My earliest memory of Tarzan (I think) is watching the movie Tarzan's Three Challenges on television. (This would have been circa 1969.) By the time I read my first Tarzan comic book, I was already familiar with the Ron Ely television show as well as the Johnny Weissmuller movies. By the time I was in junior high school, I was aware of the bad rap those movies had among ERB fans. (I understand their reasoning, but I don't agree with it.) My first Tarzan comic is a toss-up between 100-Page Super-Spectacular Vol. 1, No. DC-19 (Aug 1973) and Tarzan Vol. 26, No. 223 (Sep 1973), which undoubtedly acquired at the same time.
Of the two, I consider Tarzan #223 to be my actual "first." Although I enjoyed the 100-pager a great deal, it was the Joe Kubert one that really rocked my world (which is to say, my conception of what "Tarzan" could be). Whereas the "Super-Spectacular" was a reprint (of Russ Manning newspaper comics, which I would learn years later), #223 was the last chapter of Kubert's adaptation of ERB's second Tarzan novel, The Return of Tarzan. A year or so later, DC issued two (abridged) "treasury editions" of Kubert's adaptations of ERB's first wo Tarzan novels, Tarzan of the Apes and The Return of Tarzan.
ERB fans are disdainful of the Weissmuller movies, but I tend to cut them a considerable amount of slack. It was the Weissmuller movies (in particular) which led me to the comic book, and the comic book which led me to the novels. I'm certain those same movies led many a fan over the years directly to the books. Yes, the books are "truer," but the movies have a charm all their own. The shame is fans who never move past the movies to discover the books.
Tarzan #223 was the final chapter of Kubert's adaptation of The Return of Tarzan as I mentioned, and it was like no Tarzan I had encountered before (in my nine years). [I should also mention at this point that I had a terrific View Master reel of the original Tarzan of the Apes.] It had William clayton, Rokoff, La and the Beast Men of Opar. the end sees Tarzan and Jane married, Tarzan declared the rightful Lord Greystoke, and him vowing to return one day to Opar. I should note that 100-Page Super-Spectacular #19 also featured La and the Beast Men, they were very "sanitized" versions in comparison to Joe Kubert's (not disrespect to Russ Manning intended).
This is a topic I have been considering for years but have always put it off because it is so huge. At the very least it will stand as a placeholder for when I get to the various comic books and dailies and Sundays until I finally loop back to those Russ Manning comic strips. We'll see how it goes.
Someone else has been taking another look at Tarzan comic books.
A comprehensive review for Tarzan #207
That's a nice article, Kevin. Thanks for linking it! For those of you reading this who haven't read Kubert's Tarzan, would like to, and don't mind reading comics online, the link reproduces it in its entirety, including other features such as the first chapter of Murphy Anderson's John Carter adaptation. I particularly enjoyed seeing the panels Kubert lifted directly from Foster.
"For anyone interested in late Silver Age / early Bronze Age comic books the site is a goldmine."
It truly is. I've been reading (at least) one a day since you first linked it and, with archives going back to 2015, it will likely keep me busy for some weeks to come. Thanks!
TARZAN OF THE APES HC v1:
Previously available only to subscribers of the Edgar Rice Burroughs website, Tarzan of the Apes is at last available in print. Presented in Sunday newspaper landscape format in a handsome hardcover edition, these adaptations of Edgar Rice Burroughs's classic tales are scripted by comics legend Roy Thomas and illustrated by Pablo Marcos.
Presenting the origin of the Jungle Lord and his earliest adventures, any Tarzan comics collection begins with Tarzan of the Apes.
"There might be children in Somalia or the Arctic who have never heard of Hamlet or The Great Gatsby. But you can bet they know Tarzan." - Harlan Ellison
TARZAN: THE NEW ADVENTURES:
Haven't read this yet (just bought it today), but, man, am I impressed with the package! These previously online only strips are written by Roy Thomas and drawn by Tom Grindberg and Benito Gallego. they are presented in the style of Sunday comics newspaper strips, but better than real ones because they aren't locked into the rigid half-page/quarter-page configuration: they are all half-page period, and the layout of every one of them is unique. Continuity-wise, the only thing that counts are ERB's original novels (no other comic books or comic strips); the action is set in the late '40s. If you are familiar with Grindenberg's super-hero work, the style he uses here looks like a combination of Frank Frazetta and Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez and, if I didn't know better, I'd swear Spanish artist Benito Gallego was John Buscema. Enthusiastically recommended to Tarzan fans.
So I read Tarzan: The New Adventures.
The Grindberg half was remarkable. He's clearly influenced by Frank Frazetta, Neal Adams and, I'd argue, Kelley Jones. Other artists popped out to me here and there, like Joe Kubert and John Buscema, but that could just be my imagination. I mean, both drew Tarzan, and both were inspired by even earlier Tarzan artists like Burne Hogarth and Hal Foster. Who's to say where a particular pose or shading technique really got its start?
Sometimes artists owe a little too much to a predecessor but that's not the case here; Grindberg seems to have mastered many artists' styles over outright swipes. Where there's no obvious precedent, his own style fills in the gaps, and it holds up. In short, noticing Grindberg's influences didn't interfere with my enjoying his overall work. Which I did.
And, of course, I've never tired of Roy Thomas. He used a typical Edgar Rice Burroughs trope -- the ancient lost civilization -- to good effect. The combo worked for me, and I'd look forward to that team-up any time.
Unfortunately, I wasn't as thrilled with the back half. Thomas was still Thomas, but the art, by Benito Gallego, didn't do it for me.
I'm accustomed to artists who base their entire careers on doing pastiches of Neal Adams, Jim Lee or Dan DeCarlo, but this was the first time I've seen a John Buscema clone. Such is Gallego, who apes (or traces) Buscema as well as any I've seen.
Which was heart-warming at first; I was briefly taken back to when Big John was still with us, and I could look forward to his work somewhere every month. But while Gallego can reproduce a Buscema figure really well, when he fell back on his own resources ... well, there were some places that were pretty amateurish. There were a couple of times when the female doctor's face was so out of proportion as to be Dali-esque.
But I will note for the record that Thomas did his homework, with references to both ERB's The Monster Men and H.G. Wells' The Island of Dr. Moreau.
My thoughts above were posted without having read The New Adventures; now that I have, I cannot disagree with anything Cap said. I still recommend it, but I no longer enthusiastically recommend it.
How good is that authority?
Asking because this book was first solicited on Amazon back in 2016-ish, with Dynamite cited as the publisher. I had it on preorder for about 2 years starting in mid-2017. Then in the summer of 2019 I received this notification from Amazon:
"Due to a lack of availability, we will not be able to obtain the following item from your order. We've canceled the item and apologize for the inconvenience."
I see there's still a zombie listing on Amazon, now with an August publication date, but nothing else that would indicate the book is about to be released (i.e., price, potential cover art). I should note that when I had it on preorder, the listing always looked just like it does now, and publication date kept getting pushed back every six months or so.
If you actually know someone who can confirm that the book is indeed going to be published, that's great news. As you might guess, it's something I've been wanting for years.
Jeff of Earth-J said:
I haven't seen it solicited yet, but I have it on good authority that Dynamic Forces will be releasing a Tarzan: The Buscema Years omnibus on August 10. 2022. (...)
"How good is that authority?"
I was referring to Diamond's "Previews" web-site. I generally find Previews to be more accurate than Amazon.com. Having said that, though, if you follow the link you will discover that there is still no cover art and the final order date is December 31, 2039, which is Diamond-speak for "sometime." I wouldn't hold my breath. Sorry to have gotten your hopes up. :(
Oh, well. No worries - in the case of this book, I've grown accustomed to getting to my hopes dashed...