Every year around the end of October my friend, Rick Loomis, who is he head buffalo of Flying Buffalo, Inc., a small gaming company based in Scottsdale, Arizona (and publisher of my Tunnels and Trolls game) attends the Games and Toys Fair in Essen, Germany. He always brings a few goodies back, so this year, I thought to ask him if he would look for some European Tarzan comics. I showed him what not to get; namely the European translation of American comics, and hoped for the best. Of all my literary heroes, Tarzan is the greatest and oldest.
And I got my wish. Rick’s Dutch host (Rick stayed with a fan/friend in the Netherlands and drove back and forth to Essen each day) had an old Tarzan comic that he gave to Rick for me. And it looks like this:
The comic is from 1979. The artist has a style similar to Russ Manning’s Tarzan, but just a little less clean-cut. The book has 48 pages, about double the size of a normal comic, and contains 3 separate, independent stories. The language is Dutch, which may be my favorite European language. Dutch is a cross between English and German, and one can almost read it without help of dictionary, especially if one knows a little German, which I do because I took a year of it in college some 48 years ago. The cover story is called “Ontmoeting met het verleden” which means Encounter with the Past. With Google translation easily available online, I don’t have to guess at the meaning of unfamiliar words like verleden.
The great thing about comics is that one can pretty much tell what’s going on even if one doesn’t understand the words.
The second story is called De reuze-vogels. Try to guess what it’s about from this page that I scanned.
Can you read it? Even without a dictionary I can tell that the last panel says “The plants and flowers are greater (maybe larger) than I have ever seen.” Vogel is clearly eagle in this story–not such a big difference between our english word and the Dutch in this case. I don’t know what reuze means. I’m guessing “giant” or maybe royal. Let’s see what Google tells me. (Ken changes browser windows to check a meaning.) Yes, reuze means giant, and I was right the first time. Grin. It was not a hard deduction to make, but it’s always edifying to be right about such things. And vogel is bird instead of eagle, a fact I sort of vaguely knew, but I wonder why the scripter used that word since they are clearly drawn as eagles.
The comic has a lot of text in it, and that means I can pick up a lot of Dutch vocabulary by simply reading it with a little help from my Google translation page. It will take a couple of hours to get through this book, but I’m looking forward to it. (I’ve only had it for a day now, and haven’t found time to read the whole thing yet.)
And here’s the back cover. It looks like a preview of the next issue, due in 14 days. Dang! The sixties and seventies must have been a great time for Tarzan fans in the Netherlands, and perhaps all of Europe, with almost 50 pages of new story appearing every two weeks. It says “Radioactive rays in the jungle? Also read the following-exciting number. . . about 14 days.
My thanks to Rick Loomis and his host Jan for getting me this minor treasure from the past. I’m definitely enjoying it, and wish I had more.
If you have any Tarzan comics (or any other real comics–not just translations of our American stuff) from other countries, why not mention them here? Personally, I think this would be a great way to teach foreign languages–bring on the comics from the countries whose language you want to learn. I’d be happy to see more Tarzan from any other country in the world.