Jun 13, 2016

Zagor, the Italian Tarzan, Batman, Robin, Phantom, and Cisco Kid

Zagor is a comic book series first published in Italy in 1961, with later versions in the former Yugoslavia, Austria, Greece, Israel, and Turkey.

It is set in early 19th century Pennsylvania, a pristine wilderness where young Patrick Wilding becomes Batman: he sees his parents murdered, and grows up lusting for vengeance.

Or maybe he becomes Robin: he trains with a group of acrobats, like Dick Grayson.

Or maybe he's Tarzan: he moves into the wilderness, where the natives call him the Lord of the Darkwood.  He travels by jumping from tree branches, like Tarzan swinging from vines.  He fights monsters, poachers, desperados, and jungle beasts...um, I mean coniferous forest beasts...like bears, cougars, and alligators.

Or maybe he's the Phantom: "Zagor" is short for the Indian name Za-Gor-Te-Nah, the Ghost with the Hatchet (his preferred weapon).  Like the Phantom, the Ghost Who Walks.

Note that he always wears a red sleveless shirt with a yellow bird emblem.

Or maybe he's the Cisco Kid: he has a bumbling sidekick, Chico, who looks and acts like Pancho from the tv series.

There have been three movie versions in Turkey:

Zagor (1970), starring Cihangir Gaffari (who appeared in American films as John Gaffari and John Foster).

Zagor kara bela (Zagor and the Land of Trouble, 1971) and Zagor kara korsan'in hazineleri (Zagor and the Black Pirate's Treasure, 1971) starring Levent Çakir.

Levent Çakir is rather inadequately muscular, even though he also starred as the Turkish Superman.

There are two English-language translations: Zagor: Terror from the Sea (2015) and Zagor: The Red Sand (2016).