Friday, December 20, 2013
Got my eager mitts on the volume of Tarzan - The Complete Russ Manning Newspaper Strips Volume Two: 169-1971 a few days ago. It's simply astounding to look at and realize just how stinking good Russ Manning was. His Tarzan is a romanticized icon, the living perfection of man living among the brutish denizens of the wild confronted by bizarre and sometimes alluring creatures.
Part of the attraction of the Tarzan character is wish-fulfillment, the desire by most of us citizens of a modern world which demands our compliance in character and behavior to act out, to do the unthinkable and make our unfiltered will stick on the broader world. Tarzan does that.
Freed of the a civilized upbringing he is a feral creature who camouflages himself as one of us, but who despite his handsome demeanor is a beast, more than willing and more than capable of tearing out our throat if he fancied. Tarzan is uncontrollable, save when he allows himself to be controlled by Jane, the love of his life.
Burroughs always had Tarzan lose his memory, a convenient plot device, but also a story element which points back to Tarzan's fundamental essence as a creature merely posing as a man.
All of that is captured in these sleek, beautiful pages by Russ Manning for the Tarzan comic strip from the end of the sixties into the earliest seventies. These are awesome comics, well worth the price of admission.