Review: Bob Powell’s Complete Cave Girl

cavegirl 1Those reading comics primarily from a modern perspective might think that with the explosion of interest in the independents that it is the first time that the medium of comics has ventured outside of the comfortable confines of superheroes, science-fiction and fantasy.  While there has been an explosion in recent years in the popularity of other genres in the medium, it is really nothing new.  Comic fans in the early years of the medium would have had a harder time finding the superheroes among the myriad of other characters, whether they be from crime, romance, western or adventure comics.  Among one of the sub-genres of comics in earlier years was that of the jungle queen or jungle girl, a version or Tarzan that mixed femininity with a more feral nature.  Bob Powell’s Cave Girl takes a look at a small slice of these stories, collecting all of the artist’s work on this nearly forgotten character.

Although comic book reading is seemingly in a resurgence, those comic readers that are used to only modern comics would be in for a shock when picking up older issues from the silver age or the golden age.  The stories back then were aimed at a completely different audience, looking to get the attention of younger readers, not readers in their teens or adult years.  This made the stories simpler in a sense, with easier plot twists and usually less believable outcomes.  The stories were rarely if ever serialized either, and this made the wrap-ups to plots sometimes maddeningly fast.  Those expecting to pick up this volume and to be entertained by modern standards will be disappointed, as the stories are simplistic and easy and of marginal entertainment value.  Where this volume does succeed is through the introductory essays which put the stories firmly in place within the history of the medium.  By reading them first and then reading the comics, the comic reader will be immersed in a bygone era when people knew who Bob Powell was and when a jungle girl was a completely relevant protagonist to carry a series.

Someone picking this up and simply flipping through the pages will likely miss the point.  A few times in the introductory words it is all but said that the stories themselves are not really worthy of being revisited, more so the art and the genre.  Taken all together the result is different though, as a firm appreciation of a part of the past of the medium is understood.  Those seeking only superheroics out of comics might not find as much here, but those that realize how wide of a spectrum this medium offers will likely be impressed with this anthology, as it reminds that comics are as imaginative as the creative team makes them into.

Story: Gardner Fox Art: Bob Powell
Story: 6.0 Art: 8.0 Overall: 8.0 Recommendation: Buy

Dark Horse provided Graphic Policy with a free copy for review.