Tarzan Takeoffs in Comic Books

Tarzan takeoffs conquered comic books.  Naturally.  When something is worth parodying or paralleling, it’s worth parodying or paralleling as much as possible.  The comic book arena provided another platform for creators to capitalize on Tarzan’s popularity.

Ka-Zar made his comic book debut in Marvel’s X-Men #10.  Although this appearance took place in 1964, the character initially appeared in the pulp arena in 1936.

Dell Comics presented two interpretations.  Kona first appeared in 1962.  Kona #4 exhibits a Tarzanish character in addition to Kona.  This 1962 story begins with the crash of former United States Air Force Colonel Thomas Tawney’s private plane.  It crashes in the Jungle of Vetala, described vaguely as being located somewhere between India and China.

Searchers cannot find the plane wreckage, leading to the presumption that Tawney and his passenger, seven year-old son Forbes, did not survive the crash.  Remarkably, though, Forbes survives unharmed.  Thoth, leader of the apes, recognizes quasi-extrahuman traits in Forbes as does Naga, the serpent king.  Thoth defeats Naga in a battle to control Forbes’ education.  Both strongly believe Forbes’ survival has a purpose deeply steeped in destiny.

Thoth renames the courageous boy who embraces his new jungle friends, recalling Tarzan’s alliance with the jungle animals.  The closing narrative reinforces the friendship between Thoth and his new ward.

The narrative explains that Forbes’ journey has not yet started.  Its real beginning, however, did not take place until Forbes was renamed Ana by Thoth, himself, and brought like a lost son might have been brought, to take his place among his forgotten brothers.  All too soon was Ana destined to learn what brotherhood meant.

Additionally, Jungle Comics featured several characters inspired by Tarzan in the 1940s, including Kaanga a.k.a. Jungle Lord and his companion, Ann along with Camilla a.k.a. Queen of the Empire, Red Panther, and Tabu.  Red Panther has a costume similar to the one worn by the Phantom character.

Jungle Comics also produced stories centering on a lion ruler with a name familiar to fans of The Lion King — Simba, King of the Beasts.

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