Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Tarzan Of The Swipes!

There is very little way to overestimate the impact of Joe Kubert's interpretation of the Tarzan the Ape Man upon my impressionable mind all those decades ago. I was familiar with a few of Frazetta's images for the book covers, I'd seen a smattering of the Ballantine cover art, and I had gotten hold of Gold Key comics with the smooth and elegant Russ Manning interpretation. Kubert brought something new, something vital and powerful to the understanding of the Ape Man, Kubert made him dangerous and grim and lethal.

For all its impact alas, the Kubert run was a relatively short one, but nonetheless was one published across the world. When Mexican publisher Editorial Novalo got the material they apparently needed to have painted covers, so they had an unknown artist redo the powerful Kubert covers. Sadly, despite the competent nature of the paintings by and large not a single one is as effective as the Kubert original. The lighting, the rough hewn lines, were all crucial to the way the Kubert Ape Man is perceived. To shine it up is to lose the essence.

For whatever their value though, here is a gallery of the originals alongside their later revisions.

Rip Off


  1. Hi Rip,
    These are fantastic, aren't they? I agree the rawness of Kubert's work is all part of the jungle parcel, but I love what this anonymous artists has done here. He's even flattened that wild Tarzan hair of #222
    Thanks for showing them

  2. Joe Kubert's Tarzan Issues Are Magic To Me
    As A Boy In The Seventies This Was Tarzan
    Finding A New Issue On The 7-11 Spinner Rack... WOW
    I Knew About Foster, Hogarth, Manning Yet Kubert Was Mindblowing
    Love My Dark Horse Publications Books Of This Era
    No Longer Had To Read My Yellowed Comics

    Along With Norman Thank You For Sharing
    They Are Really Great Reproductions
    Kinda Reminds Me Of Gold Key Covers

    Have To Comment: The Ink On Tarzan's Face On DC 113
    Looks Like Hogarth

    Thank You For Recognizing The 100th Anniversary

  3. Norman - Yep, the painter here has surely taken the rough and tumble Kubert artwork and given in a neater patina.

    Davey - I suspect it was to evoke the painted tradition of the vintage Gold Key covers that likely these were redone.

    Rip Off

  4. Editorial Novaro, the Mexican company that did the "rip-offs", also published the original Kubert covers in translations of DC's Tarzan. The painted covers were used in original stories created by Novaro with their own writers and artists.


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