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

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

junglejoBy 1950, things took a pretty weird turn over at Fox Feature Syndicate. This edition of Jungle Jo #2* (July 1950) hit the stands amidst the company’s bankruptcy filing on July 15, 1950. The pressure from the Comic Code Authority and the burgeoning television industry intensified Victor S. Fox‘s already notorious cost-cutting practices and financial troubles.

The artist behind this cover remains unidentified, much like the stories within. Despite its crude and rudimentary style, there’s a certain charm to the artwork. One can almost imagine a young artist in the depths of the Fox bullpen, eager to risk missing out on payment for the chance to see their work grace a cover. It possesses a folk art quality, inadvertently reflecting both the state of the comics industry as it transitioned from the Golden to Silver Age, and Fox’s own precarious business situation.

What is confirmed is that the initial comic in the Jungle Jo series was supposed to be Jo-Jo #30, but editors hastily altered the title to Jungle Jo. The evident desperation for revenue and the blatant quality sacrifices bear the hallmark of Victor S. Fox, renowned not only for producing titles like Blue Beetle, Fantastic Comics and Mystery Men, but also for stiffing artists on overdue payments, even in more prosperous times.

* Sold Copy