Tarzan, everybody’s favorite swinging alpha-male King of the Jungle, makes his way to a book series of collected comic strips that were originally illustrated by the late Russ Manning and the first volume of which will be released on May 29, 2013.
Tarzan: The Complete Russ Manning Newspaper Strips, Vol. 1: 1967 – 1969, will contain the strips that originally ran in black and white from 1967 – 1974 in many daily American newspapers. Sunday color strips ran until 1979. IDW Publishing, responsible for many other handsome collections of comic strips such as Lil’ Abner, Dick Tracy, Blondie, and Bloom County among others, now takes on the famed Edgar Rice Burroughs creation.
IDW’s President and Chief Operating Officer Greg Goldstein, summed it up by exclaiming that “the addition of Tarzan to the Library of American Comics amplifies even further that the imprint is the premier archival home for comic strip reprints and collections. Russ Manning’s Tarzan run is one of the real highlights of the modern age of adventure strips and we are definitely excited to be the home of its long-anticipated return to print.”
The first volume releasing to the public this May will cover the years 1967 – 1969. Three volumes will make up the complete series. The color strips will get its own volume afterwards. Russ Manning had originally been specifically picked to helm the series by the Burroughs Estate back in 1967. Tarzan had sort of seen a slight resurgence at that time, by way of a live action TV series that aired from 1966 – 1968 on NBC-TV in which actor Ron Ely portrayed the Viscount Greystoke (also known as John Clayton or Earl Greystoke).
The legacy and history of Tarzan has been a storied one of high adventure ever since its first appearance as a magazine over 100 years ago (in 1912) and then a book two years after. Actors ranging from Elmo Lincoln, Johnny Weismuller, Buster Crabbe, Miles O’Keefe (who started in what is considered one of the biggest film duds of all time, 1981’s Tarzan the Ape Man with pinup star Bo Derek) and the Highlander himself, Christopher Lambert, have portrayed the tall, loin-clothed muscular protagonist on screen, each bringing and bridging generations of fans who keep discovering the fabled hero.
One of the assistants who was involved with Russ Manning’s comic strip undertaking, William Stout, wrote the forward to the first volume of the collection in which he lauds his former boss and confidant by writing, “Russ Manning was a natural storyteller. He may also be one of the most underrated writers in comics. His beautiful art is so captivating that it’s easy to understand how it might overshadow his scripts. He was as adept with telling Tarzan tales in contemporary Africa as he was setting Ape Man stories in dinosaur-infested Pal-ul-don.”
The strips will be reproduced from the original Edgar Rice Burroughs, Inc. file copies and without a doubt will sport the same kind of upper-echelon class and presentation that IDW has been renowned for in their other handlings of archiving famed comic strips to book form. The first volume will be 288 pages and will sport a list price of $49.99.