Tarzan looks pretty good for 110 years old. The legendary Edgar Rice Burroughs character was introduced way back in 1912, and now another legend, writer Dan Jurgens, is taking on the new Dynamite series Lord of the Jungle this fall.
With art by Benito Gallego, the release of the title also coincides with a big moment for Jurgens and comics in general. The writer chatted with The Beat about it all.
Deanna Destito: How has it been adding such a legendary character to your already impressive list of legendary characters?
Dan Jurgens: I’ve really enjoyed the process of adding Tarzan to that list of characters. There is always something a bit humbling about working on a recognizable, iconic character that is recognized all over the world.
One of the things that makes it fun is that you get to reacquaint yourself with a character and, perhaps, dig a bit deeper than you did as a fan. It forces you to think about the character a different way and look into new and different ways of telling his story.
Destito: How did you approach creating a fresh narrative for a character that is more than a century old?
Jurgens: Any time you take on a character that has been around for multiple decades, you have to try to look at them and ask, “What is there that still works today? What exists within that character and his or her world that translates to now. How does their world translate to the present?”
At the same time, you have to be careful not to bend them so far that they are no longer recognizable.
I’d like to think that with our first story, we will have a Tarzan of his time that is very relatable to now.
Destito: The anniversary of Tarzan also coincides with another anniversary: your Death of Superman 30 years ago. Was that on purpose or was the universe just weirdly aligning?
Jurgens: That was a complete coincidence!
I like that it happened… it’s nice to have two high-profile books coming out the same month, but it wasn’t planned that way. It was more a result of when my schedule opened up so I could get both up and running.
Destito: How has it been working with this creative team, including the all-star lineup on covers?
Jurgens: Working with Benito Gallego has been great. Drawing a character like Tarzan requires discipline in quite a few areas… you really have to be just as enthused about drawing wildlife as you do Tarzan himself and Benito is definitely doing that.
Meanwhile, the cover process has been great fun! With our first issue, we are blessed to have awesome covers by guys like Dan Panosian, Lee Weeks, Gary Frank, and many more. They have all done gorgeous work and I couldn’t be happier with them.
Destito: If you could pick another classic character that you haven’t already tackled, who would you choose?
Jurgens: I don’t know! Really… there aren’t that many left!
I’ve been quite fortunate to be able to spend my time with a wide variety of iconic characters. When done, I’d like to think that I’ve contributed something that the next generation will appreciate, just as I did as a reader. That’s part of the fun… adding to the deep and colorful tapestry that has been woven around these characters through decades of great work.
Lord Of The Jungle #1 is slated for release in November. It will be available in comic shops as well as through digital platforms such as Comixology, Kindle, iBooks, Google Play, Dynamite Digital, ComicsPlus, and more.