Booklet Text and Low Res Images at
Booklet Text and Low Res Images at
In August 2010, my wife and I were at the Chicago celebration of the annual Edgar Rice Burroughs "Dum-Dum," where Billy York, Mike Shaw, and Tracy Griffin were also attending. We discussed the possibility of the Los Angeles SubERBs hosting a Dum-Dum in Tarzana in two years, to coincide with the June 2012 release of "John Carter of Mars." Later the next day we talked informally with Jim Sullos and Cathy Wilbanks, of ERB, Inc., and they seemed to think that it would be a good idea to join us in celebrating the Tarzan centennial, the "John Carter" movie and other events, with a Tarzana Dum-Dum.
So, once we were all back in Los Angeles we continued to discuss the idea. On September 19, 2010 a small exploratory committee gathered at my home to consider whether we had the time, energy, and budget to host a Dum-Dum. Initially the members included Tracy Griffin, Bob Zeuschner, and Mike Shaw.
After our first meeting we talked with Jim Sullos and the ERB, Inc. staff, who indicated their support, and that they wanted the event to coincide with the June 2012 release of the “John Carter” movie.
SubERB meetings followed in September and October and November. We talked about inviting "John Carter" movie talent to attend. For the ECOF, we wanted possible guests of honor relevant to the Disney movie, such as Andrew Stanton or Taylor Kitsch. We discussed obtaining rare items from the ERB, Inc. safe to reproduce and include in the registration package.
In January 2011 Disney announced that it was moving up the "John Carter" release date from June to March 9th, 2012. This caused great consternation. After much discussion with local fans and especially the many East Coast and Chicago bibliophiles via the internet, we decided to offer to host an ECOF in March 2012 for the movie release and the John Carter centennial, and then host a second Tarzana event, the Dum-Dum, in August to celebrate the Tarzan centennial. We knew this would cause problems for those many bibliophiles who had to travel great distances, but a single March Dum-Dum did not seem to be a satisfactory alternative. Too many people would be in school and unable to attend.
Meetings followed in January and February, 2011. Jim Sullos contacted the person at Disney who worked with ERB, Inc. and Disney agreed to show "John Carter" to the bibliophiles on March 2nd, a week before the official opening.
At our next SubERB meeting in April, Jim Sullos revealed that the Disney person with whom he had been working was no longer employed there, and so the entire process of scheduling a "John Carter" preview on the Disney lot would have to begin anew. A list of names was drawn up of stars to invite to the ECOF, including the "John Carter" actors.
We knew that we wanted many unusual and collectible items in the registration packet. Among the many suggestions was a booklet filled with John Carter-related art. Later I talked with my friend and fellow SubERB Brian Kirby, who suggested a high quality John Carter art portfolio be included in the registration packet, instead of a stapled booklet of images. My initial reaction was that portfolio images should be big enough to frame, bigger than 8x10, but I worried that 11x17 would be too expensive to be practical. However, after reflecting upon and sleeping on the idea, I decided not to rule it out until some estimates were received.
At the June 11th 2011 SubERB meeting dates were fixed for the ECOF and the Dum-Dum and the group discussed details of the contents of the registration package. I repeated Brian Kirby's suggestion of a John Carter art portfolio of a size and quality sufficient to allow for framing. For demonstration purposes, I showed the group samples of many older ERB art portfolios, such as the Burian portfolio, the Frazetta portfolio, the Dorothy Dulin portfolio, and several others. ERB, Inc. and the SubERBs reacted positively, so I agreed to research costs on high quality 11x17 prints and report back.
Over the next month discussions were held with printers about high-quality reproductions and about costs. Digital reproduction (like xeroxing) was less expensive, but for artwork the printers agreed that photo lithography was the way to go.
In 2007 Dan Burroughs had shown me several recently discovered Barsoom images done by his father, John Coleman Burroughs. Dan set them out so I could photograph them very carefully, and encouraged me to reprint them, perhaps in the Burroughs Bulletin. I remembered these and thought that this John Carter art portfolio would be the perfect place to show off some of these John Coleman Burroughs works.
We discussed the potential audience for this portfolio. If this was for the older lifelong ERB collectors, then we should reproduce rare and unusual art. If this was for people whose first introduction to ERB was the Disney movie, and possibly the "A Princess of Mars" book, then classic and iconic art that was most likely to pull the viewer into the dead sea bottoms of Barsoom should be chosen. We decided to try to make choices which would satisfy both groups, as far as possible. Because this was to be a centennial John Carter portfolio, we wanted to include a substantial number of the best early pulp art of nearly a hundred years ago.
At this time I’d had already gathered together scores of possible John Carter/Barsoom images, most classic, some rare or unusual. There were very few which (a) had never been seen before but nevertheless (b) were images that were of the highest quality artistically. Almost every available ERB image has been posted on one website or another. So our criteria became images that were (a) artistically of high quality, (b) not reproduced too often unless the art was genuinely iconic or classic, and (c) expressive of the ERB nature of the character. Finally, we needed to have official permission to use each image that was not in public domain. Michael Shaw and Billy York offered helpful suggestions and reactions to the images. The sample images were also shared with Brian Kirby whose feedback was valuable. Billy York got some estimates from local businesses, but I located AFJ Graphics, where I found one printer who was personally interested in our project and gave us an estimate which was well below the others, which I tentatively accepted. I reduced my list to several dozen images, each of which seemed to be important and true to ERB’s vision.
In October 2011 a contract was signed with the Marriott Hotel to host both the ECOF in the first week of March 2012 and the Dum-Dum in August. After lengthy discussion about costs and images, Jim Sullos authorized me to proceed with the John Carter/Barsoom art portfolio. ERB, Inc. offered to share digital scans of some of the artwork hanging on their office walls, and stored in their warehouse, including original St. Johns, John Coleman Burroughs art, Joe Jusko art, comic book covers and others. If we used art for which ERB, Inc. owned the rights, then the permission criterion would be satisfied easily. Amazing and Fantastic magazine pulp covers that were Mars-related were considered seriously and analyzed for quality. The printing on the image made them less desirable as strictly art works.
At the November SubERB meeting at my home, a stack of possible images was shared with the SubERBs and with Jim Sullos, including pulp covers, comic book covers and pages from Sunday funnies. Previously I had sent email to Bill Stout inquiring if he had any art that we could use, but Bill was too busy to help out. Thomas Yeates has always been a major supporter of our ERB events, and Thomas gave me feedback on some of the images I was thinking of using. Thomas also gave me a long list of classic art and artists whose work should be included, but unfortunately we didn’t have legal permission to include most of them.
Thomas utilized his personal contacts and was able to arrange with the Krenkel estate to give us permission to include a fine RGK image. Thomas also gave me permission to include several of his Barsoom artworks, especially a large John Carter/Dejah Thoris/Tars Tarkas image which I’d commissioned earlier, and Thomas also allowed me to include some of the art that appeared in the 2009 Fall River John Carter of Mars trilogy volume which Thomas had profusely and lovingly illustrated.
Based on the Thomas Yeates’ feedback and SubERB reactions, the list was narrowed down once again. Billy York, Mike Shaw and Brian Kirby were especially helpful concerning specific images to be included in the John Carter art portfolio.
At the January 2012 SubERB meeting at the Zeuschner residence, the meeting focused almost entirely on the ECOF. According to Disney, the weekend of the ECOF finds the actors in the John Carter movie in Europe and therefore would not be able to participate in our preview movie showing. The entire group discussed the sample Barsoom art that was proposed for the registration packet. The Barsoom art that was uncommon was pulp magazine covers from the first two decades of the 20th century. Luckily my own collection included numerous early pulps including the first ever All-Story “Gods of Mars” Barsoom cover with interesting art. Of course, we also had the earliest hardback interior plates including the Schoonover art and J. Allen St. John. A serious ERB art collector gave us permission to include some of his early classic paintings.
We all wanted the portfolio to be something quite spectacular but the budget was somewhat limited. The scans needed to be of ultra high quality so that each image would reproduce well at 11x17, and we must have legal permission to reproduce it. Billy York spent a lot of time on this project and suggested numerous personal favorite images as well. ERB, Inc. approved a portfolio of 25 images. I proposed creating a few extra “Deluxe Portfolios” with ten or fifteen additional images, to be given as a “thanks” to the SubERBs who worked on the ECOF. I also offered to cover the additional printing costs. Mike Shaw and Billy were especially enthusiastic about the idea. The attendees agreed that I would make the final decisions on the artwork and arrange for the printing. I had been working on an academic Princess of Mars appreciation essay, which I offered to print in booklet form and enclose in the goodie bag, at my cost. Billy and Bonnie York printed and contributed additional extra art for the few Deluxe Portfolios. I asked Bruce Bozarth for his help to clean up some of the Barsoom pulp cover images that we considered including. Bruce improved the images, and returned them. Charlie Madison also had an image which he shared. I asked Phil Normand for permission to use his two beautifully colorized J. Allen St. John images, and Phil gave his kind permission.
Finally the deadline arrived, and I turned over the high quality digital images to Javier Dimas, who was in charge of the printing, to get his expert opinion. I stood behind him and watched as he pulled the images up on his giant monitor, and then zoomed in. Javier pointed out flaw after flaw, almost all of which had escaped my eyes. He concluded that several of the images were not of a high enough quality to produce in the 11x17 size. I went back and tried to obtain new high quality scans wherever possible.
Cathy Wilbanks and Tyler Mann of ERB, Inc. supplied several additional scans of extraordinary quality. Several artists shared large scans of their original images, including Thomas Yeates and the estate of Roy Krenkel. We rejected a couple of scans that couldn’t be reproduced satisfactorily in the large size, and Thomas shared his “Battle For Zodanga” which was perfect for the portfolio. After a couple of weeks working with and improving the images I had supplied, the printer produced a proof sheet for each plate. There were several changes made at that time, and several of the images were swapped out for new images. More proof sheets were printed. Javier’s courtesy was unfailing as we made change after change. Finally the test printings were shown to the SubERBs, and the approval was given. The printer began the process and two weeks later there were twenty- five boxes of lithographed art plates stacked in my already over-filled garage. I had also paid the printer to do a very small limited run of ten additional plates and portfolio envelopes marked “Deluxe,” to be given to SubERBs as a special “thank you.”
There was still more to be done on the portfolios. We needed general descriptions for each plate. Art portfolios usually come with at least a brief description of each plate, explaining why it was included and why it was important. Since I had made the choices, I needed to write the descriptions as well. So I came up with a four-page draft of plate descriptions, which was then shared first with Brian Kirby, who made many good suggestions. Changes were made and then the four pages were shared with Billy York, who also made suggestions.
After two more weeks of tweaking, it was ready. The plan was to take the four pages to Kinko’s and produce black-and-white xeroxed copies of the descriptions, but Billy and Bonnie York volunteered to make a very high-quality color reproduction of my brief essays. After a few days of email exchanges of .pdf images and more tweaking, Billy and Bonnie proceeded to reproduce the plate descriptions. Billy had some special artwork which he wanted to include in the Deluxe portfolios, so he reproduced those as well.
In February we held two SubERB meetings to tie up all the loose ends. Goodie bags needed to be packed. The ECOF John Carter centennial art portfolios were printed and ready. Billy and Bonnie volunteered to collate the twenty-five boxes into 300 portfolios, and then pack the artwork and plate descriptions into the oversize John Carter envelopes. They also agreed to bring the collated and bagged portfolios directly to the Marriott.
Billy and Bonnie York, with assistance from Bob and Lindy, Chris and Pat Olsen, Mike Shaw and others packed all remaining separate items (portfolios, water bottles, etc.) into the canvas ECOF bags on Thursday, the day before the event formally began. Jerry Schneider and Mrs. Schneider, Joe Musso, Tim Clark, Mike Shaw and other SubERBs helped in many other ways to make things go smoothly. The ECOF was quite fabulous!
The SubERBs waited only a few weeks to recover before beginning on the August Dum-Dum preparations. On April 24th, we met at the home of Rob Greer. In attendance were Rob Greer, Joe Musso, Jerry Schneider, Chris Olsen, Michael Sellers, Tim Clark, Bob Zeuschner, and Bill Stout. We discovered that the final ECOF costs were considerably more than what the fees brought in. It was obvious that we needed to keep expenses down for the Dum-Dum. We discussed all those areas where improvements could be made, areas where things had not gone smoothly, etc.
We discussed whether we should produce another centennial art portfolio for the Dum-Dum, this time featuring Tarzan of the Apes. The reaction was favorable, but the necessity of keeping the costs down was clear. Instead of 25 plates, it was decided to limit the Tarzan portfolio to just 20 plates. I had exhausted my own finances on the ECOF items I’d supplied in the goodie bag, so couldn’t afford to print additional images for a deluxe Tarzan portfolio. The number of images would be just 20. This marked the beginning of the process of trying to find potential high-quality Tarzan-related artworks which could be reproduced at a large 11x17 size, and for which we could get legal permissions.
For our next meeting the first week of May we formed a smaller core group that could meet more frequently and make necessary decisions. Jim announced that Jane Goodall had accepted our invitation, but her group insisted that we withhold the announcement until she released it. So we could not announce her name on advertising.
A stack of possible Tarzan-related images to be included in the Tarzan art portfolio was shared with the SubERBs at the end of the meeting. The goal was to produce a set of images which were of excellent quality, of iconic status, and not commonly available. One of the images considered was a color cartoon done by ERB himself of Tarzan holding Tantor over his head with one hand (this did not make the final cut). Phil Normand spent some time cleaning up my scan of an early All-Story
pulp cover for the Tarzan and the Jewels of Opar which made it possible to include this rare piece. There were several very fine Ray Dean Tarzan images scanned from Bob’s copies of the Liberty Magazine (“Tarzan and the Lion Man”) which are rarely reproduced (two of these were included). About two months after the Dum-Dum ended, the true identity of the mysterious “Ray Dean” was revealed by Bob Barrett in an article which appeared in D. Pete Ogden’s ERBania Vol. 102.
There were some important pieces which were so iconic that we thought they should be included even if they are common, such as the All-Story cover from October 1912, the J. Allen St. John Tarzan and Golden Lion image, as well as the Roy Krenkel version of the Tarzan and his golden lion image used by ERB, Inc. on their stationary. We looked at many Blue Book and Argosy covers which would make fine prints and were uncommon.
As I’d done with the ECOF portfolio scans, I shared scans of several pulp covers and interiors with both Bruce Bozarth and Phil Normand, who donated a lot of time and effort into making the covers suitable for large reproduction. I contacted Javier of AFJ Graphics, who informed us that he could do the lithographed images, but for technical reasons could not do the envelopes this time. After exploring possibilities, Billy and Bonnie York thought that they could produce the portfolio envelopes, so another crisis was averted thanks to the Yorks. The next steering committee meeting was July 10th. We discussed final images for the Tarzan centennial portfolio. As many ERB folk know, for many decades I’ve collected ERB-related art, and hoped to get permissions to include some of my originals in the Tarzan centennial portfolio. The most important one was my original St. John (from the McClurg Tarzan Lord of the Jungle) and I also wanted to include an original Boris and Julie Vallejo Tarzan piece which I’d commissioned several years ago. ERB, Inc. gave permission for the St. John, and Boris and Julie gave permission to use their work, and supplied a high quality scan as well. The printer rejected the first scan of the Roy Krenkel ERB, Inc. trademark, so Tyler Mann went back and arranged for a much higher quality image of the “Tarzan and the Golden Lion” Krenkel piece. We agreed to combine the Monahan and Krenkel versions of Tarzan and the golden lion onto one plate, allowing for easy comparison. ERB, Inc. supplied a high quality scan of a classic Joe Jusko image and supplied high quality scans of other St. John images. Thomas Yeates obtained permission to use a spectacular Jeff Jones Tarzan image and a Reed Crandell image, and gave us permission to use several of his artworks which were in the Zeuschner collection. He also offered the use of a recent color Tarzan piece.
The stack of images was revised once again. Necessary changes were made and the printer was contacted. I handed over twenty primary images and approximately twenty more backup images which could be used if the any of the primary ones were not of sufficiently high quality. Javier of AFJ Graphics spent three weeks working with the images, trying to get them into shape. Proof sheets were produced, and more changes were made. I sent some possible envelope designs and art to Billy York, which he redesigned and improved, and then Billy printed the portfolio envelopes.
The final choices were shared with several SubERBs and others, seeking reactions. Artists David Adams and Dan Parsons agreed to share their reactions to each plate, and gave permission to paraphrase or quote them.
Once the final twenty artworks were settled, I authorized the printer to proceed. Then it was time to begin serious work on informative plate descriptions to be enclosed with each portfolio. The problem is that my background is academia, and I have a tendency to be quite verbose. When I was done with the tenth draft, I discovered that instead of four pages, we now had eight pages of text and several small images. Billy York jumped in and offered to reproduce this, once again in color. Billy and Bonnie covered the extra cost.
The last full SubERB meeting before the Dum-Dum was the last Saturday of July. Billy and Bonnie had already created the ID badges and Tarzan buttons, but they now offered to collate and pack the Tarzan art portfolios, and also pack the goodie bags with everything but the last-minute items.
The steering committee met on Tuesday Aug. 14th to deal with all the last-minute complications, of which there were several. Michael Sellers suggested that he film each event and possibly produce a highlights keepsake disc. The reaction was enthusiastic. James Sullos, Jr. was also a filmmaker and was willing to share some of his footage as well.
Then the Dum-Dum began and ran from Wednesday to Sunday. Many of the early arrivals to the Marriott were pressed into service, and in a short time each Dum-Dum canvas bag was filled and ready to be distributed on Thursday morning. The Dum-Dum was a stellar event of which we all were proud. Beginning with the opening Wednesday night movie, and then the first presentation on Thursday morning, to the Dum-Dum dinner on Saturday night, it was an amazing event.
On the next day, Sunday, a few dozen attendees visited the home of Bob and Lindy Zeuschner for pizza and sandwiches.
I have enjoyed each and every Dum-Dum since my first one in 1975, but this one was really quite special, thanks to the total participation of Jim Sullos and ERB, Inc. and all the SubERBs. It was an honor and a privilege to work with my fellow SubERBs who came together to make this such a wonderful event. Special thanks are due to the fine folk at Edgar Rice Burroughs, Inc. who contributed so much to making this a Dum-Dum which will live in the memories of all who attended. Thank you, one and all.
Both centennial art portfolios are available from Edgar Rice Burroughs, Inc. but are not yet posted on their website. Those interested will have to telephone or write ERB, Inc.
Edgar Rice Burroughs, Inc.
P.O. Box 570277
Tarzana, CA 91357
Edgar Rice Burroughs, Inc. and Michael Sellers have created very professional keepsake highlight DVDs of the Dum-Dum, which are also available for purchase.
The Los Angeles SubERBs:
Bob & Lindy Zeuschner, Scott Tracy Griffin, Michael Shaw, Billy and Bonnie York, Michael Sellers, Jerry Schneider, Rob Greer, Joe Musso, Chris and Pat Olsen, Brian Kirby, Bill Stout, Tim Clark.
Honorary members: Jim Sullos, Cathy Wilbanks, Thomas Yeates.~ Bob Zeuschner - December 22, 2012
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