Read Restored Strips From ‘Tarzan In The City Of Gold’ By Comics Master Burne Hogarth [Preview]
“Aware that he was going to work for a competing syndicate, [Hal] Foster sought to leave Tarzan on such an artistic high note that he would be impossible to replace.
“He hadn’t reckoned on 25-year-old Burne Hogarth.”
That passage from Scott Tracy Griffin’s introduction to Tarzan In The City Of Gold is as bold a statement as any I can think of to compel a comics and illustration fan to pay attention. The young Hogarth did indeed hold his own against the legendary Prince Valiant creator Foster, going on to illustrate (and sometimes write) nearly 600 Tarzan strips between 1937 and 1950, of which the first 150 or so are beautifully restored and reprinted in a new deluxe volume from Titan Books.
ComicsAlliance presents an exclusive four-strip preview of Tarzan In The City Of Gold, a story that’s at once a treat for aficionados of classic comic strip illustration and a gorgeous introduction to the form courtesy of one of its most accomplished masters.
Perhaps the first thing that will strike the new reader about Hogarth’s work in the pages below is how familiar it looks. Which is not to say the Hogarth work presented here is derivative. It’s just the opposite. Some contemporary comics artists are applauded for eschewing dubious modern drawing fashions in favor of more classical illustration styles and good, old fashioned drafting technique. Well, Hogarth’s the guy who wrote the book on that stuff. No, he literally did write the book. Several books. See, in addition to his copious work on the Tarzan strip over the years, Hogarth found time to teach and write about illustration, authoring numerous books on anatomy and eventually co-founding the Cartoonists and Illustrators School, known today as the mighty School of Visual Arts in New York City.
When you look at these pages, you’re not just immersing yourself in the world of Edgar Rice Burroughs’ enduringly popular “Ape-Man” hero on one of his most harrowing adventures (and this is a good one, to be sure), but you’re also glancing into the comics medium’s deep history and observing how Hogarth’s work would inform its auspicious future.
“The City of Gold” was started by Foster and finished by Hogarth, so here’s the story so far: Adventurers Rufus Flint and Jim Gorrey discovered a secret kingdom of gold called Tannor and claimed it by force, using modern machines of war such as planes and tanks. As part of Balakan’s conditions of surrender, Queen Nakonia was forced to arrest Tarzan, who she loved and had previously made War Chief of Tannor.