Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Tarzan of the Comics

To finish up our special Johnny Weissmuller Birthday Celebration, let's look at all the comics that "Tarzan" has appeared in.
There have been quite a few! Tarzan started in his own comic-strip, which made its debut in 1929. Then, similar to Prince Valient and Flash Gordon, Tarzan got his own full-color Sunday strip on March 15, 1931. This series ran until July 29, 1972. Famously it had art by Hal Foster, Burne Hogarth, and Russ Manning, to name just a few. I remember coming across a collection of Burne Hogarth TARZAN strips when I was in high school and just slobbering over them they were so beautiful. Hogarth was a genius. 
After Tarzan conquered the comic-strip he turned his attention to comic-books. The first one I remember ever seeing was the DC version. However, they had only picked up the licensing from Dell/Gold Key, who had published Tarzan books between 1947-1972. DC's series had wonderful artists, such as Joe Kubert and Nestor Redondo. DC published TARZAN, KORAK (Son of Tarzan), and TARZAN FAMILY, as well as Treasury Editions, between 1972-1977.
In 1977 Marvel Comics purchased the rights. They published TARZAN for two years. Most of their work was done by the great John Buscema, best-known outside of comics circles for doing the art on CONAN.

Tarzan was homeless from 1979 until 1986 when Blackthorne published reprint collections of the comic-strip Tarzans. Malibu Publishers followed with an all-new avante-garde version of the character in 1992. Walt Disney published tie-ins using their specific version of the character after their cartoon movie in 1999. However, from 1996 Dark Horse Comics has had a long-term contract with Edgar Rice Burroughs Company and has published various Tarzan related series. That's where we are at today!

Hal Foster publicity piece

 Rex Maxon Sunday Strip (click to enlarge) 

beautiful Burne Hogarth poster page

Russ Manning Sunday Strip (click to enlarge)



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