Wednesday, May 09, 2018

Reader's Diary #1818- Martin Powell (writer), various artist: Jungle Tales of Tarzan

There's a curious foreword to Jungle Tales of Tarzan, a collection a comics based upon Edgar Rice Burroughs' short story collection of the same name and adapted here by Martin Powell with various illustrators. In this foreword, Robin Maxwell writes that despite the world recognition of the literary character, the countless adaptations and re-tellings and loosely based sequels have all "profoundly warped the original intent of Edgar Rice Burroughs." Just how, she does not say.

Never being overly interested in the character myself, the most recent Tarzan critiques I  heard were of the 2016 live action movie The Legend of Tarzan. I didn't see it, didn't really want to, but I did hear more than a few people call out the film for racist undertones. I thought (hoped?) that this is the warping of which Maxwell referred. Could it be that Burroughs' original creation did not have a racist subtext?

Well, these comics do. He's still "king of the jungle," feared by, and superior to, the black folks who live nearby. Sigh.

Maxwell goes onto write, "we think we know all there is to know about Tarzan and his beloved Jane, but unless we have read the original books, we know next to nothing."

Forgive me if this collection doesn't sell me on seeking those out.

(And lions don't live in the frigging jungle.)

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