Tarzan (1948) 01.jpg
Dell's Tarzan #1 (January–February 1948)
Publication information
Publisher Dell Comics
Gold Key Comics
Charlton Comics
DC Comics
Marvel Comics
Dark Horse Comics
Format Ongoing series
Publication date Dell Comics
January–February 1948 -
July–August 1962
Gold Key Comics
November 1962 -
February 1972
Charlton Comics
December 1964 - July 1965
DC Comics
April 1972 - February 1977
Marvel Comics
June 1977 - October 1979
Number of issues Dell Comics
130 (#1-130)
Gold Key Comics
75 (#132 - #206)
Charlton Comics
4 (#1-4)
DC Comics
52 (#207 - #258)
Marvel Comics
29 (#1 - #29) plus 3 Annuals
Creative team
Creator(s) Edgar Rice Burroughs

Tarzan, a fictional character created by Edgar Rice Burroughs, first appeared in the 1912 Novel Tarzan of the Apes,[1] and then in 23 sequels. The character proved immensely popular and quickly made the jump to other media, including comics.

Comic strips

Tarzan of the Apes was adapted into newspaper strip form, first published January 7, 1929 with illustrations by Hal Foster.[1] A full page Sunday strip began on March 15, 1931 with artwork by Rex Maxon.[1] United Feature Syndicate distributed the strip.

Over the years, many artists have drawn the Tarzan comic strip, notably Burne Hogarth, Ruben Moreira, Russ Manning, John Celardo and Mike Grell. The daily strip began to reprint old dailies after the last Russ Manning daily (#10,308, which ran on 29 July 1972). The Sunday strip also turned to reprints circa 2000. Both strips continue as reprints today in a few newspapers and in Comics Revue magazine. NBM Publishing did a quality reprint series of the Foster and Hogarth work on Tarzan in a series of hardback and paperback reprints in the 1990s.

The comic strip has often borrowed plots and characters from the Burroughs books. Writer Don Kraar, who wrote the strip from 1982 to 1995, included in his scripts David Innes and John Carter of Mars.

Comic books

United States


Burne Hogarth's Tarzan (June 25, 1939)

Tarzan has appeared in many comic books from numerous publishers over the years, notably Western Publishing, Charlton Comics, DC Comics, Marvel Comics and Dark Horse Comics. The character's earliest comic book appearances were in comic strip reprints published in several titles, such as Sparkler, Tip Top Comics and Single Series.

Western Publishing

Western Publishing published Tarzan in Dell Comics' Four Color Comics #134 & 161 in 1947, before giving him his own series, Tarzan #1-131 (January–February 1948 - July–August 1962), through Dell Comics[2] as well as in some Dell Giants and March of Comics giveaways, then continued the series with #132-206 (November 1962 to February 1972) through their own Gold Key Comics.[3] This series featured artwork by Jesse Marsh, Russ Manning, and Doug Wildey. It included adaptions of most of Edgar Rice Burroughs's original Tarzan books (skipping only Tarzan and the Leopard Men, Tarzan the Magnificent, Tarzan and the Madman and Tarzan and the Castaways), as well as original stories and other features. Almost all of the Dell and Gold Key Tarzan stories were written by Gaylord DuBois. Western also published a companion series, Korak: Son of Tarzan for 45 issues from 1964-72. When Western refused to expand the number of Edgar Rice Burroughs comic books being published, Edgar Rice Burroughs, Inc. sold the rights to DC Comics, who were willing to publish more comics so long as they sold. This decision was motivated by the lucrative overseas reprint rights, which Edgar Rice Burroughs, Inc. were selling to foreign publishers on a per-page rate.[4]

DC Comics

DC Comics took over the series in 1972, publishing Tarzan #207-258 from April 1972 to February 1977.[5] DC continued the numbering from the Gold Key series, rather than starting over at #1. Publishers believed at the time that a series would sell less if people perceived it as new. This version initially showcased artist Joe Kubert's depiction of the character, considered some of the best work of the artist's career.[6] Comics historian Les Daniels noted that Kubert's "scripts and artwork ranked among the most authentic and effective ever seen."[7] DC Comics writer and executive Paul Levitz stated in 2010 that "Joe Kubert produced an adaptation that Burroughs aficionados could respect."[8] The series featured some adaptations of the Burroughs books in addition to original stories,[9] adapting Tarzan of the Apes, The Return of Tarzan, Jungle Tales of Tarzan, Tarzan the Untamed, Tarzan and the Lion Man and Tarzan and the Castaways. Initially the series featured adaptions of other Burroughs creations, and had the companion titles Korak, Son of Tarzan[10] and Weird Worlds. The Korak series was later renamed The Tarzan Family,[11] into which all the non-Tarzan Burroughs adaptations were consolidated. During this period, the British arm of Warner Bros., the corporate parent of DC Comics, published Tarzan and Korak for the British market. Two issues of Limited Collectors' Edition featured reprints of Kubert's Tarzan stories.[12][13]

Because Russ Manning's portrayal of Tarzan was considered "definitive" in most countries, Joe Kubert's Tarzan comics were not well-received outside of the U.S.A., and were consistently outsold by reprints of Manning's Tarzan. Afraid that foreign publishers would stop purchasing reprint rights to the new comics, Edgar Rice Burroughs, Inc. hired Manning (and later Mark Evanier) to oversee the creation of exclusively overseas editions done in Manning's style.[4]

Marvel Comics

In 1977 the series moved to Marvel Comics, retitled as Tarzan, Lord of the Jungle. Marvel published 29 issues from June 1977 to October 1979[14] and 3 Annuals.[15] It restarted the numbering rather than assuming that used by the previous publishers. The series was written by Roy Thomas and featured artwork by John Buscema.[16] Burroughs books adapted by Marvel include Tarzan of the Apes, Tarzan and the Jewels of Opar and Jungle Tales of Tarzan. Mark Evanier remarked that

... the whole Marvel deal was doomed from the start. ... The foreign publishers did not want adaptations. Roy Thomas felt they should do adaptations. They wanted the Russ Manning versions, but John Buscema wanted to make it as much like the Joe Kubert version as possible. Also, the foreign publishers needed stories in fifteen-page increments, because most of the books feature thirty pages of material and two pages of ads. Everything that made the books commercial in America, made them uncommercial overseas.[4]
Marvel did not continue the Tarzan Family title, publishing instead a series on Burroughs' primary non-Tarzan character, John Carter, Warlord of Mars. Marvel Super Special #29 (1983) featured a Tarzan story by writers Sharman DiVono and Mark Evanier and artist Dan Spiegle.[17]

Dark Horse Comics

Dark Horse Comics has published various Tarzan series from 1996 to the present, including archive reprints of works from previous publishers such as Western/Gold Key and DC. Dark Horse and DC published two crossover titles teaming Tarzan with Batman and Superman. Batman/Tarzan: Claws of the Cat-Woman is a "straight" team-up between Tarzan and the 1930s Batman to save an ancient city- during which the two form an effective team as they acknowledge their similar origins, despite such differences as Tarzan's willingness to use lethal force.[18] Superman/Tarzan: Sons of the Jungle is a revisionist version in which Lord Greystoke grows up in England, while Kal-El is raised by the apes as "Argozan", although the two switch roles at the conclusion with Greystoke remaining in the jungle while Kal-El returns to the city, Greystoke stating in a letter to his parents that he feels as though he has found his true place.[19] Tarzan also fought the Predators in the Tarzan vs. Predator: At the Earth's Core miniseries.[20]

In February 2013, Sequential Pulp Comics, a graphic novel imprint distributed by Dark Horse Comics has announced the publication of Jungle Tales of Tarzan by Martin Powell (Script), Pablo Marcos, Terry Beatty, Will Meugniot, Nik Poliwko, Antonio Romero Olmedo, Mark Wheatley, Diana Leto, Steven E. Gordon, Lowell Isaac, Tom Floyd and Jamie Chase (art) and Daren Bader (cover).[21]

Dynamite Entertainment

In December 2011, Dynamite Entertainment launched the series Lord of the Jungle, starring Tarzan, the publisher avoided using the character's name on the cover, so as not to violate your trademark, since this is in the public domain. In 2012, ERB, Inc sued the publisher in court, even so),[22] in 2013, she released a crossover with John Carter titled "Lords of Mars.".[23]

Other publishers


John Celardo drew the Tarzan comic strip from 1954 to 1968.

During the timespan of the original comic book series from Western, DC and Marvel, a number of other comic book projects from other publishers also appeared.

Charlton Comics briefly published a Tarzan comic from December 1964 - July 1965 titled Jungle Tales of Tarzan,[24] adapting stories from that Burroughs book, on the mistaken belief that the character was in the public domain.

Watson-Guptill Publications published hardcover comic book versions of the first half of Tarzan of The Apes in 1972 and four stories from Jungle Tales of Tarzan in 1976. These were illustrated by Hogarth many years after he stopped doing the newspaper strip and had a level of penmanship rarely seen in comics or even illustrations. It had captions of text from the novel instead of speech balloons.

Between the periods when Marvel and Dark Horse held the licence to the character, Tarzan had no regular comic book publisher for a number of years. During this time Blackthorne Publishing published Tarzan in 1986, and Malibu Comics published Tarzan in 1992.

There have in addition been a number of minor appearance of Tarzan in comic books over the years. Though not mentioned by name, Tarzan is referenced in Alan Moore's The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen. Places and people from the original Tarzan novels are referred to, suggesting that Tarzan does or did exist in that universe.

In a 1999 The Phantom story, the hero meets Edgar Rice Burroughs, and inspires him to create Tarzan. Warren Ellis' Planetary series has a pastiche of Tarzan named Lord Blackstock.

Between 1999 and 2003, had comics under license from Disney because of the film.[25]

In 2012, Edgar Rice Burroughs, Inc began webcomics paid on their official website, some of them starring Tarzan: Tarzan by Roy Thomas (script) and Tom Grindberg (art), Tarzan of The Apes by Roy Thomas (script), Pablo Marcos (art) and Oscar Gonzales (colors and lettering).


Tarzan comics were the first publications that were put on the index by the German Bundesprüfstelle für jugendgefährdende Schriften after its founding in 1954. (I.e. the #34 & 35 of the German "Tarzan"-monthly-series weren't allowed to be sold in Germany because the Bundesprüfstelle considered them to be harmful for young readers.)

The European version of the Tarzan comic was published from 1983 to 1989 by Marketprint in Yugoslavia, and later translated and published in Sweden, Norway, Finland, Germany, Netherlands and Denmark. There were over 100 published episodes, each of which had 16 pages. In most of them Branislav Kerac was involved, either as the writer, penciller, inker, or complete author.[26] He was also responsible for "The Kalonga Star," a five episode crossover between Tarzan and Kobra. Other notable episodes were "Tarzan and Barbarians," "The Tiger," "The Boy from the Stars," and "Big Race."

Collected editions

Dark Horse Comics

IDW Publishing


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Markstein, Don. "Tarzan of the Apes". Don Markstein's Toonopedia. Retrieved October 7, 2012. 
  2. Tarzan (Dell Comics) at the Grand Comics Database
  3. Tarzan (Gold Key Comics) at the Grand Comics Database
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 Kraft, David Anthony; Slifer, Roger (April 1983). "Mark Evanier". Comics Interview (Fictioneer Books) (2): pp. 23–34. 
  5. Tarzan (DC Comics) at the Grand Comics Database
  6. McAvennie, Michael; Dolan, Hannah, ed. (2010). "1970s". DC Comics Year By Year A Visual Chronicle. Dorling Kindersley. p. 151. ISBN 978-0-7566-6742-9. "Tarzan enjoyed a prolific period in comics when DC acquired the rights to novelist Edgar Rice Burroughs' iconic ape-man. Much of that success should be attributed to writer, artist, and editor Joe Kubert, a lifelong Tarzan fan whose gritty, expressive style was perfect for the jungle hero." 
  7. Daniels, Les (1995). "Looking Backward Nostalgia Comes to Comic Books". DC Comics: Sixty Years of the World's Favorite Comic Book Heroes. Bulfinch. p. 166. ISBN 978-0821220764. 
  8. Levitz, Paul (2010). "The Bronze Age 1970-1984". 75 Years of DC Comics The Art of Modern Mythmaking. Taschen America. p. 449. ISBN 9783836519816. 
  9. Schelly, Bill (2011). The Art of Joe Kubert. Fantagraphics Books. pp. 183. ISBN 978-1606994870. 
  10. Korak, Son of Tarzan (DC Comics) at the Grand Comics Database
  11. The Tarzan Family at the Grand Comics Database
  12. Limited Collectors' Edition #C-22 at the Grand Comics Database
  13. Limited Collectors' Edition #C-29 at the Grand Comics Database
  14. Tarzan, Lord of the Jungle at the Grand Comics Database
  15. Tarzan Annual at the Grand Comics Database
  16. Sanderson, Peter; Gilbert, Laura, ed. (2008). "1970s". Marvel Chronicle A Year by Year History. Dorling Kindersley. p. 179. ISBN 978-0756641238. "Writer Roy Thomas and artist John Buscema created Marvel's new Tarzan series, based on author Edgar Rice Burroughs' character." 
  17. Marvel Super Special #29 at the Grand Comics Database
  18. Marz, Ron; Kordey, Igor (2000). Batman/Tarzan: Claws of the Cat-Woman. Dark Horse Comics. pp. 96. ISBN 1569714665. 
  19. Dixon, Chuck; Meglia, Carlos (2002). Superman/Tarzan: Sons of the Jungle. Dark Horse Comics. pp. 80. ISBN 1569717613. 
  20. Simonson, Walt; Weeks, Lee (1997). Tarzan vs. Predator: At the Earth's Core. Dark Horse Comics. pp. 104. ISBN 156971231X. 
  21. "Sequential Pulp Announces New TARZAN Graphic Novel". Comicosity. 
  22. Heidi MacDonald. "Dynamite responds to ERB in Tarzan/John Carter lawsuit". Comics Beat. 
  23. publisher=Comic Book Resource. "Warlord of Mars" & "Lord of the Jungle" Clash in Dynamite's "Lords of Mars".". 
  24. Jungle Tales of Tarzan at the Grand Comics Database
  25. Tarzan Inducks
  26. "Bane Kerac". Lambiek Comiclopedia. November 13, 2006. Archived from the original on October 7, 2012. Retrieved October 7, 2012. 
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  36. "Tarzan: The Jesse Marsh Years Vol. 10". Dark Horse Comics. Retrieved October 7, 2012. 
  37. "Tarzan: The Jesse Marsh Years Vol. 11". Dark Horse Comics. Retrieved October 7, 2012. 
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  41. "Tarzan: The Joe Kubert Years Vol. 3". Dark Horse Comics. Retrieved October 7, 2012. 
  42. "'The Unauthorized Tarzan HC". Dark Horse Comics. 
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