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Volume 5873

WHAT IF. . .?
by Kurt Hathaway

Ill just say it right at the top: Tarzan is my all-time favorite fictional character in the history of fictional characters -- hands down! Whew -- so thats off my chest. My story with the Lord of the jungle goes way back to about 1976 or so. My first exposure to the character -- like so many -- were the Hollywood Tarzan films that had made their way to TV. Being 16 in 1976, I was much too young to have seen them on the silver screen, but I saw them all just the same in the comfort of my living room. Johnny Weissmuller, Gordon Scott, Lex Barker, Buster Crabbe, Jock Mahoney! Wonderful stuff. I even learned how to do Johnny's victory yell! 

I was also an avid comics collector, and while Tarzan was in then-current DC comics at the time, I never had bought one. I then ran across an ad in a collecting trade magazine that offered all the DC Tarzan comics released to that point for sale -- all at once. I bought 'em sight unseen -- and when the package came, I opened it like it was full of treasure -- little did I know. Treasures they are -- the DC comics had a different ape-man in its pages than the vine-swingers of the movies. There was more depth, nobility, savagery, realism, romance, adventure! I was hooked even more!

It didn't take me long to realize the comics stories were based on books -- novels. Books! Novels! Featuring my favorite character?! I had to see -- and read -- for myself. And read I did. Tarzan of the Apes, Tarzan the Terrible, Tarzan and the Ant Men I ate it up with a spoon a shovel, even.

Smash cut to decades later: Id been a working comic book lettering designer for many years working for just about every comics company there is. Plug:

But for whatever reason I wanted to write a Bat-Man (the original spelling) prose pulp story. When the story was done, I knew I had to make a cover for it -- so I tossed together a very pulp-like Bat-Man cover to accompany my story. FYI -- that story is available free at my website.

I had so much fun with that cover, I decided  to make more in between my paying deadlines. The general idea was to take a character that was never in the pulps (Batman, Superman, Hulk, etc.) and create what-if covers as if they were in the pulps in decades gone by. Eventually, I knew I just had to do Tarzan covers. Yes, the ape-man had plenty of pulp adventures back in the day, but he'd never had his own series. It was time to see what they might look like -- if he had.

To date, Ive made more Tarzan covers than of any other character (did I mention Im a Tarzan nut?) and posted them around the web for others to see.

I was thrilled when ERBzine asked to host the images at their site. I had to think of my journey -- from that 16-year-old kid opening that box of comics treasure -- to now having my work hosted by the custodians of the jungle Lord and his long history!

If I could give voice to the victory cry of the bull ape like I could when I had 16-year-old lungs, I would do so in celebration!

Kurt Hathaway

Kurt Hathaway has over 800 credits as a comics letterer, writer, and editor. Clients have included Marvel, DC Comics, Dark Horse, Image Comics, Avatar Press, ERB Inc., and many others. 

His work has appeared in many graphic novels and series including Legends of the Dark Knight, Youngblood, The Flash, Alan Moores Providence, Green Lantern, Badrock, The Son of Superman, The Spectre, Aquaman, and hundreds of others. He prides himself on never missing a deadline in his 20+ year career. 

His website is:

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