Korak, Son of Tarzan Volume One
Collecting Korak, Son of Tarzan #1-6 (Jan-Dec 64)
Writer: Gaylord DuBois
Artist: Russ Manning
Dark Horse, $49.99, color, 192 pages
I was going to get this book no matter what, because of Russ Manning. I grew up loving his art on Magnus, Robot Fighter, and I couldn't wait to get my hands on this book for that reason. Not much more needs to be said -- if you love Russ Manning's work like I do, then you will enjoy this book. If not, then don't bother.
Because there's nothing really new here. Virtually all of the stories here could have been about Tarzan -- scratch out "Korak" and insert "Tarzan" anywhere you please and it wouldn't make any difference. I was kinda hoping for some sort of distinction between the two in a general kind of way, but when it wasn't in evidence, it didn't surprise me. Nor did I care, because what I came for is here: Russ Manning art. It's a little different than his work I've seen elsewhere, because he's a lot younger. There is more detail in the backgrounds, for example, and a lot more rendering. That sounds like a plus, but when I compare it to Magnus and his later Tarzan work, it isn't. Manning, like most artists, appears to have spent the first half of his career throwing everything in, and the second half of his career learning what to leave out. His later work is superior in that he uses detail and rendering to guide the eye; distracting elements are reduced or just not drawn at all.
Which is not to say that this book doesn't have good art. It does, in spades. This is beautiful work, and I'd buy it if the word balloons were somehow left out. In fact, that might improve it.
When he was drawing the Tarzan newspaper strip Manning would sometimes do stories focusing on Korak (in the Sundays; I haven't read his dailies). Manning is one of my ideals of a good comics artist.
According to DC Indexes these Korak issues came out around the same time as Magnus, Robot Fighter ##5-9.
Oops! You caught me, Luke. The observations I was making above about young Manning vs. older Manning really should have appeared in my Brothers of the Spear review. Manning drew the bulk of Brothers of the Spear Volume 2, and that's where I noticed the change in his art over time, and I meant to put it that review instead of here. The art in Korak is, as you say, concurrent with his Magnus work, and looks much the same.
I bought the volume under discussion but I haven’t read it yet. I agree with your assessment of Manning’s earlier and later styles (series notwithstanding). There is so much great Tarzan material available! (due to the recent 100th anniversary I suspect). In addition to the recently released Glanzman and Manning material, we will soon see the first of two BIG volumes collection Hal Foster’s Tarzan Sundays in their entirety. [Tracy encouraged me to pre-order this volume, even though I already own the (significantly smaller) NBM editions.]