Tarzan: Le Monstre
by Lovern Kindzierski,
Stan Manoukian, Vince Roucher
(Dark Horse, 1998)

Tarzan. One of the oldest, most beloved pulp characters in American pop culture, it once seemed to me that nothing more could really be done with him, even in comic form. Until a very short time ago, that is. You see, I recently picked up the collection of the five-issue miniseries, Tarzan: Le Monstre from Dark Horse Comics. It's a fan-pleaser, beginning with the beautiful Michael Kaluta cover and ending with sketches by Le Monstre artists Stan Manoukian and Vince Roucher, and a gallery of the original single-issue covers by comic greats Berni Wrightson, Mark Schultz and the aforementioned Kaluta.

Inside, readers will find the King of the Jungle hobnobbing with Pablo Picasso, Arthur Conan Doyle and Nikola Tesla, and confronting such adversaries as the Phantom of the Opera, Frankenstein's monster, Mr. Hyde and ... Thomas Edison?!?

Well, you'll just have to read it now, won't you?

While I am by no means an expert on the Tarzan character, I am a longtime fan. That being said, writer Lovern Kindzierski's treatment does not feel like a watered-down version of Burroughs' creation. Instead, the ape-man is treated with the utmost respect to his roots, the work, at times, referencing The Jungle Tales of Tarzan, the sixth Tarzan book.

The insertion of historical figures into various fictional settings makes for an even more entertaining romp, as it makes suspension of disbelief that much easier for the engrossed fan.

Manoukian and Roucher do a wonderful job of capturing the suave, civilized Duke of Greystoke, as well as the "savage" that stirs beneath the surface. The bold, detailed style finely portrays the macabre nature of the villainy within the pages, as well as the wonder of early 20th-century Paris and New York City. Recommended for adults, due to some racy content, and graphic scenes of violence.

- Rambles
written by Mark Allen
published 10 January 2004