Dave Innes of Pellucidar
in the Comics
Source Not Known
By late 1939, with both TARZAN and JOHN CARTER OF MARS
earning royalties from comic books, the next natural Burroughs series to
adapt to the comics would be his Pellucidar stories. Burroughs suggested
to Western Printing (Whitman’s publishing arm in Racine) that John Coleman
Burroughs be retained to do the artwork for a DAVE INNES OF PELLUCIDAR
feature which would run regularly in one of their monthly comic books.
Possibly as a test, it was decided to have John Coleman
Burroughs write and draw a 20-page story to be featured as part of a one-shot
comic...but the one-shot comic never materialized and instead the first
12 pages of this 20-page story were published in an obscure, badly-distributed
comic book called HI-SPOT #2 (November, 1940). Because of the understandably
poor sales, there was never another issue of HI-SPOT comics, and the 12
pages of DAVE INNES OF PELLUCIDAR in this issue were the only ones ever
published in the medium of the comics.
Following the appearance of these pages in HI-SPOT #2,
Western asked John Coleman Burroughs to write and draw two six-page stories
of DAVE INNES OF PELLUCIDAR, which would be worked into one of their comic
books, possibly SUPER comics. These twelve pages of artwork were done and
are presented here, along with the final eight pages of the original 20-page
story. (The original artwork for the first 12 pages of the first story
was destroyed long ago by Western).
In early 1940, Dell Publishing wanted to create an image
as a reliable publisher of wholesome comics for children. They especially
wanted to push their funny animal comics… the Disney comics, Walt Kelly
comics, etc... and did not want to be in the superhero business in competition
with all the other comic book publishers. The Burroughs comics, TARZAN,
JOHN CARTER OF MARS, and DAVE INNES OF PELLUCIDAR, were all of the type
they wanted to phase out in favor of more in the Disney-type comics which
nobody could object to.
By early 1941 the decision had been made that DAVE INNES
OF PELLUCIDAR would not be continued and that JOHN CARTER OF MARS would
be discontinued from THE FUNNIES, and in August of 1941 CRACKAJACK comics
(also from Western Printing) dropped the TARZAN daily strips they had been
reprinting. By the end of 1941 all ERB features had been dropped by Western,
but of course United Features was still reprinting TARZAN Sunday pages
in SPARKLER and TIP TOP comics.
There is a natural redundancy in these pages as presented
here because the eight pages (the end of the 20-page story which did not
appear in HI-SPOT #2) had never appeared and the two new stories had to
include an introductory synopsis of how Dave Innes got to Pellucidar. John
Coleman Burroughs simply retold the beginning of the story and in several
cases he used complete panels from his previous unpublished pages.