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Thunda 03-00fc.jpg
Thun'da #3 (1952). Art by Bob Powell.
Publication information
Publisher Magazine Enterprises
First appearance Thun'da #1
Created by Frank Frazetta
In-story information
Alter ego Roger Drum

Thun'da is a fictional character created by artist and conceptualist Frank Frazetta [1] for comic-book publisher Magazine Enterprises. The character debuted in Thun'da #1 (1952), with writer Gardner Fox scripting. After only a few issues the title was discontinued in 1953. [2]

Frank Frazetta American illustrator and painter

Frank Frazetta ; February 9, 1928 – May 10, 2010) was an American fantasy and science fiction artist, noted for comic books, paperback book covers, paintings, posters, LP record album covers and other media. He was the subject of a 2003 documentary.

Magazine Enterprises was an American comic book company lasting from 1943 to 1958, which published primarily Western, humor, crime, adventure, and children's comics, with virtually no superheroes. It was founded by Vin Sullivan, an editor at Columbia Comics and before that the editor at National Allied Publications, the future DC Comics.

Gardner Fox American comics writer

Gardner Francis Cooper Fox was an American writer known best for creating numerous comic book characters for DC Comics. Comic book historians estimate that he wrote more than 4,000 comics stories, including 1,500 for DC Comics. Gardner was also a science fiction author and wrote many novels and short stories.


The character, played by Buster Crabbe, was the main character in the 1952 Columbia Pictures serial King of the Congo .

Buster Crabbe American swimmer, Olympic gold medalist, actor

Clarence Linden Crabbe II, known professionally as Buster Crabbe, was an American two-time Olympic swimmer and movie actor. He won the 1932 Olympic gold medal for 400-meter freestyle swimming event, which launched his career onto the silver screen. He starred in a number of popular films in the 1930s and 1940s. He also played the title role in the serials Tarzan the Fearless, Flash Gordon, and Buck Rogers. Crabbe is the only actor to have played Tarzan, Flash Gordon, and Buck Rogers – the top three syndicated comic strip heroes of the 1930s.

Columbia Pictures Industries, Inc. is an American film studio, production company and film distributor that is a member of the Sony Pictures Motion Picture Group, a division of Sony Entertainment's Sony Pictures subsidiary of the Japanese multinational conglomerate Sony Corporation.

<i>King of the Congo</i> 1952 film by Wallace Grissell, Spencer Gordon Bennet

King of the Congo was the 48th serial released by Columbia Pictures. It was based on the comic book character "Thun'da", created by Frank Frazetta.

Publication history

The character first appeared in 1952 in the comic series Thun'da #1. [3]

Editor Ray Krank asked Frazetta to remove the prehistoric elements but he left the title instead and started looking for work outside comic books. [4]

Fictional character biography

Thun'da was Roger Drum, a World War II United States Air Force officer who was shot down while flying over a valley deep in the heart of Africa. After crashing, he freed himself from his aircraft only to be captured by hostile ape-men. He managed to escape, and wandered through the valley, pushing himself to exercise daily and becoming a paragon of physical perfection. It was while he was wandering that he was spotted by Pha, the queen of the people who lived in the valley. After fighting and destroying the hostile ape-men, Thun'da rushed to their temple and rang the sacred gong, thereby summoning "the mother of all serpents," whom he killed with the last three shots from his revolver. He won the respect of Pha's people, and they worshipped him as if he were a god. Later, after an earthquake ravaged the lost valley, Thun'da was able to get Pha to safety along with their pet sabretoothed tiger, but her people were killed and the lost valley was sealed from them forever.

World War II 1939–1945 global war

World War II, also known as the Second World War, was a global war that lasted from 1939 to 1945. The vast majority of the world's countries—including all the great powers—eventually formed two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis. A state of total war emerged, directly involving more than 100 million people from over 30 countries. The major participants threw their entire economic, industrial, and scientific capabilities behind the war effort, blurring the distinction between civilian and military resources. World War II was the deadliest conflict in human history, marked by 50 to 85 million fatalities, most of whom were civilians in the Soviet Union and China. It included massacres, the genocide of the Holocaust, strategic bombing, premeditated death from starvation and disease, and the only use of nuclear weapons in war.

United States Air Force Air and space warfare branch of the United States Armed Forces

The United States Air Force (USAF) is the aerial and space warfare service branch of the United States Armed Forces. It is one of the five branches of the United States Armed Forces, and one of the seven American uniformed services. Initially formed as a part of the United States Army on 1 August 1907, the USAF was established as a separate branch of the U.S. Armed Forces on 18 September 1947 with the passing of the National Security Act of 1947. It is the youngest branch of the U.S. Armed Forces, and the fourth in order of precedence. The USAF is the largest and most technologically advanced air force in the world. The Air Force articulates its core missions as air and space superiority, global integrated intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance, rapid global mobility, global strike, and command and control.

Africa The second largest and second most-populous continent, mostly in the Northern and Eastern Hemispheres

Africa is the world's second largest and second most-populous continent, being behind Asia in both categories. At about 30.3 million km2 including adjacent islands, it covers 6% of Earth's total surface area and 20% of its land area. With 1.2 billion people as of 2016, it accounts for about 16% of the world's human population. The continent is surrounded by the Mediterranean Sea to the north, the Isthmus of Suez and the Red Sea to the northeast, the Indian Ocean to the southeast and the Atlantic Ocean to the west. The continent includes Madagascar and various archipelagos. It contains 54 fully recognised sovereign states (countries), nine territories and two de facto independent states with limited or no recognition. The majority of the continent and its countries are in the Northern Hemisphere, with a substantial portion and number of countries in the Southern Hemisphere.

Collected editions

The comic series was reprinted in 1987 by Fantagraphics Books as Frank Frazetta's Thun'da Tales, and, in August 2010, Dark Horse Comics released a hardcover collection Thun'da, King of the Congo Archive ( ISBN   1595824707). [3]

Fantagraphics Books is an American publisher of alternative comics, classic comic strip anthologies, magazines, graphic novels, and the erotic Eros Comix imprint. Many notable cartoonists publish their work through Fantagraphics, including Jessica Abel, Peter Bagge, Ivan Brunetti, Charles Burns, Daniel Clowes, Mary Fleener, Roberta Gregory, Joe Sacco, Chris Ware, and the Hernandez brothers.

Dark Horse Comics American comic book and manga publisher

Dark Horse Comics is an American comic book and manga publisher. It was founded in 1986 by Mike Richardson in Milwaukie, Oregon.

International Standard Book Number Unique numeric book identifier

The International Standard Book Number (ISBN) is a numeric commercial book identifier which is intended to be unique. Publishers purchase ISBNs from an affiliate of the International ISBN Agency.

Other media

The screen rights for the character were bought by Columbia Pictures, who brought Thun'da to the screen in the serial King of the Congo (1952), featuring Buster Crabbe as Roger Drum, the officer who becomes Thunda. In the serial, Roger Drum was assigned to take a valuable microfilm to a new location, but was shot down en route, and crashed in the secluded lost valley. The spies named in the microfilm try to obtain it, and Thunda must try to get it back. King of the Congo was both the last Tarzanesque serial and the last serial to star Buster Crabbe. [5]

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  1. Thun'da at Don Markstein's Toonopedia
  3. 1 2 Thun'da at the Grand Comics Database
  4. Cronin, Brian (December 10, 2010). "Comic Book Legends Revealed #290". Comic Book Legends Revealed. Comic Book Resources . Retrieved December 12, 2010.
  5. Harmon, Jim; Donald F. Glut (1973). "6. Jungle "Look Out The Elephants Are Coming!"". The Great Movie Serials: Their Sound and Fury. Routledge. p. 138. ISBN   978-0-7130-0097-9.