Thursday, 13 March 2014


Remember when DC COMICS took over the TARZAN comicbook
franchise from GOLD KEY in the early '70s?  Drawn by JOE KUBERT,
it seemed that no other contemporary artist of the time was more suited
to the legendary ape-man than the illustrator of TOR and HAWKMAN
(and loads of other characters too, of course).

However, there was one other who was equally equipped for the task,
and that was JOHN BUSCEMA, who freelanced for DC's main rival,
the MARVEL COMICS GROUP.  When Marvel acquired the rights to
produce Tarzan comics in 1977, it was to Big John that the pencilling
chores (and, initially, the inking too) were entrusted.

Buscema wanted to draw Tarzan more along the lines of CONAN;  that
is, a beefy, brawny battler with a wild mane of hair, as opposed to the lean,
wasp-waisted, folically-groomed HAL FOSTER or BURNE HOGARTH
version that most readers were familiar with.  However, the estate of ERB
had final say on how the lord of the jungle was depicted, so Big John had
to adhere to the established comicbook look of the character.

I don't have too many Marvel Tarzan mags in my collection, only what
you see here, but I'm sure you'll enjoy these few examples all the same.


Rip Jagger said...

Big John was ideal for the assignment, especially when he was able to ink himself, rare since he cost too much relatively speaking. The ERB folks took issue with the Thomas accusing him of plagarism and he left the book and Buscema followed soon after. It's a pity Big John didn't have a more thorough run on the title.

Rip Off

Kid said...

I think that all Roy was trying to do was to keep as much of the flavour of ERB in the mag as possible, hence his including quite a bit of original text from the stories he was adapting. For the ERB estate to accuse him of plagiarism on an actual adaptation is, quite frankly, madness. You'd think they'd be pleased to see such a respect for the great man's words. Thanks Rip.

Colin Jones said...

I remember buying a copy of Tarzan in August 1979 in WH Smith's and I went to pay for it along with two other comics (John Carter was one of them) and the woman didn't seem to notice I had three comics, charging me only for two - of course these days I'd point out her error but back then I said nothing and got a free comic. Talking of WH Smith's I was shocked to learn my local branch is closing permanently and the nearest one is about ten miles away. It opened in June 1978 when I was twelve and I'm really sad to see it go :(

Kid said...

THIEF! I've alerted the police to your shocking act, Col, and they'll be around shortly to arrest you. Best just sit where you are - there's no point in trying to flee the country.

Yup, it's always sad to see a favourite and familiar place from childhood disappear. Never mind, you wouldn't be shopping there anyway after you get a 20 year prison sentence for your shocking act of dishonesty. See? There's always a bright side.

John Pitt said...

Do you know who used to advertise Tarzan on the cover as " THE GREATEST SUPERHERO EVER"? I know it was either DC or Marvel. Anyway , that was the only bronze age Tarzan I tried and I wasn't impressed by the story enough to buy any more.

Kid said...

I've seen him advertised as the greatest fantasy hero and the like, but not a superhero, JP, so I'm not sure which company did that.

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