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.


7 Responses to “The Saturday Comics: Tarzan”

  1. Mac of BIOnighT May 7, 2011 at 12:34 am #

    Shocking as it may sound, I agree with you on Tarzan… O__O


    • bmj2k May 7, 2011 at 12:45 am #

      I have not mentioned art in the last couple of Saturday Comics specifically because of you! We only disagreed once on art, and very badly, on Mandrake. Our other major disagreement was on the pacing of The Phantom, but otherwise we are more or less on the same page. And I missed you last week on Alley Oop. (To be fair, I didn’t give you much to work with on that one.) Next week we’ll see if we are in sync with The Flintstones newspaper strip.


      • bmj2k May 7, 2011 at 12:47 am #

        And tomorrow you’ll have an opportunity to tell me what you think about The Family Circus as I sneak one in on The Sneak Peek.


        • Mac of BIOnighT May 8, 2011 at 6:57 pm #

          Well, you have to consider that here newspapers never published any comics, the “funny pages” are an American tradition. Therefore, I only know those characters whose strips were collected and sold as volumes in Italy. I know Alley Oop, I saw a volume when I was a child, but I never liked it (the art bothered me and still does) so I wouldn’t have anything to say about the new strips. Likewise, I have no idea what family circus is… :-/
          So I guess I’ll have to disagree with you on some other strip ;-P


          • bmj2k May 8, 2011 at 7:21 pm #

            Family Circus is a play on the term Family Circle. It is a one-panel cartoon- in a circle, hence the pun. It is unrelentingly wholesome and family friendly to the point of being sickeningly sweet. They have a few running gags. One is the ghostly “Not me” character, as in “Who broke my favorite vase?” “Not me!” respond the kids, and the little ghoul runs away as seen in Sunday’s sneak peek. Another running gag also involves ghosts. The ghosts of the kids’ dead grandparents often hang around for some wholesome purpose. “Mommy, can Grandpa kiss me good night from Heaven?” And the ghost does just that. The third running gag features the son, Billy, running a circuitous route depicted as a dotted line on a map instead of taking the direct route. They also do crude stick figure drawings when supposedly the litle kid has stepped in for the artist. I can’t call Family Cirucs a bad strip, just an unremittingly cloying one. I guess it plays well in the Bible Belt but it is often just a punchline to jokes about comic strips.


  2. The Hook May 12, 2011 at 1:40 pm #

    Glad you like the jungle hero genre so much. I’m not a Tarzan fan, but your posts rock!


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