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Sunday, 20 March 2016

The Best Of Tarzan's Jungle Adventures! And A Bit More About UK Tarzan

Or is it?

Okay, firstly those high priced Ebay auctions by one dealer appear to be rigged. Absolutely no bids on a book so I did and within 5 minutes I'd outbid by an anonymous bidder (same ID no,). In fact, this bidder then bids up to £20 ($40) on books not valued above £1.50 each.

I tried an experiment and bid three times on books that had no other bids on them.  Each time the SAME anonymous bidder suddenly shows up. Once, okay.  Twice....well.  Three times....this is odd. Five, this is not coincidence.

Seriously, if you are dumb enough to pay up to eight times the actual value of a UK reprint comic go ahead.

See, I made the mistake of going for the UK comics because I'm a British comic historian/collector. I went for the UK editions because they should be £1.50-2.50 each depending on issue number and I have three first issues that cost me £1.50 each.

Dell/Gold Key Tarzan comics or even the 1950s UK Tarzans are cheaper.  Dell/Gold Key is the main publisher that UK reprints come from and those should be the collectible ones and, yes, I could have bought these by now because the prices are lower than the prices on the  over inflated UK versions.

A better dealer I just purchased two mint copies of the Tarzan Monthly and of the Tarzan Weekly from for £5.00 including the postage.

Which brings us to Tarzan Of The Apes Bumper Album No. 1 (Top Sellers, 1970).  Bought this for, again, £5.00 and if I tell you £2.00 of that was postage you'll see what I mean.  Now, the cover blurb reads: "The Best Of Tarzan's Jungle Adventures!"

I've seen the comic 'experts' refer to this as a UK Comic Annual dimension format. That would be 8 inches by 10.75 inches (20 x 27cms).  It isn't.  So you can believe the "Comic annual format" description of this book as much as you can believe the  Vulcan Comic Annual is a "hardback" (it isn't -it's a paperback).

The format is US comic size but the "Best" of Tarzan's adventures?  Not really.  You see,it's a Double-Double Comic.....

Below: See -three comics under a make-shift cover.

I know, you are asking "A Double Double Comic? What-?"  I have written about them before but, basically, Thorpe & Porter, the Leicester based distributor/publisher had a problem.

If comics were returned then they had books they could not do much with.  Most were dated and although Alan Class avoided this problem by not dating his comics, those US books T&P/Top Sellers had the dates on them -as did the Tarzan UK reprints.
Strange Adventures Double Double Comics No 1
Someone realised that very few kids in a comic hungry country took notice of the legal indicia at the bottom of page 1 of comics.  So, tear off the covers and push three into a new cover: often the same cover would have different comics within because it really was just throw what you had left over in -it was all money!

And this is what the Tarzan Of The Apes Bumper Album No. 1 was. Nothing more than three issues dumped inside a double sided cover. Apart from a slight tear along the top of the spine this is a near mint copy with clean pages.

What you get are the Dell/Gold Key reprints:

The first story has its title removed.  In fact a couple of caption boxes also has this -see below:

*Tarzan And The Forbidden City Part 1 (untitled)
*A 'Ndorobo Custom (text)
*Leopard Girl The Intruders
*Tarzan And The Foreign Legion (AGAIN!!)
*Boy And The Bark Canoe
*Leopard Girl -Gorash Has Gone!
*Tarzan And The Forbidden City Part 2 -The Father Of Diamonds
*Numa And The Man Cub (a rather cutsey strip)
*Leopard Girl -The Beast Man
 *"Happy warrior" A text story and what might have been intended as a cut-out mask?

Hmm. Cut-price and home produced inside back cover art advertising Korak Son Of Tarzan!
Below: Leopard Girl another back-up feature of the DellGold Key Tarzan comics.  Again it ends with "To Be Continued" so I'm guessing there was another part to this?
Seriously, Tarzan And The Foreign Legion seems to be reprinted everywhere.

And when you read that the UK comics and annuals of TV Tornado are a "must buy" if you are a Tarzan comic fan....reprints. The odd text story with an illo but the strips are more of the same.

Again, I'll warn that if you have the Burne Hogarth Tarzan books then you have what was published in the UK in the 1950s -but these would be more worth getting and most seem cheaper than the 1970s/1980s reprints of Dell/Gold Key Tarzan comics or the material published by Byblos which is still reprinted material.

I've listened to what comic collectors and fans say and do you know why they collect the Dell/Gold Key Tarzan comics?  The painted covers.  Alter Ego magazine from TwoMorrows, even did a feature on this and even a couple of features on the cover art of Tarzan comics.  It is the cover art.  The stories are not that great -no "Even An Android Can Cry" or "Somne Say The World Will End In Fire...Some Say In Ice!" stories.  I still love the daftness of "The Lost Empire" but here is the basic plot guideline to Tarzan comic stories:

#1 -Tarzan fights an animal and kills it.
#2 -Tarzan kills and animal.  No reason -things were just going that way.
#3 -Tarzan is feared by superstitious natives because he is The Great White Ape. And that's code for          "Tarzan is a White man therefore superior to the uppity blacks."
#4 -some princess or white woman goes all gooey-eyed over the great hunk.
#5 -Tarzan kills an animal....he hasn't done that in a few panels so....
#6 -Tarzan finds a lost city or empire.....jeez, they ever heard of maps or basic "how not to get lost"?
#7 -Tarzan gets captured and leads a revolt.
#8 -Tarzan gets to kill an animal.  Donna Barr said it "Tarzan movies are just animal snuff films" and            that says it all.

I mean, he comes across a fella about to fight a very badly drawn T-rex type critter and thinks: "Dinosaur...supposed to be extinct a hundred million years ago!" then "KREEGAH! TARZAN BUNDOLO!" and he gets all stabbie and snuffs the dino.   Also, Tarzan seems to go from being quite intelligent to  not that bright.

Oddly, #1-8 above sums up the whole Hal Foster and Burne Hogarth newspaper strips. I decided to re-read the collected books and at one point (it was 0300 hrs) fell asleep and the pages of the book flipped and when I woke I continued reading until I realised the woman who had gone all googly-eyed over Tarzan looked different!!  I also started realising even more just how casually Tarzan killed animals -oh and "His" apes were different from ordinary gorillas....?

Unsavoury.  Even the UK reprints -in Tarzan Super Adventure Quarterly- followed this theme.  A white hunter-guide "only" wanted to lead his party of businessmen to shoot a rhino but, you guessed it, the natives were getting uppity again! So Tarzan goes along to ensure the white guys get to kill their rhino...I like the whole lost cities and fantasy type of stories and whereas comics should have been educating kids that animals were not just there to kill for fun, they were saying "They are wild animals -it's our right to kill them".

I have a great Tarzan story where he is called before a Council of Animals and judged. But Tarzan is copyrighted and ....

So, if -if- you want to collect Tarzan comics that will accrue in value then go for Dell Comics but be aware of certain things: the cover -the cover- has to be in mint or near mint condition because that is what most collectors are looking for.  Pages inside have to be white or just "off white" -yellowing or browning and you've knocked 75% off your value.  And it has to have the Dell/Gold Key logo.

This is the type of thing collectors want:

The original Gold Key covers.  Not the blank logo box with a date and title in it and a "Gold Key Book" (see bottom of cover above this one) at the bottom because that couyld not be removed or blotted out.

It also needs to be remembered that BSV/Williams were reprinting these all across Europe and, I hear, beyond.  So reprints you can collect in most countries but the UK dealers charge the highest prices. It is a con. And it shows that these people have no idea about comics or they would know all about Dell/Gold Key and why those are the collectors books.

I'll tell you something else...sat here typing my loin-cloth has gone right up my lost valley.

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