By RazzaTazz 4 Comments
One of my favourite new comic characters over the past few years has been the Grimm Fairy Tales version of Mowgli from the Jungle Book. The GFT version of the Jungle Book was a well told story of guilt and revenge and the costs of both on the protagonist, a solid departure from the source material. One of the hallmarks of Grimm Fairy Tales is to take male characters and make them female (or to take dour females and to make them much sexier.) The end product is usually not so much of a truly sexy character, as Grimm Fairy Tales still has some of the best written female characters in comics, at least in terms of depth of character.
Initially though the idea of gender swapping a lot of traditionally male characters (for instance done with the Mad Hatter in the Wonderland series) is that it does depart a fair bit from the source material, which veers towards losing too much of the original essence of the fiction. As I recently learned though, the female nature of Mowgli actually pays homage to a much earlier era of comics, even if the creators didn't intend to do so. Ask the casual comic fan who the first female character was to have her own comic and most people will invariably guess that it Wonder Woman (as I would have guessed myself), but in fact it was Sheena, Queen of the Jungle, predating the Amazon princess by a few years. Although the concept of the jungle is a misapplied one, the jungle nonetheless was a common staple among early adventure books (owing to an influence by Kipling among others) and so in fact the early successes of comics as a medium owes its strength to this particular sub-genre. Modern day Mowgli is just as inadvertent throwback to this more idealistic time, when the dark reaches of the jungle held preying eyes.