The son of a British lord and lady is raised in the jungle by apes, growing into a heroic figure and protector of the innocent. Tarzan, created in 1912 by writer Edgar Rice Burroughs, celebrates his centennial in 2012. The character has appeared in books, comics, movies and television programs and is one of the world's best-known fictional characters.
Titan Books is celebrating the centennial with an official commemorative illustrated history of the character and phenomenon.
Edgar Rice Burroughs expert Scott Tracy Griffin has collated items from throughout the past century of Tarzan tales. Movie posters, book covers and complete comic strips — by artists including Mike Grell, Gil Kane and Gray Morrow — are reprinted inside. Commentary is provided for each of the 24 original Burroughs novels.
“Tarzan: The Centennial Celebration” goes on sale Tuesday.
One of the greatest comic-book interpretations of Tarzan was reprinted in a high-quality “Artist's Edition” this year. Joe Kubert, who died in August, was the writer and artist for DC Comics' “Tarzan” comic.
“Joe Kubert's Tarzan of the Apes Artist's Edition,” released by IDW Publishing, collects six complete Kubert Tarzan adventures, including the classic four-part origin story. Each page is reproduced in the size of the original art, from which it is shot directly.
“I first read these comics when I was 10 years old, and they remain some of my favorite stories ever,” said editor Scott Dunbier in a news release. “This is Joe Kubert at his absolute best.”
In the Artist's Edition, fans can see paste-overs, blue lines, notes and corrections that give a behind-the-scenes experience.
“Joe Kubert's Tarzan comics developed the visual material that still rumbles around in the American psyche,” local comics writer and critic Rob Vollmar said. “While Burroughs' Tarzan lorded over the jungle, Kubert's Tarzan, informed by his lush line and talent for capturing the kinetic in the frozen moment of a comics panel, was nurtured by it — its organic forms making his own more rich by comparison. Kubert's jungle is a place of mystery that no longer exists as it did for the readers of Burrough's own age and one, through the power of fiction invites to a place divorced from the tragedies of colonial Africa.”
Tarzan continues his ongoing battle in comics: Dark Horse has the official license and has released archival reprints of artist Jesse Marsh's comics and a new one-shot, “The Once and Future Tarzan.” A collection of artist Russ Manning's Tarzan comics is slated for December.
Tarzan has appeared in motion pictures dating back to the silent era.
Tarzan was perhaps most successfully portrayed by Olympic swimmer Johnny Weissmuller in a film series that began in 1932.
And there's a chance Tarzan will again return to movie screens as a live-action motion picture.
Vulture reports that David Yates, who directed the final four films in the “Harry Potter” series, has signed with Warner Bros. for a new film adaptation of Edgar Rice Burroughs' Tarzan.
Ron Ely, who played Tarzan on television in the 1960s, writes in the foreword to the “Centennial Celebration” book about Tarzan's origins and influence.
“Edgar Rice Burroughs withdrew to the confines of his own imagination and envisaged a world that was the antithesis of all he saw around him,” Ely wrote. “Perhaps influenced by the eminent English writer Rudyard Kipling, he created a place so filled with wonder that it exposed, by comparison, the flaws of the real world.”