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.
Jeff of Earth-J said:
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 EllisonIn Shops: Aug 24, 2022
This shipped right on time last Wednesday, and I took a day off from my various "projects" to read it today. It is a beautifully rendered adaptation of ERB's first Tarzan novel, but an adaptation with a twist that makes it unique. If you're like me, you already have Tarzan of the Apes adapted into comics form by either Hal Foster or Russ Manning or Joe Kubert (and, if you're a lot like me, you have all three). So what makes this one different? The format, for one thing, but what I was getting at is the content.
After Tarzan became a success, ERB wrote Jungle Tales of Tarzan, a dozen short stories of Tarzan's youth inserted between chapters 20 and 21 of the first novel. Some of these short stories have been adapted into comics before, but what Roy Thomas and Pablo Marcus have done is to insert them into their proper place in the overall narrative. This volume adapts the first 20 chapters of Tarzan of the Apes and the first five stories from Jungle Tales of Tarzan. Future volumes will adapt the remaining seven stories and the rest of the first novel. To give you an idea of where the adaptation is in the narrative, this volume ends with strip #127 and Jane makes her first appearance in #243.
Manning wrote a piece about his favourite interpretations of Tarzan which Erbzine has placed online here.
I only sometimes like Marsh's art. It's too static and stripped down for me. The stories of his era can be dull too. But his nature art can be good, and his depictions of rural Africans look authentic to my uninformed eye. His art might look better in B&W. There are examples of it in B&W here.
I find it striking that Manning liked his work because I see their approaches as very different. Alex Toth had a high regard for Marsh too, but in his case I can see the similarity in approach.
Paul Norris also drew Tarzan comic books for Western. His work is close to Manning's, but less glossy and perfect. I very much like the story I have.