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Tuesday 24 December 2013

Tarzan comic-01-1962

In 1962, I stumbled upon a paperback of Tarzan and the City of Gold, published in 1961.  I was familiar with Tarzan in comics and in the cinema – mainly black and white films on TV – but hadn’t come across his prose adventures.

I was immediately captivated by this sixteenth apeman adventure and I ordered the rest of the available paperbacks (15 at the time) at my local newsagent and bought one per week with pocket-money/paper-delivery money.

I embarked on drawing the novel as a comic. Some of the panels were my own invention, others were copied from British comic reprints of Hogarth, Forster et al. I learned too late that a good adaptation has to cut down on the speech and emphasise the action; I had too many talking heads, too many words on the page.

Shown here are three pages. 1) The cover, jumping into the action straight away.

2 & 3) introduce Tarzan to Queen Nemone of the city of Cathne… I drew them with biro on white wallpaper, normal size, not appreciating I should have been using Indian ink and A3 drawing pads! As for the blue lettering, I suppose I was saving my black biros for the drawings...!

In retrospect, I should have been studying for my exams instead of writing/drawing this comic’s 26 pages! The next comic, continuing the story, reached page 21 before I abandoned it in 1963. I didn’t gain the expected GCE O levels so was unable to follow a college course in art. [Maybe I was a late developer; I subsequently passed more O levels, A levels and got a BA degree, while in the navy.] When I left school I took a job as an office clerk in a shipping and transport firm in Newcastle, then joined the Royal Navy...

Those early days, reading Edgar Rice Burroughs’ adventures, instilled in me a sense of action and adventure that has not eluded me yet.

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