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Volume 5661

A 58,000-Word Review of
The Original Tarzan Comics Series
By Michael Tierney
with cover art and every page of the Dell/Gold Key series
added by Bill Hillman from the ERBzine archive
(click on the covers to read the comics)
Pt. 1: DELL ISSUES 1-18 ~ 1948-1950
January-February 1948
Cover: Jesse Marsh ~ Story: Robert P. Thompson ~ Art: Jesse Marsh
“Tarzan and the White Savages of Vari”
1After two Jesse Marsh issues in the Dell Four-Color line, the regular Tarzan series begins with characters from Edgar Rice Burroughs' novels; French Lieutenant Paul D'Arnot, and Muviro, Chief of the Waziri.
 Tarzan discovers the lost city of Vari, populated by monstrous, white apemen, where he must save Paul D'Arnot, a princess, and an explorer from being sacrificed. Discovering secret passageways, Tarzan fights through traps, leopards, and a giant crocodile, to defeat an evil witch doctor.
 The setting, with an attractive princess surrounded by misshapen apemen, is very reminiscent of La of Opar from the original novels. However, Princess Naranee does not have romantic affection for Tarzan.

 Two leopards and a giant crocodile

 The Jesse Marsh adaptation of Burroughs' Ape-English dictionary begins on the inside covers, and runs through issue #13.

March-April 1948
Cover: Jesse Marsh ~ Story: Gaylord DuBois ~ Art: Jesse Marsh
“Tarzan and the Captives of the Thunder Valley”
2Arab slavers are capturing whole villages, and forcing a scientist to mine a powerful new ore called Thorium. Tarzan saves the scientist's son from a lion, and then, with help from both his jungle friends and Muviro's Waziri warriors, defeats the slavers and their M'Boko allies. Tarzan symbolically pours "A Million Dollars worth of nearly pure Thorium ..." into the ground at the slaver's feet.
 Tarzan dynamites a waterfall and covers "... the secret that poisoned men's souls!"

 One lion, a crocodile, and a friendly great ape wrestling match.

 Examine Tarzan's face on the cover of this issue, and consider the similarity to Johnny Weissmuller in his early movie roles. This is the beginning of a trend.
 Tarzan destroys a Million Dollars ... in 1940's money. Adjusted for inflation... YOW!

May-June 1948
Cover: Jesse Marsh ~ Story: Gaylord DuBois ~ Art: Jesse Marsh
“Tarzan and the Dwarfs of Didona”
3As a dark-haired Jane is introduced, living with Tarzan and "his son" Boy in a tree-top cottage, the comics begin to mix the Burroughs' novels with the Weissmuller movie version of Tarzan.
 Boy is chased by a leopard to an island at the center of a fog shrouded lake, where the water is heated by volcanic currents. A resident tribe of white dwarfs tries to sacrifice Boy on the altar of their God Didona.
 The words, "Tarzan charges ..." should have been 'Tarzan strikes,' because dwarf bodies fly like ten pins.
 The dwarfs cut the rope bridge as Tarzan and Boy escape, plunging them into a river that takes them underground... and then pops them back to air, and the lake, where a worried Jane waits.

 Boar, leopard.

 Tarzan's Dwarven bowling score: 300. Yes. Very politically incorrect. Today this could only be seen on Pay Per View.

July-August 1948
Cover: Jesse Marsh ~ Story: Gaylord DuBois ~ Art: Jesse Marsh
“Tarzan and the Lone Hunter”
4The Tarzan novels ventured only once into the dinosaur haunted part of Africa known as Pal-ul-don, when Tarzan rescued Jane from Nazi clutches. This issue is the first of many, many visits by the Tarzan comics to that fan favorite locale.
 Tarzan's Waz-don (hairy pithecanthropus) friends remember Tarzan and Jane's adventures in Pal-ul-don (from the novel Tarzan the Terrible), but, despite their cat-ears, the comics show them as far more human ... without monkey tails.
 Om-at is tracking the lovely Pan-at-lee, who escaped from a Waz-don rebellion, only to be captured by a Bongu witch doctor. Tarzan calls on a herd of elephants to complete her rescue. The lovers are returned across the thorny desert and through the terrible swamp, back to the borders of Pal-ul-don.

Boar, an elephant stampede, and taming a triceratops.

September-October 1948
Cover: Jesse Marsh ~ Story: Gaylord DuBois ~ Art: Jesse Marsh
“Tarzan and the Men of Greed”
5 The first appearance of Opar!
 Jesse Marsh's version has strong Greek architectural influences. Sorry ... no appearance by Queen La. She and her people have sickened and gone to sleep in the Cavern of No Return.
 When Jane and Boy are kidnapped, Tarzan is forced to reveal the lost treasure of Atlantis to two machine gun toting gangsters and Hassan, their Arab partner who heard about the treasure vaults of Opar from the late Belgian, Barton Werper (from the novel Tarzan and the Jewels of Opar).
 The apes of Opar deal violently with the raiders and their M-Bopo allies. The surviving M-Bopo try to ambush Tarzan and family, and are trampled by a herd of water buffalo.

 The great ape Gulchak and a water buffalo stampede.

 For the second time, Tarzan insults someone by calling them a "rascal."

November-December 1948
Cover: Jesse Marsh ~ Story: Gaylord DuBois ~ Art: Jesse Marsh
“Tarzan and the Outlaws of Pal-ul-don”
6 The return to Pal-ul-don! Their roles are reversed from issue #4, as this time it is Om-at who helps Tarzan save his mate.
 A Ho-don (hairless pithecanthropus) raiding party abducts Jane (uh-oh) and takes her into the land where dinosaurs still roam. Tarzan and Boy pursue the kidnappers across the thorny desert, through the endless swamp, and snow covered mountain passes. With help from Om-at and his Waz-don (hairy pithecanthropus) warriors, Tarzan frees Jane from the outlaw Ho-don king.
 Tarzan and his family then continue deeper into Pal-ul-don, for a visit to A-lur, the Ho-don 'City of Light.'

 Two Tor-o-don beastmen, two crocodiles, a python, lion, sabretooth tiger, snow leopard, and one gryf; an omnivorous triceratops. Tarzan also fights hordes of Ho-dons. Whew! Remember, don't stand between Tarzan and his mate when she’s in trouble!

January-February 1949
Cover: Jesse Marsh ~ Story: Gaylord DuBois ~ Art: Jesse Marsh
“Tarzan and the Valley of the Monsters”
7 This is not a story of Pal-ul-don. But like that lost land, there are prehistoric monsters aplenty here for Tarzan to conquer.
 A runaway balloon carries Boy and Dombie, the grandson of Waziri Chief Muviro, to a lost valley. Tarzan and Muviro follow, 'pancake' crashing their plane into a lake.
 After battling a tyrannosaurus rex, they find Boy and Dombie safe and in the care of a peaceful lake people, until an earthquake creates a tidal wave that destroy the lake village. The group dodges stampeding dinosaurs and poison gas during their escape from the Valley of the Monsters.

 Giant otter, boar, pterodactyl, and a tyrannosaurus rex.

 Tarzan flies a plane for the first time in comics, and managed to walk away from the landing.

March-April 1949
Cover: Jesse Marsh ~ Story: Gaylord DuBois ~ Art: Jesse Marsh
“Tarzan and the White Pygmies”
8 This issue picks up where the last left off, as Tarzan, Boy, Muviro and his grandson Dombie try to find their way home after adventures in the Valley of the Monsters.
 While that valley was never mentioned as being part of Pal-ul-don, the obstacles that the group must now cross are very reminiscent of those surrounding that lost land. Tarzan and company are dying of thirst in the desert when they are saved by the white pygmies from the valley of Lipona.
 To return the favor, Tarzan teaches them how to use bows and arrows, and leads their army into combat against the flocks of vultures that have been preying on the tiny inhabitants and their equally tiny livestock.
 Tarzan is made a Prince of Lipona. The groups is later rescued by an airplane.

 A leopard and flocks of vultures.

 The Liponans, riding on their miniature gazelles, and many other elements of this tale are very similar to the novel Tarzan and the Ant Men.

May-June 1949
Cover: unknown ~ Story: Gaylord DuBois ~ Art: Jesse Marsh
“Tarzan and the men of A-Lur”
9 Tarzan and family vacation at A-lur, in Pal-ul-don, where a fist fight between Boy and the son of a Ho-don king ignites a spark that will lead to war.
 While hunting with King Ja-don of A-lur, Tarzan learns that the City of Light has been seized by the treacherous Ho-dons of To-lur. Their leader, Dak-lot, intends to kill Tarzan and make Jane his mate.
 Tarzan and Tantor the elephant, along with Om-at and his Waz-don warriors, join the army of liberation from the Lion City. When Daklot throws Jane from a parapet, Tantor catches her with his trunk, and then later throws Dak-lot to his death, through a window.
 Tarzan is declared a Prince of Pal-ul-don.

 Cave bear. Tantor battles a gryf triceratops!

July-August 1949
Cover: unknown ~ Story: Gaylord DuBois ~ Art: Jesse Marsh
“Tarzan and the Treasure of the Bolgani”
10 Tarzan’s hair stands on end when placed in a bizarre cage and lightning is used to manipulate his size and stature. The intelligent gorillas of Ara-thol, the City of Lightning, have captured him and Muviro's Waziri warriors, and are shrinking them to work in diamond mines. But Tarzan has retained his strength and spears now bounce off his steel-hard body. He single-handedly overthrows the Bolgani's rule and frees the slaves.

“The Baboon’s King”
Writer: Gaylord Dubois
Artist: Jesse Marsh
 Spanked by Muviro for learning bad habits from baboons, Boy runs away from his babysitter and becomes King of the Baboons. He eventually learns Muviro's lesson the hard way, after his attempts to civilize the baboons go awry, and he's attacked by a swarm of hornets.

“True Tales of Darkest Africa”
Writer: Unknown
 Text story about Henry Stanley being the first white man to sail the largest lake of Africa.

 Real gorilla warfare.

 Reportedly to meet postal subscription regulations, regular backup features begin with this issue. This is sad, because the full-length stories were a lot of fun.

September-October 1949
Cover: unknown ~ Story: Gaylord DuBois ~ Art: Jesse Marsh
“Tarzan and the Sable Lion”
11 The familiar sight of Tarzan hunting with a lion by his side began with the J. Allen St. John cover for the novel Tarzan and the Golden Lion. This comic tells the story of Tarzan and another lion -- the Sable Lion.
 Tarzan defeats and befriends both a rogue lion and the giant warrior, Buto Matari. All three join forces after Jane, Boy, and Buto's village are captured by slavers. When confronted by Numa the lion, many slavers pass out. As the happy group returns home with the slaver's fortune for use in rebuilding the village, Numa discovers his own lost mate and pup.

“The Song of the Spear”
Writer: Unknown
 Text story of young Mabu, who saves his father from a lion.

“Two Against the Jungle”
Writer: Gaylord DuBois
Art: Jesse Marsh
 The crew of the Ashantee abandons the dismasted ship during a storm. Two young brothers, Sid and Bucky Thompson, choose to stay aboard the schooner built by their father. Shipwrecked on the coast of Africa, the boys start to raft and hike their way inland.

 Sable lion, boar, and water buffalo.

 In this issue's Ape-English dictionary, Yo means friend. So ... is that where this greeting started? Cities like New York and Brooklyn are apparently quite fluent in the Ape-English language. Actor Sylvester Stallone certainly is.
 YO Tarzan!

November-December 1949
Cover: unknown ~ Story: Gaylord DuBois ~ Art: Jesse Marsh
“Tarzan and the Price of Peace”
REVIEW: After taming a zebra, Tarzan meets a despondent Koto and listens to his woeful tale of lovers separated by a greedy father. Deciding to help, Tarzan frees Leelah from the armed guards of the suitor that he has outbid. Tarzan must then save her again when both she and Koto are taken prisoner aboard a slave ship. With strength, cunning, and a hidden sack of gold, Tarzan helps the two star-crossed lovers.
 Alone, Tarzan fights with the slavers and tosses them to man-eating sharks.

Writer: Unknown
 Text story of Mabu kills his first lion.

“Two Against the Jungle”
Story: Gaylord DuBois
Art: Jesse Marsh
 Sid and Bucky survive a confrontation with a leopard as they continue through the jungle and discover an unconscious native in a boat. There has been a battle upstream.

 A shark, a lion, two leopards, a great ape, bronco-busting a zebra, and a boatload of slavers tossed to the sharks.

 Starting with issue #8, the back covers have featured posters of warriors in full dress regalia. This will continue through issue #20.
 This issue features a Dahoman Warrior of West Africa.

January-February 1950
Cover: Lex Barker Photo combined with Jesse Marsh art
Story: Gaylord Dubois ~ Art: Jesse Marsh
“Tarzan and the Knight of the Lyonesse”
Sir Hal Hogarth (tip of the hat to Tarzan newspaper strip artists Hal Foster and Brune Hogarth?), whose crusader ancestors settled in the Valley of Lyonesse, is questing to beard a 'saracen.' With help from Queen La, Tarzan saves the young knight from sacrifice on the altars of Opar.

“Tarzan and the Ape Hunter”
Writer: Gaylord Dubois
Art: Jesse Marsh
 A cruel hunter is taught the meaning of fear when the great apes, Tantor, and both the Sable Lion and Jad-bal-ja, the Golden Lion, all help Tarzan run him out of the jungle. He won’t be back.

“Mabu, the Lion-Hearted”
Writer: Unknown
 Text story of Mabu saving his father from both a lion and treachery.

“Two Against the Jungle”
Story: Gaylord DuBois
Art: Jesse Marsh
 Sid and Bucky befriend Makumba, an injured native.

 Tarzan and the dog-faced baboons rumble with the dwarfs of Opar.

 First appearance of La of Opar, mixed with elements from the novel; Tarzan , Lord of the Jungle!
 Lex Barker covers begin. The mixing of backgrounds with photos of the 10th Film Tarzan will continue through issue #54.

March-April 1950
Cover: Lex Barker photo combined with unknown art
Writer: Gaylord Dubois ~ Art: Jesse Marsh
“Tarzan and the Lost Legion”
Along with Boy and French Lieutenant Paul D'Arnot, Tarzan is flying a mission to map the Valley of Monsters, when he discovers a lost Roman city similar to that in the novel Tarzan and the Lost Empire
 Fighting in the arena, Tarzan unites gladiators and baboons against hungry lions. They escape during a panic caused by a solar eclipse, liberating the leader of a refugee army.  Tarzan then does some tricky flying after he and Urchak, the great ape, kidnap the tyrant Caesar.
 The city surrenders.

“Mabu Sends for Help!”
Writer: Unknown
 Mabu fights the Black Bull!

“Two Against the Jungle”
Writer: Gaylord DuBois
Art: Jesse Marsh
 Makumba first saves Bucky from choking on a fishbone, and then from an attacking crocodile. Bucky and Sid must continue down the river alone, while Makumba stays to fight a tribal war. They canoe past his village ... which burning in the night.

“Tarzan and the Flying Chief”
Writer: unknown
Art: Jesse Marsh
 After making an emergency landing on the veldt, a pilot and his wife are captured by cannibals. But Chief Budango is more interested in flying. Freeing the captives, Tarzan leaps onto the plane and fights with Budango, who steps out ... at a thousand feet up.
 "You fool!"

 Lions and more lions, and more ape wrestling for fun.

 The inside covers now feature the Jungle World, with Jesse Marsh illustrating jungle flora and fauna.
 A 1950 3 year subscription costs $1.50, with a bonus of 4-Color #239, Adventure Bound (8/49).

May-June 1950
Cover: Lex Barker photo/Jesse Marsh art
STORY: unknown ~ Art: Jesse Marsh
“Tarzan and the Cave Men”
Fan favorites La of Opar and dinosaur infested Pal-ul-don return!
 Tarzan and Tantor save Queen La from the dwarfs of Opar, who are still angy about Tarzan and Hal Hogarth's escape in issue #13. Tarzan takes La to safety in Pal-ul-don, where he duels for leadership of the Cave Men and appoints La to rule in his place.

“Tarzan and the Hunter’s Reward”
Writer: Unknown
Art: Jesse Marsh
 Tarzan and Jad-bal-ja, the Golden Lion, save the warrior Amele and his lover Lukela from not only an evil tribal chief and his treacherous son, but an attacking water buffalo and a serpent wielding witch doctor.

“Mabu Hides His Trail”
Writer: Unknown
 Text story about Mabu and his father avoiding treachery while traveling to sell their ivory.

“Two Against the Jungle -- The Cannibal Combat”
Writer: Gaylord DuBois
Art: Jesse Marsh
 Sid and Bucky discover a provision laden boat hidden on a river island, guarded by skeletal remains. Now well-equipped for their journey, when the boys are attacked by a flotilla of cannibals, they dynamite them out of the water.

 Giant hyenadons, boar.

 Subscriptions now offer 5 bonus color prints that include previous back cover illustrations.

July-August 1950
Cover: Lex Barker photo/unknown art
Writer: Unknown ~ Art: Jesse Marsh
“Tarzan and the Beasts of Armor”
It's finally revealed that the Valley of Monsters neighbors Pal-ul-don.
 When Tarzan flies back to the Valley, he is unaware that Boy has stowed aboard. When Tarzan fights to rescue Boy from a pack of T-Rexs, he in turn is saved from Tyrannosaurus claws by his old friend, Om-at.
 Tarzan joins with the gryf riding Waz-don army to fight against the rifles of gangsters who are looting Pal-ul-don.

“Mabu and the Giant Lizard”
Writer: Unknown
 Text story.  Mabu learns that "Only when something is alive is it beautiful," after the agama lizard he kills loses its beautiful colors.

“Two Against the Jungle -- The Battle of the Python”
Writer: Gaylord DuBois
Art: Jesse Marsh
 Sid and Bucky survive a python attack, and are almost blown up when a monkey plays with their dynamite!

“Tarzan and the Giant Eland”
Writer: Unknown
Art: Jesse Marsh
 N'Keeta's tribe is about to sacrifice her to a lion when Tarzan, riding on Bara the giant eland, rescues her and takes her to live with his own family.

 Pterodactyl, Tyrannosaurus Rex, gryf, and bronco-busting a giant eland.

 A classic battle between a T-Rex and gryf triceratops. A herd of gryfs are used to free the city of A-lur.

September-October 1950
Cover: Lex Barker/unknown painting
Writer: Unknown ~ Art: Jesse Marsh
“Tarzan and the Pygmy Princess”
Tarzan of the comics is as no nonsense in dealing with violent adversaries as his novel counterpart. This is exemplified by his thought balloon;
 "If Abou injures the boy, he dies."
 Tarzan and Bara, the giant eland, rescue white pygmy Princess Ila of Ilona and her son Tado from the cruel clutches of Abou, the Arab, who has boasted that he will someday capture Tarzan. As punishment, Tarzan forces Abou into the same pit that he used to trap others.

“Tarzan and the Shifta’s Captive”
Writer: Unknown
Art: Jesse Marsh
 Tarzan puts arrows through the hands of murderous Shiftas when they threaten their blonde 'Kali-Bwana' (female) prisoner with guns and a bullwhip. With the help of baboon friends, Tarzan captures the slavers and marches them to arrest by French authorities.

“Mabu and the Day the Sun Went Out”
Writer: Unknown
 Text story.
 Mabu, the 10 year old lion hunter, escapes Samali slavers during a solar eclipse.

“Two Against the Jungle -- The Valley of the Pygmy Animals”
Writer: Gaylord DuBois
Art: Jesse Marsh
 Sid and Bucky discover a hidden river valley filled with miniature elephants and zebras.

 Baboons, and a leopard.

 N'kima, the skittish monkey from the novels, makes his first appearance. Also, have you noticed a pygmy and dwarf tendency for characters in a lot of the stories?


November-December 1950
Cover: Lex Barker/unknown painted art
Writer” Unknown ~ Art: Jesse Marsh
“Tarzan and the Valley of the Mists”

18 Attacked by topless Amazon warriors ... all wearing infallibly-placed necklaces!
 Tarzan discovers that Amazons are forcing a captured missionary woman to become their high priestess in the Valley of Mists. With help from a downed pilot, Tarzan battles the warrior-women and their guardian pythons.

“Tarzan and the Dyal”
Writer: unknown
Art: Jesse Marsh
 As he promised in issue #17, Tarzan returns Princess Ila and her son to their pygmy home in Lipona. Taking a dangerous shortcut through Pal-ul-don, Tarzan tames and bridles a Dyal, a ferocious birdlike predator.

“Mabu and the Lop-Eared Leopard”
Writer: Unknown
 Text story.
 Mabu and his father hunt and kill a leopard that has been terrorizing the village.

“Two Against the Jungle -- The Rescue of the Wild Man”
Writer: Gaylord DuBois
Art: Jesse Marsh
 In the Valley of Pygmy animals, Sid and Bucky are threatened by a crazed wild man. After knocking his head, the wild man wakes to remember that he is playboy explorer Will Abbot ... with several unexplained years of facial growth.

 Python, two leopards, crocodile, vulture, white sabre-tooth tigers, hyenadon, Dyal, and a Tor-o-don beastman.

 Pal-ul-don is becoming the location for most of the lost cities and races that Tarzan discovers.

ERBzine 5660


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