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Somebody’s First Comic Book: Tarzan Family #63

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PRIOR KNOWLEDGE: Everyone’s heard of Tarzan… John Carter of Mars sounds familiar… Korak? Huh?

TITLE: Korak in Song of the Dolphin

CREDITS:
Writer: Robert Kanigher
Penciller: Rudy Florese
Cover Art:
Joe Kubert
Publisher:
DC Comics

IMPRESSIONS: Korak, evidently the “Son of Tarzan,” is drifting along the ocean on a raft for no apparent reason when he gets capsized by a group of dolphins and somehow winds up in an undersea land where he meets a beautiful redhead, a giant crab monster, and a bunch of old dudes who warn the redhead she can’t leave. It’s a weird story, one that doesn’t make a lot of sense to begin with, and somehow turns into a sort of twisted pseuo-environmental message at the end. Looks like there a bunch of stories in this issue, though. Maybe some of the others will be better.

TITLE: John Carter of Mars in Death Has Three Heads

CREDITS:
Writer: Robert Kanigher
Penciller: Noly Zamora
Inker:
Vic Catan

IMPRESSIONS: In this story we meet John Carter of Mars, and now the title of this book is starting to make sense. By Tarzan Family, it seems what we’re really getting are a series of stories about characters created by Edgar Rice Burroughs. Okay, I can roll with that. In this remarkably short story, we see John Carter save a girl from a Martian monster, then they both get kidnapped by a spaceship. The end. Huh?

TITLE: Carson of Venus in Gathering Tarel

CREDITS:
Writer: Len Wein
Penciller: Michael William Kalluta

IMPRESSIONS: Next we get to Carson of Venus, which seems to indicate that Burroughs had exactly two ideas in his life, which he proceeded to recycle over and over again. Carson meets up with a Venutian warlord who, evidently, doesn’t actually believe he’s from Earth, but he allows him to stick around on the condition that he get a job. No, seriously. So some dude offers to teach him how to hunt and fight, which Carson clearly already knows how to do, and then they get attacked by giant spiders. Really, people, I couldn’t be making this up.

TITLE: Tarzan in The Boy Lieutenant

CREDITS:
Writer: Edgar Rice Burroughs
Penciller: Hal Foster

IMPRESSIONS: The book ends with “The Boy Lieutenant,” which appears to be a series of newspaper comic strips that just took the text of an original Tarzan story and illustrated them. The artwork is actually nice, very classic, but the presentation is nonetheless boring.

Boy, there’s a word you never thought you’d attribute to Tarzan, isn’t it? “Boring.” But in the end, that’s what this book kind of is. Korak is confusing, John Carter ends before it goes anywhere, Carson is derivative and Tarzan reads like what it is – an illustrated prose story, not a comic book. I didn’t connect with anything here, and I don’t think I’d be particularly inclined to read any more.

GRADE: D

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  1. July 13, 2011 at 7:01 pm

    We like Rudy Florese’s animals-and-action artwork on Korak. Although we are Kanigher fans, his ecology in Korak does seem to be dumbed down significantly. Such is the curse of jungle comics in general.

    Since (we’re pretending) this is the first comic you ever read, we wish we could have shown you some awesome artwork by Alex Nino on other Korak stories, too.

    If you ever get around to reading a second or third comic book, maybe Korak will get a second chance. We enjoyed petting little Tantor for the last time, for example, here: http://marswillsendnomore.wordpress.com/2011/01/20/may-i-pet-little-tantor-for-the-last-time/

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