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Wednesday, 17 February 2016

A Rough Guide To Collecting UK Tarzan Annuals

Nothing big or major just a run-down on UK Tarzan Annuals and Comic Albums.  I've referred to the UK comics in a previous post -as well as some Tarzan mini comics I have from Russia -an incomplete run but I've not been able to track down any other issues since.  That was all covered in a post here:

Now I have seen internet book and auction sites refer to UK "Silver Age RARE" Tarzan comics.  Well, as previously established, the UK Silver Age of Comics was 1950-1976. So the UK comics featuring Tarzan after 1976 are Bronze Age.  But why look for a little knowledge when you try to financially exploit a comic?

I have two copies of the Top Sellers Tarzan No. 1 and I have issues 2, 3, 4, 5 and I was charged £2.50-£3.00 each (No. 1 (both) cost me £2.00 each).  I see sites offering these for anywhere between £35-50.00 and that, my friends, is a con-man at work...or "con-men".

Here is why. The Top Sellers/World Distributors -whichever- run is comprised of the US Dell Comics run but with a 6p or 1/- price tag and no Dell or Gold Key symbol.  The print quality is good but comparing a Dell/Gold Key with Top Sellers the Dell quality seems a tad better -the UK comics were printed in various parts of Europe (I love how during a "Cold War" UK businesses were paying "Warsaw Pact" countries money and work -ask UK printers why!).

Burne Hogarth, Russ Manning, Dan Spiegle, Joe Kubert -all the known Tarzan artists can be found in the later Byblos run (and I'm slowly tracking down info on Byblos).  

And the Daddy of all Tarzan artists, Burne Hogarth is the main artistic contributor outside of the Dell/Gold Key creators.  So, one way or another you are going to find a UK Tarzan comic you don't have, open it up and...find that its material previously published (once or twice).

If - if- you want to buy Tarzan comics that people will pay stupid money for then go for the US Dell/Gold Key because they go for ridiculous prices.  And the UK comics were printed in their thousands -not just in the UK and in  English but there are series in German, Finnish, Dutch, French, Spanish -most languages you can think of.

Do not be conned.  You don't buy the prices come down. You want to pay a lot of money for something that won't get you the money you paid for it back?  Go for one of the current Marvel or DC #1s!

No Tarzan annuals were published in 1963, 1964, 1967 or 1979. I was asked by someone if I'd come across annuals for those years as he had been looking for five years with no luck. I told him he needed to do research before mounting a long term comics quest!

Above is the Tarzan Comic Album No. 1 (1964).  This one needs an upgrade but only cost me £2.50 about a month ago (my previous copy was one of the comics stolen years back).
And below we have Tarzan Comic Album No. 1 -again- (1967).  Both were published by World Distributors but you might ask "Why" two books labelled as number 1?  Well, three years apart    it might just be that there was some legal issue or licence agreement hiccup.

You will, of course, have noted that both were published in years when there was no Tarzanb annual. I have to wonder whether that is because of cost?  A card cover comic album was way cheaper to print than the hardback annuals and the printing and paper quality here is below annual standards.  I am guessing, again, that these were meant to be annuals -hence this odd numbering and format.
In 1966, of course, Tarzan came to TV and the actor who played him in the classic series was Ron Ely (later to play -only once sadly- Doc Savage in a movie) and with the cover of the 1968 annual you can see the Ron Ely influence!
Below the 1969 annual cover...all I can say is "Good Luck" with tacking a rhino head-on with a spear. You'll note these covers are very un-PC these days and even the comics -in one Tarzan is helping a hunting guide whose clients simply want to shoot a rhino but those bloody natives!  Tsk.

Below: The 1970 annual and no animals are being killed and there is no "bondage" for the American collectors.  "Bondage? WHAT??" you may ask.  Well, if there is someone gagged or bound on old comics -particularly from the US and if a female character is the subject- it is called a "bondage cover".  To you and I it is someone tied up but there are comic collectors who love these covers so that 1968 Ron Ely cover should interest them!
1971 and there is good old Ron! And, again, a nice cover illustration.
Here we go!  1973 and Tarzan is taking his knife to fend off wolves while the primates look on and don't want to get involved -"You simply cannot take a human anywhere!"

1974 and Tarzan is in the swing of things.  I make all these jokes up, you know!
1975...yeah, back to that whole stabby-kill thing.  Very un-PC these days but luckily no arschloch dentist is involved here.
1976 and.....yeah. knifey-stabby again.  But he is the "Lord of the Jungle"....which isn't any excuse really.  Oh Tarzan you....human.
1977 and my camera needs repairing!  Apologies for the quality. No knife or stabbing here but these 1970s annual covers seemed very basic. The comics were far more dramatic and eye-catching.
1978 and here we are.  A nice action packed cover and Tarzan has his knife so he can go all stabby again.  A John Bolton cover to boot!
This is where it gets confusing. No annual for 1979 and this one, as is tradion, was published late 1979 so is the 1980 Annual....oh, I thought it might get more confusing. Hogarth material.
These I have reviewed and are the collected newspaper strip books from Titan Publishing. Excellent quality and I love them. But there was and is confusion with volume 1!  This is still up on the internet and even on Titan Books own web page. They seem to go through PR and staff like anything so I'm guessing, based on past experience, someone mixed up the covers cuz these guys look like barbarians!

Below: This is the actual cover. I have this one. The REAL cover. Get it? This is the first of four exclusive volumes that will collect all of Hogarth’s newspaper strips. Beginning with the adventures “Tarzan in the City of Gold” and continuing with “Tarzan and the Boers,” Hogarth and writer Don Garden hit the ground running, and produced some of the most acclaimed stories ever to appear in the pages of newspapers worldwide.
Below: The cover -volume 2 and different story:see? The second of four exclusive volumes, authorized by the Edgar Rice Burroughs estate, collecting the entire run of the legendary Tarzan comic strip by one of the most influential artists of the 20th Century, Burne Hogarth (with Don Garden)
1967 and no Tarzan annual but there was a Tarzan Television Picture Story Book. Probably -no doubts really- to cash in on Ron Ely's Tarzan series.

And the 1968 Tarzan Television Picture Story Book
1972 and Pan Books published the paperback Tarzan of the Apes -all Hogarth work. 

This is a telling point regarding value.  Again a lot of the material is US reprint so it can be found in the comic series,  however, including annuals I have just purchased online, not one has cost me over £5.00 because these arenot rare!

I have other books on the way but this is simply a guide.  This Means I need Tarzan Annuals 1960, 1961, 1962, 1965, 1966 and TV Picture Book 1970 and Bumper Album 1970 as well as The Land That Time Forgot and that's it. Anyone see these for sale online please let me know....I'll send you a bag of marshmallows...unless you are diabetic...

And as I typed that last paragraph I remembered that  for original UK Tarzan material I need one final TV Tornado Annual -1971. I need to check any charity shops some might have annuals!


  1. I recently picked up the 1967 Storybook at a local car boot sale. Its a bit dog-eared with the final 2 pages missing (61-62)but for the measly price of 33p I couldn't grumble! I've recently started picking up various annuals from my youth but this is my first Tarzan one so far.

  2. Hi, Richard. One thing to remember is that no matter how many times you see "Rare" or "Very rare British Tarzan" these books are not, You can get them cheap if you wait and are patient. 33p for that book ain't bad but missing 2 pages would drive ME insane! Just have fun collecting what you like!