JUNGLE TALES OF TARZAN
By Edgar Rice Burroughs
(A graphic novel)
Editor Patrick Thorpe
Sequential Pulps &
Dark Horse Books
Since we first heard of this project, we were excited to see it come to fruition. The idea was simple enough, take Burrough’s own book, which relates the adventures of a young Tarzan in a collection of short stories and have them adapted to comic strips by various artists. Michael Hudson of Sequential Pulps was the driving force behind this super cool idea and he enlisted the talented Martin Powell to adapt those tales into comic scripts. Then it was a matter of recruiting the right artist for each segment.
Daren Bader’s cover art is simply stunning in both composition and execution. It sets a very high bar for the interior artists, some of whom proved to be its equal while others fall a bit short. The nature of any anthology is in the end a subjective experience between individual creators and their audience. Thus, of the twelve strips assembled here, there were some that simply bowled us over and we’d like to single them out as they were truly exceptional.
If we had to pick a favorite, it would be a tie between “Tarzan and the Native Boy” from Nik Poliwko and “The Nightmare” by Mark Wheatley. In the first, Poliwko ssems to be channeling the late/great Russ Manning. As a comic lover who grew up reading Manning’s Tarzan comics from Dell, this strip was a loving trip home. Whereas Wheatley’s style of art was perfectly suited to a tale about what is real and unreal, his colors blending in perfectly to add the proper mood. We’ve yet to see a bad piece of Wheatley art and have to believe none exist.
We’d also like to applaud artists Lowell Isaac, Will Meugniot, Terry Beatty who all turned in inspired work. Whereas we found Jamie Chase’s style moody and Steven Gordon’s cartoony, both worked beautifully with their stories. Each is a joy to read and we truly appreciated the wonderful artwork on displayed in these pages.
As we indicated above, this is an amazing collection and will please any true Tarzan fan. One can only imagine the logistic chores of corralling all these various talents and pulling such a project together. A tip of the pulp hat to Diane Leto for making it all come together. This is a beautiful book we are happy to have in our library.