Friday, November 06, 2009

Trade Marks: Tarzan, the Joe Kubert Years Vol. 1

Since I already own a good chunk of the original issues (thanks in large part to a certain Minnesotan), I really didn't need this book. When I saw the first three volume at a deeeep discount, however, I knew that I just could not pass up the opportunity to get these stories in such an attractive package. I love Tarzan, but it is nothing like Joe Kubert's love for Tarzan. Kubert's love for ERB's most famous creation is obvious from the artwork, as he creates a lush world that is both beautiful and menacing. His love is made even more clear by his introduction, as he retells how thrilled he was when Carmine Infantino gave him the assignment. Now, I'm a really, really big fan of Russ Manning's work on the Gold Key Tarzan, but this stuff looks amazing. Kubert takes his time retelling the origin story, and it feels like a great serial (although I'm not in love with the framing sequences). There are a couple of weaker entries. I felt that issue #211 had an overly long fight and escape sequence and not enough characterization, especially the villainous. I knew something was different with the art. There is more depth to the inks, giv it a more 'classic' feel. I was not surprised when I found that some Burne Hogarth artwork had been worked into the story. #214 was also so-so, as it is based on one of Burroughs' sillier short stories "The Nightmare". It is really not much more than a bad trip after Tarzan ate some rotten buffalo meat. Even the weak stuff is quite solid due to the artwork. It is a nice package and I'm pretty happy with the colors. Trade Mark: A-

7 comments:

Aaron Bias said...

Kubert and Tarzan are a dynamite combo. I will have to look for this. BTW, I added you to my blogroll. Keep up the good work.

benday-dot/craig said...

Scott, that issue #211 got me at first as well. It's almost like one of those numbers in which the deceased Nat King Cole partners up with his (living)daughter Natalie. You get 3 Kubert panels followed by 10 more Hogarth, then another Kubert to frame it further... etc. etc. I am quite certain that there is another such issue where Kubert "shares" art chores with the long dead Hal Foster in similar fasion. It is strange. But man... I do love Kubert Tarzan. I have a good run of the issues, and they surely are one of the most beloved corners of my collection! Thanks for the post! Craig

Andrew Wahl said...

Scott:

I just recently picked up my first few Kubert Tarzans. I've never been a big fan of the lord of the jungle, but Kubert's obvious passion for the material really makes it sing. I'm looking forward to reading more.

Andrew

Anonymous said...

Any chance you or one of your readers could help with this? I have a vague childhood memory of reading a comic where Tarzan has a run-in with the pilot of a downed German World War I-era biplane (triplane?). I'm trying to nail down whether this was a DC comic or one from another publisher and, ideally, exactly which issue this story appeared in. My mental image of the issue features art by Kubert but, being that I wouldn't have known Kubert from Adam at the time I read the comic, that may just be my adult mind playing tricks on me. I'd appreciate any help you could offer.

benday-dot/craig said...

Anonymous, the comic you might be looking for is Tarzan #245 (http://www.comics.org/issue/29442/cover/4/?style=defaulthttp://www.comics.org/issue/29442/cover/4/?style=default). (And Sorry for the long URL Scott.) I actually don't have this issue; however, it is based on the E.R Burroughs story called "Jungle Murders" in which Tarzan meets with a downed Italian pilot . It is hardly out of the realm of possibility though that DC changed the nationality to German. Craig

Anonymous said...

As soon as I saw the cover, I flashed back ... well ... I'd rather not say how many years, and knew this was the Tarzan issue I remembered. Thanks a million, Craig. And to Scott, kudos for serving up my regular dose of comics nostalgia. -- RW

Scott M said...

Very nice work Craig. Thanks for the kind words, RW. I'm always glad when an entry stirs up some memories and conversation.