This and That
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,
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