Little Savage / Frank Henniker
It's very interesting that this character predates all other jungle heroes including Mowgli and Tarzan. According to Wikipedia, the last novel written by author Captain Fredrick Marryat in 1848 before his death, The Little Savage, was completed by the author's son Francis Samuel Marryatt in 1849. This children's story is about a boy named Frank Henniker who is shipwrecked on an island and must survive until he can be rescued. The story is similar to Daniel Defoe's classic Robinson Crusoe published in 1719. Although Frank is clearly not a jungle hero and the story does not take place in a jungle, Frank does wear a loincloth with a shoulder strap and is faced with survival in an unknown land as is often the case with jungle hero stories. Additionally, like Tarzan the main character grows up on an island completely unaware of the existence of civilization, and the story involves pirates.
Rudyard Kipling's The Jungle Book was published in 1894, a considerable 18 years before Edgar Rice Burroughs would publish Tarzan of the Apes. Mowgli then, is the only popular jungle hero character to pre-date Tarzan. As of 2012 Mowgli and the Jungle Book are 118 years old. There are several similaries between Mowgli and Tarzan, the main one being that they are both children who were lost in the jungle to be raised by wild animals. Mowgli's story however takes place when he was still a boy, and later a teenager, while Tarzan's story skips over his childhood to focus on this adventures as a young adult. Both characters also earned themselves similar titles. In the second jungle book, Mowgli became "Master of the Jungle" while Tarzan became "Lord of the Jungle".
This is my Disney storybook of the animated movie. I've had it since at least 1982 when I was only 9 or 10 years old. It was published by Harmony Books in 1980 and is illustrated with actual screen shots from the movie. The Jungle Book was released in 1967 and was the last film that Walt Disney worked on. Sadly, he passed away during production and never saw the finished film. This has always been my favourite Disney movie. Yet, although it is very well done and the animation is super amazing, it is not as remarkable as reading Mr. Kipling's original story. The poetic style of Kipling's writting is enchanting and well worth the time to read. Enjoy the movie, but if you realy want to experience the Jungle Book, read it.
Mowgli, of course, has appeared in numerous movies, books, comics, and so on. I have a few Disney toys based on Disney's version of the Jungle Book.
This 8" Mowgli doll was sold as a set with a plush Baloo the Bear doll at Dinsey Stores around the mid 2000s. Other Jungle Book characters including Bagheera the Panther, Kaa the Snake, and Shere Khan the Tiger were also made.
Remember these cereal box toys? These Disney Jungle Book "Barrel of Monkeys" style figures were popular cereal box premiums through the 70s and 80s. They were reissued several times to promote the theatrical movie or a video release. I don't know when they first started making them, or which cereal brand had them (I think it was Kellogs) but I do recall playing with these when I was a child. Mowgli seemed to be the most difficult one to find. The bright red figures shown above (the two Kaa figures, Baloo, King Louie and Mowgli) are from the late 1980s or early 1990s, and the others are from earlier promotions. I suspect these were first offered in 1967 when the movie was originally in theatres for the first time.
Here is a McDonalds candy dispencer toy of Mowgli from 1997. These are still quite commonly found a flea markets and thrift stores. The series included Baloo, Bagheera, King Louie, Kaa, and Junior the Elephant.
Here is a reprint of the Classics Illustrated comic book of The Jungle Book. This one is from 1997 but the original comic was published in the 1950s. I like the cover artwork for this version.
Here is another unique version of The Jungle Book. I like the illustrations in this version. As you can see, this book says "Van Gool's" above the title instead of Rudyard Kipling. There is also no mention of Rudyard Kipling inside the book either. Disney does this too with some of their books. I find it's quite disrespectful that anyone would attempt to claim the story as their own and not bother with giving credit to the original author. Even if the story is changed slightly in the way it is retold, the honest (and professional) thing to do is state "based on the original story by Rudyard Kipling, retold by (so-and-so)". Unfortunately some people need the ego boost so they take credit for everything, and others simply don't care about the original source of the material because they just want the money. Some people also think that when something goes into the public domain the person who created it no longer needs to be credited, but that is incorrect. Could you imagine how much of our culture would be lost if it were left completely in the hands of the Disney's and Van Gool's among us!
Tarzan - Created by Edgar Rice Burroughs and first published in 1912. See my Tarzan page here: http://mikeysactionfigures.blogspot.ca/p/i-have-huge-of-tarzan-stuff.html
Korak - Son of Tarzan, also created by Edgar Rice Burroughs, first appeared in text stories published in 1914.
Another Edgar Rice Burroughs character, David Innes is a man from the present who finds the lost world of Pellucidar in the centre of the earth populated by dinosaurs and other prehistoric beasts. The series of novels begins with "At the Earth's Core" published in 1914. In addition to the original novels, the character David Innes was featured in a series of comics titled "Weird Worlds", published by DC Comics beginning in 1972. The comics related the adventures of David Innes as he battled dinosaurs while exploring the strange world of Pellucidar. Although a modern day human, David is often depicted as a caveman or jungle hero type with long black hair wearing a loincloth (the remains of this torn clothing). Alternatively, the character is depicted in some cases as wearing pants, tall boots and a black vest with no shirt. In this outfit I find that the David Innes character resembles Han Solo who first appeared in the 1977 film Star Wars, many years after DC comics started publishing "Weird Worlds".
A close relative of the jungle hero is the caveman. Edgar Rice Burroughs published several books about Caveman-type heroes. The Eternal Savage was originally published under the title The Eternal Lover in 1914 and features the caveman hero Nu. This paperback is an Ace edition and undated but was likely published in the late 60s or early 70s. I really like the artwork on these Ace covers!
Bomba the Jungle Boy