No secret I’m a big Tarzan fan, right? Love Tarzan, love John Carter of Mars, would love to write those characters. So when my old artistic collaborator Tom Grindberg got in touch a few months ago, wondering if I would script a few Tarzan Sunday- type pages, I of course said yes.
Tom worked with me on issues of Silver Surfer, Green Lantern, Secret Defenders (yikes!) and a Thor Annual (which is the only issue of my unfortunate Thor run I can even bear to look at). Tom and I were actually supposed to take over Thor as the regular team for my second year on the book. Tom came up and stayed at our house for a summer weekend. We worked out a year of storylines, and Tom generated a bunch of sketches and a new logo. I was looking forward to it a great deal. But the editor couldn’t decide what direction he wanted, flip-flopping between “put him in space” and “put him on Earth” and “put him in Asgard.” When another (and in my opinion, lesser) artist was assigned to the title, I decided it was time for me to go, rather than try to make lemonade out of lemons. In some future posts, I’ll show off Tom’s many designs for what we had planned on Thor.
The Tarzan pages I wrote for Tom were really meant as a showcase for his talents. What you see above is the first of two pages, imagined in Sunday-style strip, rather than traditional comic pages. My script is below, sans any narrative captions, which I figured I could add if the pages ever got printed somewhere. The reproduction here isn’t great, but you can at least roll over the art for a more detailed look. Really beautiful work by Tom, and I love that he hand-lettered that wonderful, distinctive Tarzan logo.
Hope this isn’t as close as I come to writing Tarzan again. But if it is, I’m pretty satisfied with the results. I’ll run the following page whenever Tom finishes it.
PANEL 1: We start off with a shot that sets our scene. This is an expansive shot showing the beauty of the African landscape. We’re looking at a river’s edge, where numerous animals are drinking on the shore: antelope, zebras, African elephants, a few giraffes stand nearby. It’s the quintessential scene of Africa.
PANEL 2: Suddenly, the water’s surface is violently broken by Tarzan and a huge crocodile engaged in a death struggle. Tarzan has his knife in hand, trying to bring it to bear, while his other arm tries to hold the jaws of the croc shut. The animals that had been drinking are spooked at this sudden violence. Make this a large panel.
PANEL 3: Our angle here is underwater as the savage battle continues. Tarzan and the croc are underwater, the croc trying to death roll while Tarzan plunges his knife into the creature.
PANEL 4: Our angle is still underwater. The dead croc is drifting away in the water, a streamer of blood floating from it through the water. Bloodied and exhausted, Tarzan is swimming away. Maybe angle this so that Tarzan is swimming toward us, giving us a good look at him, while the croc drafts away.
PANEL 5: The exhausted Tarzan crawls onto the river bank. However, waiting there for him are four or five of the brutish warriors from Opar, their spears all pointed toward Tarzan. The exhausted Tarzan is in no shape to fight them. These are not traditional African tribesmen, as far as I remember, but more like brutish beast-men. Some background: