Jane Arden (comics)
Jane Arden was an internationally syndicated daily newspaper comic strip which ran from 1927 to 1968. The title character was the original "spunky girl reporter," actively seeking to infiltrate and expose criminal activity rather than just report on its consequences and served as a prototype for later characters such as Superman supporting character Lois Lane and fellow comic strip heroine, Brenda Starr. Jane Arden was only moderately successful in the United States, but it was highly popular in Canada and Australia. The strip was widely reprinted in comic books and was also adapted into both a film and a radio series.
Jane Arden was created by writer Monte Barrett and artist Frank Ellis for the Register and Tribune Syndicate. Barrett wrote the strip until his death in 1949, and his stories were used until 1952 when Walt Graham assumed the scripting duties. Ellis was one of five artists to draw Jane Arden over its 41-year run.
The work of Ellis' replacement, Russell E. Ross, is perhaps most identified with the character, as he drew the strip for 20 years. Ross introduced Tubby, an office boy sidekick transported from his previous Slim and Tubby strip. It was during Ross' stint that the strip first included Jane Arden paper dolls and accompanying outfits.
Jane Arden was one of the first comic strip characters to become involved in World War II. Immediately after the outbreak of war in Europe, Barrett and Ross scrapped their current storylines and gave her a war assignment in the fictional neutral kingdom of Anderia (September 25, 1939).
Reprints of the newspaper strip were published in comic books beginning with Famous Funnies #2 (September 1934). After issue 35, the reprints appeared in Feature Funnies #1 (October, 1937), published by Comic Favorites, Inc (a predecessor of Quality Comics). Register and Tribune Syndicate was part owner of Comic Favoriets, Inc. . 20 issues later, the title was renamed Feature Comics. The Arden reprints continued for ten more issues, and then appeared in the first 25 issues of Crack Comics #1-25.
A Jane Arden radio drama was broadcast from 1938 through 1939 with Ruth Yorke in the title role of the "fearless girl reporter, the most beautiful woman in the newspaper world." First heard in June 1938 on WJZ in New York, the program moved to the Blue Network on September 26, 1938. Sponsored by Ward Baking, the 15-minute serial aired weekdays at 10:15am. Others in the cast: Helene Dumas, Maurice Franklin, Frank Provo, Bill Baar, Henry Wadsworth and Howard Smith. Alan Kent was the announcer. Manny Siegel provided the sound effects for director Lawrence Holcomb. The series ended June 23, 1939.
In 1939, Warner Bros. released a film adaptation, The Adventures of Jane Arden, with a storyline in which Jane Arden (Rosella Towne) goes undercover to expose a gang of jewel smugglers. However, her identity is discovered by one of the gang leaders. This film, directed by Terry O. Morse, was heralded as the first of a series, but no subsequent Jane Arden films were produced.
Jane Arden creators
- 1927 – 1952 Monte Barrett
- 1952 – 1968 Walt Graham
- 1927 – 1935 Frank Ellis
- 1935 – 1955 Russell E. Ross
- 1955 – 1960 Jim Seed
- 1961 – 1963 William Hargis
- 1964 – 1968 Bob Schoenke
Comic book reprints
- Jane Arden #1-29 (? Atlas Publications)
- Feature Funnies #1-20 (October, 1937 – May, 1939; Comic Favorites, Inc.)
- Feature Comics #21-31 (June, 1939 – April, 1940; Quality Comics)
- Crack Comics #1-25 (May, 1940 – September, 1942; Quality Comics)
- Pageant of Comics #2 (October, 1947; St. John)
- Jane Arden #1-2 (March, 1948 – June, 1948; St. John)
- Russell E. Ross at the Lambiek Comiclopedia—includes page of Jane Arden art