#38 November 1952 ~ 52pp. 10cents
interior: Jesse Marsh
Unknown (Gaylord Du Bois - unconfirmed)
Cover: 26th Lex Barker
photo with painted background
Inside Front Cover:
New subscription advertisement with some color added to the black and white
1st story “Tarzan
and the Cat Men of Crater Lake” - 24pp.
Lost Race - Rescue Prince
Keelim, White Woman, White Man
Muviro, and three Waziri accompany King Loban to Lutor. They learn that
Prince Keelim has been captured by the Cat Men from Crater Lake. Tarzan
decides to attempt the impossible rescue. Princess Loma claims her right
to share the dangers. Tarzan, Muviro, and Princess Loma ride Banthurs to
the edge of the volcano, which contains Crater Lake.
Tarzan and Loma scale the volcano
wall. They spy the city and a small volcano in the middle of the lake,
which contains the Temple of Brule, the ‘Flaming God’ of the Cat Men. They
reach the crater floor. Tarzan scales the palace wall and learns about
a white woman captive.
Tarzan rescues Margaret Newman,
who believes that the ape-man is her brother Gerald. Tarzan takes her to
Princess Loma. Margaret explains how she was captured and how to enter
the underwater Temple of Brule, where Gerald and the Prince are being held.
Tarzan dons a diving suit and
enters the temple. A priest mistakes him for Gerald and sends him to the
slave quarters. A priest enters and realizes the mistake. Tarzan subdues
him. Gerald explains how the airlock works. Queen Nemah arrives at the
temple to sacrifice Margaret and Loma. The guards are subdued. During their
underwater escape Tarzan saves Princess Loma from a great water snake.
They make it to the fissure. The Cat Man pursues them. An earthquake awakens
the volcano, which erupts destroying the Cat Men and their city. Gerald
calls Princess Loma, “my princess.” End.
story has a tremendous potential but falls into the deus ex machina for
the climax. This is obviously a sequel to the events in Dell #36.2. A Roman
helmet magically appears on King Loban’s head that was not there in the
earlier story. Muviro with his new solid circular earrings has been reduced
to a minor role. Princess Loma also dons a Roman looking helmet to accompany
Tarzan to Crater Lake. The story is a variation of Tarzan and the Forbidden
City. Both comic and novel use the interior of a volcano as the setting
for the city, although gaining access to the city is different in the comic.
Both stories use the device that the main female character’s brother is
a Tarzan look alike. The comic plays off of this mistaken identity more
than the novel. The use of the underwater temple, air locks, and diving
equipment is similar to the novel. Princess Loma is attacked by a huge
water serpent just as Helen Gregory was in the novel. But this story is
also has similarity to Dell FC #161.1, “Fires of Tohr.” The attack of the
great Cat Men and their god, Brule, can be compared to the claw footed
men and Pantu from the that issue. Queen Neham has the potential to be
a great character like her counterpart Queen Ahtea from ‘Fires of Tohr.’
Unfortunately, she is given little to do and Ahtea would probably eat her
for lunch. There is one great panel of Queen Neham sleeping on her bed,
which reminds one of Paul Gauguin’s South Sea island paintings. The colorist
once again must not have read the story because the night time sky is the
same as the day time sky. Diving apparatuses were used once before in Dell
#18.1 to gain access to the Sacred Isle of Pythons. The equipment here
is much more sophisticated. The look of the clear bubble helmets and skin-tight
suits makes it look like a Buck Rogers type of adventure, only underwater.
The case of mistaken identity with Tarzan is a theme used quite often by
the master himself, but the first time it has been used in a Dell comic.
The earthquake panels are handled nicely. But in the end, the volcano destroys
the lost civilization of the Cat Men just like the destruction of the Giants
by dynamite in the previous issue. Once more deus ex machina raises its
ugly head. It does finish with a nice Burroughsian touch of Gerald calling
Princess Loma “My Princess.”
2nd story “Tarzan
Revisits Opar” - 15pp
Opar - Avarice - Rescue White
Tarzan follows the trail of
a horse safari. He stops a blond man from whipping a horse. The young woman
with him informs him that she is Jean Carveth and the man is her half brother,
Drake. They have a map to Opar and came for the gold. Tarzan tells them
to get out of the area. The Arab guides agree to leave. Tarzan pays Drake
two gold pieces for the whipped horse, Grayfellow.
The Arabs pull out. Drake decides
to push on. The gold coins from Oparincreases Drake’s avarice. Tarzan checks
on the safari to discover that the Carveths are not with them.
Grayfellow follows Tarzan to
the secret door at the base of the mountain of Opar. He realizes that the
dwarfs of Opar have captured the Carveths. Tarzan climbs the mountain.
He asks King Nikon, leader of the little people (white pygmies) to help
saving the two white people.
La raises the dagger over Jean
on the altar of the Flaming God. Tarzan and the little people rescue Jean.
They look for Drake, who disappeared when the fighting started.
Drake steals as much gold as
he can carry. Tarzan and the others follow Drake to the secret opening.
Drake spies Grayfellow and tries to lure him to him. A snake startles Grayfellow.
Histah bites Drake. Drake dies. Tarzan explains the history of the little
people to Jean. Tarzan brings Jean to his tree house. He gives her the
gold that Drake stole from Opar to start a new life. End.
story is not a great story, but it does great number of things to the Dell
Tarzan story thread. It rewrites what they have done with La previously
and reestablishes her as Queen of Opar. She is more vicious than she was
previously, more attractively drawn, and lusts after Tarzan -- much closer
to the true La. Opar is none the better for its changes in the drawing
department. In #8, #13.1, and #15.1 Opar was in ruins and had some terrific
drawings of ancient Greek ruins. Here Opar is barely seen and certainly
does not have the grandeur of ancient Greece about it. For the first time
the Arabs are shown in an almost positive light. The colorist changes to
a night time sky in this story. La’s dwarfs of Opar were dark skinned in
#13.1 and #15.1. In this issue they are depicted as a white skinned people.
King Nikon and his people reestablished in Opar in Dell Annual #1.1 are
called ‘little people’ instead of white pygmies from Lipona (#8 and #17.1).
People who have not read Annual #1 might wonder if these little people
are the same as the white pygmies. On a sad note, Jane looks a little gaunt
and severe. As stated before, this is not a great story, but it may be
very pivotal if they continue to use La as they have done here.
Inside Splash Page --
Color drawing of Tarzan pointing a spear at Histah, the snake.
“Sign from the Gods”
-- 29th text story -- 2 pages - no illustrations
“Brothers of the Spear”
14th -- 6 pages
Inside Back Cover: Color
advertisement for Whitman coloring books.
Back Cover: 4th Wheaties
advertisement -- in a comic format featuring Stan Musial, St. Louis Cardinals.