Public Domain Super Heroes


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Tarzan All Story
Cover art from All Story Magazine (1912)

Real Name

John Clayton, Lord Greystoke

First Appearance

Tarzan of the Apes (October 1912)

Originally Serialized in

All Story Magazine

Created by

Edgar Rice Burroughs


When John and Alice Clayton, Lord and Lady Greystoke are marooned on a jungle shore, they make a treehouse wherein to live while awaiting rescue. There, they have a son. Around the time of the child's first birthday, the Claytons are killed by Kerchak, leader of the Mangani (great apes). The baby survives and is adopted by an ape named Kala. Kala names him Tarzan ("white skin"), and he eventually kills Kerchak in a fight.

At around the age of 20, Tarzan meets an American woman named Jane Porter, and her father. He travels to the United States to find Jane, but soon returns to Africa, becoming the chief of the Waziri tribe, and leading his men to find the lost city of Opar. After learning that he is actually Lord Greystoke, Tarzan marries Jane and returns to his ancestral home in London. Tarzan and Jane have a son named Jack who takes the ape name, Korak ("killer"), Son of Tarzan. Eventually, Tarzan becomes unhappy with civilization, and the family returns to Africa.

Tarzan possessed nearly superhuman strength and agility, and fought in the ferocious style of the apes. He was an expert climber, diver, swimmer, and was proficient swinging on vines. He often carried a knife, spear or bow. He was able to speak to apes and some other animals using the Mangani dialect, but he also learned to speak fluent English and at least some Waziri, French, Swahili, and Arabic.

Public Domain Literary Appearances

Copyrighted Literary Appearances

  • Tarzan and the Ant Men (1924)
  • Tarzan, Lord of the Jungle (1927, 1928)
  • Tarzan and the Lost Empire (1928)
  • Tarzan at the Earth's Core (1929)
  • Tarzan the Invincible (1930-1931)
  • Tarzan Triumphant (1931)
  • Tarzan and the City of Gold (1932)
  • Tarzan and the Lion Man (1933, 1934)
  • Tarzan and the Leopard Men (1935)
  • Tarzan's Quest (1935, 1936)
  • Tarzan the Magnificent (1936, 1937)
  • Tarzan and the Forbidden City (1938)
  • Tarzan and the Foreign Legion (1947)
  • Tarzan and the Tarzan Twins (1963, for younger readers)
  • Tarzan and the Madman (1964)
  • Tarzan and the Castaways (1965)
  • Tarzan: the Lost Adventure (with Joe R. Lansdale) (1995)

Golden Age Appearances

  • Tip Top Comics #1-188
  • Popular Comics #41-43
  • Tarzan (Dell) #1-131
  • Tarzan's Jungle Annual #1-7
  • Crackajack Funnies #15-36
  • Comics on Parade v2 #12, v3 #5
  • Dell Giant #25,37,51
  • Four Color #161
  • Four-Most Boys Comics #38
  • Sparkler Comics #
  • Comics on Parade #1-29

Public Domain Silver Age Appearances

  • Jungle Tales of Tarzan #1-4 (Charlton)
    • Unauthorized adaptation of the book which shares its title. No proper copyright notice.


  • Although the first eight novels are in the public domain in the United States, and in Australia,Canada, and other 50+ years after death countries even more books are public domain; the books remain copyrighted in the UK and other countries who laws are 70+ years after the death of the author.
  • Also, the major characters of this series are currently trademarked by Edgar Rice Burroughs, Inc. therefore can only appear on the interior of a story.

See Also

International Hero


Comic Vine

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