Robot 6

Edgar Rice Burroughs Inc. branches out into webcomics

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Edgar Rice Burroughs Inc., the company founded by the creator of Tarzan and still run by his family, has begun publishing webcomics based on six of the author’s most famous creations. Roy Thomas and Tom Grindberg (who have been producing the Tarzan comic strips since 2012) continue creating new stories featuring the ape man, while Chuck Dixon and Tom Lyle explore the Earth’s Core world of Pellucidar. Writer Martin Powell is joined by four different artists on the remaining series: Carson of Venus (with Thomas Floyd and Diana Leto), The Eternal Savage (with Steven E. Gordon), The Cave Girl (with Diana Leto), and The War Chief (with Nik Poliwko).

The ERB Inc. website has samples of each series for free, and readers can then subscribe to all six for $1.99 a month. Each series updates weekly, so that’s about 24 pages for just $2; a great deal.

I had some questions about the initiative, so I contacted Powell, who was extremely helpful. For one thing, these webcomics don’t affect Dark Horse, which still holds the license for printed Tarzan comics. He also explained why there’s no series for John Carter: “I originally auditioned for John Carter of Mars, but Disney/Marvel still has a hold on it. Still, ERB Inc. was apparently impressed enough that they offered me Carson of Venus and allowed me to assemble my own art team, which I’ve done for my other four ERB comic strips as well. So, you could say in a sense that I am Carson … we both aimed at Mars and ended up on Venus!”

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I also learned more about the individual strips and the approach the writers are taking. ”From what I understand,” Powell told me, “after a few brief episodes, Chuck Dixon’s Pellucidar series will be original stories. My ERB comic strips are all recreations (I dislike the word “adaptations”) of Burroughs’ books.”

I asked Powell about the distinction between a recreation and an adaptation. “Basically, this is the same method I’ve always used when transforming an existing book by another author into comics, i.e., Frankenstein and The Hound of the Baskervilles,” he said. “I devised this for myself as a way of getting to play with the language and to bring a part of myself to the stories, without deviating from their source. I suspect that 100-year-old dialogue and narration can seem somewhat stilted to modern readers (although I personally don’t agree with that), but I’m aware of this perceived notion regarding many of today’s readers. The trick is to give the illusion of Edgar Rice Burroughs, and his era, while also keeping the dialogue appealing and fun to a 21st-century audience.

“As far as ‘adaptations’ go, movies, books, and comics are very different storytelling mediums. Transcribing novels word for word, cutting and pasting the contained dialogue, is not the best plan for approaching comics. At least, that’s my feeling. However, the essence needs to be respected and remain intact, or otherwise there’s no point to any of it. Restructuring the chapter of a book into a five-panel comic strip, with a beginning, middle, and an ending that urges the reader to want to turn the page is a formidable challenge.

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“As a former magician, I’ve always thought of creative writing as much like stage magic, being that it is all about misdirection and surprise. Establishing and maintaining a sense of drama and rhythm is all-important, and writing comic strips are deceptively more complicated to compose than a standard full-length comic book script.”

Explaining why he chose to recreate the Carson of Venus, Eternal Savage, Cave Girl, and War Chief novels (as opposed to just telling new stories about those characters), Powell said, “ERB Inc. and I felt that 21st-century readers needed a truer introduction to Edgar Rice Burroughs for these somewhat lesser known properties. After all, to the mass public, ERB’s original books are ’new adventures.’ Our plan is to reawaken the audience and create millions of new readers on an international level. The plots in my comic strips belong to Burroughs, but the narrative and dialogue are mine. This gives a more modern tilt toward the language, while hopefully maintaining the illusion of its proper time period. That way I feel sort of a sense of creative ownership to the material, too.”

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7 Comments

if they were true to the books, they’d do a scene where Tarzan calls upon the strength only found in white people to help him

Um, Talmidge, while there is certainly no sense of complete equality of the races in ERB’s work, he is hardly the posterboy for white supremacy or racism. At worst, he had a somewhat European Colonial view of the world, but he quite often would depict people of other races as noble, brave, trustworthy and possessing many other positive traits. Tarzan and John Carter both considered many non-white people and creatures to be great friends and allies. Perhaps you’re thinking of H.P. Lovecraft.

Um, how am I just now finding out that Tom Grindberg is working on comics again? That’s fantastic news!

Right? That Tarzan work is phenomenal!

These look really nice. Will they ever be collected and published in hardcopy?

I would love to write for the Tarzan comics!!! do you acccept unsolicited material for scripts for the Tarzan comic book?? I have some experience for writing for Tarzan. I wrote a script for a short movie for the S.A. Tarzan by the name of Dewet Du Toit. can you review my question ans short move and let me know what you think?My name is Drew Lamarre, and I wanted to share with your followers a short film that I wrote and produced with South African bodybuilder, Dewet Du Toit. The short film is called, THE THREE SUSPECTS. And I’ve enclosed a link for your readers to view at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GlGUsYrRdeU

Besides being a Tarzan look-alike, Dewet is also an actor and wishes to someday come to visit and work in this country. Dewet and I look forward to any support and/or feedback we receive from your followers. I’ve also enclosed Dewet’s facebook address: http://www.facebook.com/tarzan.ddt

Thank you

Drew Lamarre

the name of the photo shoot and next film will be: JIFFY -BOT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Scene one: you are walking to your apt. Door. You see a package of Jiffy-pop lying by your door. It has a caption that reads : OUR POP HAS A TOY AT THE TOP

SCENE 2: You enter your apt, place the jiffy pop on the top top and leave

SCENE 3: YOU go to your bedroom change out of your street clothes into workout clothes, your are shirtless as you enter the room and begin to punch on a punching bag in your living room

SCENE4: (Close up) of jiffy pop, a small human figure begins to form at the top of the expanding jiffy pop TOP!!

SCENE5: You are finished your work out and head for the shower!!

SCENE6: (Close up) Jiffy pop has produced a FULLY grown soldier, dressed in aluminum!

SCENE7: You are taking a shower when attacked by the jiffy-BOT, pop corn robot!!!

SCENE8: You struggle with the pop corn robot and tear his aluminum fabric causing the ‘pop corn” to escape deflating the robot!!!

SCENE9: You have to the ground unconscious from the fight in a pile of pop corn!!

SCENE 10: (Close up) of someone else entering your apartment walking next to your unconscious body!!!

SCENE 11: You wake up in your bed wondering if all what happened was a dream!!!

SCENE12: You walk into the bathroom and SEE no piles of pop corn and begin to believe it never happened!!

SCENE 13: (Close -up) of your placing your fingers in your( mouth)

SCENE 14: You pull out a pop corn kernel that fell in your mouth during your battle with the pop corn robot. from there the rest of the movie will be based on your investigation of that one pop corn kernel and where it sends you!!

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