Tarzan Covers by Neal Adams and Boris Vallejo

I have to credit Neal Adams for getting me to read my first Edgar Rice Burroughs’ bookTarzan 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 areTarzan 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

Neal Adams Portfolio Cover

Neal Adams Tarzan of the Apes

Neal Adams Tarzan of the Apes

Neal Adams The Return of Tarzan

Neal Adams The Return of Tarzan

Neal Adams The Beasts of Tarzan

Neal Adams The Beasts of Tarzan

Neal Adams The Son of Tarzan

Neal Adams The Son of Tarzan

Neal Adams The Son of Tarzan

Neal Adams Tarzan and the Jewels of Opar

Neal Adams Jungle Tales of Tarzan

Neal Adams Tarzan and the Ant Men

Neal Adams Tarzan Lord of the Jungle

Neal Adams Tarzan at the Earth's Core

Neal Adams Tarzan at the Earth's Core

Neal Adams Tarzan the Invincible

Neal Adams Tarzan Triumphant

Neal Adams Tarzan Triumphant

Neal Adams Tarzan and the City of Gold

Neal Adams Tarzan and the Lion Man

Neal Adams Tarzan and the Lion Man

Neal Adams Tarzan and the Leopard Men

Neal Adams Portfolio B Limited Edition Print

Neal Adams Portfolio A

Neal Adams Portfolio B

Neal Adams Portfolio C


Neal Adams Tarzan of the ApesNeal Adams The Return of Tarzan

Neal Adams The Beasts of TarzanNeal Adams The Son of Tarzan

Neal Adams Tarzan and the Jewels of OparNeal Adams Jungle Tales of Tarzan

Boris Vallejo Tarzan the UntamedBoris Vallejo Tarzan the Terrible

Boris Vallejo Tarzan and the Golden LionBoris Vallejo Tarzan and the Ant Men

Boris Vallejo Tarzan Lord of the JungleBoris Vallejo Tarzan and the Lost Empire

Neal Adams Tarzan at the Earth's CoreNeal Adams Tarzan the Invincible

Neal Adams Tarzan TriumphantNeal Adams Tarzan and the City of Gold

Neal Adams Tarzan and the Lion ManNeal Adams Tarzan and the Leopard Men

Boris Vallejo Tarzan's QuestBoris Vallejo Tarzan and the Forbidden City

Boris Vallejo Tarzan the MagnificentBoris Vallejo Tarzan and the Foreign Legion

Boris Vallejo Tarzan and the MadmanBoris 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. You can also see Michael Whelan’s John Carter of Mars covers.

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

  • 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!

    • 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

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

    • 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.

  • Hey man,

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

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

  • philip

    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.

  • Osamah

    Neal Adams,
    John Buscema,
    Don Newton,

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

Leave a Comment

%d bloggers like this: