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The Saturday Comics: Tarzan

7 May

April 7, 2011

One of the drawbacks to living in New York City, besides the high taxes, filthy subways, traffic, and an aristocratic and elitist Mayor, is the lack of classic comics in the newspapers.

Week after week of doing The Saturday Comics I am amazed to discover a comic strip that I thought had died an ignoble death decades ago still up and running. This week is no different. Doing some research on the ‘net I found that some cities still get to read the adventures of Tarzan.

Anyone who knows Tarzan only from the movies may be a little surprised by these strips. Unlike the semi-literate “Me Tarzan you Jane” that many of us grew up with, this Tarzan is faithful to the original Edgar Rice Burroughs novels. While raised as a youth in the jungle, he was later brought to England and educated as an aristocrat. Tarzan traveled in many worlds, from high society to the desert, but was most at home in the jungle.

If the title was taken off this strip you might not recognize it as a Tarzan strip at all. I read all of the original ERB Tarzan books and while I don’t recall him going to Japan and fighting samurai or the Yakuza, this is keeping in the spirit of Burroughs’ creation.

This is more like the Tarzan we all know, back in the jungle. I chose this strip because of Tarzan’s Duke’s of Hazzard-like arrow with a stick of dynamite attached.

Dinosaurs. Hard to do something based on an Edgar Rice Burroughs property without them. Tarzan should be no stranger to those monsters, having encountered dinosaurs in Tarzan at the Earth’s Core, the thirteenth Tarzan novel published in 1930, which was a crossover with ERB’s Pellucidar series.

New York is allegedly the greatest city in the world. You can’t tell that by the Sunday comics. I’ll take Tarzan over Marmaduke any day.

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