During a meeting with Monte Bourjaily at the UFS offices in February 1936, Joe Neebe expressed his dissatisfaction with the Tarzan strip work by Rex Maxon. He recommended the hiring of an artist who worked at Palenske-Young where Hal Foster could supervise his work. UFS were apparently surprised by this recommendation. Bourjaily admitted that he had never personally cared for Maxon's work, but said: "I fully realize that it has evidently been perfectly satisfactory to the newspapers and to the reading public that my personal opinion counts for little. I even know of people who don't like my stories." After reviewing artists available, Neebe eventually chose William Juhre. Juhre's first strip was to be Tarzan and the Green Goddess, based on the early synopsis of the film serial.
William Juhre was born on February 2, 1903 in Williamsburg, near Milwaukee, Wisconsin. His father died a year and a half later. Juhre was obsessed with art and his sketches and caricatures made him very popular all through his school years. America entered the Great War when he was 14, he and a buddy ran off to join the army. Bill saw action with Pershing's Regulars in France but around the time of his 15th birthday was hospitalized from a chlorine gas attack. While in the hospital he contracted pneumonia and whiled away many hours by drawing sketches of the medical staff.
Following the Armistice he was discharged from service on his 16th birthday. After a long bout of tuberculosis the government sent him to art school as part of a rehabilitation programme. He took his first art training in Milwaukee, but soon moved to Chicago where he enrolled in Audubon Tyler School followed by three years in Chicago Art Institute.
A three month course in practical newspaper art under Dominic Lavin at Chicago's American Academy of Art proved to be invaluable. Lavin had illustrated ERB's The Oakdale Affair ("The Blue Book" - March 1918) and had drawn a caricature of Ed for 1919 White Paper Club of Chicago Program book on the occasion of the Burroughs family moving to California.
Juhre then worked for the Milwaukee Journal for six years as a staff artist. During this time he taught high school art courses and even invested in an aircraft. Unfortunately, his plane crashed resulting in facial injuries and permanent scars. He was thrilled to receive the job of doing the Tarzan daily strip which allowed him to draw constant action, and animals over a backdrop of exotic landscapes. This timetable allowed him to freelance and to teach night classes at the American Academy of Art. He was also free to pursue his hobbies of photography, amateur radio, archery and fishing.
ERB was sent the synopsis for Tarzan and the Green Goddess in March 1936. He wasn't totally satisfied with it. He noted that it seemed "to have been taken from one of the original picture scenarios from which the picture deviated materially."
He thought the scene of Tarzan uprooting a sapling and defeating an army of Indians armed with machetes was implausible. Events would be far more plausible if the omission of George's machine gun be reinstated into the plot.
He also requested that snakes in the plot be removed since he had observed "that snakes are highly objectionable to many people" and in some theatres were even barred from the screen.
He thought the scene where Tarzan pacified the Indians with a yo-yo to be somewhat silly and that "it fell terribly flat in the original picture and was discarded. All the Indians had to do was take the yo-yo away from them. It was not necessary to pay five canoes for it. It would be better to have Tarzan fight his way clear. He might disarm and capture the chief, using him as a hostage until the others were safely out of the way. Then Tarzan and Nkima could take to the trees."
UFS was unsatisfied with the title Tarzan and the Green Goddess from which the film story line was taken. They wanted the title to suggest a Central American locale and sent Ed over 20 alternate titles. Ed chose Tarzan and the Jungle Goddess, but eventually, everyone agreed on Tarzan and the Mayan Goddess.
Ed previewed the first 12 continuities for Mayan Goddess and made the following suggestions:
"Strip No. 1 shows a giant monoplane crashing into the top of a tree in the fog, plunging to the earth, bursting into flame, and the two men escaping uninjured except for one sprained ankle. Incidents must be plausible. This is not. The two men lost in the fog, running out of gas, should bail out. It would be just as effective and far more plausible.
"Strip No. 7. It is unwise to have Nkima talk too much. If he must talk, use the fewest possible words. He did not call Tarzan 'master.' It would be helpful if the writer would familiarize himself with the characters I have created and depict them accordingly. Tarzan should not talk too much, and his speech should never be flowery -- in fact, none of the dialogue should be in this style, which today borders upon the archaic. This criticism not only applies generally to the manuscript but especially in Strip No. 7 to Tarzan's speech to Muviro.
In strips 8 and 10, the impression is gained that the party takes ship at Nairobi. Inasmuch as Nairobi is about three hundred miles from the coast, this should be changed. They may take ship at Mombassa which is connected by railroad with Nairobi.
In strip 9, there is another example of the type of writing, however fine it may be, that I think we should try to avoid in the Tarzan strips, which are supposed to be written by me and should be more or less in my style."
Continuity writer Don Garden did the requested rewrite as well as for strips 39 and 40 which Ed found to be rather boring.
Juhre and Garden's next series was Tarzan's Quest. Meanwhile, for the Tarzan strip following Tarzan and the Mayan Goddess, Ed had submitted the original script for Tarzan the Magnificent which was published by Argosy (actually this was only the first half of what would later be released in book form as Tarzan the Magnificent -- the second half would be written later as Tarzan and the Elephant Men.) William Lass sent Ed the strip synopsis for this strip, but stressed that they would be making some changes:
"In the original story, you will remember that the Amazonian tribe was a negro tribe whose women were gradually making themselves white by killing off their men and capturing white men for mates. We felt that among newspaper readers, particularly in the south, this would strike at deep-rooted prejudices and controversies which would cause a great deal of trouble in the long run. For that reason, we thought it advisable to transform the tribe into whites, with no reference to any negroid past. Instead, they are descendants of ancient Portuguese explorers, and Mafka, the witch doctor, is a living relic of the ancient alchemists. . . . Aside from this the strip will stick closely to the original story."
Ed drew their attention to a gaff that a reader had reported to him. One of the Magnificent panels depicted the bearded Englishman menacing Tarzan with a wooden club and a knife which the text indicated was in the man's right hand. Juhre's drawing however, showed the club in the man's right hand.
As a follow-up to Tarzan the Magnificent, UFS went to the manuscript for Tarzan and the Tarzan Twins With Jad-Bal-Ja, the Golden Lion. They wanted to change the title and sent Ed 13 to choose from. Ed chose Tarzan Under Fire or Tarzan and the Kidnappers. Since the Lindbergh kidnapping was still fresh in peoples' minds, UFS thought Tarzan Under Fire would be more acceptable to the nation's newspapers. Don Garden was directed to make Tarzan more prominent in the story and to add material about Opar.
After Tarzan the Magnificent and Tarzan Under Fire ("Tarzan Twins") finished their run Ed had no more published Tarzan stories that could be adapted to daily strips. Ed planned to take over the writing of the daily material himself. But due to business and personal pressures in the summer of 1937 Ed couldn't follow through on this plan. Instead, they decided to adapt Tarzan the Fearless, a movie scenario that Ed had sent them previously. Gardner made numerous changes to the plot which prompted Ed to suggest a minor changes to their adaptation which included:
"Page 2. Suggest that 'ladder' would be better than 'wooden staircase,' First, the wooden staircase would hide so much of the idol as to lessen its effectiveness, and, second, I think natives would build a ladder rather than a staircase.
"Page 2. I suggest that Tarzan smoke the meat rather than hang it in the sun, where it would become fly-blown.
"Page 5. Mary would lose readers' sympathy if she deserted her father and finance. Jeff might tell her that they had already escaped.
"Page 7. Shouldn't 'Tree-God' by 'Tree-Demon?'"
As Juhre's strips progressed a number of major papers -- Chicago Daily News, Detroit News, Los Angeles Times, and more and more -- dropped the series or relegated it to a lesser position on their comics pages. In September 1937, Ed worried that much of the waning interest in the Tarzan strips were due to Juhre's over-use of prominent "talking heads" rather than action in the panels. In a letter to Carlin, Ed suggested that those responsible for the strip might benefit from looking at Hal Foster's first strip: Tarzan of the Apes. He stated: ". . . I have written directions for the artist to accompany the daily strips that I am personally preparing. I am quoting one paragraph that is apropos:
"Regardless of the text, a strip will flop without well-drawn interesting illustrations. Each picture should illustrate its caption. A series of close-ups and semiclose-ups is extremely boring. Use close-ups only occasionally and when there is no action.
"In the continuity I am writing, I am doubtless violating many of your established precedents; but I believe that I am giving sufficient action and suspense in each strip to fully warrant my handling of the subject, and I am also trying to give the artist something to illustrate.
"I am doing this work myself because I recognize the importance to both of us of the daily strip. It is not enough that the Sunday Page be outstanding; the daily strip should be also."
Carlin contacted Neebe and relayed ERB's -- and his own -- dissatisfaction with Juhre's work. "Juhre is no Foster nor is he a Hogarth, but he could do a lot better job than he is doing.
At the conclusion of Tarzan Under Fire, William Juhre was replaced by Rex Maxon who was brought back to draw the Tarzan the Fearless series.
The Man Who Created Tarzan by Irwin Porges ~ Brigham Young University Press, 1975.
Tarzan of the Funnies by Robert R. Barrett ~ Mad Kings - House of Greystoke Press, 2002
Remembering William Juhre
1. TARZAN AND THE MAYAN GODDESS
S1-S150 (22 June 1936-12 Dec. 1936): William Juhre/Don Garden (150 days)
Tarzan and the Mayan Goddess
|4018: Intro/Contents||4019: Strips 1-12||4020: Strips 13-24||4021: Strips 25-36|
|4022: Strips 37-48||4023: Strips 49-60||4024: Strips 61-72||4025: Strips 73-84|
|4026 Goddess 85-96||4027 Goddess 97-108||4028 Goddess 109-120||4029 Goddess 121-132|
|.||4030 Goddess 133-144||4031 Goddess 145-150||.|
2. TARZAN'S QUEST
T1-T162 (14 Dec. 1936-19 June 1937): (162 days) William Juhre/Don Garden
|4032 Juhre: Tarzan's Quest||4033 Quest 1-12||4034 Quest 13-24||4035 Quest 25-36|
|4036 Quest 37-48||4037 Quest 49-60||4038 Quest 61-72||4039 Quest 73-84|
|4040 Quest 85-96||4041 Quest 97-108||4042 Quest 109-120||4043 Quest 121-132|
|4044 Quest 133-144||4045 Quest 145-156||4046 Quest 157-162 END||4047 Tarzan the Magnificent|
3. TARZAN THE MAGNIFICENT
U1-U96 (21 June 1937-9 Oct. 1937): (96 days) William Juhre/Don Garden
Tarzan the Magnificent Contents
|4048 1-12||4049 13-24||4050 25-36||4051 37-48|
|4052 49-60||4053 61-72||4054 73-83||4055 84-96 END|
4. TARZAN UNDER FIRE
V1-V84 (11 Oct. 1937-15 Jan. 1938) ~ 84 days ~ William Juhre/Don Garden
TARZAN UNDER FIRE CONTENTS
|4056 Tarzan Under Fire INTRO||4057 Under Fire 1-12||4058 Under Fire 13-24||4059 Under Fire 25-36|
|4060 Under Fire 37-48||4061 Under Fire 49-60||4062 Under Fire 61-72||4063 Under Fire 73-84|
William Juhre Artificial Heart Illustration
for "World Without Death" by Polton Cross
The Guide to the Thousands of Strips
Reprinted in ERBzine:
ERBzine Comics Encyclopedia
The ERB Artist Encyclopedia
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