Wednesday, February 22, 2012
This is my favorite image of Tarzan of the Apes and maybe my favorite Frazetta painting (ask me again tomorrow). Not only is it a fantastic painting of ERB's famous Ape Man, but this paperback was one of my first literary experiences with the character.
I explored the details of this image in this post from a few years ago.
Here is a beautiful insight into Frazetta's creative process on this piece. This preliminary artwork (which I found here) shows the master at work creating this evocative look at the King of the Jungle. Note how N'Kima seems less dynamic and how the balance seems less precarious and consequently less dramatic.
Some say the pose is derived from this panel from Hal Foster's venerable comic strip featuring Tarzan. It does seem similar in many respects, but clearly Frazetta (if he was inspired by this pose) takes it to new places in character and atmosphere. Here's a more detailed analysis.
Stephen Fabian must have liked this pose too, as he swipes it here adding in a very Frazetta-esque young lady to slither alongside the noble savage.