Tarzan Covers by Neal Adams and Boris Vallejo

I have to credit Neal Adams for getting me to read my first Edgar Rice Burroughs’ book – Tarzan of the Apes – in 1977.

Having read his DC Comics work, Neal Adams was the epitome of what comics could be to a 12-year-old boy. That he did some of his best painting work on these covers for Ballantine in 1976 is what drew me to buy the book.

All the covers, except for the first one, were collected in a series of three portfolios published by S.Q. Productions (Sal Quartuccio). In addition, there are Tarzan and the Ant Men and Tarzan Lord of the Jungle paintings included that weren’t used on their books. In all, Adams had 12 of the 24 covers with his paintings.

The other 12 were done by Boris Vallejo and were quite different in emotion and execution. While Vallejo’s were painted with the lush techniques of the old masters, distancing Tarzan to some inaccessible romantic past, Adams’ work jumped off the page with the youthful American energy of the now. Adams’ Tarzan was alive, fierce and feral.

Adams sells prints, portfolios and other items through his website, and has a number of Tarzan pieces listed.


Neal Adams Portfolio Cover

Portfolio Cover

Neal Adams Portfolio Cover

Portfolio Cover rough

Neal Adams Tarzan of the Apes

Tarzan of the Apes (scanned from book cover)

Neal Adams Tarzan of the Apes

Possible Tarzan of the Apes rough

Neal Adams The Return of Tarzan

The Return of Tarzan (Set A)

Neal Adams The Return of Tarzan

The Return of Tarzan rough

Neal Adams The Beasts of Tarzan

The Beasts of Tarzan (Set A)

Neal Adams The Beasts of Tarzan

The Beasts of Tarzan rough

Neal Adams The Son of Tarzan

The Son of Tarzan (Set A)

Neal Adams The Son of Tarzan

The Son of Tarzan rough

Neal Adams The Son of Tarzan

The Son of Tarzan rough

Neal Adams Tarzan and the Jewels of Opar

Tarzan and the Jewels of Opar (Set B)

Neal Adams Jungle Tales of Tarzan

Jungle Tales of Tarzan (Set B)

Neal Adams Tarzan and the Ant Men

Tarzan and the Ant Men (Set C)

Neal Adams Tarzan Lord of the Jungle

Tarzan Lord of the Jungle (available as a giclee print from the Neal Adams store)

Neal Adams Tarzan at the Earth's Core

Tarzan at the Earth’s Core (Set C)

Neal Adams Tarzan at the Earth's Core

Tarzan at the Earth’s Core rough

Neal Adams Tarzan the Invincible

Tarzan the Invincible (Set A)

Neal Adams Tarzan Triumphant

Tarzan Triumphant (Set C)

Neal Adams Tarzan Triumphant

Tarzan Triumphant rough

Neal Adams Tarzan and the City of Gold

Tarzan and the City of Gold (Set B)

Neal Adams Tarzan and the Lion Man

Tarzan and the Lion Man (Set B)

Neal Adams Tarzan and the Lion Man

Tarzan and the Lion Man rough

Neal Adams Tarzan and the Leopard Men

Tarzan and the Leopard Men (Set C)

Neal Adams Portfolio B Limited Edition Print

Portfolio B Limited Edition Print

Neal Adams Portfolio A

Neal Adams Portfolio A

Neal Adams Portfolio B

Neal Adams Portfolio B

Neal Adams Portfolio C

Neal Adams Portfolio C


Neal Adams Tarzan of the Apes

Neal Adams The Return of Tarzan
Neal Adams The Beasts of Tarzan

Neal Adams The Son of Tarzan
Neal Adams Tarzan and the Jewels of Opar

Neal Adams Jungle Tales of Tarzan
Boris Vallejo Tarzan the Untamed

Boris Vallejo Tarzan the Terrible
Boris Vallejo Tarzan and the Golden Lion

Boris Vallejo Tarzan and the Ant Men
Boris Vallejo Tarzan Lord of the Jungle

Boris Vallejo Tarzan and the Lost Empire
Neal Adams Tarzan at the Earth's Core

Neal Adams Tarzan the Invincible
Neal Adams Tarzan Triumphant

Neal Adams Tarzan and the City of Gold
Neal Adams Tarzan and the Lion Man

Neal Adams Tarzan and the Leopard Men
Boris Vallejo Tarzan's Quest

Boris Vallejo Tarzan and the Forbidden City
Boris Vallejo Tarzan the Magnificent

Boris Vallejo Tarzan and the Foreign Legion
Boris Vallejo Tarzan and the Madman

Boris Vallejo Tarzan and the Castaways

And here are a few with a new type scheme, one that puts more emphasis on the power of the image. I did the series up for personal ebooks.

Neal Adams Tarzan of the Apes

Neal Adams Tarzan and the Jewels of Opar

Neal Adams Tarzan the Invincible

Neal Adams Tarzan and the Leopard Men

Design © Scott Dutton 2011

Comments ( 9 )

        • Gerald Garcia says:

          Neal Adams is one of my comic heroes.

          I enjoy his earlier works, finer lines under Giordano and Palmer inks.

          It was the Superman vs. Ali treasury edition book that introduced me to to Adams. I had to dig through a lot of back issues to find more of his work, competing with other collectors and paying the inflated prices.

          I’ve met Mr. Adams a few times now and still admire his work. He is good to his fans and honest with many young, aspiring artists.

          Thanks.

          GarSeeYa!

        • Scott Dutton says:

          I was lucky enough to discover him when I was seven. I bought Batman #243 (“The Lazarus Pit”) and haven’t looked back since.

          Thankfully, when I started buying DC back issues, no one really cared about those books. However, getting the last few is proving to be an investment.

          I’ve met Adams twice, and agree with what you have to say.

        • Dan Bockhorn says:

          I am wondering how I could buy a print of Neal Adams’ painting of Tarzan of the Apes. I have been looking!

        • Scott Dutton says:

          Hi Dan –

          I’d certainly like one as well.

          Unfortunately, from what I understand, the painting was stolen after Ballantine used it on the cover, but before prints could be made from it. It is noticeably absent from the three SQ portfolios.

          Adams does have portfolios and prints of the other covers available on his website, including high-quality giclees of covers that Ballantine did not use.

        • Andy Patterson says:

          Hey man,

          Just came cross your blog. Digging your Neal Adams entry here. Always one of my favs.

        • JD Santibáñez says:

          Great artwork. I have some of Neal Adams’ prints on my walls.

        • philip says:

          Neal Adams is a truly great artist and one of the best all time, but you were less than complimentary about Boris’s Tarzan. I think both sets complemented each other very well and in no way was Vallejo’s cold. Quite the opposite. Both sets were an achievement. Speaking as an all-time Tarzan of the Apes and art fan.

        • Scott Dutton says:

          Vallejo is a skilled artist and well worthy of praise and the success he has enjoyed. However, my personal opinion remains unchanged.

        • Osamah says:

          Neal Adams,
          John Buscema,
          Don Newton,

          the masters of comics. no one could ever be compared to them.

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