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Volume 0849
Tarzan Dell Comic Project
by Duane Adams


Two summers ago David “Nkima” Adams and myself were discussing possible Burroughsian projects. It was Nkima’s suggestion that I write summaries for all the Dell Tarzan Comics and possibly do a Brady/McWhorter type of encyclopedia of people, places, and things. This seemed like a good idea to me and decided to give it a go to see if it appealed to me. I had an extensive collection of Edgar Rice Burroughs comics, and like so many, many other fans, it was the Dell comics that turned me into a Burroughs fan and collector. Yes, I would give it a shot.

The project began with the realization that this was going to be a major undertaking and would be many years before it would come to fruition. After two years of work, my schedule for completion is on course. During that time, my commitment to the project has not wavered, and my desire to see this to completion is as strong as ever.

As of 2/23/02, the first 50 Dell Tarzans, the first 2 Dell Annuals, and 1 of the Dell Four-Color one shots have been thoroughly examined. Each story has been summarized, analyzed, and rated. Eighty-two pages of people have been compiled as well as seventeen pages of places and twenty-seven pages of things. Besides this information, I have listed titles by themes, compiled a dictionary of foreign words (mainly ape and Pal-ul-don), and charted all of Tarzan’s kills.

With 81 Dell Tarzan comics, 7 Dell Annuals, 2 Dell Giants, and 1 Four-Color one shots remaining, the size of the project will almost certainly triple.

I am eternally grateful to George McWhorter for providing photocopies of the Tarzan Dell Comics that were missing from my collection.

My dream for the project was to eventually have it published in a book form. I have to admit that I do have many reservations as to whether or not there is enough interest by Burroughs fans and/or comic fans to make this a viable reality.

My summaries changed a little as I progressed through the issues. I soon tired of detailed descriptions of the covers, Jungle World pages, and dictionaries. In the analysis section I also dropped any discussion of these items.

Under the heading Story Synopsis there is a series of numbers separated by slash marks. (5/6/6/6/6/5/6/6/6/6/7/6/5/4) This denotes the number of panels on each page. (Probably too much information that no one will care about. They likely will be eliminated from the final version.)

DELL #1 JANUARY/FEBRUARY 1948 36pp. 10 cents

Front/ Back Covers and Interior Art -- Jesse Marsh (name label in first panel)

Writer -- (Rob Thompson- unconfirmed)

Rating -- B+

Dell 001Cover: Tarzan on the left with knife in right hand ready to battle two Vari warriors, who are carrying spears and approaching from the right. All figures are standing up to their knees in long grasses. A large exotic leaf covers the lower right corner. The space behind Tarzan contains some large gigantic leaves. A red Tarzan logo slightly diagonal towards the top right has a black shadow on the left and bottom. Under the logo is a large yellow circle with the title of the single story contained within -- ‘and the White Savages of Vari’

Inside Front Cover: Ink drawing called ‘Tarzan’s Ape-English Dictionary’. Six A words are listed and illustrated here. A (light); Ab (boy); Ara (lightning); Arad (spear); Argo (fire); and Aro (shoot/throw).

STORY SYNOPSIS: “Tarzan and the White Savages of Vari” 32pp.


standard gutters and balloons

Type -- Lost City - Evil Empire Overthrown

Tarzan, Muviro, and Lt. Paul d’Arnot hear a human moaning. They go to investigate. They find a man, Walter Paige, with a fatal spear wound. Before he dies he tells them how his brother, Randolph, and he were searching for Muata Yamivo’s mines. The white savages of Vari captured them. Walter somehow managed to escape. He asks them to help his brother. He says Naranee will help them. His dying words are about the secret entrance to Vari just south of the Peak of Moon. He gives Tarzan a ring that will identify him to Naranee as a friend. They bury him and examine the ring which has the shape of gimla rapped around it - tail inside of an open mouth. Muviro tells about a mysterious mine and about the Vari people with their crocodile god. Tarzan sends Muviro to bring Waziri warriors as he and Paul go to search for the secret entrance. At the base of Peak of Moon, Paul trips over a branch thus revealing the secret entrance. They leave a sign for the Waziri warriors and go through the tunnel.

As they move into the valley, suddenly white savages with spears surround them. They speak a mixture of Ushanti and Ga, which Tarzan understands. Tarzan tells Kroog, the leader of the group, that they come as friends. Abruptly, Kroog replies in English that they are prisoners. Kroog would take them to Tomara, the king, who would probably give them to Ma-amu. Tarzan asks who Ma-amu is. Kroog says one day he will see Ma-amu. Along the way Tarzan asks who Naranee is. Kroog explains that she was once the queen but soon will be given to Ma-amu. Tarzan smells a leopard. Sheeta attacks Kroog. Tarzan kills sheeta with his knife. A grateful Kroog is now taking Tarzan to see Tomara as a friend. Tarzan asks about Randolph Paige. Kroog tells of two strangers, one dead and one a prisoner. They approach the savage city of Vari. Paul says the city is medieval in appearance. Tarzan and Paul talk about rescuing Paige and the questionable friendliness of the Vari people. They comment on the cruel faces of the people. They see Ma-amu, the huge crocodile god of the Vari.

They are brought before King Tomara. Tarzan tells him they are in search of Randolph Paige. The withered old king asks why they search here. Tarzan tells Walter Paige’s dying story. Tomara flies into a rage that Kroog had lied about Walter’s death and has Kroog thrown in prison along with Tarzan and Paul. Tarzan tells Kroog that he is sorry that he was responsible for his imprisonment. Kroog says it was just a matter of time anyway. King Varo had died and the high priest, Tomara, has himself made king. He imprisoned Varo’s daughter, Naranee, the queen. Many hate Tomara and are loyal to the queen, making them susceptible to imprisonment. Kroog is loyal to Naranee.

Tarzan decides to escape through the barred window despite the black leopard in the compound below. Tarzan rips out the entire framed bars, breaks up the frame and distributes the wood bars to everyone to be used as clubs. Tarzan intends to capture Tomara whose sleeping quarters are on the other side of the compound through an open window. When sheeta is asleep Tarzan enters the compound. Agu, the black panther, awakes and attacks. Tarzan kills it with his club. Tomara was watching through his window. Tarzan enters Tomara’s empty quarters. He follows the scent to the next room where he is captured in a rawhide net. Tomara enters and tells Tarzan will die a slow death tomorrow. He leaves with Tarzan still hanging in the net. Tarzan uses the club to loosen the rawhide and finally breaks free with his bare hands. With guards outside the door and window Tarzan examines the fireplace. He discovers a ledge up the chimney, which leads to a secret passageway. He follows the corridor to another fireplace. Smelling the scent of a woman, Tarzan enters the room noiselessly and finds Naranee. He says, “Do not be afraid. I am a friend. I will not harm you.” Tarzan shows her the gimla ring (her father’s ring) and tells his story.

They leave via the fireplace in search of other passageways. They come to a staircase, which leads to other fireplace entrance. Below, they hear Tomara ordering Paul and Kroog being sent to the Cave of the Condemned, Ma-amu’s cave. Armed with a torch from Tomara’s room, they discover another staircase, which they follow deep below the palace. At the end of the corridor they stand on a ledge of a great cavern. In the cavern below are Paul, Kroog, Paige and other prisoners loyal to Naranee. Guards enter and take Paul and Paige away. Tarzan pulls Kroog and the others up to the ledge. Tarzan sends Naranee to a place of safety, Thula’s house, a friend of Naranee. He has Kroog send a messenger to Muviro and enters the throne room via a fireplace. The throne room is empty. Out the window he sees Paul and Paige being thrown to the giant crocodile. Tarzan dives from the window and slays Ma-amu with his bare hands. Kroog’s men come. The revolt starts. Outnumbered ten to one, it looks grim for them. Suddenly, the Waziri warriors appear and the tide turns. Tomara flees to his palace. Tarzan enters through a fireplace and captures him. Tomara is banished. Naranee is enthroned as queen and presents Tarzan with her father’s ring. End.

Inside Back Cover: Ink drawings (Ape-English Dictionary). Eight B words are illustrated here. Balu-den (stick/branch/limb); Bar (battle); Bolgani (gorilla); Buto (rhinoceros); B’wang (hand); B’yat (head); B’zan (hair); and B’zee (foot).

Back Cover: Tarzan wrestling with gimla, the crocodile, in the water with his bare hands. The center of the image is Tarzan’s hands on the upper jaw of the crocodile pulling it open. This relates to story when Tarzan kills a huge crocodile god of the white savages of Vari with his bare hands.

ANALYSIS: Both front and back covers relate to the story contained between them. This is a nice touch that will be discarded in later issues. The inside front and back covers begin the Ape-English dictionary from Burroughs’ “The Official Guide of the Tarzan Clans of American.” The inside front cover lists six out the possible thirteen ‘A’ words. The choices of these particular words are good choices. The inside back cover lists eight of the possible seventeen ‘B’ words. Here there is a questionable exclusion of ‘balu’ (baby) and ‘bundolo’ (kill) because these two words are so prominently used in the novels and subsequently in the comics.

Although the story borrows some elements from “Tarzan the Magnificent,” it has it’s own variation of the plot’s ‘search and rescue’ theme. The direct lifting of the king’s anger at his henchman through Tarzan being caught in a rawhide net plus the secret corridors of the fireplaces helps give the story an authentic Burroughs feel. The story allows Tarzan to kill with his knife, a club, and his bare hands. He is very stoic about his succession of captures. Eventually he gets to defeat the evil king and restore power to the rightful ruler. Jesse Marsh does use a number of variations of the number of panels per page, frequently using five rather than the normal six panels per page. This helps break up the pages visually. Also, he often draws some of the figures in the shadows and at times, almost silhouettes, to help stimulate more of a visual interest. The use of an ink border around each panel is common even to this day. In this issue, Marsh allows the color of the background be the edge of the panel fifteen times and most dramatically during the Tarzan’s struggle to free himself from the rawhide net. He also lets the balloons break out of the panel on three occasions. Both of these variations are so subtle that they are hardly noticed. Marsh depicts the white savages of the Vari with a low forehead, typical of a Burroughs description of a race with low intelligence. He also draws them with very small heads and short stubby legs. Their bodies are quite large, hairy and covered with animal fur clothing.

There are a couple of minor points that need to be noted. On page four, panel two Paige is spelled Page. The use of the name Varo as the king and Naranee’s father could bother a Burroughs expert. The problem is not that he is a non-character. The problem is with the name. Varo is the name Burroughs used for a general of Amtor in “Carson of Venus.” If the writer was aware of this, he probably would not have used it because he seems to have strived hard to give this, the first of the Tarzan series, a true authentic Burroughs feel. Aside from these minor problems, it is a wholly satisfying first adventure. It has one thirty-two page story and no advertisements.

Duane Adams Intro and Bio
Adams Candid Photo Gallery
Tarzan Comics Summaries
by Duane Adams
1479 Dell Overview ~ All Titles
0847 Duane Adams Biblio-Pro-Phile
0789 Tarzan Murray Comics Australia
0659 Fires of Tohr comic / OTR
0850 Dell #1 Comparative Study
1551 Dell Tarzan Kill Tally
1529 Dell Tarzan 4-Colour 1947
0851 Dell Comics 1-10 Summaries
0852 Dell Comics 11-20 Summaries
1478 Tarzan Dells: 21-30
1552 Dell Tarzan Summaries 31-40
1553 Dell Tarzan Summaries 41-50
1569 Dell Tarzan Summaries 51-60
1571 Dell Tarzan Summaries 61-70
1572 Dell Tarzan Summaries 71-80
1573 Dell Tarzan Summaries 81-90
1574 Dell Tarzan Summaries 91-100
1575 Dell Tarzan Summaries 101-110
1576 Dell Tarzan Summaries 111-120
1577 Tarzan Summaries 121-131
1566 Dell Tarzan Annuals 1-3.
1567 Dell Tarzan Annuals 4-7
1596 Dell Tarzan Annuals  8-10
1597 Dell Language Banks
1595 Dell Places: A-F | G-L | M-R | S-Z
1598 Dell Things: A-E |F-L | M-R | S-Z
1690 Dell People/Animals A-Z


Duane Adams Art Gallery
Tarzan and the Fires of Tohr:
Radio Drama / Dell Comic Comparison
Tarzan and the Fires of Tohr
Radio Serial Summary Eps.1-18
Tarzan and the Fires of Tohr 
Radio Serial Summary Eps.19-39
Duane Adams Presents 
Murray Tarzan Comics
Moon Maid Glossary
G.T. McWhorter | Duane Adams
Burroughs Biblio-Pro-Phile 
Honour Roll

Volume 0849

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