Wednesday, April 01, 2015

The Complete Russ Manning Tarzan Newspaper Strips

   I've talked before about how when I was a kid, I basically learned to read from my mom's collection of Gold Key Tarzan comics. I can remember looking at them before I was in school, wondering what the words in the balloons said, and making up stories to go with the pictures. As I learned to read, they were some of the first things I went back to, so that I could finally see what everybody was saying.

   In the late 1960s, the Gold Key Tarzan comics were being drawn by Russ Manning, who remains my favorite Tarzan artist. When I graduated to reading the actual Edgar Rice Burroughs Tarzan novels, it was Manning's ape man I saw in my mind's eye as I read.

   When Gold Key lost the ERB rights to DC Comics in the early 1970s, Joe Kubert became the main artist on Tarzan. I loved Joe's take on Tarzan, but he wasn't Manning. What I didn't know, was that Russ Manning had moved on years earlier to drawing the Tarzan newspaper strip. I gradually became aware of this when DC began to publish reprints of some of the strip material. New Russ Manning Tarzan art that I'd never seen.

   Problem was, DC wasn't reprinting everything, and a lot of the stuff they were publishing was badly chopped up to fit the comic book format. From things I heard later, Manning was less than thrilled with DC reworking his panels. In any case, I knew that there was a lot of Manning Tarzan out there that I didn't have access to.

   Over the years, bits and pieces of the Manning strips were reprinted in different books and magazines, and I managed to collect a lot of it. Still, I longed for a better, more permanent format collecting all the Russ Manning Tarzan. Tonight, I will see that wish fulfilled, because the fourth and final volume of IDW's TARZAN: THE COMPLETE RUSS MANNING NEWSPAPER STRIPS hits the shelves. 288 pages of Manning art, finishing up his long run on the series. These are huge hardcover books on nice paper with the strips shot from stats on file at ERB Inc and they are gorgeous. I couldn't ask for a better format of better reproduction and printing.

   Cliff has already informed me that my copy of the book is awaiting me at Dr. No's. So yes, wishes really do come true. Sometimes you just have to wait for it.