Every child has, at one time or another, pretended to be a popular movie or cartoon character. One of my all-time favorite was Tarzan. I have fond memories of watching the TV series with Ron Ely, then donning my bathing suit and running around our backyard for hours, battling all manners of jungle creatures.
In my early teens, I no longer pranced around the lawn in my underwear (to my parents relief), but my fondness for the exploits of Lord Greystoke had lost none of their appeal. So you can imagine my excitement when I chanced upon a book at my local library retelling the early adventures of Tarzan of the apes. This adaptation faithfully recreated the first eleven chapters of Edgar Rice Burroughs’ classic novel, with one additional element that raised this find to chef d’oeuvre status : it was masterfully illustrated by none other than the late, great Mr. Burne Hogarth.
At that time, I had no idea of the legendary status of Mr. Hogarth as an illustrator. I simply knew that the artwork presented in this oversized comic book was like nothing I had ever seen. I was immediately transported to another world by the sheer artistry of his creation. I read and reread this masterpiece until a librarian told me it was time to let others have a chance to read it. Sadly, I was never able to sign it out again (it was always out!), but it ignited a love of the medium that burns as strong to this day.
Decades later (more than I care to admit to), I recalled this book and decided to find a copy for my collection. Then a sad thing happened. I realized it was no longer being published! How was that possible? How could this seminal work stay out of print? I eventually hunted down a used copy and snapped it up. But I long for the day that some publisher will save this neglected classic from oblivion. In the meantime, do yourself a favour : if you ever come across this magnum opus, don’t hesitate, not even for a second, and buy it. Then, run home, put on your speedo, and immerse yourself in what is sure to become a significant event in your comic book reading experience.