Nyoka the Jungle Girl is a fictional character created for the screen in the 1941 serialJungle Girl, starring Frances Gifford as Nyoka Meredith. The character of Nyoka is often described as having been created by Edgar Rice Burroughs. But although the serial was officially based on Burroughs' story "Jungle Girl" -- which was first serialized in the pulp magazineBlue Book and later was published as a novel -- there is no character named Nyoka and no Nyoka-like character in the original story. The movie's credits list Burroughs along with six other writers, but his input on creating the film character was obviously minimal, because the studio later was able to use the name "Nyoka" in a sequel without crediting Burroughs at all. After the initial film, Nyoka appeared in comic books published by Fawcett, Charlton, and AC Comics.
The short story that led to the creation of Nyoka was "The Land of Hidden Men" by Edgar Rice Burroughs in the May 1931 issue of Blue Book. The short story was later expanded into the novel Jungle Girl, published in 1932. The novel was set in Cambodia, and the main character was an Asian princess called Fou-tan. Aside from living in a jungle region, she bore no relation to the later Nyoka character, a white woman living in Africa.
Fawcett Comics used the film version of Nyoka as the basis for Jungle Girl comics. Issue #1 appeared in 1942; the character appeared irregularly until 1953, when Fawcett ceased publication
Nyoka was one of the intellectual properties sold to Charlton by Fawcett in the 1950s after the National Comics Publications v. Fawcett Publications lawsuit. Her first Charlton appearance was in Nyoka, Jungle Girl #14 (November 1955). Her final Charlton appearance was issue #22 (November 1957).
Once Charlton Comics ceased publication, Nyoka's rights were sold again. AC Comics purchased the rights from Charlton in 1987, though their rights to do so were somewhat dubious. Nyoka appeared in AC Comics The Further Adventures of Nyoka the Jungle Girl; there were five issues printed between 1988 and 1989, consisting mostly of reprints and movie stills. Nyoka has since appeared in other AC Comics' titles.
Appearances in television serials
The 1941 serial Jungle Girl though having little to do with the novel, was popular enough to inspire a sequel. One year later, the serial Perils of Nyoka debuted, starring Kay Aldridge as Nyoka Gordon. Besides the surname, some other details about the character were changed slightly.
The original book did have a jungle girl in it, but she was named Fou - Tan, not Nyoka. And she wasn't like a female version of Tarzan. That was something they came up with for the serial version, for which reason they were able to reuse the Nyoka character again afterwords without making any more payments to Burroughs.
Frances Gifford as Nyoka
In the first serial, Nyoka's last name was "Meredith" and her father died in the first chapter. The adventure was set in the same sort of jungle as the Tarzan movies and involved the same type of wild animals, including apes and elephants.
With costar Tom Neal
In TARZAN TRIUMPHS, Frances Gifford played another jungle girl, which was almost the same as if she were playing Nyoka again. But the movie wasn't really based on any of the Tarzan books, it only used the character of Tarzan.
TARZAN TRIUMPHS ends with the nazis listening on the radio mistaking Cheetah for one of their own.
Frances Gifford And Sol Lesser, the producer of TARZAN TRIUMPHS.
SEEIN' STARS was a panel cartoon that was similar to Ripley's BELIEVE IT OR NOT, except that it was about movie stars. This one features Frances Gifford along with Clark Gable and Betty Grable.
SUCCESSFUL LIVING, Dec. 1942
Frances Gifford was a cover girl as well as playing Nyoka. Same with Kay Aldridge.
Kay Aldridge as Nyoka
Kay Aldridge's Nyoka had a last name of Gordon and her father was still alive during the course of the story, which still had a gorrilla in it, but also had arabs and involved the desert country in the north of Africa.
Lorna Gray appeared as the villianess Vultura, who worked with a gorilla.
With costar Clayton Moore, who later played the Lone Ranger on television.
COMIC BOOK NYOKA
The first Nyoka comic book was titled JUNGLE GIRL like the Frances Gifford serial, but had a story that was actually based on the second serial, and had a picture of Kay Aldridge on the cover. The comic book character was drawn in Kay Aldridge's outfit.
With the second issue, the name was changed to NYOKA THE JUNGLE GIRL and all the stories were originals.
There has been some confusion over the pictures on the covers of the later Fawcett issues. Some people thought that the girl shown on the covers in this period was Kay Aldridge. Actually the girl was a model who only posed as Nyoka for the covers. The covers are also similar to some of the other magazines that Fawcett was publishing at the time.
Issue #25 appears to have a picture from the serial with Kay Aldridge and Clayon Moore on the cover.
Kay Aldridge was a cover girl in addition to having worked in the movies and you see her on the covers of other magazines.
She was also a calender girl, as drawn by Vargas in 1948.
Kay Aldridge and Vargas
From the movie DUBARRY WAS A LADY
Kay Aldridge making an appearance as Nyoka at a convention in St. Louis in 1979.
CAMEO APPEARENCE OF NYOKA IN CAPTAIN MARVEL JR.
While Fawcett was publishing the Nyoka comics, there was a cameo appearance of Nyoka in CAPTAIN MARVEL JR. #11. Captain Marvel Jr. was something like Captain Marvel's version of Superboy, only he as a different individual rather than Captain Marvel at a different period of his life.
"Cap-Ton" wears a cap, but the name seems to be a reference to Captain Marvel, who also wore a red suit. "Ny-o" is Nyoka, and "Sher-Lock" is Sherlock Holmes. In this story they are all "little people" and the story is called "Trouble In Troll Land".
The trouble in Troll Land is that the bad guys are trying to catch some of the little people for the circus, but Captain Marvel thwarts their diabolical scheme and saves the little people of Troll Land from this sinister plot.
Wally Wood parody of Hal Foster's famous comic strip.
Wally Wood also worked on the actual Prince Valiant comic strip. He was one of the artists that was considered as a replacement for Hal Foster, but John Collen Murphy was chosen instead.
Wally Wood's tryout page
Wood drew what Foster had described in this page, which lacks the energy of "Prince Violent".
Wally Wood was an outstanding artist, but somehow never got the recognition he deserved during his lifetime, even though he worked on some of the most famous comics of his time. His work still remains popular today.