Review: Tarzan #1

Tarzan (Marvel) #1 cover
Cover by John Buscema

Tarzan #1
Published by Marvel and © Edgar Rice Burroughs, Inc., June 1977

Title: “Tarzan and the Jewels of Opar”
Synopsis: Tarzan returns to save a safari hunter from beast and man – but is the hunter really who he says?

Writer: Roy Thomas
Penciler: John Buscema
Inker: Buscema

Review: Marvel’s Tarzan directly replaced Joe Kubert’s excellent run with the character at DC (see review of DC’s first issue), so it’s almost impossible not to compare the two versions. Writer Roy Thomas delivers a much wordier script than your typical Kubert issue; this isn’t a bad thing, really, but it does rob the story of some kinetic energy. As for the art, John Buscema’s work is decent, but his jungles are nowhere near as lush and his storytelling is a bit bland compared to Kubert’s. Still, on its own merits, this is an enjoyable first issue.

Grade: B

Second opinion: “2 out of 4 stars.” – Michael Tierney, Comics Buyer’s Guide #1613, February 2006 … “Unimaginative stories and dull art … .” – The Slings & Arrows Comic Guide (second edition), 2003

Cool factor: Turns out this reviewer might be a Tarzan fan. Who knew?

Notable: Includes a one-page text feature, “Edgar Rice Burroughs: The Man Who Created Tarzan.” … There’s also a John Buscema pinup of Tarzan.
Collector’s note: According to the Grand Comics Database, there is a 35¢ variant of this issue.

Character quotable: “Hello. I’m Tarzan.” – Tarzan, Lord of the Jungle

A word from the writer/editor: “There are certain heroes just about every comic-book writer in the business would give his typing-finger to get a crack at – at least once.” – Roy Thomas, on the chance to write childhood favorite Tarzan, from the “Tarzan’s Jungle Drums” essay in this issue

Editor’s note: This review was originally published by Comics Bronze Age on March 12, 2010.

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