Friday, 16 September 2011

Sheffield's Most Wanted. Part 5: Tarzan Limited Collectors' Edition.

Edgar Rice Burroughs' Tarzan of the Apes, DC Comics Limited Collectors' Edition, Joe Kubert
Yodel-odel-odel-odel-o!!! It's time for me to depart my tree house and swing anew from the jungle vine of Nostalgia as I once more recall a comic I always wanted as a child but never had.

Even though I was a big fan of the Ron Ely Tarzan shows and the Johnny Weissmuller movies, I must confess I was never interested in the comics of that name.

After all, we comic lovers had Ka-Zar who was not only lord of the jungle but fought dinosaurs and had a sabre tooth tiger. In comparison to such exotic fare, Tarzan seemed a very mundane proposition.

The one exception was DC's Tarzan Limited Collectors' Edition. That Joe Kubert cover, showing Tarzan fighting a giant, erm, whatever kind of ape that's meant to be, while other non-specific apes watched on, was enough to entice any man into handing over his cash.

Looking at it now, I can't help but feel Tarzan looks a little apathetic about it all, and it doesn't half seem like cheating that he has a dagger and his opponent doesn't.

Then again, Tarzan's pointing it at his own genitals so maybe it's a bigger danger to him than it is to his foe. Or perhaps Tarzan's playing the, "Let me go or I'll impale my cobblers," trick that's served me so well over the years whenever I've been attacked by wild beasts.

But, beyond the fight, there's more - the promises of a giant pin-up of the jungle lord, and a guide as to how to draw Tarzan, not to mention a 3D diorama cut-out of something or other.

I like to think it was a cut-out of the whole of Africa but I suspect it wasn't.


joe bloke said...

this is an awesome comic! I long ago misplaced my own copy, and I've been meaning to get it again. if I remember rightly, isn't this the one where Joe Kubert adapts the first of the Tarzan novels? absolutely brilliant.

Steve W. said...

Hi, Joe. To this day I've still never read this comic, so I don't know how faithful to the original Burroughs' tale Tarzan's origin is as promised on the cover.

Then again I've never read the original Burroughs' tale either.

I have heard a radio adaptation though.

Then again, I don't know how faithful that was either. :(

joe bloke said...

from what I can remember, Steve, it was a fairly accurate adaptation ( at least, more accurate than most ), but it should be said that I read the comic way back when it first came out, and didn't get around to reading the book until I was in my 'twenties ( for what it's worth, almost ANY comics adaptation is better than the book, which bored the living daylights out of me! ).

by the way, if you follow this link, you can check out what the Table-Top Diorama looked like ( it's the first of the Tarzan ones ). . .


Steve W. said...

Thanks, Joe. By the looks of it I'd have had great fun shooting that diorama with my UFO interceptor. I'm afraid any Dioramas I got my hands on always had a tendency to end up as target practice for it.

R. W. Watkins said...

In my little circle of friends, the Gold Key take on Tarzan seemed to dominate--even though the company had already ceased to publish the title by 1972. Still, there were old copies drifting about, courtesy of older friends and siblings. I still possess an extremely raggedy copy of #179 (1968): 'Tarzan at the Earth's Core' (the one with Tarzan in the claws of some gigantic Pteroldactyl he's discovered at Pellucidar--the 'inner Earth'). In my opinion, this far outclasses anything Marvel or DC did with the character in the '70s and early '80s.

Anonymous said...

As noted above, Tarzan encountered dinosaurs in Pellucidar in "Tarzan at the Earth's Core," which Gold Key adapted in #179-181 (1968). He also visited a lost world with cave bears and saber-tooth tigers in #144 and #154.

Ka-Zar was an obvious Tarzan swipe, as were Thunda, Ki-Gor, Jan of the Jungle, Kioga, and probably a dozen other pulp magazine and comic book heroes. And the Savage Land was an obvious swipe from Pellucidar.

Weissmuller encountered dinosaurs in the movie "Tarzan's Desert Mystery," although they were just stock footage from "One Million B.C." (1940).

In fact, everything Ka-Zar did, Tarzan had already done before. :)

Steve W. said...

I now feel an overwhelming urge to watch Tarzan's Desert Mystery. My main memory of it from childhood is of him being attacked by a man-eating plant and me being convinced he was doomed. I didn't quite understand that they're not going to kill Tarzan in his own film.

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