Friday, March 21, 2014

Retro Comics: Tarzan in "The Land That Time Forgot"

I promised another "Retro Comics" look and here you go.

In this tale Tarzan has agreed to help a young man named Van Clennard in his search for the mysterious Lya Billings, who has disappeared while off sailing. The two find themselves following her trail to the mythical land of Caspak, the land of dinosaurs, cavemen and even more mysteries. Once there they get split up with Tarzan finding Lya and rescuing her-and getting captured along with her-by Gash-Hak, a caveman upset because he is not evolving and wants the secret that he figures Lya and Tarzan have. And that's just the first story!

The second one, "The Pool of Time," has Tarzan again having to save the day when Lya gets carried off by the Weiroos, a race of bird-like men who can't reproduce female children and have to abduct women from neighboring islands to reproduce. Tarzan has to brave the rough seas and monsters to save Lya from that "fate worse than death" as well as another island hottie, See-Na.

As mentioned in the forward, both stories were written and drawn by Russ Manning for publication in Europe and never saw American release until the mid 1990s when Dark Horse published them in this graphic novel. Manning was one of the best comics artists to tackle Tarzan and here does a good job with the artwork, capturing Tarzan as Burroughs described him along with creating some vivid life on Caspak. If you've seen his previous comic strip and book work you know how good Manning is and it comes across here beautifully.

The stories on the other hand do follow a formula though that to some might become tiring. Abducted women, cavemen, primitive beasts, all has been done in previous Tarzan tales by Burroughs and others and honestly Manning doesn't add much there in the writing to distinguish it from the past. Still they move quite fast and if you accept what they are you'll probably have a good time with them.

So to sum up I'll give this one a ***1/2 out of 4 for the artwork alone. If you haven't got a copy find one for that alone. Another retro comic review down. I'll be back later folks.

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