I’ve been a Tarzan fan since I saw my first Johnny Weismuller movie as a kid, and that was more than 55 years ago. I’m not the greatest Tarzan fan. I’m not a member of the Burroughs Bibliophiles or anything like that, but I have seen every movie I could, read all the books, collected the comics to some extent. So I was pleased when Dynamite Entertainment–a comic book publishing company decided to redo the original Tarzan stories in comic book form. They could do this because those books are in the public domain–Burroughs has been dead since 1950, and his copyright goes back to 1912.
And now the tale is being told once more, superbly illustrated by Roberto Castro, and scripted by Arvid Nelson. Nelson must be quite a Burroughs fan, or else he has decided to hitch his star to the Burroughs legacy, because for a little more than a year now he has also been doing an adaptation of Burroughs John Carter of Mars series.
Dynamite does an interesting and good thing, in my humble opinion. They bring out the first issue of new titles at a very affordable $1 price, and they do multiple covers, with the rarer ones commanding collectible prices like 7.99 and 9.99. I kind of think the collectible covers are a bit of a rip, and I won’t pay $9.99 to have a negative version of a cover, but I guess some people will.
Here’s a bit of an oddity. The comic could not be called Tarzan, so they used Lord of the Jungle instead. Burroughs used that title for one of his novels, but I don’t think ERB Inc. trademarked that phrase the way they trademarked Tarzan of the Apes. We might have a Tarzan comic in which the word Tarzan never appears. I’ll be interested to see how that works out.
The four covers are by Alex Ross, Ryan Sook, Paul Renaud, and Lucio Parrillo. Ross is the only one I’ve ever heard of before, but all four artists are masters of their art. Arvid Nelson has done an excellent adaptation of Tarzan of the Apes, and I will be buying this book as long as it comes out. I can only hope that it wanders off and breaks new ground with original stories the same way his Barsoomian books have. They deserve a blog, too.
Dynamite Comics has somehow stumbled into a slightly different way of doing comics. Instead of maintaining one consistent superhero universe in the style of D.C. and Marvel, they are simply doing popular characters of the past–legendary characters including the Lone Ranger, Zorro, the Green Hornet, Flash Gordon, Vampirella, Red Sonja, Sherlock Holmes and many, many more. Their art is always clean and realistic–their women are indescribably beautiful–their male heroes are classically heroic. Dynamite pushes the envelope of sexiness and great storytelling with almost every issue. I didn’t realize how many titles they publish until I started to do a little research for this blog. As a comics fan I’ve always loved the stuff from D.C. and Marvel and Dark Horse, but the company producing, imho, the very best adventures in comics today is Dynamite. If you’re a comics reader, they have something for you also.
Comics fans and Tarzan fans are invited to make comments here. Do you like the Dynamite books? If so, which ones are your favorites? And why?