As a partial payback to Italy for providing the world with arguably the best of all cuisines, we can report that Italian readers can now enjoy the best of the best in American comics: Milton Caniff is being translated by our friends at Editoriale Cosmo in Reggio Emilia. Francesco Meo and company have begun reprinting both Terry and the Pirates and Steve Canyon (as well as Russ Manning’s Tarzan). I met with Francesco at the Angoulême festival last week, where he was also considering reprinting the old Eclipse Airboy comics by Tim Truman, Chuck Dixon, and friends.
— That’s where the fun is, Way Out!
And kudos to those who remember that lift from The Flintstones, but this announcement has nothing to do with the modern Stone Age family … although it does bring good news for fans of adventures set long ago in a galaxy far, far away …
The reactions to our four-volume Tarzan set showed how many of you like Russ Manning’s art. We like it, too, so we’re delighted to tell you that the Star Wars newspaper strip is coming to The Library of American Comics!
Starting in spring of 2017 with the first of a three-volume set, the battles between the Rebel Alliance and the evil Empire will be preserved between hard covers, as initially rendered by Manning (later to be followed by two other popular artists, Alfredo Alcala and Al Williamson), with stories provided by Manning and additional writers including another of our favorites, Steve Gerber (again, later, by the inimitable Archie Goodwin).
I won’t hard-sell you or offer up any corny lines about the Force being with us — I’ll just say we’ve navigated the long and winding path necessary to bring you the Star Wars strips many have requested, and we think you’ll like the results!
But that’s not all …
With Star Wars joining Star Trek and Beyond Mars in our LOAC line-up, there was one other major “space opera” strip we hoped to reprint, and we’re pleased to announce we’re turning those hopes into reality. Ladies and gentlemen, get ready for a trip to the Barnum star system —
Yes, Star Hawks will also be coming your way, starting in 2017! It’s the brainchild of science fiction author/comics historian Ron Goulart, who teamed with comic book artist extraordinaire Gil Kane to entertain newspaper audiences with lighthearted tales of SFnal derring-do featuring ILS officer Rex Jaxan, his stellar law-enforcement partner Chavez, their robot dog Sniffer, and their boss, the lovely Alice K. Star Hawks was produced in “two-tier” format — essentially the size of two daily comic strips — which allowed Kane to play with design and panel layout in ways that other newspaper adventure-strip artists could only envy, as shown in this example from the series’s debut :
Kane was recognized by the National Cartoonist Society for his work on Star Hawks, and when Ron Goulart departed the feature Archie Goodwin, Roger McKenzie, and Roger Stern followed him in succession as scripters. The daily also eventually shifted to the standard single-tier format, but ZAM!, Kane’s artwork still looks dynamic, and the fun quotient remains high throughout the life of the strip.
We hope you’ll join us for the LOAC debuts of Star Wars and Star Hawks, in what’s sure to be a science fictional (20)17!
The second volume of Russ Manning’s Tarzan newspaper strip is now officially at the printer. Here’s one of the photos in the book, taken in January 1971 by Clay Miller of the Orange CountyRegister, and graciously supplied by Russ’s daughter, Melissa Manning.
The covers to our first two Tarzan volumes.
Newspaper strip fan John van der Horst was kind enough to write from the Netherlands:
“Today I received my copy [of your first Russ Manning Tarzan newspaper strip collection] from a Dutch comic specialist who imports the books from the US and I must admit it’s well beyond my expectations… My sincere compliments as the book is very well binded, strong paper and a fantastic layout.
“You did a wonderful job and it is just a joy to relive my childhood moments by reading and seeing. It still captures every bit of imagination… Imagine: I am sitting in my garden now—it is a glorious summer here—having a drink and enjoying the book, taken away to Russ Manning’s world, just like I did at the time at my parents home….”
John sent examples of what the old editions of Manning’s Tarzan look like in Dutch. Thanks, John!
All Tarzan images © ERB Inc.
In re-reading Russ Manning’s Tarzan strips from the beginning, one can’t help but marvel at his justly-famous clean lines and dramatic visual storytelling. What’s often overlooked, however, is that Manning was a fantastic writer and an absolute master of pacing. These four Sundays — his first ones — aptly display how he sets up a story, establishes the characters, and leaves us wanting more. Click on any Sunday for a larger image.
You can now ditch those Italian-language editions of Russ Manning’s Tarzan strip you’ve been holding onto (unless you can speak Italian, of course) because, as we hinted recently, we’re reprinting the complete Manning Tarzan newspaper strips — in a 4-volume set in English — starting in May.
In 1967 Manning was selected by the Burroughs estate to take over the strip and bring it back to the original Burroughs vision. With assists by Bill Stout, Mike Royer, and Dave Stevens, Manning created 26 original Sunday storylines and 7 daily sagas. The action took place from Pal-ul-don to Opar and Pellucidar and beyond.
We’re reproducing the dailies from ERB’s own pristine set of syndicate proofs. The interesting thing about Manning daily proofs is that they can be found in three versions, according to our pal and all-around strip expert Rick Norwood (who publishes the fine Comics Revue). As Rick explains, the strip was first run in newspapers using proofs shot from the original art; you can recognize these because the strips contain the original publication date as well as the strip number. Subsequent printings used “proofs” that were copied –and not too well — from the first-run proofs. In the third go-round, the reproduction deteriorated even further. You can recognize the second- and third-run proofs by their lack of a date, and the addition of extra legal lines obscuring the art. The first run proofs are also larger.
Here’s an example of a second-run proof (on top) and the first-run proof we’re using (click on it for a larger view):
Amazing difference, eh? Russ Manning deserves no less.
The Sundays will be reproduced from ERB’s file copies of tearsheets, filled in with scans providing by Tarzan collectors. The first three volumes chronologically collect the dailies (in front) and color Sundays (in back) from 1967 to 1974, while the fourth book will collect the remaining Sunday strips, which Manning continued until 1979. Henry Franke of The Burroughs Bibliophilesis serving as a contributing editor and is providing a scholarly essay on the strip. Bill Stout has written a marvelous introduction about Russ Manning the man.
For those who enjoy such details, here’s the breakdown for the first volume:
Tarzan, Jad-Ben-Otho — Dec. 11, 1967 – Oct. 5, 1968 ~ Strips 8857 – 9114
Tarzan and the Renegade — Oct. 7, 1968 – Oct. 18, 1969 ~ Strips: 9115-9438
Tarzan Returns to the Land of the Ant Men — Jan. 14, 1968 – June 16, 1968 ~ Strips: 1923-1945
Tarzan and the Return of Dagga Ramba — June 23, 1968 – Jan 5, 1969 ~ Strips: 1946-197
Tarzan: Korak and the Elephant Girls — Jan 12, 1969 – May 11, 1969 ~ Strips: 1975-1992