Sep 15, 2013

Kimba, the Italian Tarzan

I'm a devotee of all things Tarzan, including the original novels by Edgar Rice Burroughs, the movies, the tv series, the comic books and comic strips, the Big-Little Books, the pastiches and parodies.  And the imitations.  Dozens of unauthorized Tarzans and barely-disguised Tarzan clones swung through the trees.  There were French, German, Russian, Arabic, Turkish, Chinese, Hindi, and even Swahili versions.

I thought I had seen them all.  But I just found another.

Not to be confused with Kimba the White Lion, Kimba, re del'Africa nera ("The King of Black Africa") was an Italian photo-comic book series of the 1970s.  It's not listed in the Grand Comics Database, so I don't know how many issues came out, but I know that there were versions in French (Kimba, Roi de la Jungle) and German.

Here he is battling a masked villain who looks like the Phantom, but is actually Il Ragno (The Spider).  And yes, you saw right -- it's a guy trapped in the spider web.

From what I can gather, Kimba rescued men as often as women.  Here he's fighting what looks like some Vikings in pink dresses.

His comic book was unique in that it was not drawn.  Every panel was a photograph of a live-action scene.  Sort of like screen shots for a movie that was never produced.

The model for Kimba was Vito Fornari, who also starred in a photonovel comic series about a psychopath named Killing (translated into Satanick in France and Sadistik in England) and his dominatrix companion Diana.  Vito seemed to be mostly involved with the rescue of ladies in bikinis from the nefarious couple.

In the 1980s Vito moved into sex comedies: Gift Girls (1980), W la foca (1982), and Adam and Eve (1983).  His last credited role was in Il giuoco dei sensi (The Game of the Senses, 2001).

It seems an appropriate end to his career.

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