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Volume 0105

BarsoomSasoomVanah - LunaAmtor - Cosoom
The Many Worlds of Edgar Rice Burroughs
"The master of imaginative fantasy adventure...
...the creator of Tarzan and...
...the 'grandfather of science-fiction'"


Tarzan the Terrible
by David Adams

Tarzan the Terrible: Dust Jacket by J. Allen St. John
Dust jacket: color: 

Tarzan holds a brightly colored, masked Ho-don figure over his head.  It is a Caucasian human but with a prehensile tail that has wrapped around Tarzan's right arm in the struggle. Another similarly masked Ho-don looks on to the lower left, his body leaning away from the action.  A fourth human figure lying on his back (with a human skull at the level of his chest) at the lower right completes this circular arrangement.  The bright red and yellow of the two masked figures contrasts vividly with the dark shades of blue in the shadowy background, however it complements the red lettering of the book title.

Nine Interior Sepia Plates
Tarzan the Terrible Frontispiece by J. Allen St. John
1.  frontispiece: 

Tarzan the Terrible:  same image as the cover, however, the brown and white format accents the light source in a more dramatic way, highlighting Tarzan's chest in the middle of the picture. The light strikes the back and shoulders of the man Tarzan is holding overhead, then glances down the shoulder of the standing man, which makes the action seem to move in a circular, spinning fashion.

As the two antagonists battled, a devil-faced saber-tooth peered menacingly from the jungle.
2.  (between pages 22-23) 
"As the two antagonists battled, a
devil-faced saber-tooth peered menacingly from the jungle." 

Tarzan struggles with a black, shaggy Waz-don, another tailed, human figure. Tarzan is on top of the Waz-don in the process of forcing him into a pool of water.  A saber-tooth tiger's head peers from the dense jungle at the top left of the picture.  Since Tarzan's head is at the extreme right middle of the scene, the composition is an s-curve that is
finished at the lower left by spirals of water in the pool.  The light
source accents Tarzan's shoulders and arms as he struggles with his

Like a gigantic rat the shaggy, black figure moved across the face of the perpendicular cliff.
3.  (between pages 40-41) 
"Like a gigantic rat the shaggy, black figure 
moved across the face of the perpendicular cliff." 

A lone Waz-don climbs the cliff.  The outstretched arms, bent back, and looped tail of the figure make a great curve across the page.  The bent right knee resting on a ledge makes a little circle in the left center of the scene accented by a jeweled belt and knife hilt that touches his heel.  The man is passing an odd outcropping of stone that looks like an ice cream cone.

She felt her fingers numbing slowly to the strain upon them
4.  (between pages 96-97) 
"She felt her fingers numbing slowly to the strain upon them"

An extremely dramatic picture.  Tarzan is hanging over a cliff.  A small girl's arms at the upper left of the picture are holding the completely elongated form of Tarzan by his right ankle alone.  A brightly lit Tarzan appears against the white limestone cliff.  He is completely relaxed in attitude despite his perilous situation.  His left leg is bent with his foot against the stone.  The first impression of this picture is almost a crucifixion scene.  By reversing the picture one might imagine a medieval picture with a woman holding Christ's feet at the foot of his cross.

He dove headforemost beneath the giant reptile and plunged his knife into the slimy belly
5.  (between pages 126-127) 
"He dove headforemost beneath the giant reptile and plunged his knife into the slimy belly" 

An extremely interesting picture.  The upper third of the picture is above water showing the head and gigantic toothed mouth of the prehistoric monster while the bottom two-thirds is viewed underwater as though we are seeing it behind a glass in a large tank.  The Tarzan figure is upright in the water and turning (with the characteristic arm swung away from body so prevalent in St. John's work) as he plunges his knife with his left hand into the belly of the reptile.  The shadow of the monster's tail completes the s-curve composition.

The two women dropped to their knees, stricken with awe at the thought of the awful nearness of the Great God
6.  (between pages 168-169) 
"The two women dropped to their knees,
stricken with awe at the thought of the awful nearness of the Great God." 

Tarzan again fills most of the picture.  He stands with his right arm upraised with his body leaning slightly back.  Tarzan is in the process of releasing a bird from his right hand.  His left hand gestures toward the heads of the two kneeling women in a wide fingered form that suggests a medieval Christian icon of blessing.  The three tall trees in the background compliment the almost soaring Tarzan figure.  The light strikes Tarzan's magnificently muscled body shining fully upon his raised arm.  His head is bent back as he looks at the bird about to be released into the air.  It is a daring and difficult composition forcing
the view from the top to the bottom of the scene, half in shadow, half
in light.

“Ko-tan spring forward, and seizing Jane about the waist, carried her off struggling and fighting fiercely.
7. (between pages 248-249
“Ko-tan spring forward, and seizing Jane about the waist, carried her
off struggling and fighting fiercely.” 
[Ko-tan is incorrectly named.  It should read, “Mo-sar.”] 
This is a magnificent study of a human male viewed from the back.  It is a white Ho-don with a sinuous tail sweeping out from under his furred loin cloth.  He wears a jeweled belt and a jeweled band crosses his broad shoulders; he also wears a Greek warriors helmet that sweeps forward with a bold metal crest.  The woman is carried sideways across his body, head thrown back with her long hair falling.  Jane is extremely strong featured and well-muscled, almost like a man.  However, this “Rape of the Sabines” topic is a posed picture filled with classical quiet and grace.   A long drape hangs down the entire left side of the picture through which the left leg of the man already recedes.

“Every enemy back being toward her, Lady Greystoke slid quietly into the chill, dark lake.
8. (between pages 278-279)
“Every enemy back being toward her, 
Lady Greystoke slid quietly into the chill, dark lake.”

Reminds one of a King Arthur scene.  A very large “canoe” with the head of a sea monster heads away from the viewer paddled by four helmeted warriors while Jane slips into the water at the rear of the craft.  Her guard, Mo-sar, is seen sleeping, his head on the edge of the canoe.  A high, clouded sky takes up the upper half of the
picture while the shadows ripple to the lower left.

“The gryf issued his hideous challenging bellow and charged the warriors.
(between pages 354-355)
“The gryf issued his hideous challenging bellow 
and charged the warriors”

A Tyrannosaurus Rex (instead of the usual Triceratops figure) races
from right to left across the page ridden by a tiny Tarzan and a small
woman figure, Jane.  Three tiny warriors, arms upraised, flee before
them in the tall grass.  The monster is the theme of the picture,
dramatic but lacking in the classical grace and repose of the other
scenes portrayed.

All of the St. John pieces for Tarzan of the Terrible are powerful
and dramatic, but the outstanding and most startling one is #4 with the
hanging Tarzan, and #7 is the one most filled with classic grace and
poise.  Tarzan throughout is given the perfect body as described by ERB -- well-proportioned, a Greek Apollo rather than a Hercules.

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