The First and Only Online Fanzine Devoted to the Life and Works of Edgar Rice Burroughs
Since 1996 ~ Over 15,000 Webpages and Webzines in Archive
A New Theory of Icons
I fell asleep in my chair with strange images of ERB’s secret to be discovered in Icons. I wrote a few words on how Archetypes must be discovered as pictures first before words can be applied to them.
This is why St. John and all the other artists are so important to his work. The art is not secondary to his words - - it is primary, fundamental. Tarzan is first and foremost a visual image, not a construction of words. Thus, the comics and movies are primary sources, not secondary ones. The text comes after the image. In the beginning was not the Word, but the picture, the Icon of Tarzan of the Apes. No other author has such a visual field of importance.
Other books are merely illustrated, ERB’s books come to their fullest realization through illustration. Moby Dick might be illustrated, but even paintings by Rembrandt would have to stand side-by-side with Melville’s words. The essence of Burroughs is the Icon.
ERB’s fans cover their walls with multiple images; they are not satisfied until they have seen every one of them, and it is new images they most desire, not new books or pastiches. Accurate portrayals of characters and dress is all-important in these works of art even as the precise descriptions were important in Burroughs’ books. Burroughs himself was an artist before he was a writer. His genius was to raise Icon to Archetype with his words, but we feel him best be the vivid pictures his words inspire. ERB’s work is as tactile as an oil painting, as graphic as the pen and ink drawings of the many artists he has inspired over the years.
This is not a matter of simply liking the art that goes with ERB’s words. It is more than ERB’s graphic descriptions. It is the amazing fact that ERB was able to project the ICON into the WORD in such a way that the word slipped into the world of archetypes.
The worlds of ERB contain some of fiction's most outstanding heroes.
But...let us not forget the heroines... ERBzine.com/ff
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