Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Ki-Gor in Finland

Boy oh boy, was I lucky today! I was on the flea market at the Turku open marketplace where people sell their own stuff during Summers and spotted couple old Viikonloppu/Weekend fiction magazines from the late fifties. Normally they hold no interest for me, as there usually are no authors' names and the stuff that was published in the mag was almost exclusively women's romance. But then I thought, what the heck, you never know, there might be something. I asked what they cost and an old lady said "fifty cents a piece" (which is, if I remember my currencies correctly, 40 American cents).

The first one I flipped through yielded nothing, but then - then, in the issue 28/1958, I noticed a familiar name in a story: Ki-Gor. The story was called "The Gods of Atlantis/Atlantiksen jumalat".

Then I noticed the writer's name: John Peter Drummond. Then I realized that I'd found something I didn't earlier know to have been published in Finnish: a translation of a Ki-Gor story from the Jungle Stories pulp magazine. I'd written about the Ki-Gor stories in Pulp, my fanzine that deals with all things pulp, as part of my longer article of Tarzan copycats. But I sure didn't know that the Finnish audience had been in access to read the genuine article themselves!

Now, for those who don't know: Ki-Gor appeared in a pulp magazine called Jungle Stories from 1939 to 1954. It was one of the most popular Tarzan copycats that was seen also in comic books, only with his name changed into Kaanga. (Don't really know why this was.) The first of the stories was written by John M. Reynolds, but the rest of the adventures were written by John Peter Drummond that was a house pseudonym. Ki-Gor is Robert Kilgour who's orphaned when his parents die - they are missionaries working in Africa. Ki-Gor is rescued by a bunch of animals and he develops into an athlete. He finds a young lady called Helene Vaughn whose plane is wrecked and they fall in love. Ki-Gor's best friends are Timbu George, who's a black African, and N'Geeso, a pygmy chief. Ki-Gor has a pet ape and an elephant on which he rides. So, basically he's Tarzan with another name.

Some of the Ki-Gor stories have been recently reprinted (details here). Here's also some stuff on Ki-Gor, and it reveals that the Finnish translation was originally called "The Beast Gods of Atlantis" and it was originally published in the Winter 1949 issue of Jungle Stories (and reprinted in High Adventure, #71, 2003). On the left you can see the cover of the issue of Pulp that has my article on the Tarzan copycats; the cover boasts a Ki-Gor issue of Jungle Stories. (I think I still have some copies left of the issue if you're interested.)

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