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Tarzan turns 100

Lord of the Jungle celebrated in books, comic reprints, more.
by Matthew Price Published: November 16, 2012

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.”

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by Matthew Price
Features Editor
Features Editor Matthew Price has worked for The Oklahoman since 2000. He’s a University of Oklahoma graduate who has also worked at the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette and was a Dow Jones Newspaper Fund intern for the Dallas Morning News. He’s...
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