Jungle Fever is a story about Red Riley and Curley Horn, two adventurous ex-marines, unsure of a future filled with peril and misery. It says so in the very first panel. And that’s a fairly accurate statement as to what the short-lived serial (4 instalments) is about. Having only four chapters might make you think not much happens, but oh, how wrong you would be.
Curley (whose hair is curly) and Red (whose hair is not red) take jobs on a plantation owned by someone named Holloway, on an island called only “tropical island.” They are taking a ship from China, but before they do Malay Mike tries to kill them to prevent them from getting there. They avoid death and capture him, and board the ship, Red commenting that “smugglers and murderers don’t interest me any.”
On the ship they get pushed overboard by two other men trying to stop them from reaching the plantation, and though they get rescued by a second ship, the crew on that boat promptly mutinies, believing there to be a fortune in pearls aboard. Whether there is or not, Red and Curley battle and defeat the mutineers, and are brought to “tropical island.”
A man called only “Boss” orders Hernandez to spy on them, while Red and Curley have a hard time finding anyone who will lead them to the plantation. Finally a Dr. Norton agrees to take them, but as they set off they come across Boris Zaranoff, a sadistic overseer whipping a black man. They stop Boris, and untie the black man who says (be prepared to shiver) “me like to be slave to white man.”
The four set out through the jungle, though Zaranoff sends his men to machine gun them. They only succeed at causing a rockslide that kills them.
But our heroes fare no better, as they stumble into the Guani tribe, cannibals who descend upon them as the serial ends.
After the slave line, I am glad this was cut short.
Jungle Fever: New Adventure 14 – 16 (Mar – June 37)
More Fun 22 (July 37)