My collecting habits differ
from most of the ERB collectors I know. True there are a couple with similar
habits, but I think most of us have our own unique methods to our madness.
First I go after the items that are more likely to be around for a short
time rather than those that will be a permanent (more or less). Usually
I make the right decision, but not always. (Sometimes things I think will
be available to the general public for a long time disappear from the market
quickly, and visa-versa.) This means that I go after the school supplies,
the coloring and activity books, the McDonald's toys, the promotional items,
magazines, and newspaper clippings. It does not mean that this is all I
collect. I collect the books, the movies, and the toys also. I have been
called a completist and I wish that I could be, but the sad fact is that
I am not. I also have not specialized toward any particular aspect of ERB
collecting. I just collect what I like and that puts me somewhere in the
middle. I have found a lot of things and I have also missed a lot of things.
So, let me tell you about
my book collection (which the following images only partly capture). I
do have a copy of every book ERB wrote, and a good many articles and pamphlets,
but I do not have every version of every book. Even though I would love
to, I do not even have all of them in hardback. I do, however, have a rather
interesting mixture. My hardbacks started out with a few library edition
paperbacks. These are paperback books that the library has rebound by removing
the covers, putting the pages between hard covers and gluing the old paper
covers to the hard covers. These I picked up at library book sales for
a quarter or less. My first real hardbacks were the Science Fiction Book
Club editions of the Barsoom series. Next I found my Beyond Thirty &
The Man-Eater, for $6.00 in a little out of the way shop in Colorado
Springs. However, as I have already conveyed to you in a previous chapter,
my big moment in hardbacks came when I procured Tarzan and the Tarzan
Twins from an ebay auction.
Hardbacks, Bison, and
I have most (but
not all) of the hardbacks that have come out since the Book Club editions,
and I have picked up a few of the G&D's also. I know I have missed
some, like the first Easton Press Tarzan of the Apes and
of Mars. I do have all the book club editions, the
Uniform editions, the Donald M.
Grant editions as well as some miscellaneous editions such as Tarzan:
The Lost Adventure from Dark
Horse and Moon Maid from Bruce
Wood. I also have some reproductions of the first edition of Tarzan
of the Apes. However, my only "old" first edition, which is in poor
condition, is The Mad King. I have a grand total of 41 US and 14
foreign hardback editions (some of which have more than one story in them)
which makes for a pretty small hardback collection.
My foreign hardbacks are
split even at this time with seven United Kingdom books and seven Danish
books. The United Kingdom books came from my friend, Tom F. Jones, in England
and the procurement of Danish books came about mainly because of the article
in the last Burroughs Bulletin.
Years ago I notified George
McWhorter that I would be willing to provide copies of the Tarzan marathon,
which had just run on AMC, to anyone who would re-pay me the cost of tapes
and postage. George thought it possible that I would be swamped with requests
for tapes but I told him to print the offer in the Burroughs Bulletin anyway.
I did get a few requests, but I was not swamped. About a month after I
received that Burroughs Bulletin, I received a letter from England... from
Tom Jones. Now we knew that Tom Jones, the singer, was Welsh and we were
curious as to whether this was the singer or a different Tom Jones. It
was some time before we were able to ascertain whether or not this was
the singer. And of course it was not. However, I digress, so back to the
letter. Mr. Jones was requesting a copy of my Tarzan tapes and had enclosed
an American ten dollar bill. I did not know just how to handle this situation
as $10 would cover the cost of about three tapes and postage within the
U.S., but I had enough Tarzan material to fill a couple dozen or more tapes,
and postage to the U.K. is quite a bit more expensive. I wrote back to
Mr. Jones explaining my predicament. I also enclosed my full list of Tarzan
video material that I had gleaned from television, because it was not available
in home video format. We struck a deal that I would provide him with videos
in exchange for his surplus ERB books. We have remained in contact ever
since and have traded a lot of ERB items. He finds things for me in Europe,
and I find things for him in the U.S. On our last trip to Europe, we took
a day trip to England and spent a very enjoyable time with Tom and Joy
and we are hoping to be able to visit with them again on our upcoming trip.
Foreign books, with my
seven Danish books on the right end.
Some time ago I
acquired the Danish book, Tarzan vender tilbage, from ebay just
to have a Danish book in my collection. However, after reading the recent
article about Axel Mathiesen in Burroughs Bulletin 57, I decided to attempt
to obtain a set of the ERB books that have been translated into Danish.
I never thought about it before that article, but since I am a Dane, I
should have a set, especially since there is also Danish artwork involved.
I have already found that this may be a long road as it appears that not
too many Danish ERB books have made their way across the ocean, or at least
not into American used book stores. On the bright side is the fact that
I was able to find six recently and one, which duplicates my first, is
illustrated with Axel Mathiesen's art work.
U.S. and U.K. paperbacks.
My paperback collection
is also a pretty mixed up collection. I actually prefer hardbacks, but
paperbacks were the easiest and least expensive format to obtain when I
was growing up, and probably still are today. In paperbacks I have 96 US,
59 English, and one German book. Again there are duplicates so I only have
74 unique titles. I cannot say that I have any particular run of paperbacks
other than all the University of Nebraska editions to date. When it came
to the books, I just wanted to have a copy of each book, and sometime I
would buy a different version of a paperback because of its cover. I was
not concerned with a complete set from one publisher.
Now I have a little different
outlook in my book collecting. I am getting the ERBville books (with dust
jackets from Bruce Wood) because they are reprints of the first pulp editions.
These give me a copy of the first printing, not the later one that may
have been made politically correct. Jerry Schneider has assured me that
he will not let me miss any of his ERBville Uniform editions.
Thus far, none of
the books discussed above includes the numerous children's books in my
library (several of which are from England and France). I have hardbacks,
paperbacks, story books with just a mention of Tarzan, story books with
full Tarzan stories, and activity and coloring books. There are the Big
Little Books and the Whitman books. Then there are the juvenile books,
like the Dover abridged versions. I have over 130 children and juvenile
So far the books I have listed
take up about six shelves and here I must again digress to explain why
this is important. One edition each of the basic ERB books was the only
part of my collection that I was able to display for years, due to space
considerations. But I wanted the rest of my collection within easy reach
also. After Edie and I married we purchased a two story, four bedroom house,
with a full basement. We have about 3600 square feet of house. A lot of
people asked us why we wanted such a large house for just the two of us.
Well the answer is simple. I wanted my own room to put all my
out. So far I have listed about enough material to fill one book case.
Well in our four bedroom house, we now only have two bedrooms. The master
bedroom and a guest room. There is also MY room and Edie's room.
We each have decorated the
rooms as we want. Mine has three walls of book cases. One wall has a bright
jungle curtain, that is loaded with pins, around the double window over
the book shelves. There is a closet that has two book cases in it and is
otherwise crammed full of boxes. I have a desk and two chairs in the middle
of the room and pretty much all available wall space (and closet door space)
is covered with toys, posters, and pictures. I have had to expand my books
out into the hallway (who needs Encyclopaedia Britannica taking up valuable
real estate in MY room). I have my Star Trek posters and artwork hanging
on the hallway walls and some of the larger Tarzan items have moved down
to the family room, which has 10 feet of wall space above the entertainment
center and a four foot by 15 foot ledge, six feet above the fireplace.
The top of the entertainment center and the ledge were appropriated (with
permission) for Tarzan displays.
Back in MY room, two book
cases are for non-ERB books and one book case is for Star Trek, Stephen
King, and various other videos that are special to us. The rest of the
space is pretty much taken up by ERB and is within easy reach should I
wish to reference something. The only problem is that sometimes I forget
just which section the book I want is in and it may take a while for me
to find it. (Of course I have them all listed! But only by title and author,
not by what kind of book or what color and I do not employ the Dewey Decimal
system because you cannot see the spines of half the books when there are
at least two rows of books on most of the shelves. This double row technique
is not shown in the images, because I rearranged the book shelves temporarily
in order to photograph them.) Ok, back to the rest of my books.
ERBzine volumes 1-12
and miscellaneous volumes M and N
I have a fair number
of artwork and reference books, including a complete set of all
ERBzines published to date, including two miscellaneous volumes, M
and N. I realize that ERBzine is an electronic fanzine, but I consider
ERBzine my encyclopaedia set on ERB (that is why Britannica is out in the
hall). I have a six foot shelf dedicated to this publication, and it is
two-thirds filled. Of course I have quite a few other fanzines, but not
any complete sets. My artwork books are actually a fairly new item in my
collection. I started my artwork collection through the Science Fiction
Book Club by getting three of Frazetta's books as part of my deal for joining.
Another of my art books, Is Art, I had the good fortune to have
signed, in detail, by Frank Cho, Marc Hempel, and Mark Wheatley, thanks
to Steve Wadding's efforts.
Pastiches, movie scripts,
and not), TV guides, French fanzines
Miscellaneous books somehow
related to ERB material
Then there are the
ERB, Inc. authorized published pastiches, from Fritz Leiber, Philip José
Farmer, R.A.Salvatore, etc. There are pastiches which do not use the actual
ERB names, like J. T. Edson and Edwin L. Arnold. And of course the set
of Barton Werper (Peter T. & Peggy Scott) pastiches. There are also
numerous stories that are not really pastiches, but do have a theme based
on an ERB character, like Me Tarzan by Betsy Byars. A lot of these
I have had signed by the authors and/or the illustrators. Oh, and let us
not forget the pastiches harvested from online. I have printed them all
and read some of them. The longer ones I have even GBC bound to neatly
keep them together. (GBC is the plastic comb going through the little rectangle
You may wonder why a person,
whose livelihood has depended on computers since the early 1970's, would
print out all this material rather than saving it to some form of space
saving electronic media. Even if you do not, I am going to tell you. It
is because I have worked with computers for so long. Computers are great,
but susceptible to a wide variety of problems. The first is that they need
electricity to work. The second is that most magnetic media does have a
shelf life and data can be corrupted just because the media is on the shelf.
Even CDs are not immune to problems. However, I have yet to lose data from
a book due to a power loss, dropping, beverage spills, etc. Yes, books
can be damaged, but even a book with bent or missing covers, water stains,
damage due to extended exposure to sunlight and heat has not lost the information
inside. Even the books I lost in the fire were actually still good, if
all you were concerned about was the content. They just did not have any
spines. I also do not like to read long documents from a computer screen.
I could come up with several more reasons but it just boils down to the
fact that, "I like books! The feel! The smell!" So I print my information
for future reading. Someday I WILL get around to reading all the pastiches
that I have printed and purchased.
I did not start on my comic
book collection until late in the 1970's. It still has holes in the Dell
and Gold Key areas, and chasms in the older areas like Charlton and Sparkler.
I am still working on it, but I just do not seem to get around to checking
comic book sources as much as I would like. I do have all the Dark Horse,
Malibu, Marvel, and DC comics that have ERB stories. I even have a few
comics in Spanish, Dutch, and Danish, and some from the U.K. Comic books
do not lend themselves to being stored on shelves, so mine are in comic
book boxes in the closet.
I have been able to build
up my collection of newspaper comic strips because Ken Webber has allowed
me to borrow portions of his collection. My first contact with Ken was
some years ago. I found out that he had a document that I did not have
so I contacted him to see if he would make me a copy of it. As it turned
out he did not have the capability to easily make a copy of this large
document, so he mailed it to me so I could make my own copy. This really
impressed me because we had never met and he was just sending me his only
copy of something. Well I made two copies of this document and had both
bound (paper covers with some type of heat tape spine) and returned his
original and a bound copy to him. We have remained in contact since, visiting
and trading ERB material often.
Newspaper comic strips
U.K. comic books in hard
back, miscellaneous comic strips, and NBM books
Anyway, between Ken's collection
and what I have found on my own I have collected most of the daily strips
from Burne Hogarth to present and most of the Sunday strips from Hal Foster
to present. The Sunday strips were somewhat easier as I was able to subscribe
to the NBM books when they
first came out. These are great color reproductions and I was able to purchase
them over an extended period, rather than attempting to find a complete
set later. (I did write them an email some time back expressing my hope
that they would print the John Carter comics in a book similar to the Tarzan
books... maybe in a red cover.) There are some holes and some areas where
I need better copies because some of the early electronic images are very
difficult to read. Some of the Sunday strips need to be supplemented with
English versions as I have only them in Italian and some of my copies have
an edge cropped off such that it cut out a small part of the story. I also
have a few French and Spanish Sunday strips. I also have collected comic
strips that are not ERB comics strips per se, but portray an ERB character
or place. Most are from newspapers, but some are from books and magazines.
As before not all of these are in English.
This, then, is my
book collection. As you can see, I have not specialized in any one area,
but rather there is quite an assortment of formats and languages. Maybe
In the next chapter I will
expound on my audio/visual collection which again has multiple formats