Arvid Nelson already has experience adapting the work of Edgar Rice Burroughs to the comic book medium in Dynamite's Warlord of Mars series, so it seems like a natural choice that the publisher would turn to him for Lord of the Jungle, a re-telling of the original Tarzan story.
But, as Nelson points out in a chat with Newsarama, this may not be exactly what you expect from a Tarzan comic book — the "me Tarzan, you Jane" dialogue is nowhere to be seen, with the story both more faithful to the source material and making some contemporary alterations where needed.
This is the second talk in our week-long focus on Dynamite's four new December series — the first part, Marc Guggenheim talking Nowhere Man, ran on Monday. And of course, keep reading Newsarama for more.Newsarama: Arvid, beyond anything that can be found in a solicitation or the usual pre-release hype, what do you think makes the Lord of the Jungle series unique?
Arvid Nelson: I was surprised at how far all the adaptations I’ve seen stray from the original. Really, the only similarity is the basic concept of a man raised by apes in the jungle. Which is a shame, because the original story is so much fun. There’s a lot of camp and humor, and we’re not shying away from that. But at the same time, it’s a great adventure story, a great romance.Nrama: How would you compare this series to your previous work, including your past Burroughs adaptations?
Nelson: Every story requires a different battle plan, of course. Major changes are always necessary, but each time I try to be as true to the spirit original as possible.
Nrama: Why is artist Roberto Castro right for the book?
Nelson: Who dat? No, hah hah. Hah. Roberto proved himself on the Fall of Barsoom series. I was actually a little jealous I wasn’t working with him! In addition to great textures and backgrounds – two things which are critical for the jungle environments of this story – Roberto has a great sense of humor.Nrama: What’s something about Lord of the Jungle that readers won’t expect, especially those familiar with previous versions of the Tarzan story?
Nelson: There’s gonna be a lot of surprises. Tarzan never says "you Jane, me Tarzan," for instance. On one hand, his jungle upbringing is what makes him exceptional. On the other, it also makes him an outcast. So he’s not some jungle brute. He really wants to be part of the human world.
Nrama: The solicitation mentioned “new elements.” How much creative freedom are you employing in adding to the source material?
Nelson: Just the right amount, I hope. There are some cringe-inducing moments of racism in the original, which demand a little creative license. I’ll be shifting the comic relief away from the black people and onto the white people. It’s OK! I’m allowed, because I’m white. White people are a riot.Got a comment? There's lots of conversation on Newsarama's FACEBOOK and TWITTER!