The classic fictional character Tarzan is swinging from the African jungle into Web3 via a new multi-year licensing deal between digital fashion studio XLABEL and the estate of the character’s original creator, Edgar Rice Burroughs.
No, Disney is not involved. And this Tarzan has a different vibe than some past portrayals—so you might see him in some surprising new settings.
XLABEL and Ethereum NFT marketplace X2Y2 will launch a 9,999-token Tarzan: Lord of the Apes NFT collection for 0.05 ETH (about $90) each on March 28 for people added to an allowlist, with a public sale to follow on March 30 for the remaining supply at 0.06 ETH (about $110) each.
XLABEL also plans to integrate its digital Tarzan character into various third-party blockchain-driven metaverse games and platforms. Each version of the Tarzan character sold in Ethereum NFT form will be compatible with Unreal Engine, the game development software developed by Epic Games that powers Fortnite and many other popular video games.
“As we move into the web3 world, it’s about saying: How can we draw on that heritage of 110 years of Tarzan in a really interesting way that will go for the next 100 years?” XLABEL CEO Brad Morris told Decrypt. “He'll be a gaming character in one instance, a social media influencer in another, [or] he'll be a runway model for certain partner brands. There's a whole heap of different applications when you think about [Tarzan] as a digital personality.”
A press release from XLABEL claims Tarzan to be the first character published across book, stage, film and metaverse platforms. The character's legacy was cemented through Burroughs’ original 1912 “Tarzan of the Apes” magazine series, followed by novels, early film adaptations, radio shows, and beyond.
His modern popularity was renewed via Disney’s Tarzan animated movie in 1999 and subsequent TV series. An XLABEL representative confirmed Disney is not involved in this licensing deal. XLABEL plans for Tarzan NFT owners to utilize the character across “multiple blockchain-based environments, including the potential for Tarzan’s own future jungle metaverse.”
“With Epic Games and Unreal, there are hundreds of games where Tarzan can integrate,” Morris said. “Outside of that, there are lots of blockchain games that we're going to be partnering with. The games are pretty much gated experiences that will allow you to step in as Tarzan.”
XLABEL’s in-house digital designers and pseudonymous digital artist Skeeva spent six months creating the modern Tarzan, drawing from Burroughs’ original depiction of the character whose British parents were killed off the coast of Africa, leaving Tarzan to be raised by Apes.
The chiseled Web3 version of Tarzan has varied facial expressions, and XLABEL plans to release digital fashion accessories such as ape-inspired hat NFTs and other wearables for Tarzan.
Web3-era Tarzan will sport a cleaner-cut look than the jungle-honed version audiences are used to. Morris sought to create a personality that reflects the origins of John Clayton II (Tarzan’s real name) before his parents of British royalty made their ill-fated voyage to Africa. From there, NFT holders will be able to give him new life across metaverse worlds.
“He's going to be represented in all these wonderful new ways where we're not always just seeing Tarzan with the wild hair and muddy face,” Morris said. “Imagine when Tarzan brushes his hair and washes his face. Where's he gonna go?”
XLABEL already has its own original NFT collection through GameStop’s marketplace. Tarzan is not the first iconic fictional character brought into Web3 by the startup, either, as it launched an NFT collection based on Betty Boop last year.
Editor's note: This article was updated after publication to remove reference to XLABEL's global team being "Australia-based."
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