Edgar Rice Burroughs and the Great War

May 9, 2018 by

At this year’s convention, PulpFest 2018 will honor the 100th anniversary of the armistice that ended the First World War. Our programming will focus on the so-called “war pulps” of the early twentieth century and the depiction of war in popular culture.

One of the most popular and widely known authors to emerge from the pulps was Edgar Rice Burroughs. When World War I broke out in 1914, Burroughs was 39 years old. “Under the Moons of Mars” and “Tarzan of the Apes” had been published by Munsey in 1912. His writing career was reaching full stride. The war years would see the introduction of the worlds of Pellucidar in “At the Earth’s Core” and Caspak in “The Land that Time Forgot.” Such Burroughs classics as “The Mucker,” “Beyond Thirty,” and “Tarzan and the Jewels of Opar” would also appear during The Great War.

Like most Americans of his day, Edgar Rice Burroughs’ feelings about the war evolved over time. In “Barney Custer of Beatrice” — published in 1915 — Burroughs’ protagonist witnesses Austria-Hungary’s invasion of Serbia. February 1916 saw the initial publication of “Beyond Thirty” in ALL AROUND MAGAZINE. Later entitled “The Lost Continent,” Burroughs’ novel imagines a future world where the western hemisphere isolates itself from the war. While the Americas prosper, Europe reverts to wilderness and savagery.

In August of 1918, the first novella in the three-part Caspak trilogy — “The Land That Time Forgot” — would appear in THE BLUE BOOK MAGAZINE. Inspired by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s THE LOST WORLD and Jules Verne’s THE MYSTERIOUS ISLAND and A JOURNEY TO THE CENTER OF THE EARTH, the story concerns an American headed to Europe to serve in the American Volunteer Motor Ambulance Corps. The vessel on which he is traveling is sunk by a German U-boat. Following a series of adventures, the survivors take control of the submarine and discover the lost world of Caspak.

Burroughs’ TARZAN THE UNTAMED — originally published as two separate stories in 1919 and 1920 — is the novel tied most directly to The Great War. As reported on ERBzine:

“While John Clayton, Lord Greystoke (Tarzan), is away from his plantation home in British East Africa, it is destroyed by invading German troops from Tanganyika. On his return he discovers among many burned bodies one that appears to be the corpse of his wife, Jane Porter Clayton. Another fatality is the Waziri warrior Wasimbu, left crucified by the Germans. . . . Maddened, the ape-man seeks revenge not only on the perpetrators of the tragedy but all Germans, and sets out for the battle front of the war in east Africa.”

Join PulpFest 2018 on Thursday, July 26, at 9:20 PM as Henry G. Franke, III discusses Edgar Rice Burroughs’ personal and professional life during The First World War. Henry will explore the impact that the war had on Burroughs’ fiction, including his tales of Tarzan. It’s all at the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Pittsburgh – Cranberry. You can join PulpFest by clicking the Register for 2018 button on our home page. And don’t forget to book a room at the DoubleTree. They’re going fast!

(One of the most popular writers to emerge from the pulps, Edgar Rice Burroughs often landed the front cover for the start of one of his serials. “Tarzan and the Valley of Luna” is one of two stories that formed the basis for TARZAN THE UNTAMED, first published in book format by A. C. McClurg in 1920. The story originally ran in the March 20 through April 17 issues of Munsey’s ALL-STORY WEEKLY. The initial segment of the story featured front cover art by P. J. Monahan.

Henry G. Franke III is the Editor of The Burroughs Bibliophiles, the non-profit literary society devoted to the life and works of Edgar Rice Burroughs. The Bibliophiles publish THE BURROUGHS BULLETIN journal and THE GRIDLEY WAVE newsletter.  Henry is only the third editor of THE BURROUGHS BULLETIN since its debut in 1947. He was the Contributing Editor and penned the introductions for IDW Publishing’s Library of American Comics archival series reprinting Russ Manning’s Tarzan daily and Sunday newspaper comic strips. The first volume won the 2014 Eisner Award for Best Archival Collection – Strips. He has written articles and other book introductions on Tarzan comic books and strips for TwoMorrows Publishing, Titan Books, and IDW’s Library of American Comics. Henry was the Official Editor of the Edgar Rice Burroughs Amateur Press Association (ERBapa) in 1994-1996 and 2004. He served in the U. S. Army from 1977 to 2009 and is now a government civilian employee of the Army.

For a look at our entire programming schedule, please click the Programming button below the PulpFest banner on our home page.)


90 Years of Frank Frazetta

Feb 5, 2018 by

Born in Brooklyn, New York on February 9, 1928, Frank Frazetta would turn ninety years old this week. Although he never worked in the pulp industry, Frazetta  — along with James Bama — drew many into the pulp community. Bama’s Doc Savage cover art and Frazetta’s paintings for Lancer’s Conan paperbacks and Ace Books’ Edgar Rice Burroughs line coaxed many hard-earned quarters from the pockets of youngsters growing up during the 1960s. Many of these then-young enthusiasts became pulp collectors, seeking the source material from whence the paperbacks were drawn.

As a child, Frazetta was enrolled in the Brooklyn Academy of Fine Arts. He studied under Michele Falanga. At the age of sixteen, the talented young artist began working in Bernard Baily’s comic book studio. Recognizing the youngster’s skill, Graham Ingels helped Frazetta find work with Standard Comics. Before long, Frazetta was working in a wide range of genres including fantasy, funny animal, mystery, romance, superhero, war, and western comics. His work was featured in the comic book lines of Avon, Dell, EC, National Comics, and other publishers.

During the 1950s, Frank Frazetta began working with Al Capp on his Li’l Abner comic strip. He also helped Dan Barry with the Flash Gordon daily strip and produced his own comic strip — Johnny Comet — during this period. Eventually, the artist would join Harvey Kurtzman on the Little Annie Fanny strip, produced for PLAYBOY.

In late 1963, Roy Krenkel asked Frazetta to help him paint covers and provide interior illustrations for Ace’s line of Edgar Rice Burroughs books. Between 1963 and 1965, Frazetta produced twenty-five covers and twenty-two interiors for Ace. Soon thereafter, the first of Frazetta’s Conan paintings appeared: CONAN THE ADVENTURER was released by Lancer Books in 1966. The book’s sales assured the artist’s success. He was soon working for Ballantine Books, Dell, Fawcett, Midwood, Paperback Library, Signet, Warner, and many other paperback publishers.

This period additionally featured Frazetta’s spectacular cover work for Warren Publishing’s CREEPY, EERIE, BLAZING COMBAT, and VAMPIRELLA. The artist also began painting movie posters, beginning with WHAT’S NEW PUSSYCAT?, released by United Artists in 1965. His paintings have also been used as covers for record albums, book jackets, calendars, and more.

On May 10, 2010, Frank Frazetta suffered a stroke and died. His bold and inventive work — the artist stated that he read none of the stories that he illustrated, creating his paintings as he saw fit — will long be lauded by the pulp community and those who appreciate illustrative and commercial art.

(The third edition of Ace Books’ THE LAND THAT TIME FORGOT was published in March 1973. Featuring cover art by Frank Frazetta, the painting was originally used as the cover art for the 1964 and 1969 editions of Edgar Rice Burroughs’ BEYOND THE FARTHEST STAR. 

Burroughs novel — the first of three works set on the lost continent of Caprona — takes place during World War I.  From July 26 through July 29, PulpFest 2018 will be honoring the 100th anniversary of the armistice that ended The First World War. We’ll be at the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Pittsburgh – Cranberry — just north of Pennsylvania’s “Steel City.” BURROUGHS BULLETIN editor Henry G. Franke, III will discuss THE LAND THAT TIME FORGOT and other works in “Edgar Rice Burroughs and The Great War.” Additional programming on war in popular culture is also planned for the convention.

You can join PulpFest 2018 and FarmerCon 100 by clicking the Register for 2018 button on the PulpFest home page. And don’t forget to book a room at the DoubleTree while you’re visiting the PulpFest site. They’re going fast!)