Erbzine.com Homepage
First and Only Weekly Webzine Devoted to the Life and Works of Edgar Rice Burroughs
Since 1996 ~ Over 10,000 Webpages in Archive
Volume 0999
ERB IN CYBERSPACE
The ERBzine Weekly Online Fanzine Story (addendum)
The National Capital Panthans' ERB the Second Century was in preparation for many years. Since my submission for this very ambitious project was written about six years before the book's publication date much of the content is outdated and many of the Web links were created before everything was moved to the dedicated ERBzine server. To update things a bit for today's readers I've prepared this addendum.
Bill Hillman ~ Brandon, Manitoba, Canada ~ hillmans@wcgwave.ca ~ www.ERBzine.com
Somehow, the spirit of Edgar Rice Burroughs has always pervaded whatever pursuit I have followed, whether it be in my teaching, performing, business, or leisure time activities -- even in the naming of our three children.  Tarzan seemed to be just there -- for as long as I can remember. I can't recall when the ape-man's image wasn't present on toys, cards, colouring books, the movie screen, Sunday funnies and comic books. And the Tarzan yell was heard daily whenever kids got together or on weekly radio shows. In 1954 the rescue of a tattered Chessmen of Mars library book and the unwrapping of a birthday gift, The Return of Tarzan, marked my introduction to Burroughs novels which plunged me into the fantastic worlds spun from the imagination of this Master of Fantasy Adventure. My tracing of the spoor on the myriad trails plotted by Mr. Burroughs has been chronicled in numerous volumes of Edgar Rice Burroughs Amateur Press Association and ERBzine:
www.erbzine.com/apa

My quest for McClurg, Burt, G&D, Whitman and Burroughs editions eventually led me to the marvelous labours of love produced by fanzine editors and scholars such as Vern Coriell, Pete Ogden, Caz, Darrell Richardson, Bob Hyde, et al.  I devoured it all and learned from these revered editor/publishers and their knowledgeable contributors: Dale Broadhurst, Huck Huckenpohler, Jim Thompson,  Bruce Wood, India Boone, Hulbert Burroughs, Bruce Salen, Danton Burroughs, Jim and Joan Pierce, Bob Hyde,  Dick Spargur, and many more. I read and marveled at their knowledge of, and passion for, the works of ERB, without ever dreaming that I would meet them personally a quarter century later.

The '50s were a time of tracking down out-of-print editions in used-book stores and scouring mail order catalogues from across North America and England for titles I could afford on a farm boy's allowance. The Burroughs Boom of the '60s hit while I was attending college and the "Nkima on my back" addiction robbed me of most of the pocket money I picked up from performing in bars at night and live noon shows on local television. When the flurry of new additions finally slowed down, the subsiding ERB aftershock period corresponded with my own partial withdrawal from the epicentre of ERB fandom. Thanks to the patience and understanding of my wife, Sue-On, I held onto my collection, still bought Tarzan comics and watched the apeman's adventures on the big and little screens.

In 1995 I discovered the Internet and was amazed to find that there were actually Web sites devoted to ERB. When I stumbled upon the excellent tarzan.com site with its message board I was thrilled to learn that ERB fandom was still alive and well, and I was led to even more ERB Web sites. Soon, with the formation of the Bozarth and Thompson Listservs (ERBList and ERBCOFList) it was evident that there was a whole ERB World out there. Gradually, the mangani were drawn to the Cyber clearing; it was thrilling to watch the old tribe gather . . . the familiar names I remembered from the old fanzine days, as well as many new ones . . . they all straggled in, drawn by the power of the Internet and captured by the Web.

The new medium presented by the Internet was a boon to the ERB-starved fan. It was about this time in the mid-'90s that I started creating Web pages . . . mostly family & music tributes and educational sites that I integrated into the courses I was teaching. Some of the ERB Web sites at that time had a guest book feature and I remember the somewhat ironic note I wrote in one. I complimented the Web site host and went on to say that someday I would like to create my own ERB site but felt that it had all been done -- that there was nothing more to add. Now, 16 years and countless computer hours later I admit that this assessment was somewhat flawed. My online ERB Cosmos is festooned with many thousands of Web pages containing countless images and many millions of words. The shy fan, who had anxiously awaited the arrival of the fanzines, comics, and books in the mail, but who had never even written a fan letter, has eventually found his voice on the Web.  ERBzine, the world's first and only weekly online ERB fanzine now has gone into thousands of issues/installments and they are all in archive with our sprawling jungle of other ERB pages. We are thrilled by the feedback and the countless visits each week from fans all over the world.

ERBzine started out as a series of Web pages I called Motes and Quotes. The first of these pages featured quotes by or about ERB and his creations culled from the current media, old fanzines, books, bios, etc.  I naively devoted one of these early Web pages to interesting tidbits from the Listserv posts since I noticed that such posts were too fleeting and felt that that some of the more memorable pieces of info should be made available for reference. The feature was short lived, however, as ERBlist moderator, Tangor, made it clear that this did not jibe with his view of copyright : )

Eventually this online correspondence led to a novel experiment. In my writing / computer classes I had often encouraged my English classes to do round-robin writing, where one student would write a sentence or paragraph and pass it on to another class member to continue the story. When I noticed that Bruce "Tangor" Bozarth was encouraging fans to add to an introductory paragraph of fanfic he had placed on his Web site I was drawn to the project: "Travel through space and time and follow the tribulations of a traditional pulp author as he flounders in the fast lane of our modern electronic age."  I decided to tackle it as a wacky parody. Soon after I had contributed my first piece to the project I discovered that Tangor was a zany soul mate and we went on to goad each other into a massive 123-chapter round-robin spoof -- one of the few comedy ERB pastiches in fandom . . . and one of the longest of all the fan writings: The Ratnaz Fileswww.erbzine.com/mag0/meetratz.html

Inspired by Bob Zeuschner, Huck et al., another project in the pre-dawn days of ERBzine was our ERB Emporium: a series of illustrated bibliographies on ERB's novels, comics, fanzines, pulp magazines, BLBs, trading cards and collectibles. Then came the ERB Time Line Bio in hypertext followed by a series of novel Compendiums, ERB article reprints, and features on radio & TV shows and movies.  Most of the ideas and content in these early pages came from my own imagination and collection but I could fill in many of the gaps with pictures downloaded and culled from around the Interent. Then gradually, fans started to respond and their contributions of illustrations and text for future projects were most welcome.

This Web hobby was becoming a very time-consuming obsession but it was a wonderfully exciting creative outlet. I had always been a nighthawk so it was natural to surround my computer workstation with televisions, satellite receivers, VCRs, stereo, CD/DVD recorders, telephones, books, magazines, guitars -- and munchies -- and work into the early morning hours creating a highly eclectic mix of Web pages: research and activity pages for my computer integrated university classes, military sites and zines, nostalgia, our own music career bio, local history, family tributes, commercial projects, virtual tours of local museums, career portfolios, martial arts, Asian culture, Zane Grey tribute, art galleries, celebrity bio sites. . .  and juxtaposed with all these projects: the Burroughs pages.

I was becoming so prolific in my Web output and the ERB features were coming out at such a rapid rate and were spinning off in so many directions that I realized there had to be a common thread to tie it all together.  How in heck did Vern, Pete, Caz, George, Bill, Frank, Mike, et al keep track of all the fan activities . . . and put together articles, do their own printing, photography, subscriptions, mailing, budgets... and do it so well for so long? Then it struck me! Why not try an ONLINE fanzine of my own? An e-Zine! What to call it? ezineERB? No. Ahh! Why not ERBzine? But how to indicate that it is an e-zine? Eureka!  ERBzin-e. Hyphenate and italicize the "e" so as to indicate an electronic publication. Gotta be weekly . . . too much happening to wait a month or two for each edition. But how to design it? What format? There ain't nobody else doing this.

After much brainstorming and trial and error the following ideas and methods have evolved over the years:

  • Layout and Printing: I use a word processor to copy/paste text into html documents and use Webpage design to pull it all together.
  • Illustrations/Graphics: JPG and GIF images are produced with a graphics program, digital camera and Internet downloads to provide colour illustrations, decorations and backgrounds.
  • Subscriptions: My gift to fandom. Readers are directed to the same URL that will be updated with the new zine material on Friday of every week. An e-mail reminder is sent out once a week to the various ERB Listservs and to individuals who don't subscribe to the Listservs. Keywords and meta tags are imbedded into each Web page feature and each site is registered with appropriate search engines so the pages can be found by Cyber surfers. www.erbzine.com
  • Size: The size of each issue is kept manageable by breaking it into distinct zine features or chapters, each with its own Web address. Everything is linked together with hypertexted contents pages.
  • Cost of Publication: The production costs are kept relatively low since I write or compile most of the articles and do the graphics and Web design myself. Most of the cost comes from the monthly rentals of the many server accounts and the purchase and maintenance of our networked three computers, two scanners and two printers. Digital cameras and flights to ERB conventions also add to the cost. Since the cost of server storage for thousands of pages can be prohibitive, I originally registered for "free" server space with the annoying popup ads (over 100 separate accounts on GeoCities, Tripod, Angelfire, etc.).  In late 2003, around the time that the first version of this article was written, I abandoned all the "free" accounts and paid for dedicated server accounts -- no more ads, awkward Web addresses, dying web accounts, etc.  The flagship domain became ERBzine.com. There are now very few other Websites and blogs on the Internet that don't take advantage of displaying a clutter of profitable ads on their sites.  As every computer junkie knows, the quest for newer, faster computers with more storage space never ends but I've so far avoided the temptation of going commercial -- even though there are big bucks to be made by cluttering up Webpages with paid advertising.
  • Past Issues: All the previous editions are archived and are numbered in chronological sequence. The navigation maps for these archived sites are featured on the main contents pages accessed through the main portal at: www.erbzine.com/all 
  • Contents Pages: ERBzine descriptions are also  collated on a 100-issue supplementary contents Web page installed at the start of each archived Centennium -- e.g. issue #0200 collates pages 0201-0300 by both theme and chronological sorts. In addition to this we have installed an internal Google search feature that will direct the reader to relevant Webpages through the use of keywords.
  •  Preparation: To keep to a weekly schedule I find it necessary to work ahead so that there is always issue content in the can. The canned work usually is bumped to the back burner if a contributor sends in material for release and I have time to work on it right away. Long major projects are completed as soon as possible in marathon work binges, but are released in installments for better promotion and maximum reader recognition: i.e. ERB C.H.A.S.E.R. Bibliography, fan fiction, Biblio-Pro-Phile bios on Burroughs Bibliophile members, photo journals on Dum-Dum and ECOF conventions, Danton Burroughs Family Albums,  ERB Eclectica Newzines, reprints of articles and comics (books, dailies, Sundays), ERB Comics Encyclopedia, Artist Tributes, Lost Words and Letters of ERB, ERB of the Silver Screen, ERB: The War Years, Burroughs Family Bios, ERBapa Reprints, etc. We are grateful to our team of prolific regular contributors: George McWhorter, ERB, Inc. archivist Cathy Wilbanks, Bob Hyde, Den Valdron, David Adams, Laurence Dunn, R.E. Prindle, James Spratt, Georges Dodds, Dale Broadhurst, John Tyman, Mickey Burwell, Duane Adams, Frank Blisard, Phil Burger, Laurence Dunn, Huck Huckenpöhler, Rick Johnson, Ken Manson, Bob Zeuschner, Ron de Laat, Al Bohl, Ken Manson, Woodrow Nichols, Paul Privitera, Rick Johnson, Jairo Uparella, Sue-On, and a virtual army of writers and artists from the four corners of the globe:  www.erbzine.com/mag4/0456.html
  • Updates: One of the biggest advantages of Web publishing over the print medium is that the pages can, and should be updated as new information comes in. Nothing is carved in stone. New info, links, text, illustrations, etc. can be added whenever it is appropriate. It is relatively easy but time consuming for me to make Web page revisions to keep them up to date and relevant -- not so easy for the readers who print out a hard copy of every issue. The late Wayne James once told me that when the ERBzine Web pages are printed out they create a tottering stack that stretches floor to ceiling. Obviously, over-zealous ERB collectors often enter territory fraught with many dangers.
  • Links: To assist ERB Cyber travellers it is important to link together all the ERBzine features and the other ERB Cosmos components. This is an ongoing job. Sometimes thousands of links have to be manually revised. It is an endless, and often frustrating job to keep all links active because contributors and other external sites are constantly changing their addresses or dropping completely off the Internet. It is always appreciated when readers draw our attention to inaccurate information, missing content or dead links.
  • Weekly Main Page Layout:  The Web page for each week's issue consists of descriptions, logos and links for up to 20 or more distinct Web page features that I have created for that week. Occasionally we will also spotlight an updated deserving feature from the past. Below these clusters is a section with logos and links to all the contents of the last week's issue. Near the bottom of the page is a "Coming Next Week" section. Scattered all through the page are plugs for ERB events, conventions, fan projects, coming events, our ERB News and Swag pages, info on joining the Burroughs Bibliophiles, etc.  At the bottom is a box and directions for Google searches. At the very bottom of the page are the logo/links to the many other Official ERB Websites I've created and maintain. (Displayed also at the end of this article)
  • Web Page Publishing Procedure: The creation of the ERBzine features is a non-ending job. As a solo effort, a weekly publishing schedule is very demanding and voracious. Usually at the beginning of the week the current issue is saved to an archive file on my computer and I then start compiling the new page for next week's release.  Web page URLs, titles and descriptions are put in the appropriate spots on the new page. I then find representative pictures or logos that I reduce in size for easier loading, usually using the PaintShop Pro graphics program.  The photo is cropped, sharpened, lightened, given a pop-up caption, is imbedded with a hot link to the page it represents and is installed along with the text description. Everything is tested and saved in preparation for Thursday or Friday upload via cable modem to our main server.
  • E-mailing Procedure: The text and link highlights of the week's main ERBzine Web page are created in e-mail drafts. Representative headlines of the main features are added to the subject lines. I then add addresses of the various ERB Listservs and of the people who have requested a personal notification. All these e-mail messages are launched after the week's new ERBzine has been uploaded to the Web. Everyone, who may or may not receive the e-mail reminder, is encouraged to go to the same location each week to see the expanded illustrated Webzine version of the contents: www.ERBzine.com/mag
  • Weekly Deadline: This is very demanding but, so far, in all the years of publishing I have not missed an issue. Some weeks, such as during the time I was on university assignment in Canada's far north, involve much behind-the-scenes improvisation and razzmatazz -- utilizing snail mail, telephone & cable modems, and satellite service. For the weeks we are on the road for research assignments, music gigs, or R'n'R time I stack the weekly issues for release while we're away.
  • Danton Burroughs and Edgar Rice Burroughs, Inc.: At the turn of the century I started to work very closely with Danton and ERB, Inc. At their request I took over tarzan.com when the Disney option lapsed on it. Dan and I had countless long telephone conversations planning additional sites such as johncolemanburroughs.com, dantonburroughs.com, and all the others displayed at the end of this article. We launched another weekly Webzine -- Danton's Den at: www.dantonburroughs.com/dan for which Danton and wife Linda shared a massive amount of material from the Burroughs family archives. I added to this content through regular visits to the ERB, Inc. office, Dan's house in Tarzana, as well as film locations and various Burroughs storage lockers around the San Fernando Valley.
  • ERB Field Trips: ERB, Inc., Disney and Phil Collins have invited us to attend the gala opening night festivities for all the Tarzan Stage Musicals -- spectacular events in the Broadway, Netherlands and Hamburg theatres. We've also tried to attend at least one ERB convention each year and even our holiday jaunts are usually done with ERB in mind. Reports on all of these adventures find their way into ERBzine in some form. The saddest trip I have ever made was to attend Dan's Memorial Service in Tarzana in 2008 where I gave a eulogy. All of us have lost a great friend and one of the last direct links to Edgar Rice Burroughs. Fortunately the goal of everyone at ERB, Inc. is to carry on the wonderful Burroughs legacy. They are tremendously supportive of my work and are doing a remarkable job of adapting ERB's vision to our rapidly changing world.
  • Future: During my years as a professor at Brandon University I usually worked till 3 a.m. to prepare all my Web-based lectures and to keep up with my ERB output. Dan's death shocked me into partial retirement from education and I thought my work days would be shorter . . . they aren't : ) There is great satisfaction in creating something that doesn't evaporate into cyberspace or lie dormant in a drawer or library stacks somewhere, but is accessible by anyone, at any time and anywhere in the world. We have also embraced "social media" and share much of our output with fans of FaceBook and Twitter. The spin-offs have been quite unbelievable and I never know what surprises await me in each day's e-mail bombardment. In my compulsive wanderings through the Web I have yet to see so many pages from one source dedicated to a single personality or topic. I hope Ed would be proud of my attempt at litrachur and of my efforts to keep his legacy alive in the 21st century.
  • The ERB Cosmos embraces the realms of Classic SF & Adventure
    and all Twentieth Century Media:
    Pulp Fiction ~ Parody ~ Toys &  Memorabilia ~ Cards ~ Fanzines ~ Dum-Dums & ECOFs 
    Comics: Books, Strips, Sunday Pages, Cartoons. BLBs
    Movies ~ OT Radio Shows ~ TV ~ Recordings ~ SF & Fantasy Art 
    Computer & Internet Resources: 
    Websites, Chat, Lists, BBs, Games, CDs, DVDs, e-Texts, eZines
    Fan Fiction ~ Novels ~ Short Stories ~ Poetry ~ Articles ~ Biblos & Bios ~ Letters ~ Interviews 
    Personalities ~ Fandom ~ Contemporary & Legacy Writers ~ Burroughs Family Histories
    .
    Related Autobiographical Material on the Web
    Join us on FaceBook: ERBzine.Tarzan
    ERBzine.TarzanFollow ERBzine on TwitterERBzineJoin us on FaceBook: hillmanHillmanFollow Bill and Sue-On Hillman  @hillmanweb  on twitterHillmanWeb

    Bill and Sue-On Hillman Eclectic Studio
    On the Road with Bill and Sue-On Hillman ~ A 50-Year Journey
    Bill and Sue-On Hillman: A Musical Odyssey

    The Bill Hillman ERB Quest: 
    ERBzine : Roots and Wings I
    Roots and Wings II
    Roots and Wings III
    Roots and Wings IV
    Roots and Wings V


    The Fantastic Worlds of Edgar Rice Burroughs

    Tarzan.com
    Tarzan.com
    ERBzine Weekly Webzine
    ERBzine.com
    Danton Burroughs Website: Tarzana Treasure Vaults
    DantonBurroughs.com
    Tarzan.org
    Tarzan.org
    Burroughs Bibliophiles
    BurroughsBibliophiles.com
    John Coleman Burroughs Tribute Site
    JohnColemanBurroughs.com
    Tarzine: Official Monthly Webzine of ERB, Inc.
    Tarzan.com/tarzine
    John Carter of Mars
    JohnCarterOfMars.ca
    Edgar Rice Burroughs
    erbzine.com/edgarriceburroughs
    ERBzine Weekly Webzine
    Weekly Webzine
    Danton Burroughs Weekly Webzine
    Weekly Webzine
    Pellucidar
    Pellucidar.org

    John Carter Film News

    ERB, Inc. Corporate Site

    ERB Centennial

    tarzana.ca


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    BILL HILLMAN: Editor and Webmaster
    BILL AND SUE-ON HILLMAN ECLECTIC STUDIO
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