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This and That


   Last time I pleaded guilty to neglecting my mailing comments. Fate seems to have a way of leveling all things, and so I find myself, the deadline upon me, and not a topic in sight. It seems I shall be forced to do what I should, despite myself.
   Have you noticed (John Guidry certainly has; he's commented on it to me a number of times) that each mailing of ERB-APA, however varied the content, seems to display one or two common themes? Several members will choose to share information concerning foreign items in their collections, for instance. One such theme in Number 5 was the Tarzan comic strip. Several members mentioned their own (apparently large) collections of this material.
   Rick Norwood, Darrell C. Richardson, and John Rose (probably others as well) have long runs of the daily and Sunday Tarzan strips. I would like to suggest that these gentlemen undertake a common project--the production of an "ERB-APA Guide to the Tarzan Comic Strips." For most of us this material is terra incognito: a vast, fifty-year-wide territory that very few have explored. There are sign posts, true--names of artists, dates--but precious little has been published detailing just the stories themselves.
   Perhaps these gentlemen could divide up the labor and offer us a comprehensive guide to the material, breaking it into stories and sequences, offering notes not only on artists and writers, but on recurrent characters, themes, and developments in the art and storytelling. For one thing, I'd be interested in knowing just how many times ERB's original stories were adapted to this medium--legitimately or in disguised form (as when "Fires of Tohr" was retold with a different cast of characters). Ideally the synopses would be brief--two or three sentences--since long synopses tend to be boring.
   The daily numbered strip is most in need of such a guide, but I'd like to see a complete survey, including even the daily "story strips," which did not always simply follow the ERB originals they purported to adapt. ERB-APA could be used as a testing ground for the guide, with members offering suggestions and correction; then, if everyone agreed, the complete Guide could be produced as a book or booklet for sale to non-members, with ERB-APA's treasury underwriting the costs and the proceeds going back into the treasury to finance other, future projects.
   ERB-APA itself is quickly becoming a vast territory. It would be a shame if the valuable information contained in these mailings were left unavailable to non-member fans and scholars. ERB-APA projects such as the one suggested above might be a way to preserve and disseminate the very best of ERB-APA, if ground rules for selection could be developed that would guard against bruised feelings. I suppose selection would have to be by committee, or perhaps even vote of the full membership. My personal preference would be for solid information--checklists unavailable elsewhere, indexes, scholarship firmly based in ERB, rather than interpretations.

   DOROTHY J. HOWELL: I continue to find "Tarzan Meets the Legal System" fascinating and your mailing comments insightful. Please continue to run lengthy helpings of both.
   BOB LUPTON (and BONNIE, of course): Enjoyed "The Lion Sleeps Tonight" and looking forward to seeing you on your next trip.
   MIKE RESNICK: The William Gilmore pastiches you mentioned were reprinted by Vern in the '70s (I'm fairly certain), and thus had larger print runs than you suggested. Are they any good? Should I try to read them someday? Leiber's Tarzan book was good, as I recall, though he didn't capture ERB's Tarzan. (I'm not really certain that he wanted to or should have tried.) Mahars of Pellucidar wasn't bad, and I rather liked Chandler's Alternate Martians at the time. I can't agree, though, that ERB was any more of a prude than his audience; probably a lot less, if you consider his shocking use of nudity. Reread the lifeboat scene in Land that Time Forgot and La's rape (well, it might have been) of Tarzan in Jewels. Regarding Land, a reviewer at the time it was first published commented something close to this: "It may not be banned in Boston, but not from want of trying."
   JEREMY BARRY: Thank you, Jeremy, for "Bosoms of Barsoom." I'm pleased after all these years to finally have the opportunity to read it. The reproduced cover is very nice too, and I'm glad to see the information on your involvement with those little-remembered fanzines. Please give us more whenever you can.
   If anything, the mailings continue to get better--richer, fuller, more varied--and I find myself eagerly awaiting the deadline as it approaches. As you can see, I haven't much longer to wait. . . .

--June 30, 1985

[Over the following years several members contributed synopses of the Sunday comic strips, but it was honorary member Pete Ogden, publisher of ERBania, who undertook the daunting task of exploring the uncharted years of the Tarzan daily. The result was an excellent series of ERB-APA articles that I hope he will eventually collect in a single publication. Several ERB-APA anthologies have appeared, the most recent due soon from Henry Franke.]

 

Tarzan in the Land That Time Forgot and the Pool of Time by Russ Manning, wonderful, highly recommended full-color adventure album by the best artist-writer ever to work on Tarzan.

Tarzan Versus Predator at the Earth's Core, collection of recent Dark Horse comics. The story didn't do much for me.

Tarzan: Les Monstres, collection of recent Dark Horse comics. I didn't like the art.

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Copyright © 1999 Patrick H. Adkins. All rights reserved.