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Master of Imaginative Fantasy Adventure
Creator of Tarzan® and "Grandfather of American Science Fiction"
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Burne Hogarth (1911.12.25-1996.01.28) enrolled in the Chicago Art Institute at the age of 12 and became an assistant cartoonist at Associated Editors' Syndicate at 15. Eleven years later he was chosen from a pool of a dozen applicants to be Hal Foster's successor on the United Features Syndicate strip, "Tarzan". His first strip was released on May 9, 1937. He gradually evolved the look of that series of Tarzan Sunday pages to his own unique and dynamic style.
In 1947, he co-founded the School of Visual Arts in which he passed his unique methods of illustration on to his students. In 1958, he wrote and illustrated the first of many art books: Dynamic Anatomy. His anatomy and drawing books have become standard references for artists of every style. In 1970 Hogarth moved on to a number of different art instruction schools in California.
After more than 20 years away from strip work and being hailed in Europe as "the Michelangelo of the comic strip," Hogarth returned to sequential art in 1972 with his groundbreaking Tarzan of the Apes followed by Jungle Tales of Tarzan adapted from the Burroughs novels of the same name. These were large format hardbound books published by Watson Guptill in 11 languages. It marked the beginning of what became to be known as the graphic novel format.
Hogarth looked at all things from different angles to get his perspectives; he was never satisfied with surface assessments. He wanted to get at the core of art, of language and linguistics, history, literature and science. He came closer than most. Through art he mapped out the possiblities that his inqwuirning mind suggested not unlike Leonardo. His students were bombarded with new ideas from his lectures aon freehand drawing and anatomy, and he challenged them to cross boundaries and invent new landscapes.
He was a "natural" for Tarzan, having been born in Chicago on Christmas Day, 1911 -- the same city, month and year in which Burroughs was busy creating Tarzan of the Apes. Coincidence? Probably, but it remains an interesting fact. Hogarth, the artist, would have looked at it from angles before entwinting himself in the theorectical threads of destiny. Nevertheless, he seemed destined to idealize the Tarzan image through the Sunday comics for a dozen years, and through two Tarzan graphic novel adaptations from Watson-Guptill publishers a quarter of a century later:
An entire generation, grew up with Hogarth's Tarzan -- they remembered that image because he designed it to be memorable. In an age of great comic strip artists like Hal Foster, Alex Raymond and Milt Caniff, his Tarzan stood out from the crowd. A generation read the Tarzan books as children and, when they reached maturity, Tarzan had become idealized in their minds to such an extent that ordinary comics failed to "click" in our minds as authentic. Hogarth understood this and idealized Tarzan for us, creating the greatest paper image of the ape-man outside of the Burroughs books themselves. It was a heroic image, both noble and ldarger than life.
In later yehars he began experimenting with symbology in the Tarzan art, showing mystic relationships beween man and beast, man and jungle, man and man, and man and god. His intellect kept driving him forward, and he loved what he saw and tried to take us with him. His slide lecture on the symbology of the Watson-Guptill books kept Louisville Dumdummers enthralled in 1984. They felt they had looked at the Tarzan pictures without really seeing them untl he told his audience what to look for.
A litany of his accomplishments is not necessary to any of his fans. He did just about everything a comic strip artist can do, and lived long enough to receive the recognition he desered. He was president of the National Cartoonists Society, founder of the School of Visual Arts in New York City, and exhibited in one-man shows all over the world, including the Louivere in Paris. It may be that Europeans are more demonstrative than Americans, but the French and Italians lavished more honours on him than did his own country men. There is an old Chinese proverb which states: "He who stands still goes backwards." Hogarth never stood still.
Because of Hogarth, we habe seen the best in comic art. The Hogarth idea is more than a textook phrase, it is a graphic record which has impinged on our consciousness and, like all great ideas, will have its inevitable renaissance as comic art moves into a new century.
Burne Hogarth passed away quietly in his sleep on January 28, 1996 at a hotel in Paris. He had spent the weekend at a comic book convention in Angouleme and had motored back to Paris on Sunday evening.~ Adapted from George McWhorter's Tribute in The Gridley Wave
The Reprints of Hogarth Tarzan
Strips from Titan Books
I've been his reprinting '47/'48
Tarzan Sunday pages every week in ERBzine Webzine
An Informal Chat with Burne Hogarth
(I've added some items to this)
Interview: Burne Hogarth on ERB
Hogarth's strips were reprinted
in many UK Tarzan Adventurea Comics in the '50s
I've featured dates at:
with more info and covers starting at:
Directory of Hogarth's Tarzan
Sundays and Dailies
Hogarth Art in Tarzan Superscope
Story Teller Editions 1977
Tarzan At The Earth's Core daily
Hogarth Estate's Attack On ERB,
Hogarth Covers in Sparkler Comics
Hogarth Memorial Tree at Greystoke
ERBzine 6601: A LONG CHANCE ~ 1937.05.09 ~ #322
ERBzine 6602: WEB OF DEATH ~ 1937.05.16 ~ #323
ERBzine 6603: ELEPHANTS OF STEEL ~ 1937.05.23 ~ #324
ERBzine 6605: .
ERBzine 6606: .
ERBzine 6607: .
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