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. 

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From what I understand, Kubert's Tarzan was a one man show. He wrote, penciled, inked and lettered the book himself. Pretty impressive. I guess it helps that he was a huge Tarzan fan. Joe re-read the entire book series before beginning his adaption.

Yes, you are correct (on all counts). He wrote the introductions to all three of the Dark Horse collections. I read all of his introductions yesterday, but I didn't really find anything quotable other than that he was a huge Tarzan fan and re-read all of ERB's books at the start of his tenure.

THE COMIC BOOKS - PART 5: JOHN BUSCEMA:

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. I last (and first) read (what I read of) this series circa 2006. (I remember because I had just finished re-reading the Dark Horse's Joe Kubert Tarzan archives.) My LCS had the entire 29-issue (plus three annuals) run in stock for cheap. Tarzan is Tarzan, there's nothing new that can be done with the character, and it's as if Marvel didn't even try. (Disappointingly, they didn't even continue the numbering with #259, but instead started over with a new #1.) 

I'll tell you though, sometimes reading a series (any series) reprinted on high quality paper stock in an archival format rather than on newsprint can make all the difference. Under other circumstances I might say that there's no point buying the omnibus unless you are a real Tarzan fan or a real John Buscema fan, but I am both. 

At least they didn't try to "Marvel" Tarzan though with art by the Buscema Brothers (John & Sal) the argument could be made that they did! 

I did enjoy their adaptations of the various Jungle Tales of Tarzan.

Fun Fact: Abdul Alhazred aka "The Mad Arab" who first appeared in Tarzan #15 (Au'78) reappeared in Marvel Comics Presents #152 (Ap'94) battling Wolverine! He also received an entry in the Mystic Arcana Handbook which brings up Tarzan who got name-dropped in a Marvel book in 2007!!!

Edit: Tarzan himself is listed as a character on the Marvel Wiki site but only his Marvel series is said to have taken place on Earth 616.

So, they basically lifted the Lovecraft character, then?

Philip Portelli said:

Fun Fact: Abdul Alhazred aka "The Mad Arab" who first appeared in Tarzan #15 (Au'78) reappeared in Marvel Comics Presents #152 (Ap'94) battling Wolverine! He also received an entry in the Mystic Arcana Handbook which brings up Tarzan who got name-dropped in a Marvel book in 2007!!!

Something I wouldn't have known in the late 70s as I was never a Lovecraft fan.

The Baron said:

So, they basically lifted the Lovecraft character, then?

Philip Portelli said:

Fun Fact: Abdul Alhazred aka "The Mad Arab" who first appeared in Tarzan #15 (Au'78) reappeared in Marvel Comics Presents #152 (Ap'94) battling Wolverine! He also received an entry in the Mystic Arcana Handbook which brings up Tarzan who got name-dropped in a Marvel book in 2007!!!

And now we move into the future (although not quite so far as the Buscema edition discussed yesterday).

TARZAN: THE NEW ADVENTURES HC:

"Previously available only to subscribers of the Edgar Rice Burroughs website, Tarzan: The New Adventures is at last available in print. This incarnation of the Jungle Lord is presented in Sunday newspaper landscape format with all-new stories penned by comics legend Roy Thomas (Conan the Barbarian, Avengers, X-Men) with stunning illustration by Thomas Grindberg-whose work stands alongside classic Tarzan illustrators such as Hal Foster, J. Allen St. John, and Frank Frazetta. No Tarzan comics collection is complete without Tarzan: The New Adventures."

In Shops: May 18, 2022
And that's as far as I intend to take this discussion at the present time. If there's a particular comic book or comic strip version of Tarzan you've been waiting to discuss that I didn't mention, feel free to bring it up at this point. Otherwise, I'll meet you back here in May!

I am currently reading the Kubert Tarzan omnibus from Dark Horse. It was available as a download from Hoopla. Overall I am impressed by the quality of the strip. Kubert's renditions of jungle animals in particular are very impressive. One of the most interesting stories is "Land of the Giants" where Kubert took existing artwork from a Burne Hogarth daily strip re-formatted the material to fit the comic book page then added his own panels and pages as needed to create the proper flow for the story.

I'd read that Jesse Marsh suffered from eye problems when older. Burroughs expert Vern Coriell told us that the man was virtually blind near the end of his career. His drawings got rougher and more angular as a result. His later Tarzan took on a squinty-eyed look. I wonder if simplifying the eye design was just an artistic shortcut, or if Marsh was modeling the facial expressions in a mirror and wound up copying his own squint!

Caz Cazedessus, the publisher of ERB-dom said that Marsh's Tarzan wasn't exactly Burroughs', but gave him credit for creating his own charming jungle world populated with interesting characters.

Marsh's Tarzan, 1948

Marsh's Tarzan, 1965

I see what you mean.

I didn't pay attention to the dialogue when I grabbed those images.

So, the 1948 Tarzan thinks that slavers are a "rascally" crew. Ouch!

Yikes.

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