H. Rider Haggard Comic Adaptations

Art by Greiffenhagen
Art by Greiffenhagen

Henry Rider Haggard’s novels of adventure were an obvious choice for comic adaptions. Just as Hollywood found the color and majesty of Africa alluring, so did the Funnies. Of course, Haggard’s most popular books were chosen: King Solomon’s Mines (1885), She (1886), Allan Quatermain (1887), Cleopatra (1889) and Montezuma’s Daughter (1893), though the comics did not adapt them in that order. The first pick was She, which appeared in 1935.

She

Art by Sven Elven
Art by Sven Elven

DC’s New Comics #1 (December 1935)-New Adventure Comics #22 (December 1937) was most likely written by Malcolm Wheeler-Nicholson and drawn by R. H. Livingstone and Sven Elven. This comic is the oldest comic adaptation of Haggard’s work.

Art by H. C. Kiefer

Seaboard’s Fast Fiction/Famous Authors Illustrated #3 (December 1949) was adapted by Dick Davis with art by Vincent Napoli. Napoli was a Pulp illustrator before the comics. He did the illos for the Conan novel, The Hour of the Dragon by Robert E. Howard in Weird Tales.

Art by George Wilson
Art by George Wilson

Gold Key’s Jungle Twins #6 (July 1973) loosely adapted the novel. Gaylord Du Bois wrote the issue with art by Paul Norris. Du Bois has one of the twins in the Leo Vincey role and the other save him. Of course, the entire mountain has to explode in the end…

Art by Gil Kane and Rudy Nebres
Art by Gil Kane and Rudy Nebres

Marvel Classics Comics #24 (1977) adapted by John Warner and drawn by Dino Castrillo and Rod Santiago.

King Solomon’s Mines

Art by Lee J. Ames

Avon’s King Solomon’s Mines (1951) the writer is unknown but art was by Rafael Astarita, another Pulpster.

Art by H. C. Kiefer
Art by H. C. Kiefer

Gilberton’s Classics Illustrated #97 (July 1952) adaped by Ken Fitch with art by H. C. Kiefer. Kiefer was another Pulp illustrator turned comic artist.

Art by Dudley Watkins
Art by Dudley Watkins

Topper (May 14, 1955) art by Dudley Watkins.

Sometime between 1961 and 1962, Frank Bellamy worked on a King Solomon’s Mines comic that was never published.

D. C. Thomson’s Ranger (1974) adapted by Mike Butterworth and drawn by Bill Baker and C. L. Doughty.

Kalyani Nauyug Media (2010) adaption by C. E. L. Welsh with art by Bhupendra Ahluwalia

Adapted by Mark Ellis and drawn by Savage Sword of Conan alum, Pablo Marcos (2015) this is the most recent adaptation.

Others

Art by Poch
Art by Poch

Classics Illustrated #161 (March 1961) adapter is unknown with art by Norman Nodel. This one came out two years before Elizabeth Taylor had her film version. Nodel did illustrations for SF magazines like Galaxy as well as comics.

D. C. Thomson “Montezuma’s Daughter” for Fleetway’s Look & Learn drawn by Jesu Blasco, Mike Hubbard, Cecil Doughty, Bill Baker and John Millar Watt.

“Allan Quatermain” from Ranger #5-22 (October 1965-February 1966) with art by Mike Hubbard

New Works

Art by Kevin O'Neill
Art by Kevin O’Neill

The arrival of Haggard’s work into the public domain has seen new stories being written about his characters. These comics are not Haggard comic adaptations so they aren’t our focus, but we should mention them briefly. Alan Moore made a splash with his The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen that was filmed with Sean Connery as Allan Quatermain. Others include Savage Tales from Dynamite doing a strip called “Quatermain” and Blue Water’s comic of the same name. The fascination with Haggard’s leading man has meant other writers have wanted to send AQ on new adventures. (All too frequently he is depicted as a big, beefy adventurer, which is contrary to HRH’s version. Haggard is small and wiry, leaving the beefy heroics to his friend, Curtis. Alan Moore got it right.)

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H. Rider Haggard Comic Adaptations