Chuck Dixon Interview on Superman Tarzan Sons of the Jungle

Chuck Dixon Interview on Superman Tarzan Sons of the Jungle

American writer mainly know for his key role in ten years of Batman stories talks to us about the miniseries recently published in Italy by Bao Publishing but originally made in 2002 with Carlos Meglia

Charles “Chuck” Dixon is an American writer working for comics since middle of eighties. He strongly tied his name to a few run like those on “Punisher War Journal” and “Robin” (three different miniseries) but he is mostly know as one of the few writers that wrote almost each Batman related series. He has been the “deus ex machina” of Batman adevntures approximatively from 1992 to 2002. He later worked with CrossGen and a few more other Editors. He then came back to wrote for DC Comics Robin and Green Arrow.
His official website is:

Hi Chuck and tank for joining us at Lospaziobianco. May you tell us who came up with the idea of teaming up Tarzan and Superman?
There was a delay in another crossover I was doing for Dark Horse. I was working on Superman/Aliens 2 and the art team needed more time. The editor decided to give me Superman/Tarzan to work on while the artists on the Aliens project caught up to deadline.

From where did you get inspired to create the plot of this story?
The general plot had already been agreed upon by Dark Horse and ERB Inc. I knew the pair would cross origins. From there it was up to me to make it work. I was surprised at how smoothly it worked out and how close the two stories were in feel. It allowed me to mesh the tale of these two displaced men sharing a common destiny.

Did you know Carlos Meglia before collaborating with him on these books?
I was not. I’d never seen his work prior to working with him.

A few words on the amazing job that Meglia did on these books… The “picture in picture” panels came out from his fantasy or were included in the script?
An amazing talent! He brought 200% to the story. He totally re-imagined Tarzan’s jungle as well as the stately urban settings of London and Paris. A brilliant storyteller. The idea of the panel-within-a-panel was all his. I write full script but use a form that’s very flexible. Carlos took full advantage of that and made us BOTH look like geniuses!

Tarzan was 90 when the books get out in USA . Now is 100 years old. What is the secret of this never-ending success?
The seduction of nature. What young boy, or grown man with a young boy in his heart, doesn’t fantasize about throwing away the rules and restrictions of society and go spend all day with animals. And animals that can speak and know your name! Tarzan is also the biggest badass in fiction. No one is more driven, no one is tougher. Just a great character whose core comes through even in lame versions of his story.

We feel that Superman and Tarzan share a lot of common patterns and features. Do you want to share with us the ones you managed to find out?
They are both orphans trying to find their way in the world. I worked from the premise that, despite the fact that they wound up in the wrong place, they each knew that a different fate was expected of them. Tarzan longs for the life if a natural man and Superman longs to be embraced by humanity. It’s nearly impossible to mess up a theme that primal and compelling. I had SO much fun writing it.

How did it feel to cross Tarzan and Superman origins? Do you think that the characters still work also in this way?
The basics of the two men still came out. Kal-El in the place of Tarzan was less obsessive than Tarzan would be. But his loneliness was deeper as he sensed that he was very far from home. Yet he was willing to settle into his role as Lord of the Jungle. Growing up in England, Tarzan is his usual restless, impulsive self which gets him into trouble. He can never be happy until he is free to live life as he chooses.

One thing I’d like to add. I am a very great admirer of Edgar Rice Burroughs and wanted to make the story as close to one of his as I possibly could. That is why the series is set in the past. Burroughs wrote by the word and was contracted for a precise number of words when he wrote. He would get wrapped up in his story and lose word count (not like today when we can check word count on our screens!) and realize too late that he was running out of room and needed to wrap up his plotlines in just a few pages. I did the same thing at the end of my story in a direct homage.

Here you can find the Italian translation (by Valerio Stivè):

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