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Volume 0728
and
ERB C.H.A.S.E.R ENCYCLOPEDIA
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present
John Coleman Burroughs: Tarzan the Magnificent - 5 interior b/w plates
DJ Image
Larger Cover Image

TARZAN THE MAGNIFICENT
ERB commenced writing September 1935
           Originally published in two parts: Tarzan and the Magic Men  (1936) ~ begun in September 1935
Tarzan and the Elephant Men (1937) ~ Begun December 1936
John Coleman Burroughs Art ~ Covers ~ Publishing History
Summary ~ Cast ~ Chapter Titles ~ Lord Greystoke's Art Gallery



PUBLISHING HISTORY (USA)

PULP
Argosy Weekly: 1936: September 19, 26, October 3.
Tarzan and the Magic Men ~ longer than the published novel
    Hubert Rogers: installment one cover
    Unknown artist: one interior per issue
Blue Book of Fiction and Adventure: 1937: November, December ~ 1938: January
Tarzan and the Elephant Men
    Herbert Morton Stoops (Jeremy Cannon): first installment cover and many interiors
FIRST EDITION
ERB, Inc. Tarzana: September 25, 1939 ~ 318 pages ~ Print Run: 3,500 ~ Approximate word count: 83,000
    John Coleman Burroughs: DJ and five interior b/w plates
REPRINT EDITIONS
ERB, Inc. Tarzana: 1948
Ballantine paperback: March 1964
    Richard Powers cover
Ballantine paperback: September 1977
    Boris Vallejo cover
Reprint: Tarzan and the Magic Men: Fan publication by LOHAE Press ~ Dayton, Ohio ~ 2008
For detailed information see:Robert Zeuschner's
ERB: The Exhaustive Scholar’s and Collector’s Descriptive Bibliography
Dial 1-800-253-2187 to order a copy from McFarland for $46.50

 
Tarzan the Magnificent
Tarzan encounters a lost race with uncanny mental powers, after which he revisits the lost cities of Cathne and Athne, previously encountered in the earlier novel Tarzan and the City of Gold. As usual, he is backed up by Chief Muviro and his faithful Waziri warriors.
.
CAST
(in order of appearance)
TARZAN of the Apes ~ John Clayton, Lord Greystoke
Part 1
"Tarzan and the Magic Men"
Stanley Wood ~ American travel writer
Robert van Eyck ~ Wood's friend and companion
Spike and Troll ~ White hunters with Wood's safari
Mafka ~ Magician of the Kaji tribe
Lord Mountford ~ Captive of Mafka
Gonfala ~ Queen of the Kaji (gonfal = great diamond)
Woora ~ Magician of the Zuli tribe (has emerald)
Lord ~ an Englishman captive of the Zuli
Lorro ~ Zuli warrior-woman
Kamudi ~ a Black man
Muviro ~ Chief of Tarzan's Waziri
Waranji ~ a Waziri
Part 2
"Tarzan and the Elephant Men"
Gemnon ~ Noble of Cathne, City of Gold
Alextar ~ King of Cathne
Tomos ~ Prime Minister of Cathne
Phobeg ~ Palace guard in Cathne
Valthor ~ Noble in Athne, City of Ivory
Phoros ~ Dictator of Athne
Menofra ~ Wife of Phoros
Kandos ~ Righthand man of Phoros
Gemba ~ a black slave
Hyark ~ warrior killed in arena by Tarzan
Zygo ~ King of Athne
Cast List Ref: Clark A. Brady's Burroughs Cyclopedia and Ed Stephan's Tarzan of the Internet
 Book Blurb Summary
from Ballantine Books
The half-dead American raved of an unknown city...of women warriors, ruled by a malignant wizard...of a great diamond, the Gonfal, with strange hypnotic powers . . . of a long-lost English nobleman...of the savage queen who had betrayed her duty and helped him to escape. Tarzan put little faith in Stanley Wood's story — until he saw the power of the Gonfal draw the American in spite of himself back into the clutches of the Amazons of the Kaji. Then it was that the ape-man became once more the implacable hunter — for, though he cared nothing for diamonds or lost civilizations, no one might be allowed to harm a man the Lord of the Jungle had taken under his protection.
.
CHAPTER TITLES
I. Out of the Past
II. A Strange Tale
III. The Power of Mafka
IV. Sentenced to Death
V. The Black Panther
VI. Trapped
VII. Green Magic
VIII. The Leopard Pit
IX. The End of the Corridor
X. Toward Freedom
XI. Treachery
XII. Reunion
XIII. Cannibals
XIV. Kidnapped
XV. Clews
XVI. Tantor
XVII. Strangers
XVIII. Ingratitude
XIX. Retribution
XX. Athne
XXI. Phoros
XXII. Menofra
XXIII. Sentenced
XXIV. Death
XXV. Battle
.
TARZAN THE MAGNIFICENT 
Review contributed by Doc Hermes ERB Reviews

[This is actually two novellas which have been slightly cut and revised to form a single book which is pretty enjoyable. After some of the dreary entries in the second half of the series, TARZAN THE MAGNIFICENT is a nice surprise, particularly the first half.] 

"Tarzan and the Magic Men" 

Argosy: September 19, 1936 - Tarzan and the Magic Men 1/3From the September and October 1936 issues of ARGOSY (later revised to form the first half of the book TARZAN THE MAGNIFICENT), this is a pleasant change of pace for our Apeman, as he tackles a pair of wizened old twin sorcerers who actually possess magic powers (well, a strong telepathic mind control, at any rate - they don't turn people into toads or shoot lightning bolts from their palms). The story is brisk and upbeat, with little of those sour sermons about how vile human beings are and how idyllic life in a jungle would be. In fact, the tone of the story is almost cheerful; maybe Edgar Rice Burroughs was going through a good phase of his life.

Tarzan himself is much more likeable and heroic here than he was often presented in the later books. In the second half of the series, he was shown as sometimes indifferently watching an innocent person being stalked by a lion and not particularly caring what happens. Now, actually there is no reason why the Apeman couldn't be characterized as an unsympathetic anti-hero who would only help you if there was something in it for him. Such a characterization could work and might be considered more realistic. But frankly, I much prefer it when he's shown as genuinely noble and idealistic, the Lord of the Jungle in truth as well as in name, who has tried to stamp out slavery and cannibalism in the territory he has staked out for his own.

In fact, the story opens with the Apeman prowling through Abyssinia (now called Ethiopia), far from his usual turf, on a fact-finding mission. ("He has come north at the behest of an emperor to investigate a rumor that a European power is attempting to cause the defection of a native chief by means of bribery.") In 1936, this would likely be Italian spies working for Mussolini. Come to think of it, this means Tarzan personally knows Haile Selassie, the genuine Ras Tafari himself... good conversation opener if he ever goes to Jamaica!

As seems inevitable in the series, our hero finds two colonies of white people isolated deep within Africa, carrying on a perpetual feud. There are several aspects here that are quite different from the usual. For one thing, the Kaji are warrior women with an unlikely cultural program of racial manipulation. For centuries, they have been capturing stray white men who wander past and forcing them to take as many wives as the captured men can service (no! what a terrible fate, heh heh) with the goal of breeding for whiteness. Don't ask me where the Kaji got this notion, but by now (although they started as sub-Saharan African natives) they apparently look mostly like the Swedish Bikini Team.

Now, what is interesting is that the characters wandering into this situation (an American travel writer named Stanley Wood and his two guides, Spike and Troll) are concerned that these stunning goddesses at one point originally came from black African tribespeople. Wood promptly begins a love at first sight tumble with their erratic Queen Gonfala. Never mind that she resembles Michelle Pfeiffer in her prime, Gonfala's ancestry would make her marriage to Wood unworkable ("I`m thinking of the Hell on earth that would be your lot - hers and yours. You know as well as I what one drop of colored blood does for a man or woman in the great democracy of the U.S.A. You'd both be ostracisized by the blacks as well as the whites. I`m not speaking from any personal prejudice; I`m just stating a fact. It`s hard and cruel and terrible, but it still remains a fact.")

Apparently this theme upset quite a few readers back then, but to give Stanley Wood credit, he`s in Luv and intends to take Gonfala to the States no matter what anyone says. ("She must have Negro blood in her - they all have; but it doesn`t seem to make any difference to me - I'm just plain crazy about her...") As it happens, Burroughs cops out at the end with a foreseeable plot twist that makes the romance acceptable. 

There`s also a pair of great villains in this yarn, weathered old twins named Mafka and Woora. Mafka rules the Kaji with the help of his giant diamond talisman, the Konfal; the equally unappealing Woora leads his split-off faction the Zuli with HIS emerald. These are genuine magic stones with real powers of mind control and long-range hypnotism. As soon as Tarzan snatches up the Gonfal, he feels "a strange, uncanny power that had never before been his" and he finds he can mentally dominate everyone around him. Jeez, it`s Sauron`s One Ring all over again! But, being the sort of guy he is, the Apeman finds the power useful but he`s not particularly attached to it and he arranges for one stone to be given away, while he casually buries the other one deep in the forest in case he ever needs it.

Tarzan himself hardly even can feel the hypnotic power of the great jewels that others find so overwhelming. ("Like the beasts of the jungle, he was immune [to witch-doctors and magic]. For what reason he did not know. Perhaps it was because he was without fear; perhaps his psychology was more that of the beast than of man.")

After Jane's much needed return in the previous book TARZAN'S QUEST, it's good to see that she hasn`t been immediately forgotten again. Although she doesn`t actually appear on stage, Tarzabn does takes his female guest to stay at "his home - to the commodious bungalow where his wife welcomed and comforted her." Notice, too, the "sprawling" building is constructed centering around a large patio, where the guest can relax on "a reed chaise lounge, a copy of THE ILLUSTRATED LONDON NEWS in her hand."

I like Tarzan`s duality most about the character. The same man who drops down from a tree to kill a wild pig and then eat the raw flesh, is the same person who taught himself Latin so he could read the classics in their original language. The too simplistic manbeast of some of the middle books, who was either eating or dozing in the trees with nothing much on his mind, doesn`t appeal to me as much as this strange complex character who is part of two different worlds.

There is one aspect of this story that is puzzling and intriguing, and I still can`t figure out what Burroughs was trying to accomplish with it. For the entire length of the tale, the three white men keep wondering who this unusual guy who is helping them could be. He introduces himself just as "Clayton" because he thinks remaining anonymous will help him gather information (?), and although he is a nearly naked white man living in the jungle, killing lions with a knife and screaming out the victory cry of the great bull ape, the outsiders can`t quite figure out his identiity until the final page when Muviro enlightens them.

What makes things puzzling is that they keep comparing him to Tarzan ("If there were such a bird as Tarzan of the Apes, I`d say this was he", one says, and "Say, that bird Tarzan has nothing on you.") In fact, the Apeman seems to be teasing them with hints about his identity; he says the names he calls the hyena and jackal are from a language not spoken by men. For some reason, I liked this odd business. In several stories, it`s stated that there are popular books and movies about Tarzan, and by this point, he is so widely known by them that the general public thinks he`s entirely fictional. When people do meet the Apeman, the idea that he really IS Tarzan doesn`t occur to them. You can see where Philip Jose Farmer got some of his ideas for TARZAN ALIVE. 
 
 

"Tarzan and the Elephant Men" 
From BLUE BOOK, where it appeared in three installments from November 1937 through January 1938, this follow-up to "Tarzan and the Magic Men" doesn't really match the fresh touches of telepathic mind control and controversial miscegenation issues that made the earlier tale interesting. Although it continues the stories of the characters Gonfala, Stanley Wood, Spike and Troll, mostly it goes back to the familiar territory of the opposed twin cities of Athne and Cathne which our boy visited in TARZAN AND THE CITY OF GOLD a few books earlier. Even here, since the ferocious Queen Nemone is slightly dead, she can't bring any of that strong sexual tension between the Apeman and herself that gave CITY OF GOLD its strange oppressive atmosphere. Instead, we get a lot more of the same old running back and forth, being thrown in the dungeon and sentenced to the arena, counterplots and scheming, checking back on the Waziri racing to the rescue... nothing we haven't seen before, although it's presented in a solid workmanlike way.

There are some very effective moments that just jump out at you. This second half of wha became the book TARZAN THE MAGNIFICENT is written with more energy and craftsmanship than some of the slack books in the later part of the series. In one sequence, Tarzan is running for his life from a squad of five trained Cathnean hunting lions and even the cocky Apeman is not sure he's going to make it to the safety of the trees when he abruptly sees a stray wild lion right in his way. By now, we have come to accept that Tarzan can blithely knife a lion to death without getting a scratch on him, but five thoroughbred hunting lions is a bit much, and this situation really looks desperate. For those few pages, the story crackles with the old vitality and tension that made the early books so great and which started the legend.

There is also the impressive battle between the armies of the two cities. The warriors of Athne attack riding in howdahs on the backs of bull elephants, while the Cathnean s rely on their trained lions. You might think, well heck, the elephants will just stomp on those cats but instead "....a moment later, the war lions of Cathne were among them. They did not attack the elephants, but leaped to the howdahs and mauled the warriors. Two or three lions would attack a single elephant at a time, and at least two of them succeeding in reaching the howdah." Quite an image! Just imagine seeing this brought to the movies like that scene with the Oliphants in RETURN OF THE KING. Even late in his career, Edgar Rice Burroughs would usually pull one more trick to remind me how imaginative and powerful a writer he could be. This battle could have benefiited from being expanded by a few more pages; the ending does seem rushed, and some of the forgettable Athnean stiffs could be edited out with little loss. 

Burroughs is still happily slapping on coincidence in great big slabs. Despite all those speeches about admiring animals, Tarzan doesn't actually socialize with them except when he's trying to eat one or one is trying to eat him. Except for elephants, with whom he has always had a steadfast friendship. At one point, he pauses to laboriously rescue a huge bull elephant from a pit. The mighty beast has one dark tusk and later on in the story, the Apeman is sentenced to be trampled in the arena by a rogue elephant the Athneans have captured. Wait a minute... you don't think... what are the odds that this rogue will have a dark tusk?!

Although Jane doesn't appear on stage, she is mentioned obliquely (better than nothing). Expecting to be killed in the arena, Stanley Wood asks Tarzan if there is no message he would like to send home and the Apeman sakes his head, "Thank you, no. She will know, as she always has." It's also comforting to know that noble old Muviro is still on hand, with his Waziris, still as stoic and bushido-like as ever (six of the Waziri are ready to storm the city of Athne, even though Wood prudently points out they couldn't possibly win. "We could try," Waranji says, "we are not afraid." 

One exchange I enjoyed is that for once someone actually dares to contradict Tarzan's (and the author's) one-sided speeches about how awful civilization and how wonderful living naked in the woods would be. The Apeman refers to "the perfect peace and security of automobile accidents, railroad wrecks, areoplane crashes, robbers, kidnapers, war and pestilence." With a laugh, Woods replies, "But no lions, leopards, buffaloes, wild elephants, snakes, nor tsetse flies, not to mention shiftas and cannibals." It's about time someone spoke up in counterpoint, and Tarzan does not blow up but just lets it pass good-naturedly. 

John Clayton, Lord Greystoke
LORD GREYSTOKE'S GALLERY

More images and commentary on the
John Coleman Burroughs art in Tarzan the Magnificent
see
ERBzine 0342

Pulp Magazine Art
Argosy: September 19, 1936 - Tarzan and the Magic Men 1/3Argosy - September 19, 1936 - Tarzan and the Magic Men 1/3 TEXTBlue Book: November 1937 - Tarzan and the Elephant Men 1/3
Pulp Encyclopedia ::
Tarzan and the Magic Men: ERBzine 0228
and
Tarzan and the Elephant Men: ERBzine 0229

US Paperback Covers

Richard Powers art: Ballentine 1964Richard Powers art: Ballantine 1977Boris Vallejo art: Ballantine 1981Boris Vallejo art: Ballantine 1991
 

UK Paperback Covers
Edward Mortelmans art: Four Square 1959
Goulden UK edition 1950Edward Mortelmans art: Four Square 1964Four Square UK edition 1967Tarzan the Magnificent: Japanese edition



Tarzan the Magnificent Juhr U-96 eps
William Juhre/Don Garden ~ 96 Daily Strips


Fan publication by LOHAE Press ~ Dayton, Ohio ~ 2008

Web Refs
ERB C.H.A.S.E.R. Online Encyclopedia
Hillman ERB Cosmos
Patrick Ewing's First Edition Determinors
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Phil Normand's Recoverings
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ERBVILLE: ERB Public Domain Stories in PDF
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Heins' Golden Anniversary Bibliography of Edgar Rice Burroughs
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