Undervalued Spotlight #64

Tarzan Lord of the Jungle #1, Marvel Comics, June 1977

Tarzan is one of the most celebrated fictional heroes ever created. Edgar Rice Burroughs was a prolific writer who was adept at Science Fiction, Fantasy and Adventure stories. He created many famous and enduring characters including John Carter Warlord of Mars. None of his creations would prove to be as popular as Tarzan.  The year 2012 will mark the 100th anniversary of Tarzan’s literary debut (magazine serialization 1912). I checked ABE Books and there is a nice 1st print Tarzan of the Apes (1914) offered for a cool $35,000.00

Tarzan is truly an international phenomenon and the character has had success in every medium; movies, TV, radio, live theatre, video games, books and of course comic books.

The must haves for Tarzan comic book collectors start at Tip Top #1, Tarzan’s first comic book appearance (4/36). Tip Top #1 has an Overstreet Price Guide value of $11,700.00. Other valuable Tarzan comic book must haves include Large Feature Comic #5 from 1939, Single Series #20 form 1940, Four Color #134 from 1947, Tarzan #1 published by Dell in 1947, Jungle Tales of Tarzan #1 published by Charlton in 1964, Tarzan #207 published by DC Comics in 1972 (Dell/Gold Key last issue was #206) and Tarzan Lord of the Jungle #1 published by Marvel Comics in 1977.

Most Tarzan collectors I know concentrate on the large 206 issue Dell/Gold Key run. Most of these collectors, but not all, will by default also collect the DC Comics continuation of the series. DC’s run ran from issue #207 to #258. The true completest Tarzan collector will have the 258 issue run. Which brings us to Marvel’s Tarzan?

Tarzan Lord of the Jungle #1 was published in the late Bronze Age and it boasts some superb John Buscema art. For some reason though the book wallows in the $2 bins at most comic shops and comic conventions.

I’m very aware of the laws of supply and demand so I won’t rant about why it’s worth so little. What I will do is rally all the Tarzan fans out there to the fact that the Marvel Tarzan is a must have in their Tarzan collections. Marvel did a nice job with their adaptation too. The book is entertaining and has some really strong art. Tarzan purists should not stop at the end of the DC run. The fact that Marvel picked up the franchise mere months after DC stopped their run meant almost uninterrupted Tarzan literature for fans.

Marvel may have done better by numbering their 1st issue #259.

The 40th edition of the Overstreet Price Guide shows $8/$10/$12 as the splits at the 8.0/9.0/9.2 grades.

Strengths that make this comic book a good long-term investment are:

  • Nice tight 29 issue run plus 3 annuals
  • Marvel Bronze Age #1
  • John Buscema art
  • Tarzan one of the most popular heroes ever
  • High grade copies can be found for $2
Walter Durajlija Written by:

Walter Durajlija is an Overstreet Advisor and Shuster Award winner. He owns Big B Comics in Hamilton Ontario.

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5 Comments

  1. Dave Mackay
    November 29, 2010

    The Marvel Tarzan # 1 is a beautiful book. Sadly, the rest of 29 issue run is ho-hum,poor covers, and Buscema’s art became a cookie cutter image of his better stuff. Clearly he was inspired in the first issue, but boy do his efforts drop off in later issues, as does the writing, and the whole package.
    Marvel did a much better job with John Carter of Mars…though the covers were less then awe inspiring in this series.
    Burroughs deserved better, considering his work inspired Lee, Kirby,Disney,Siegel and Shuster, James Cameron, George Lucas and thousands of more creators to be, including millions of young people worldwide, inspired to use their imaginations because of Burroughs works. Please see ERBzine.com for Edgar Rice Burroughs wonderul story….

  2. Frank Chang
    November 30, 2010

    I have a Tarzan I think #207 1st DC Issue cgc 8.5 and it just sits there with no buyers at $20.

    The marvel Tarzan #1 I have multiple copies at $2 a piece.

    Kids barely know Tarzan except for the banging the chest imitation they do.

  3. December 1, 2010

    I do think the Tarzan brand still has a lot of life left in it. Perhaps some updating is in order. We could have him fighting poachers, diamond smugglers, gun runners, logging companies etc. Heroes are fantasy and we’ve always loved seeing our heroes battle the evils of society of that time. The Tarzan mythology lends itself well to today’s ills. Characters like Batman have made the generational jump(s), Tarzan should be able to do the same.

  4. G Lashab
    December 12, 2014

    Tarzan Marvel has some iconic covers and the style is very different but for the times of the 70’s was bang up to date. It should go up in value as a representation of Tarzan in the 1970’s.

  5. Syed
    July 18, 2015

    Any ten comices names in higher demand plz code year and price.thanks

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