Tag: Tarzan

Brainiac On Banjo: Let’s Stumble In The Jungle

Brainiac On Banjo: Let’s Stumble In The Jungle

“Walking through forests of palm tree apartments. Scoff at the monkeys who live in their dark tents. Down by the waterhole, drunk every Friday, eating their nuts, saving their raisins for Sunday. Lions and tigers who wait in the shadows; they’re fast but they’re lazy, and sleep in green meadows.” From “Bungle in the Jungle,” written by Chip Taylor, Wyclef Jean, Lauryn Hill, Trevor Smith, Stig Anderson, Kamaal Fareed, Malik Taylor, Pras Michel, Forte, Benny Andersson, and Bjoern K Ulvaeus.

Let me start this week’s disquisition with an apology. A friend of mine sent me the above piece of art which he copped off the internet. He did not know who the artist was, but it so directly relates to my experiences as a comic book fan that I’m using it anyway, with sincere apologizes to its creator. It’s fantastic, it’s right on the money, and it directly addresses one of my major four-color bugaboos.

Outside of the obvious, which is clearly seen in the above purloined artwork, I never understood the massive appeal of jungle girl comics. By and large, these stories were exquisitely drawn but horribly overwritten. Of course, there wasn’t a lot of room to do brilliant heroic jungle action stories, and usually there was a male companion/savior involved. The late 40s / early 50s were like that. I guess women in four-color or full color needed saviors back then.

Only a handful of jungle heroes had “legs” — that is, the ability to successfully endure in their own title for a long period of time. There were a lot jungle women, mostly white, all in terrific shape and clothed in barnstorming costumes. Mind you, they all wore more than, say, Tarzan, but they wore it better.

These women were immortalized by a plethora of terrific artists such as Matt Baker, Frank Frazetta, Bill Everett, Bob Powell, George Evans, Lou Fine, Mort Meskin, Ralph Mayo, and Maurice Whitman… to name but a few. Clearly, these casting decisions made everybody quite happy. Continue reading “Brainiac On Banjo: Let’s Stumble In The Jungle”

With Further Ado #288: Tarzan, the Rebooted

With Further Ado #288: Tarzan, the Rebooted

I remember in the early 90s when “upstart” publisher Malibu Comics burst on the scene with their new Tarzan comics. To add a bit of context, their efforts followed the classic runs of Tarzan comic series published by Gold Key Comics, with wonderful Russ Manning and Doug Wildey artwork, DC, with top-of-his game Joe Kubert art, and Marvel Comics, showcasing John Buscema as he was obviously loving every minute of it.

This new Malibu comic cover had a different Tarzan (albeit throwback) logo and a shocking image of the central characters with jarring colors. The front cover was by Marc Hempel and the alternate cover – flip covers were the norm back then – was painted by Simon Bisley. The cover copy taunted readers: “You’ve never seen Tarzan like this before!”

And they were right!

Writer Mark Wheatley, penciler Neil Volkes, and interior inker Hempel showcased a different approach to Tarzan. I don’t know if we were all using the word “reboot” back then, but this clearly was a reboot.

Wheatley explained to me that the Tarzan fans, at the time, were furious with him. But over time, his innovative run has now become revered and embraced.

How difficult is it to reboot a classic character? Is it necessary? Is it ever embraced initially?

Tarzan the Untamed

I just read the seventh of book in Edgar Rice Burroughs’ original Tarzan series: Tarzan, the Untamed. My wife, Kathe, and I were in a wonderful comic shop in Saratoga Springs, Cosmic Capes Comics, not long ago. The cover to this hardcover caught my eye. How could it not? The insanely talented Joe Jusko is providing new covers to all the ERB books. He’s knocking it outta the park! Each cover is clever, creative and compelling. Continue reading “With Further Ado #288: Tarzan, the Rebooted”

Brainiac on Banjo: Bond… Hoagy Bond?

Brainiac on Banjo: Bond… Hoagy Bond?

Have no fear, look who’s here… James Bond… They’ve got us on the run… With guns… And knives… We’re fighting for our lives. – Casino Royale, written by Burt Bacharach and Hal David.

The US release of the first James Bond comic book.

Sherlock Holmes. Tarzan. Superman. James Kirk. James Bond. The public’s continuing appetite for heroic fantasy superstars has long been well established, and ever since communication went mass they have been at the center of the most prevalent form of entertainment worldwide. This is a truth that validates our low-brow culture: it turns out that both boys and girls just want to have fun.

Not all such characters live forever. Tarzan, like The Lone Ranger, The Shadow, Bulldog Drummond and many other superstars of action, are in serious danger of being relegated to the storage stacks of cultural history. Of course, that death need not be permanent: Doctor Who, Star Trek and several others have been successfully resurrected and modernized without destroying the fabric of their creation.

When it comes to one of the most successful heroes, at the present we are on hold. Daniel Craig has retired as the latest James Bond and, even though the next Bond flick is just entering its development stage I can’t help but wonder how they’ll pull off James’ inevitable resurrection. Continue reading “Brainiac on Banjo: Bond… Hoagy Bond?”

With Further Ado #237: Start-Ups & Second Acts in Geek Culture

With Further Ado #237: Start-Ups & Second Acts in Geek Culture

One of the many great things about Geek Culture is the opportunity for “second acts”.

There’s an old gag that posits 97% of all comic fans want to work in comics, and the other 3% are lying. There’s probably a lot of truth in that.

I would guess the numbers aren’t as high for something like the music industry, for example. I love listening to music, but I have no talent and little aptitude to create music. I even hum off key.

This weekend, Saratoga Springs celebrated the annual Chowderfest. It’s an incredible time, as just about every restaurant and bar erects a Pop-Up to serve their own version of chowder. This annual event attracts so many locals as well as folks like us, who traveled there for the festivities. There were so many people enjoying this event. Along with so many tasty chowders. There were also long lines, more than a few hoisted beer mugs and lots of smiles. Continue reading “With Further Ado #237: Start-Ups & Second Acts in Geek Culture”

With Further Ado #221: Book Review – Tarzan, The New Adventures

With Further Ado #221: Book Review – Tarzan, The New Adventures

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: Continue reading “With Further Ado #221: Book Review – Tarzan, The New Adventures”

With Further Ado #071: Rescued from the Bargain Box

With Further Ado #071: Rescued from the Bargain Box

Bargain Boxes! I love them!

My mom was quite the shopper. She’d always come home from the stores and provide a detailed account of the amazing price she paid for each and every item, detailing the sales she’d find and the arcane combinations of coupons she’d use. Looking back, I think she just wanted to my dad to say, at the conclusion of her sales presentations, “Gee Cassie, you convinced me – you couldn’t afford to not buy it!”

There is great love between the two of the them, and anything she wanted to do was just fine with my dad.

I think (worry?) I inherited some of this discount mania from my Mom.  And one way it translates is with Comic Shop Bargain Boxes.

In some ways, the jury is out on these boxes. Some stores don’t like them. One of my favorite shops, The Joker’s Child in Fairlawn, NJ has never had them, subscribing to the notion that they devalue the new, full-priced product that’s on sale.  Other stores, like Comics For Collectors, in Ithaca, NY, always has a few bargain boxes ( 5 comics for a dollar).  For them, it’s a great way to blow through old inventory, and provide an occasional treasure that adds to a customer’s in-store experience.  Continue reading “With Further Ado #071: Rescued from the Bargain Box”

Brainiac On Banjo #023: Is It Over Yet?

Brainiac On Banjo #023: Is It Over Yet?

I see The CW picked up all its comic book-based teevee shows for their 2019 – 2020 season, and they’re shooting the pilot for their new Batwoman series. This means we’ll be watching them on broadcast channels at least until the next presidential debates.

That’s amusing. The CW’s DC’s Legends of Tomorrow has yet to air its 2018 – 2019 season. Then again, ABC renewed Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. for 2019 – 2020 season without having broadcast this year’s output either. In business terms, those are genuine acts of faith.

Captain Marvel opens in a theater near you in one short month. Yes, this is February and this is a short month. The Brie Larson flick already has broken all advance ticket sales records. Shazam! opens one month later, followed by Hellboy one week after that. The Avengers: Endgame starts pushing popcorn three weeks after that, X-Men Dark Phoenix follows a month after that, Spider-Man Far From Home a couple weeks after, the New Mutants opens the beginning of August (assuming they ever finish the reshoots), and The Joker comes forth Bat-less the beginning of October. 2020’s schedule appears to be just as overloaded. As Lenny Kravitz sang, it ain’t over till it’s over.

Why is this still happening? Shouldn’t it be over by now?  Continue reading “Brainiac On Banjo #023: Is It Over Yet?”

Everything We Read This Week – 7/4/2018

Everything We Read This Week – 7/4/2018

In this column, we make a quick trip through this weeks pull-list. It features mostly spoiler-free brief analysis and commentary of each book.

This week, Wednesday was on the Fourth of July, and many people were lucky enough to get to their LCS on the holiday. There were a lot of new significant books this week. Some ended stories, some were beginnings, and others were turning points. We tried to bring as many as we could here to give you our take on this weeks slate.

There is a 4 star rating system. It is simple and not to be taken too seriously as everyone gets their own impressions of art. These ratings are just to give our readers an idea of what we thought of the book, and they will be on the generous side normally. So don’t expect to see a lot of 1 Stars. After all, its not often that you have a bad book on your pull-list.

The rating system is as follows:

  • Great
  • Good
  • OK
  • Not Good

And here are the books we read in alphabetical order:

Continue reading “Everything We Read This Week – 7/4/2018”