It’s somewhat less known that Olive Byrne’s mother and aunt, Ethel Byrne and Margaret Sanger, were historically important Progressive Era feminists. And it’s relatively unknown that this legacy almost certainly influenced the history of far more comic books than those featuring Wonder Woman. Olive Byrne’s brother, Fiction House editor Jack Byrne seems to have been influenced by this family history as well, as Jill Lepore explained in The Secret History of Wonder Woman:
At Fiction House, Olive Burne’s brother Jack started printing comics too, beginning with Jumbo Comics in September 1938. Its inaugural issue included a character created the year before in London by Will Eisner and S.M. Iger: Sheena, Queen of the Jungle, a female Tarzan. Jack Byrne’s Fiction House became known for its powerful, invincible female heroes. At a time when many publishers had no women artists, Fiction House employed more than twenty.
Sheena is one of the most historically important characters in comic book history, and you’ll probably never have a better shot at getting high-grade issues of Sheena, Queen of the Jungle #1-18 (1942-1953) than you do this week in ComicConnect’s Event Auction #47.
ow/w pgs; 1 of 1 at the top!
Dan Zolnerowich classic cvr; Queen of the Jungle vs King of the Jungle battle cvr
One of the very first female comic characters to have her own title, Sheena, Queen of the Jungle, was a popular gender-swapped swipe of Tarzan. Raised by a witch doctor, the orphaned heroine was taught the ways of the native African people and would go on to do battle with all manner of threats from slavers to dinosaurs and beyond. This debut solo issue was published due to popular demand for the character who was already the star attraction in Jumbo Comics, another of Fiction House’s Golden Age titles. Shown battling a lion in her trademark leopard skin outfit, Sheena was a big hit with fans of Good Girl Art, and she remains a popular character for fans of the genre today, even influencing The Ramones to write the classic “Sheena is a Punk Rocker” to express their affections towards the cult phenom.
From the top CGC registry set – four years in a row! This outstanding copy of Sheena #1 hails from the Denver pedigree and is the standalone highest-graded example on the census. Boasting a bright background wash, lush greens, vibrant orange and yellow tones, the copy is in very impressive condition. Sharp corners and an immaculate spine round out the amazing eye appeal of this Golden Age GGA key, which will no doubt be a popular item for Sheena fans at auction.