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Thursday, 21 July 2016

I FINALLY Have That Last Russian Tarzan Comic!

And here I was thinking that CBO would never be useful!  Also, I thought that I would never get the 4th issue of the Tarzan comic from Russia I mentioned (see article below).

Evgeny from Russia read this article and he sent me a scan of issue 4!  And now he has, I hope, the scanned issues he needed -5 and 6 (there were only 6 issues apparently).

I had hoped that, with Russia providing the highest views after the United States someone might be able to help and they have.  Thank you, Evgeny!

Ahh.  Here is the article.


TARZAN! Tarzan Swings! Tarzan Falls! Tarzan Hurts--

Below Gara Jungle Lord based on the character from Swan Stransky & Labbat!

Yesterday evening I was looking through my Byblos editions of Tarzan comics which, incidentally, are US reprints in black and white and not new material so if someone tries to con you with a high price remember that.

I think for my generation Ron Ely (later to be Doc Savage -sadly only one movie) was the Tarzan because of the 1960s TV series. Of course we appreciated Johnny Weissmuller and some of those original movies were quite graphic -man with arrow in head for example, but that was before movies started censoring!

Gordon Scott was the muscle man Tarzan, Lex Barker, Mike Henry but as the 1980s rolled in things went very wrong.  Sorry, Mr. Lambert, BIG fan after seeing the movie Subway but as Tarzan.....?  And Di$neys gut-wrenching Tarzan...I can hardly keep my dinner down thinking about it -puerile, festering heap.

You do realise I'm not going to refer to the porn Tarzan movies, right?

Ahem. But back to Tarzan as a character. Lord Greystoke's son, yes, but I think the idea of "the noble white savage" in "civilised" society can only go so far.

My favourite Gold Key -but published by Top Sellers in the UK- Tarzan comic strip was Tarzan and The Lost Empire which for some reason I keep calling "Tarzan And The Lost City" -mixing up Tarzan And The Forbidden City there but I am old. .  Still fills me with nostalgia today -story and the artwork.  Need to get an enlargement of certain pages for display.   Thinking about it, I checked and in fact I did mention this briefly here:
I just found by accident while putting some German comics away this one from 1971:
I even have some (not complete series) Tarzan comics that I wrote about a while back but in case you missed it: Tarzan Sohn Der Affen (Tarzan Son Of The Apes) nummer 15 -another Dell/Western reprint published this time by Bildschriftenverlag GmbH or BSV for short.

 Тарзан or Tarzan. A Russian Comic Series

Many years ago, in a time when there was no internet (children: breath slowly into a brown paper bag) we did things "old school"...we wrote.  Pens and writing on paper.

To cut back on the sarcasm and get to the point, I was contacted by a Wladimir Malyschew (it is a long time ago so I apologise if my spelling and memory is off here).  I think he contacted me after reading the German magazine Watcher in which my German super hero group, D-Gruppe, had just been published.

We corresponded and I sent him a couple of the Tolkien books he was interested in and I got a couple batches of Russian comics/childrens magazines.

There were some issues of  Murzilka --be warned: people on ebay are selling these as Russian "comic books" which they are NOT!  My favourite, however, were Tap3aH  or Tarzan. I did have issues 1-6 of this series published by the SLOVO Association, however, no. 4 is amongst the stolen comics from my collection. 

Just over 7 ins long and just under 5 ins high (about 10 x 17 cms) issues 1 and two unfold, concertina-like, to a length of just under 3 feet (90cms)  but issues 3-6 conform to a badly guillotined 8.5 ins x 5.75 ins (about 22 x 14.5 cms).  Issue 3 has a slightly glossy paper but all the others are the usual Russian standard for the period.

True, the artwork is not comparable to say, Joe Kubert or one of the other American Tarzan comic artists, however, to me that does not matter.  The old Soviet Union did not have an organised comics industry.  Comics were rather "superfluous" to the Soviet mind. My Russian is not good enough to see if there is any credit regarding the writer/artist though that might have been seen as egotism and all I know is that the SLOVO Association published this.

As we are getting a very large number of hits on CBO from Russia perhaps someone there knows something about SLOVO or the creators of this comic?

As I mentioned, the art is a bit crude and the apes look more like reported Sasquatch than chimpanzees or gorillas. But this is genuine, budding Russian comic book art and I just love them. I have no idea how long the series ran (but I doubt I'll ever see a complete set!). 

Someone from a Samizdat (look it up) magazine was introduced to me by a Czech comic fan at one of my last UK Comic Art Conventions in London and I was interviewed and praised this Tarzan series. No idea if the interview ever got published but...

So, here, I present the first issue, low res scans, followed by the covers to the other issues I have.
Enjoy...more of my Soviet "comics" to follow!

Covers :

Anyway, in the movies and comics Tarzan got to travel a fair bit but I think the adventures in uncharted Africa are my favourites.  If you've read any of my books you'll know that there was and is (?) a lot of weird stuff in Africa and wars and much more have meant that some areas can still be called "untouched by man".  According to the BBC Future page:

"....maps can overestimate their creators’ geographic worth, or reveal bias against certain places. Africa’s true size, for example, has been chronically downplayed throughout the history of mapmaking, and even now, non-Africans tend to underestimate the size of that truly massive continent – which is large enough to cover China, the US and much of Europe."

And, further, on this very day, 23rd January, 2016, we find a headline on The Telegraph: Scientists discover new forest with undiscovered species on Google Earth. Yes, it might sound ridiculous but a 'new' jungle.  But there is far more and if you don't believe me here is part of the item, the rest can be found here:

"The mountainous area of northern Mozambique in southern Africa had been overlooked by science due to inhospitable terrain and decades of civil war in the country.
However, while scrolling around on Google Earth, an internet map that allows the viewer to look at satellite images of anywhere on the globe, scientists discovered an unexpected patch of green.
A British-led expedition was sent to see what was on the ground and found 7,000 hectares of forest, rich in biodiversity, known as Mount Mabu.
In just three weeks, scientists led by a team from the Royal Botanic Gardens in Kew found hundreds of different plant species, birds, butterflies, monkeys and a new species of giant snake.
The samples which the team took are now back in Britain for analysis...."


The point I'm trying to make in a very long-winded way is that there is enough in Africa for Tarzan or any other jungle action hero.  For instance: how did the British hero Tiger-man, in Africa, get bitten by a sabre-toothed tiger?  Why did Gara -Jungle Lord have a "tame" tiger in Africa?  That would be an interesting cryptozoological adventure in itself.

Rodney Dearth took The Iron Warrior to "Darkest Africa" for adventure.  I then, like an idiot, transplant him to South America -though Ben Dilworth has written and drawn strips based in both those lands.

And then we have Halcon -Lord of the Crater Land which is clearly placed in Africa though not stated -natives and Arab slavers gives the game away since Arab slavers in South America (where one "comics historian" who has obviously never read the strip placed it) is a bit of an economic if not practical problem!

Of course, with Black Tower, Halcon was firmly established as being in Africa, even fighting alongside Captain Namibia and other African heroes.

I really need to get into more jungle action -drawing not actually going to Africa to look for adventure! Inspiration is there in the form of Tarzan -Gold Key/Top Sellers, Byblos Editions, the Burne Hogarth'sTarzan of the Apes or the collected Titan Books editions of Hogarth and Don Garden's Tarzan.

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