Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Tarzan 101 | Tarzan of the Funny Pages

Celebrating Tarzan's 101st anniversary by walking through Scott Tracy Griffin's Tarzan: The Centennial Celebration.

In January 1929, the first Tarzan newspaper comic strip debuted, an adaptation of Burroughs' Tarzan of the Apes by Hal Foster. That's a sample above, via a wonderful tribute to Foster on the Collectors Society message boards. The adaptation was such a success that they kept it going with Return of Tarzan and beyond, though Rex Maxon was brought in to replace Foster, who got busy with other things.

The strip continued to adapt novels until it caught up with Burroughs and then moved on to adapting movies and even radio adventures. Griffin chronicles all of this and shows examples of strips from all the major contributors: Foster, Maxon, Burne Hogarth, Ruben Moreira, Bob Lubbers, John Celardo, Russ Manning, Gil Kane, Mike Grell, and Gray Morrow (who drew from freelance scripts, including one by Scott Tracy Griffin himself). The strip is still going and - according to Griffin - remains the fifth longest running strip today.

Here's a quick chronology of who worked on the strip and when he started:
  • Hal Foster (daily: January 1929)
  • Rex Maxon (daily: June 1929)
  • Rex Maxon (debuted the Sunday color strip: March 1931)
  • Hal Foster (Sunday: September 1931)
  • Burne Hogarth (Sunday: 1937)
  • Ruben Moriera (Sunday: 1945)
  • Dan and Sy Barry (daily: 1947)
  • Burne Hogarth (Sunday: 1947)
  • John Lehti (daily: 1948)
  • Paul Reinman (daily: 1949)
  • Nick Cardy (daily: February 1950)
  • Bob Lubbers (1950; starting with Lubbers, one artist drew both daily and Sunday strips)
  • John Celardo (1954 )
  • Russ Manning (1967)
  • Reprints (1971)
  • Gil Kane (1979)
  • Mike Grell (1981)
  • Gray Morrow (1983)
  • Eric Battle (2001)
  • Reprints (2002)
  • Roy Thomas and Tom Grindberg (2012)

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