Tarzan is one of those characters that has been illustrated by all the top artists in comics: Foster, Hogarth, Manning, Frazetta, Vallejo, Adams, Kubert, Buscema and so many more. And that’s not even counting the more recent modern titans like Wheatley, Yeates and Jusko.
It would seem almost inconceivable that any fan could get excited by any more Tarzan artists. But that’s exactly what happened to me with Tom Grindberg’s work on Tarzan: The New Adventures.
This hardcover volume collects the weekly strips that the Edgar Rice Burroughs group had been publishing on their site. They had developed weekly online comics that felt like they were torn out of the Sunday newspapers, but designed to capture some of the excitement of digital comics from decade ago. ERB created strips for so many of their properties – from popular characters like Tarzan (I think he had two strips actually) to lesser-known characters like the Mucker, in an impressive series by Ron Marz and Lee Moder.
Full disclosure: ERB is a past client and I like the company quite a bit. I touched upon these webseries a few years ago in a column here.
Here’s the official description from ERB of this collection:
ERB Online Tarzan Comic Strips Released in Hardcover Graphic Novel!
Previously available only to subscribers of the Edgar Rice Burroughs website, Tarzan: The New Adventures is at last available in print. This incarnation of the Jungle Lord is presented in Sunday newspaper landscape format with all-new stories penned by comics legend Roy Thomas (Conan the Barbarian, Avengers, X-Men) with stunning illustration by Thomas Grindberg—whose work stands alongside classic Tarzan illustrators such as Hal Foster, J. Allen St. John, and Frank Frazetta. No Tarzan comics collection is complete without Tarzan: The New Adventures.
But the shining star is artist Tom Grindberg. The “about the creators” section sums up what I like about his Tarzan work very nicely:
“Whereas his early work fit well within the mainstream superhero stories of the day, his love for the heroic illustration of Howard Pyle, George Bridgman, Fran Schoonover, Roy Krenkel and Frank Frazetta shaped his work in the direction shown in the current style, featuring rock-solid anatomy and sinuous line work hard back to the classic age of illustration.”
Grindberg’s adventure sets the bar high for classic adventure. It’s something between a classic 1940 cliffhanger movie and a lost Sunday strip.
There’s a second story illustrated by Benito Gallego, an artist from Alicante, on the east coast of Spain. He got his start in comics working with Roy Thomas, so it makes sense he was recruited for this project. Gallego’s style is heavily influenced by John Buscema, so his work is evocative of the 70s’ Marvel Tarzan comics. I find his work to enjoyable, albeit a bit overcolored in this volume. You can learn more about Gallego here.
Start beating those jungle drums: there’s adventure afoot! And these Tarzan adventures makes it feel like you’re relaxing one long Sunday Morning with the newspaper funnies.