SearchHomeContents PageSite Map
Nexus Graphica
by Rick Klaw

Other Nexus Graphica Columns
For more information, you can try the following:
Edgar Rice Burroughs' Tarzan: The Sunday Comics Volume 1, 1931-1933
The Unauthorized Tarzan
Korak, Son of Tarzan Archives Volume One
Tarzan of the Comics

Paving the way for the modern multimedia superstars, Edgar Rice Burroughs' Tarzan appeared on film, TV, radio, and stage long before most of his literary brethren. The Ape Man has enjoyed a particularly varied and fruitful comics existence. The Grand Comics Database lists over 3700 stories and the excess of 200 series featuring his adventures.

Over the past decade Dark Horse has reprinted many of these classic tales in handsome archival hardback editions. The most recent additions include a collection of arguably the most influential strip, a rare, illegally published series, and the first solo adventures of "Boy."

Edgar Rice Burroughs' Tarzan: The Sunday Comics Volume 1, 1931-1933 Tarzan exploded into the newspaper funny pages on January 7, 1929 with the extraordinary art of the then unknown Hal Foster. An adaptation of Burroughs' first Tarzan novel, Foster's worked graced the black & white strip for its first ten weeks. Though extremely popular, the artist had accepted more lucrative advertising work and was replaced by the inferior Rex Maxon, who, over the protestations of Burroughs, stayed on the strip until 1947. A color Sunday comic, also drawn by Maxon, premiered on March 15, 1931. While Burroughs failed to get him removed from the everyday strips, Foster returned and began illustrating the Sundays on September 27, 1931. For the next six years, Foster produced some of the most impressive adventure strips ever and his vision help to define Tarzan. He left the character for his seminal creation Prince Valiant. The Tarzan strip survived with original dailies until July 29, 1972 and Sunday originals through 2000.

Complete with an insightful introduction by comics historian Mark Evanier, Dark Horse's Edgar Rice Burroughs' Tarzan: The Sunday Comics Volume 1, 1931-1933 collects the first two years of Foster's gorgeous strips. The handsome over-sized book chronicles the evolution of the extraordinary artist, whose worked noticeably improved each week.

The Unauthorized Tarzan Believing the character had fallen into public domain, Charlton Comics published Jungle Tales of Tarzan in 1964. The four issues, written by Joe Gill with the first three drawn by Sam Glanzman and the final by Bill Montes and Ernie Bache, adapted short stories from the Burroughs collection of the same name. The series proved very popular, often outselling the authorized, Gold Key comics, but after four issues, Edgar Rice Burroughs, Inc. forced its cancellation and demanded all the issues pulped. The excellent Glanzman art delivered a less mature and more savage version of Tarzan than previous incarnations. Sadly the amateurish Montes/Bache work mar an otherwise outstanding series.

After acquiring Charlton's properties in 1986, Roger Broughton wanted to collect the never-before-reprinted comic and began a quest to find Glanzman and the original art. After several delays and missteps, his wishes came to fruition this year with The Unauthorized Tarzan. Broughton recounts the whole intriguing tale in the foreword and historical essays in this volume. He also reveals the secrets behind the unpublished Gill-Glanzman daily strip, complete with the first week's finished strips.

Korak, Son of Tarzan Archives Volume One Introduced as an infant in the non-Tarzan Burroughs novel The Eternal Lover (1914, between the 2nd and 3rd Tarzan books), John 'Jack' Clayton, the son of Tarzan and Jane, does not play a prominent role until 1915's The Son of Tarzan (the fourth Tarzan), when he adopts the name Korak ("Killer" in the language of the Great Apes). Fearing censorship since Tarzan and Jane were never married in the films, the Johnny Weismuller Tarzan movies included an adoptive son called "Boy." When Dell first starting publishing the Tarzan comics in 1947, they kept the pictures name but in Tarzan #139 (December, 1963), Boy asserted his independence and insisted they call him Korak.

January, 1964 saw the premiere of the new ongoing comic Korak, Son of Tarzan. The series ran for 46 issues under the Gold Key banner and then another 13 issues after DC acquired the Tarzan license. Numerous artists drew the series including Dan Spiegle, Frank Thorne, Murphy Anderson, Joe Kurbet, and most notably Russ Manning.

Later gaining acclaim as a Tarzan comic and strip artist as well as the creator of the legendary Magnus, Robot Fighter, Manning illustrated the initial 12 issues of the Gaylord Dubois-penned Korak title. With Korak, Son of Tarzan Archives Volume One, Dark Horse collects the first six issues of the enjoyable series.

In his foreword, Steve Rude says this about Manning: "He had an open, uncluttered art style that provided breathing room for your imagination and invited you to relax and prepare for a good time. It would be a challenge to feel any other way, so deliberate was his aim to entertain and make readers feel good." His thoughts also sum up the entirety of this hardcover collection. Behind the unenlightened treatment of tribal people (in the world of Tarzan and Korak, white people are inherently smarter than the apes and the dark "savages" of the continent), these stories are just plain fun. Dubois slow pace and often wacky concepts allow the reader to bask in Manning's simple, clean lines and superior storytelling. The inclusion of Morris Gollub's lush cover paintings further enhance the package.

Copyright © 2013 Rick Klaw

Professional reviewer, geek maven, and optimistic curmudgeon, Rick Klaw has supplied countless reviews, essays, and fiction for a variety of publications including The Austin Chronicle, The San Antonio Current, The Greenwood Encyclopedia of Science Fiction and Fantasy, Moving Pictures, RevolutionSF, Conversations With Texas Writers, Electric Velocipede, Cross Plains Universe, Steampunk, and The Steampunk Bible. Publisher Weekly called his anthology The Apes of Wrath (Tachyon) "a powerful exploration of the blurry line between animal and human." Later this year, his new anthology Rayguns Over Texas, a collection of original science fiction by Texas authors, premieres at Lonestarcon 3. Klaw can often be found pontificating on Twitter and over at The Geek Curmudgeon.

SearchContents PageSite MapContact UsCopyright

If you find any errors, typos or other stuff worth mentioning, please send it to
Copyright © 1996-2014 SF Site All Rights Reserved Worldwide