Saturday, August 13, 2011

Conan Versus Tarzan

Over at the Silver Key, my pal Brian Murphy was reviewing Charles R. Saunders novel Imaro, and the question came up, Could Imaro beat Conan or Tarzan in a fight. My somewhat tongue in cheek response was that my money was on Tarzan. That's actually true in the Tarzan versus Conan question too. I'm betting on the ape-man.
However, I should point out that this has little to do with fanboy type speculation on the physical abilities of the combatants. I can tell you as a former teacher and student of karate and ju-jitsu that if three such titans as Imaro, Conan, and Tarzan fought hand to hand, anybody might beat anybody else on a given day.
No, the simple answer is, I just like Tarzan best of the three. I'm reminded of something that happened a few years back when I mentioned to my dad that some of us fanboy types were debating who would win in a hand to hand fight between Conan and Tarzan. My dad looked at me as if I were crazy and said, without hesitation, "Well Tarzan of course."
I had to give that some thought. See, my dad doesn't know from Conan. Didn't read the books or comics. I think he saw the 1980 movie. But he grew up reading the Tarzan novels and watching the movies. To him Tarzan will always be the top physical specimen of mankind. Conan is some Johnny-come-lately who wouldn't stand a chance against Edgar Rice Burroughs' jungle lord.
Now me, being a guy who grew up with both characters, and being someone who has taken part in many 'Thor versus Superman' type discussions would have to give the question more consideration. Ultimately though, I would end up giving the nod to Tarzan because I was aware of Tarzan long before I'd heard of Conan. I'll supply a link to my essay 'Tarzan and Me' at the end of this post.
Thing is, I'm afraid most of today's young fans would give Conan the win for much the same reasons I'd give it to Tarzan. Tarzan has faded into the background since the 1970s, and is probably best known as the hero of a Disney movie to most young people. Conan, because of recent comics, games, and yes, reruns of the Ahhnold movie, is everywhere. If you asked them who would win in a fight between Conan and Tarzan, they would probably look at you as if you were crazy and say, "Well Conan of course."

Oh, I just noticed that with this post, number 150 for 2011, I passed the total number of posts for 2010. And hey, there are still four months left in the year after August.


Brian Murphy said...

For the record, having read all the Conan stories but only some Tarzan, I happen to think that Tarzan is physically superior to Conan, and so would win in a hand to hand, weaponless duel.

Give a Conan a sword and a mailed shirt though, and I'd put my money on the Cimmerian.

Charles R. Rutledge said...

Yep, Tarzan occasionally used a sword, but he wasn't in Conan's league by a long shot.

Benito Gallego said...

I was also aware of Tarzan before I met Conan but I think Conan would win.

Conan broke a bull's neck with his bare arms when he was 15. I don't think Tarzan did something similar ever.

Conan is also taller and bigger than Tarzan and has been trained in the fighting arts.

Charles R. Rutledge said...

Hey Benito! Really enjoyed your recent issue of Flash. I could probably dig into my Tarzan books and find something that would equal the bull neck breaking, but I won't go down that road or we'll be here for days. Let's just agree to disagree. I could probably argue for either character if I put my mind to it.

Mikeyboy said...

A real fight between these two characters would need to be a battle of strength and the winner would be decided by the man with the greater killer instinct. As far as strength goes. They're pretty evenly matched. They have both killed with their bare hands ...Apes , Jungle cats , Giant dudes a score of foemen big ol' lizards snake people Giant mutant ape name it There is enough bare handed killing done on both sides. I think that show on the SPIKE network with the ultimate warriors computer scenario would need to be used for this to be fairly determined. But....Conan and a sword against Tarzan with a knife...CONAN all the way...