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Volume 4855

BOB LUBBERS
Tarzan Artist
Part I: ERBzine 4855-4898
Bob Lubbers
From the Ron de Laat Collection
Bob (Robert Bartow) Lubbers
Born January 10, 1922 Brooklyn, Long Island, NY
Bob Lubbers began as an illustrator for his school newspaper. In his teens, he played trombone in a big band five nights a week while studying during the day with George Bridgman and other instructors at the Art Students League. He entered the comic book field when he was 18 years old, as he recalled:

"My pal Stan Drake and I left Bridgman's life class one day and marched down to Centaur and sold the comic mag features we'd created. Before long I was doing features at Fiction House until the War."

For Centaur (aka the Comics Corporation of America), Lubbers drew such features as the Arrow, Reef Kincaid, Red Riley and the Liberty Scouts. After Centaur folded in 1942, he signed on as art director at Fiction House, where he drew Firehair in Rangers Comics, Camilla in Jungle Comics, Señorita Rio in Fight Comics, Captain Wings in Wings, plus such features as Space Rangers, Rip Carson, Flint Baker and Captain Terry Thunder.

Remembering his first, pre-WWII employment at Fiction House, Lubbers recalled "a young teenager who'd come in now and then to show a little sample book he'd made up called Panther Lady. We could see this kid had the right stuff. He had no luck selling it to Fiction House, but it was just as well. Frank Frazetta has become a glittering star in the world of fine art."

In 1943 he married his childhood sweetheart, Grace. That same week he got his draft notice and was posted to the Pacific theater as a second radio/waist gunner on a B-17 bomber. He took his sketchbook with him and chronicled his service experience. In 1945, when Bob was discharged he returned to life with Grace and his art job at Fiction House who In February 1943, he gave up the band job and decided to settle down as a fulltime artist, and married his childhood sweetheart, Grace. That same week he got his draft notice and was soon off to the Pacific theater as a second radio/waist gunner on a B-17 bomber. He took his sketchbook with him and chronicled his service experience. In 1945, when Bob was discharged he returned to life with Grace and his art job at Fiction House. Features and covers poured out until 1950, when his mentor Ray Van Buren led him to UFS and Tarzan and NCS membership."


Comic strips
In 1950, he was offered the job of drawing the Tarzan Sunday and daily strips and signed on for a three-year contract. Of that experience Bob remembered:
The dream of a lifetime come true…the big time. But to me Tarzan was only Foster and Weissmuller. I’d never read a Burroughs book, had no real insight into Tarzan’s character. I was not fully prepared for this massive step, but did know I wanted to get the feel of Foster. Plenty of action, interplay with jungle animals, colorful backgrounds and as many exotic girls as the scripts would allow. So off went the roof of my detached garage and up went a little studio with a potbelly coal stove for heat. I dug in full bore, charged with inspiration. Seven-day weeks were not uncommon in the beginning, but only nine to five. What fun it was using the (George) Bridgeman tricks…twisting the figures and animals into dynamic action drawings. For the first time in my career it was serious illustration. Some of the vignette panels, sans copy, seem to tell more of the character of Tarzan I was after than the main frames.

Dick Van Buren got the scripts to me on time and we were rolling. When he wrote exotic females into the scripts, it was fun to reprise some of the fun of those Fiction House cover girls. modified slightly. The stories could never be truly topical, but played in an amorphous, Burroughsian time period." "Plenty of action, interplay with jungle animals, colorful backgrounds and as many exotic girls as Dick’s scripts would allow.

In 1954, he first did work at the Al Capp studio and entered, as he put it, Capp's "star-studded world of movers and shakers".

He began drawing The Saint in 1959, and he also worked on Big Ben Bolt. Frank Godwin's Rusty Riley was running in more than 150 newspapers when Godwin died of a heart attack in 1959 at his home in New Hope, Pennsylvania. The final Rusty Riley strips were drawn by Lubbers, who recalled,
"In 1959, Frank Godwin, the artist who did Rusty Riley, died. Sylvan Byck at King Features asked if I'd do the last two weeks in Godwin's style to end the series. I admired his book illustrations and was honored to have the privilege to do it."
In 1960, he drew Secret Agent X-9 (as "Bob Lewis"), and he contributed to Li'l Abner during the 1970s.

Lubber's own strips were Robin Malone (for NEA in the late 1960s) and Long Sam, created by Al Capp and syndicated by United Feature Syndicate from 1954 to 1962. Initially written by Capp, who soon turned the duties over to his brother, Elliot Caplin; Lubbers eventually assumed the writing duties himself in the strip's final phase. Long Sam was, like Li'l Abner, a hillbilly strip, though based on a female character. The title character, Sam, was a tall, voluptuous, naive mountain girl who had been raised in a hidden valley away from civilization by her Maw, who hates men and wishes to protect her daughter from them. The stories deal with Sam's inevitable discovery of the world and its discovery of her.

When Capp asked who he would most like to model for their new strip about a backwoods knockout, Long Sam, a sort of female Li’I Abner which Capp was scripting, Lubbers dared to ask for Betty Allen, a favourite beauty from the Jackie Gleason Show. Capp merely had to make a phone call and a few days later Bob was back at Capp’s Waldorf Hotel suite, posing Betty for his Polaroid camera.


Comic books
In addition to DC Comics's The Vigilante, he drew Westerns for Pines (Standard/Nedor) comics in the 1950s. He drew for comic books in the late 1970s, working for Marvel Comics. Lubbers is sometimes mistakenly said to have drawn for DC Comics during the 1980s. A young inker named Bob Lewis did work for DC during that period. but he was not Lubbers using a pseudonym.

In 2001, when his work was collected in the 100-page Glamour International: The Good Girl Art of Bob Lubbers, comics historian Paul Gravett reviewed:

Bob Lubbers is not the celebrated cartoonist he should be, but thanks to a legion of Italian admirers, he is now getting his day in the sunshine in his 80th year. The latest edition of the long-running Italian magazine Glamour International No. 26 (2001, $34.95) pays tribute to his Good Girl Art in a deluxe, bi-lingual 100-page, 12" x 12" inch square showcase, edited by the respected authority Alberto Beccattini. Lubbers himself writes the commentary tracing his fascinating life and 40-year career in comics, accompanied by photos, sketches, a host of brand new colour illustrations and covers, plus some specially colored panels of his Firehair, Camilla and Captain Wings comic books from his Fiction House days in the Forties and from his string of newspaper strips, Tarzan... Long Sam, The Saint, Secret Agent X9, Robin Malone and L'il Abner. Bob credits being in the right place at the right time for keeping him busy, jumping from one series to the next or juggling several at once. But this modesty overlooks his constantly fresh and lively draughtsmanship, his crisp storytelling skills and his particular lifelong love affair with the female form, qualities that have kept him in constant demand... Writing about his experiences in the comics industry, his encounters with stars, presidents and models, his passions for playing music and golf, and his current success at devising crossword puzzles, Lubbers comes across as a genial, big-hearted man, who has always enjoyed his life and developing a variety of talents. This book concludes with the most thorough checklist of his work to date, 11 pages meticulously compiled by Beccattini with help from many experts.

Awards and exhibitions

In 1998, Lubbers was honored with the prestigious Yellow Kid prize at Rome's Expo Cartoon Festival. Sunday strips by Lubbers were displayed in 2003 at the Tarzan! exhibition at the Musée du quai Branly in Paris.

Writing about his experiences in the comics industry, his encounters with stars, presidents and models, his passions for playing music and golf, and his  success at devising crossword puzzles, Lubbers comes across as a genial, big-hearted man, who has always enjoyed his life and developing a variety of talents.


Ref: ERB Artists Encyclopedia and Wikipedia



COMICOLOGY


BOB LUBBERS TARZAN COLOUR SUNDAY PAGES
48b:  1016-1019 (27 Aug. 1950-17 Sept. 1950):  Bob Lubbers/Burne Hogarth, “Tarzan and the Wild Game Hunter”
 (4 weeks); reprinted in NBM, Tarzan in Color Vol. 18
 49:  1020-1030 (24 Sept. 1950-3 Dec. 1950):  Bob Lubbers/Dick Van Buren, [The Yellow People of Ambera] (11 weeks)
 50:  1031-1050 (10 Dec. 1950-22 Apr. 1951):  Bob Lubbers/Dick Van Buren, [Tarzan and the Minians] (20 weeks)
 51:  1051-1061 (29 Apr. 1951-8 July 1951):  Bob Lubbers/Dick Van Buren, [Tarzan and the Mad Scientist] (11 weeks)
 52:  1062-1074 (15 July 1951-7 Oct. 1951):  Bob Lubbers/Dick Van Buren, [Tarzan and the Lion Emperor] (13 weeks)
 53:  1075-1094 (14 Oct. 1951-24 Feb. 1952):  Bob Lubbers/Dick Van Buren, [Tarzan and the Panther Men] (20 weeks)
 54:  1095-1111 (2 Mar. 1952-22 June 1952):  Bob Lubbers/Dick Van Buren, [Tarzan and the Incas]  (17 weeks)
 55:  1112-1123 (29 June 1952-14 Sept. 1952):  Bob Lubbers/Dick Van Buren, [Tarzan and the Ghost Lion] (12 weeks)
 56:  1124-1138 (21 Sept. 1952-28 Dec. 1952):  Bob Lubbers/Dick Van Buren, [Tarzan and “the Creator”] (15 weeks)
 57:  1139-1160 (4 Jan. 1953-31 May 1953):  Bob Lubbers/Dick Van Buren, [Tarzan and “the Father of Diamonds”]
 (22 weeks)
 58:  1161-1174 (7 June 1953-6 Sept. 1953):  Bob Lubbers/Dick Van Buren, [Tarzan and the Mongol Horde] (14 weeks)
 59:  1175-1186 (13 Sept. 1953-29 Nov. 1953):  Bob Lubbers/Dick Van Buren, [Tarzan and the Devil-Man] (12 weeks)
 60a:  1187-1197 (6 Dec. 1953-14 Feb. 1954):  Bob Lubbers/Dick Van Buren, [Tarzan and the Egyptians] (11 weeks)


BOB LUBBERS DAILY TARZAN STRIPS
3415-3420 (24 July 1950-29 July 1950):  Bob Lubbers/Burne Hogarth, Tarzan and Hard-Luck Harrigan (6 days)
3421-3460 (31 July 1950- ?):  Bob Lubbers/Burne Hogarth, Attack of the Apes (40 days)
3461-3510 (1950 ):  Bob Lubbers/Dick Van Buren, The Duru (50 days)
3511-3572 (1950-51):  Bob Lubbers/Dick Van Buren, The Plaque (62 days)
3573-3634 (1951):  Bob Lubbers/Dick Van Buren, Señor Lazar (62 days)
3635-3690 (? - ?):  Bob Lubbers/Dick Van Buren, Tarzan and the Cannibals (56 days)
3691-3750 (? - ?):  Bob Lubbers/Dick Van Buren, The Mine (60 days)
3751-3800 (? - ?):  Bob Lubbers/Dick Van Buren, Tarzan and the Hunter (50 days)
3801-3858 (? -22 Dec. 1951):  Bob Lubbers/Dick Van Buren, Tarzan and the Pirates (58 days)
3859-3930 (24 Dec. 1951-15 Mar. 1952):  Bob Lubbers/Dick Van Buren, Tarzan and the Blonde Goddess (72 days)


CONTINUED IN PART II: ERBzine 5301
3931-3982 (17 Mar. 1952- ? ): Bob Lubbers/Dick Van Buren, Tarzan and the Loggers (52 days)
3983-4056 (? - ?):  Lubbers/Dick Van Buren, The High Priestess of Zimba (74 days) 
4057-4110 (? - ?):  Bob Lubbers/Dick Van Buren, Tarzan and the Inheritance (52 days) 
4111-4174 (? - ?):  Bob Lubbers/Dick Van Buren, The Order of the Skulls (64 days) 
4175-4194 (? - ?):  Bob Lubbers/Dick Van Buren, Tarzan and the Ivory Poacher (20 days)
4195-4230 (? - ?):  Bob Lubbers/Dick Van Buren, Tarzan and the Rogue Tantor (36 days)
4231-4300 (? - ?):  Bob Lubbers/Dick Van Buren, Tarzan and the Arabs (70 days)
4301-4370 (? - ?):  Bob Lubbers/Dick Van Buren, Tarzan and the Foaming Death (70 days) 
4371-4432 (? - ?):  Bob Lubbers/Dick Van Buren, Tarzan and the Octopus God (62 days) 
4433-4490 (? - ?):  Bob Lubbers/Dick Van Buren, Tarzan and the Insect Men (58 days)


4490-4500 ( ? -9 Jan. 1954):  Bob Lubbers/Dick Van Buren, Tarzan and the Ghost (10 days) also in  ERBzine 3802
Colour Sunday Pages
ERBzine 4856: Tarzan and the Minians:
Daily b/w Strips
ATTACK OF THE APES (Colour)
ERBzine 4857: 3421 - 3433
ERBzine 4858: 3434 - 3446
ERBzine 4859: 3447 - 3461

THE DURU:  3461-3510 (1950) (50 days)
ERBzine 4860: 3462 - 3473
ERBzine 4861: 3474 - 3485
ERBzine 4862: 3486 - 3497
ERBzine 4863: 3498 - 3510

THE PLAQUE: (62 days) 3511-3572
ERBzine 4864: 3511 - 3522
ERBzine 4865: 3523 - 3534
ERBzine 4866: 3535 - 3546
ERBzine 4867: 3547 - 3558
ERBzine 4868: 3559 - 3572

SENOR LAZAR (62 days - 1951) 3573-3634
ERBzine 4869: 3573 - 3584
ERBzine 4870: 3585 - 3596
ERBzine 4871: 3597 -3608
ERBzine 4872: 3609-3620
ERBzine 4873: 3621-3634

TARZAN AND THE CANNIBALS (56 days - 1951) 3635-3690
ERBzine 4874: 3635-3646
ERBzine 4875: 3647-3658
ERBzine 4876: 3659-3670
ERBzine 4877: 3671-3682
ERBzine 4878: 3683-3690

TARZAN AND THE MINE (60 days - 1951) 3691-3750
ERBzine 4879: 3691-3702
ERBzine 4880: 3703-3714
ERBzine 4881: 3715-3726
ERBzine 4882: 3727-3738
ERBzine 4883: 3739-3750

TARZAN AND THE HUNTER (50 days - 1951) 3751-3800
ERBzine 4884: 3751-3762
ERBzine 4885: 3763-3774
ERBzine 4886: 3775-3786
ERBzine 4887: 3787-3800

TARZAN AND THE PIRATES (58 days - 1951) 3801-3858
ERBzine 4888: 3801-3812
ERBzine 4889: 3813-3824
ERBzine 4890: 3825-3836
ERBzine 4891: 3837-3848
ERBzine 4892: 3849-3858

TARZAN AND THE BLONDE GODDESS (72 days - 24 Dec. 1951-15 Mar. 1952)  3859-3930
ERBzine 4893: 3859-3870
ERBzine 4894: 3871-3882
ERBzine 4895: 3883-3894
ERBzine 4896: 3895-3906
ERBzine 4897: 3907-3918
ERBzine 4898: 3919-3930


 The Bob Lubbers/Dick Van Buren Tarzan Strips
are continued at ERBzine 5302

TARZAN AND THE LOGGERS
3931-3982 (17 Mar. 1952- ? ) (52 days)
ERBzine 5302: 3931-3942
ERBzine 5303: 3943-3954
ERBzine 5304: 3955-3966
ERBzine 5305: 3966-3982

THE HIGH PRIESTESS OF ZIMBA (74 days - 1952) 3983-4056
ERBzine 5306: 3983-3994
ERBzine 5307: 3995-4006
ERBzine 5308: 4007-4018
ERBzine 5309: 4019-4030
ERBzine 5310: 4031-4042
ERBzine 5311: 4043-4056

TARZAN AND THE INHERITANCE  (52 days 1952) 4057-4110
 ERBzine 5312: 4057-4068
ERBzine 5313: 4069-4080
ERBzine 5314: 4081-4092
ERBzine 5315: 4093-4104
ERBzine 5316: 4105-4110

TARZAN AND THE ORDER OF THE SKULLS (64 days ~ 1952) 4111-4174
ERBzine 5317: 4111-4122
ERBzine 5318: 4123-4134
ERBzine 5319: 4135-4146
ERBzine 5320: 4147-4158
ERBzine 5321: 4159-4174

TARZAN AND THE IVORY POACHER  (20 days ~ 1953) 4175-4194
ERBzine 5322: 4175-4186
ERBzine 5323: 4187-4194

TARZAN AND THE ROGUE TANTOR  (36 days ~ 1953) 4195-4230
ERBzine 5324: 4195-4206
ERBzine 5325: 4207-4218
ERBzine 5326: 4219-4230

TARZAN AND THE ARABS  (70 days ~ 1953) 4231-4300
ERBzine 5327: 4231-4242
ERBzine 5328: 4243-4254
ERBzine 5329: 4255-4266
ERBzine 5330: 4267-4278
ERBzine 5331: 4279-4290
ERBzine 5332: 4291-4300

TARZAN AND THE FOAMING DEATH (70 days ~ 1953) 4301-4370
ERBzine 5333: 4301-4312
ERBzine 5334: 4313-4324
ERBzine 5335: 4335-4336
ERBzine 5336: 4337-4348
ERBzine 5337: 4349-4360
ERBzine 5338: 4361-4370

TARZAN AND THE OCTOPUS GOD  (62 days ~ 1953) 4371-4432
ERBzine 5339: 4371-4382
ERBzine 5340: 4383-4394
ERBzine 5341: 4395-4406
ERBzine 5342: 4407-4418
ERBzine 5343: 4419-4432

TARZAN AND THE INSECT MEN (58 days - 1953) 4433-4490
ERBzine 5344: 4433-4444
ERBzine 5345: 4445-4456
ERBzine 5346: 4457-4468
ERBzine 5347: 4469-4480
ERBzine 5348: 4481-4490

TARZAN AND THE GHOST  (10 days) 4490-4500
ERBzine 5349: 4489-4490
ALTERNATE: WITH JOHN CELARDO AT
 ERBzine 3802

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