English: Cover scan of Jungle Lil, No. 1, Fox ...

English: Cover scan of Jungle Lil, No. 1, Fox Feature Syndicate. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

junglejoLet’s face it, by 1950 things were getting a pretty weird over at Fox Feature Syndicate. This issue of Jungle Jo #2* (July 1950) was published at the same time the company was forced to file bankruptcy – July 15, 1950. Pressure from the Comic Code Authority and competition from the exploding television media were adding to Victor S. Fox‘s already legendary cost cutting measures and financial woes.

The artist of this cover is unknown, as are all the inside stories. As crude and rudimentary as the artwork is, it retains an appeal. One can almost envision a kid, deep in the Fox artist bullpen willing to step up and risk not getting paid in order for the opportunity to see his work published on a cover. It holds a bit of a folk art look, as well as inadvertently communicating both the story of condition of the comics industry as it transitioned from Golden to Silver age and Fox’s own business.

What is known is that the first comic in the Jungle Jo series was intended to be Jo-Jo #30, but editors made a last-minute title change to Jungle Jo. The desperation for revenue and clear quality sacrifices reek of Victor S. Fox (who was known as much for producing titles such as Blue Beetle, Fantastic Comics and Mystery Men Comics as stiffing artists on overdue payments – even in better years).
* Sold Copy