Tarzan vs. the Hyaenadons


A couple of scans from the Tarzan comic book I mentioned last week. Borrowing an idea from Arthur Conan Doyle, creator Russ Manning has his protagonists on a plateau that time forgot, populated by prehistoric mammals: giant warthogs, a saber-toothed cat, a megatherium. The hyaenadons, as conceived by Manning, look and behave a lot like modern spotted hyenas. Hyaenodons were real, though they are now classed as creodonts, primitive carnivores not closely related to hyenas.



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12 comments:

  1. Cool idea, but in a way, kind of a waste... seeing as there were actually plenty of giant hyenas and giant hyena-like beasts in prehistoric times, it seems kind of lame to make Hyaenodon look so much like actual hyenas instead of having fun with the external appearance of a completely unknown beast..

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  2. Even as a little kid, I often felt that way. The creators of comics and movies rarely seemed to know much about animals. Edgar Rice Burroughs himself obviously had little experience, or even book learning, about animals. Of course I read all the Tarzan stuff I could find anyway.

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    1. I remember reading that Tarzan's animal nemesis as originally intended by Burroughs was to be a tiger, before someone informed him there were none in Africa... he went for Sabor the lioness instead, even though lions don´t live in the jungle either...

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    2. That's hilarious. As I recall, Tarzan always defeated the lions by catching them in a half-nelson, then stabbing them with his dad's knife.

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    3. In the original novel he somehow managed to give the lioness a death hug, breaking her back with his bare hands. I guess part of the reason why I never liked the novel (I only read the first one) is that there was so much disrespect to the beasts XD

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    4. Pretty disrespectful to humans, too, as I recall--at least, non-white, non-male humans.

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    5. True, very true.

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  3. Same here. While too much of a gentleman to class you fellows in the same childhood mold as yours truly--i.e., mega-dork--I quickly discovered as a child that the dinosaurs of the old pulps bore only a vague resemblance to the animals as envisioned by such scientists as Robert Bakker, Gregory Paul, Dougal Dixon etc. This didn't diminish the action value of such critters within the context of fiction, but it certainly showed the dramatic advances that took place within a comparatively short time in how we understand these creatures.

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  4. I'm pretty happy being classed as a mega-dork. Possibly even a tera-dork.

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  5. We're proud to have you, in that case. Welcome aboard.

    In theory, I suppose it might be possible for a very strong man to accomplish some of the feats with which Tarzan was credited--again, cf. accounts of some of the venatores in the Roman arena, even allowing for the degree of exaggeration probably present in such stories. If a man can dispatch even a wounded bull with a sword-thrust to the aorta, I imagine anything is possible. However, like the modern-day bullfighter, the venator/bestiarius was trained at his craft, and picking up those kind of things on the fly in the jungle is a bit hard to swallow. (The Jungle Book never gave me this issue--but then, Kipling was a better writer than Burroughs.)

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    1. Exactly. I read Kipling's jungle books when I was a kid and they are still among my favorites. Also, he was sensible enough to make Shere Khan a crippled tiger. A tiger with his full capacities would be too much of a foe for Mowgli, or for Tarzan for that matter. :D

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    2. Once you scrape away all the offensive notions and the laziness about facts, Burroughs is--still really, really bad. Definitely not in the same universe of talent as Kipling.

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