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.
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.