Tarzan, a fictional character created by Edgar Rice Burroughs, first appeared in the 1912 novel Tarzan of the Apes, and then in 23 sequels. The character proved immensely popular and quickly made the jump to other media, including comics.
|Tarzan of the Apes|
Burne Hogarth's Tarzan (June 25, 1939)
|Author(s)||(adapted from) Edgar Rice Burroughs|
Don Kraar (1982–1995)
|Illustrator(s)||Hal Foster (1929–1937)|
Burne Hogarth (1937–45, 1947–50)
Ruben Moreira (1945–1947)
Dan Barry (1947–1948)
Bob Lubbers (1950–1954)
John Celardo (1954–1968)
Russ Manning (1967–1972)
Mike Grell (1981–1983)
Gray Morrow (1983–2001)
|Current status/schedule||Concluded daily & Sunday strip; in reprints|
|Launch date||January 7, 1929|
|Syndicate(s)||Metropolitan Newspaper Service (1929–1930)|
United Feature Syndicate (1930–present)
Dark Horse Books
Tarzan of the Apes was adapted into newspaper strip form, first published January 7, 1929, with illustrations by Hal Foster. A full page Sunday strip began on March 15, 1931, with artwork by Rex Maxon. United Feature Syndicate distributed the strip.
Over the years, many artists have drawn the Tarzan comic strip, notably Burne Hogarth, Ruben Moreira, Dan Barry, Bob Lubbers, John Celardo, Russ Manning, Gil Kane, Mike Grell, and Gray Morrow. The daily strip began to reprint old dailies after the last Russ Manning daily (#10,308, which ran on 29 July 1972). The Sunday strip also turned to reprints circa 2000. Both strips continue as reprints today in a few newspapers and in Comics Revue magazine.
NBM Publishing did a quality reprint series of the Foster and Hogarth work on Tarzan in a series of hardback and paperback reprints in the 1990s. In 2014, Dark Horse Books began to reprint the Hal Foster and Burne Hogarth Sundays in the original full page size.
The comic strip has often borrowed plots and characters from the Burroughs Tarzan books. Writer Don Kraar, who wrote the strip from 1982 to 1995, included in his stories characters from other books by Edger Rice Burroughs, including David Innes of Pellucidar and John Carter of Mars.
Dell's Tarzan #1 (January–February 1948)
Gold Key Comics
Dark Horse Comics
Idaho Comics Group
|Publication date||Dell Comics|
January–February 1948 –
Gold Key Comics
November 1962 –
December 1964 – July 1965
April 1972 – February 1977
June 1977 – October 1979
|No. of issues||Dell Comics|
Gold Key Comics
29 (#1–29) plus 3 Annuals
Idaho Comics Group
|Created by||Edgar Rice Burroughs|
Tarzan has appeared in many comic books from numerous publishers over the years, notably Western Publishing, Charlton Comics, DC Comics, Marvel Comics and Dark Horse Comics. The character's earliest comic book appearances were in comic strip reprints published in several titles, such as Sparkler, Tip Top Comics and Single Series.
Western Publishing published Tarzan in Dell Comics' Four Color Comics #134 & 161 in 1947, before giving him his own series, Tarzan #1–131 (January–February 1948 – July–August 1962), through Dell Comics as well as in some Dell Giants and March of Comics giveaways, then continued the series with #132–206 (November 1962 to February 1972) through their own Gold Key Comics. This series featured artwork by Jesse Marsh, Russ Manning, and Doug Wildey. It included adaptions of most of Edgar Rice Burroughs's original Tarzan books (skipping only Tarzan and the Leopard Men, Tarzan the Magnificent, Tarzan and the Madman and Tarzan and the Castaways), as well as original stories and other features. Almost all of the Dell and Gold Key Tarzan stories were written by Gaylord DuBois. Western also published a companion series, Korak: Son of Tarzan for 45 issues from 1964 to 1972. When Western refused to expand the number of Edgar Rice Burroughs comic books being published, Edgar Rice Burroughs, Inc. sold the rights to DC Comics, who were willing to publish more comics so long as they sold. This decision was motivated by the lucrative overseas reprint rights, which Edgar Rice Burroughs, Inc. were selling to foreign publishers on a per-page rate.
DC Comics took over the series in 1972, publishing Tarzan #207–258 from April 1972 to February 1977. DC continued the numbering from the Gold Key series, rather than starting over at #1. Publishers believed at the time that a series would sell less if people perceived it as new. This version initially showcased artist Joe Kubert's depiction of the character, considered some of the best work of the artist's career. Comics historian Les Daniels noted that Kubert's "scripts and artwork ranked among the most authentic and effective ever seen." DC Comics writer and executive Paul Levitz stated in 2010 that "Joe Kubert produced an adaptation that Burroughs aficionados could respect." The series featured some adaptations of the Burroughs books in addition to original stories, adapting Tarzan of the Apes, The Return of Tarzan, Jungle Tales of Tarzan, Tarzan the Untamed, Tarzan and the Lion Man and Tarzan and the Castaways. Issues #230 (April–May 1974) to #235 (Feb.–March 1975) of the series were in the 100 Page Super Spectacular format. Initially the series featured adaptions of other Burroughs creations, and had the companion titles Korak, Son of Tarzan and Weird Worlds. The Korak series was later renamed The Tarzan Family, into which all the non-Tarzan Burroughs adaptations were consolidated. During this period, the British arm of Warner Bros., the corporate parent of DC Comics, published Tarzan and Korak for the British market. Two issues of Limited Collectors' Edition featured reprints of Kubert's Tarzan stories.
Because Russ Manning's portrayal of Tarzan was considered "definitive" in most countries, Joe Kubert's Tarzan comics were not well-received outside of the U.S.A., and were consistently outsold by reprints of Manning's Tarzan. Afraid that foreign publishers would stop purchasing reprint rights to the new comics, Edgar Rice Burroughs, Inc. hired Manning (and later Mark Evanier) to oversee the creation of exclusively overseas editions done in Manning's style.
In 1977 the series moved to Marvel Comics, retitled as Tarzan, Lord of the Jungle. Marvel published 29 issues from June 1977 to October 1979 and three Annuals. It restarted the numbering rather than assuming that used by the previous publishers. The series was written by Roy Thomas and featured artwork by John Buscema. Burroughs books adapted by Marvel include Tarzan of the Apes, Tarzan and the Jewels of Opar and Jungle Tales of Tarzan. Mark Evanier remarked that
... the whole Marvel deal was doomed from the start. ... The foreign publishers did not want adaptations. Roy Thomas felt they should do adaptations. They wanted the Russ Manning versions, but John Buscema wanted to make it as much like the Joe Kubert version as possible. Also, the foreign publishers needed stories in fifteen-page increments, because most of the books feature thirty pages of material and two pages of ads. Everything that made the books commercial in America, made them uncommercial overseas.
Marvel did not continue the Tarzan Family title, publishing instead a series on Burroughs' primary non-Tarzan character, John Carter, Warlord of Mars. Marvel Super Special #29 (1983) featured a Tarzan story by writers Sharman DiVono and Mark Evanier and artist Dan Spiegle.
Dark Horse Comics has published various Tarzan series from 1996 to the present, including archive reprints of works from previous publishers such as Western/Gold Key and DC. Dark Horse and DC published two crossover titles teaming Tarzan with Batman and Superman. Batman/Tarzan: Claws of the Cat-woman is a "straight" team-up between Tarzan and the 1930s Batman to save an ancient city – during which the two form an effective team as they acknowledge their similar origins, despite such differences as Tarzan's willingness to use lethal force. Superman/Tarzan: Sons of the Jungle is a revisionist version in which Lord Greystoke grows up in England, while Kal-El is raised by the apes as "Argozan", although the two switch roles at the conclusion with Greystoke remaining in the jungle while Kal-El returns to the city, Greystoke stating in a letter to his parents that he feels as though he has found his true place. Tarzan also fought the Predators in the Tarzan vs. Predator: At the Earth's Core miniseries.
In 2015, Sequential Pulp Comics, a graphic novel imprint distributed by Dark Horse Comics, published Jungle Tales of Tarzan by writer Martin Powell and artists Pablo Marcos, Terry Beatty, Will Meugniot, Nik Poliwko, Antonio Romero Olmedo, Mark Wheatley, Diana Leto, Steven E. Gordon, Lowell Isaac, Tom Floyd, and Jamie Chase. The cover was by Daren Bader.
Although Dark Horse Comics holds the comic book licensing rights for the Tarzan character, in 2014 they allowed Idaho Comics Group to publish Tarzan and the Comics of Idaho #1. Edgar Rice Burroughs spent many formative years in Idaho and wrote his first draft of Tarzan in the Gem State. Tarzan and the Comics of Idaho was a comic book anthology showcasing the comic book creators from Idaho. It featured stories and art from Charles Soule, Dennis Eichhorn, Todd Clark of the nationally syndicated Lola comic strip, Steve Moore, Dame Darcy, and others. Only 500 copies of this comic book were printed and all of the proceeds were to benefit the Boise Public Library.
In 2015, Tarzan and the Comics of Idaho #2 was released. This edition featured work by Monte Michael Moore, Dennis Eichhorn, Bill Schelly, Todd Clark of the nationally syndicated Lola comic strip, the award-winning poet of Miss Lost Nation Bethany Schultz Hurst, and many more.
In December 2011, Dynamite Entertainment launched the series Lord of the Jungle, starring Tarzan. The publisher avoided using the character's name on the cover, as not to violate the trademark, even though the character is in the public domain and freely available to use but ERB, Inc. brought a lawsuit against Dynamite. In 2013, a crossover with John Carter was released entitled Lords of Mars. In 2016 Dynamite released limited series Lords of the Jungle featuring Tarzan and Sheena.
During the timespan of the original comic book series from Western, DC and Marvel, a number of other comic book projects from other publishers also appeared.
Charlton Comics briefly published a Tarzan comic from December 1964 – July 1965 titled Jungle Tales of Tarzan, adapting stories from that Burroughs book, on the mistaken belief that the character was in the public domain.
Watson-Guptill Publications published hardcover comic book versions of the first half of Tarzan of The Apes in 1972 and four stories from Jungle Tales of Tarzan in 1976. These were illustrated by Hogarth many years after he stopped doing the newspaper strip and had a level of penmanship rarely seen in comics or even illustrations. It had captions of text from the novel instead of speech balloons.
Between the periods when Marvel and Dark Horse held the licence to the character, Tarzan had no regular comic book publisher for a number of years. During this time Blackthorne Publishing published a 4-issue Tarzan series in 1986, reprinting strips by Hogarth, Manning, Gil Kane and Mike Grell. In 1992, Malibu Comics produced a 5-issue miniseries entitled Tarzan the Warrior, written by Mark Wheatley with art by Neil Vokes. The first issue included two covers, with one with painted art by Simon Bisley.
There have been a number of minor appearance of Tarzan in comic books over the years. Though not mentioned by name, Tarzan is referenced in Alan Moore's The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen. Places and people from the original Tarzan novels are referred to, suggesting that Tarzan does or did exist in that universe.
In a 1999 The Phantom story, Lord of the Jungle, the hero meets Edgar Rice Burroughs, and inspires him to create Tarzan. Warren Ellis' Planetary series has a pastiche of Tarzan named Lord Blackstock.
In 2012, Edgar Rice Burroughs, Inc began publishing webcomics on their official website including Tarzan by writer Roy Thomas and artist Tom Grindberg and Tarzan of The Apes by Roy Thomas, artist Pablo Marcos, and colorist/letterer Oscar Gonzales. In October 2016, the Tarzan has to be drawn by Benito Gallego.
Tarzan comics were the first publications banned by the German Federal Department for Media Harmful to Young Persons after its founding in 1954. The German Tarzan #34 and 35 of the monthly series were not allowed to be sold in Germany because the agency considered them to be harmful for young readers.
During the 1970s and 1980s, Tarzan comic story was published in Greece, by Dragounis Editions ("Pidalio Press Corporation").
The European version of the Tarzan comic was published from 1983 to 1989 by Marketprint in Yugoslavia, and later translated and published in Sweden, Norway, Finland, Germany, the Netherlands, and Denmark. There were over 100 published episodes, each of which had 16 pages. In most of them Branislav Kerac was involved, either as the writer, penciller, inker, or complete author. He was also responsible for "The Kalonga Star," a five episode crossover between Tarzan and Kobra. Other notable episodes were "Tarzan and Barbarians," "The Tiger," "The Boy from the Stars," and "Big Race."
Tarzan enjoyed a prolific period in comics when DC acquired the rights to novelist Edgar Rice Burroughs' iconic ape-man. Much of that success should be attributed to writer, artist, and editor Joe Kubert, a lifelong Tarzan fan whose gritty, expressive style was perfect for the jungle hero.CS1 maint: Extra text: authors list (link)
Writer Roy Thomas and artist John Buscema created Marvel's new Tarzan series, based on author Edgar Rice Burroughs' character.CS1 maint: Extra text: authors list (link)
Tarzan (John Clayton II, Viscount Greystoke) is a fictional character, an archetypal feral child raised in the African jungle by the Mangani great apes; he later experiences civilization only to reject it and return to the wild as a heroic adventurer. Created by Edgar Rice Burroughs, Tarzan first appeared in the novel Tarzan of the Apes (magazine publication 1912, book publication 1914), and subsequently in 25 sequels, several authorized books by other authors, and innumerable works in other media, both authorized and unauthorized. The film version of Tarzan as the noble savage (“Me Tarzan, You Jane”), as acted by Johnny Weissmuller, does not reflect the original character in the novels, who is gracious and highly sophisticated.Tarzan (book series)
Tarzan is a series of twenty-four adventure novels written by Edgar Rice Burroughs, followed by several novels either co-written by Burroughs, or officially authorized by his estate. There are also two works written by Burroughs especially for children that are not considered part of the main series.
The series is considered a classic of literature and is the author's best-known work. Tarzan has been called one of the best-known literary characters in the world. Written by Burroughs between 1912 and 1965, Tarzan has been adapted many times, complete or in part, for radio, television, stage, and cinema. (It has been adapted for the cinema more times than any book)
Even though the copyright on Tarzan of the Apes has expired in the United States, the name Tarzan is still protected as a trademark of Edgar Rice Burroughs, Inc. Also, the work remains under copyright in some other countries where copyright terms are longer.Tarzan on the Planet of the Apes
Tarzan on the Planet of the Apes is a 2016 comic book miniseries combining the Tarzan and Planet of the Apes media franchises.