Look at this! Joe Kubert's Tarzan!

Joe Kubert’s lines are coarse and chunky like greasy charcoal, laid down in loose, easy gestures. The shapes and spaces they define are open, graceful and solid. If you are a Herriman fan, you will recognize the deliberate scratchiness that invites the eye to play – – and to fill in the missing information.

Weight and light are as real as the jungle, and convey the wonder and mystery of an impressionist painting.

In the summer of 1972, I sat on my parent's front porch with Kubert's first issue of Tarzan and found myself reading a completely different kind of comic book. These illustrated stories are filled with adventure, danger and a reverence for the mystery of the natural world. Nature is wild, and violent at times. Tarzan’s mastery of this world is made believable by his own understanding that he is part of it. Joe Kubert wrote, edited and drew these interpretations of the Burroughs character, creating the best version of the Ape Man I have ever encountered.

Kubert’s layout and pacing, his choice of shots, all were a huge influence on my own comics storytelling. His choices keep the reader engaged, right on top of the events, never letting the reader’s mind float back out to the edge of the page. Always keeping the reality close and moving! 

These comics were originally published by DC in the early 70's, but now Dark Horse (the current holder of the Tarzan license) has collected the entire run in a three volume hardcover set called TARZAN: THE JOE KUBERT YEARS. The printing is beautiful and the recreation of Tatjana Wood’s colors is not only perfect, but much appreciated. I opened these books up and was immediately taken to the jungle, hypnotized by the world of drawing, just like I was that day on my parents front porch when I was twelve.

These books are a treasure.

As always, if you want to find the comic book store nearest you, call 888-comic-book or visit The Comic Shop Locator Service website.