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Edgar Rice Burroughs

ECLECTICA v.2012.11a

Eclectica Archive

Culture: Tarzan turns 100 at U of L
Leo Weekly ~ November 14, 2012 ~ By Kevin Gibson

He swung from trees, raised by great apes in the jungles of Africa. He delivered his now famous yodel call and — if the many film depictions of this fictional character are representative — wore a loin cloth to conceal his junk.

And this year, Tarzan turned 100 with a special birthday bash Oct. 28 at the University of Louisville’s Ekstrom Library, which houses the Burroughs Memorial Collection, the world’s largest institutional collection of Edgar Rice Burroughs relics and Tarzan memorabilia, donated by curator George T. McWhorter.

Delinda Stephens Buie, head of special collections at Ekstrom, describes the collection — which is on public display through Dec. 15 — as being “filled with treasures.”

Among some of the 200,000-plus artifacts are hundreds of film stills, Burroughs’ cape from when he attended military boarding school, vintage posters depicting the 22 actors who portrayed the iconic Tarzan character across the decades, toys, promotional items, and even a pair of Johnny Weissmuller’s swimming trunks. Weissmuller was, of course, an Olympic swimmer who is perhaps the best-known big-screen Tarzan, having made a dozen movies during the character’s heyday in the 1930s-40s.

Buie says roughly 100 people attended the centennial ceremony last month, which featured guests such as McWhorter; author Scott Tracy Griffin, who recently released a book on Tarzan’s centennial; John R. Burroughs, the Tarzan creator’s grandson; Denny Miller, star of 1959’s “Tarzan the Ape Man”; and others.

The iconic character is so universal and enduring, Buie notes, that even scholars look to it for reference. “Just this past August, we had a doctoral student from Trinity College Dublin here for two weeks, researching Burroughs’ references to science and scientists in his Tarzan books,” she says.

While best known for creating Tarzan, Burroughs also wrote science fiction featuring his character John Carter, a Mars adventurer, as well as a Venus series and the seminal “The Land That Time Forgot,” a sort of predecessor to “Jurassic Park” that was given a film treatment in 1975.

Buie says of all the items in the collection, her favorites by far are those to which the author added a personal touch. She describes having special affection for “Tarzan books inscribed, with whimsical illustrations, by Edgar Rice Burroughs to his children. Several of these currently are on display. They give us a glimpse into the playful, imaginative man — and affectionate father — who created whole worlds in the jungle, in ‘Pellucidar’ (his book series about a land beneath the Earth’s core), in the ‘Wild West’ and on Mars.”

Regular weekday viewing hours will be held through Dec. 15, but Buie says the collection can be viewed by appointment as well. Admission is free. Also, an international meeting known as the Dum Dum (which is named after Burroughs’ description of the assembly of apes in the jungle) will be held in Louisville next August.

‘Tarzan’ exhibit
Through Dec. 15
Ekstrom Library
University of Louisville • 852-6762 

ERBzine Virtual Tour of the 
McWhorter Memorial ERB Collection

An All-New Full-Colour Weekly Tarzan Strip
ARTIST Tom Grindberg ~ WRITER Roy Thomas
Subscribe Now at the ERB, Inc. Corporate Site
Read All About It HERE
 Counting Down The 5 Best 'Tarzan' Comics With 
'Tarzan The Centennial Celebration' Author Scott Tracy Griffin
MTV Geek ~ November 14, 2012
Tarzan is 100 years-old this year and to celebrate, Titan Books is releasing "the only official commemorative illustrated history" of Edgar Rice Burroughs' iconic Lord of the Jungle on November 20 with "Tarzan The Centennial Celebration." Burroughs expert Scott Tracy Griffin takes readers through all of Tarzan's appearances from books to comics to movies to cartoons to musicals throughout over 300 pages of lovingly detailed artwork and insight.

For our part of wishing the wildman a happy one, author Griffin has shared with us his favorite "Tarzan" comics of all time. So without further ado, let's let Scott take it away.

1. "Tarzan the Terrible" by Russ Manning and Gaylord Dubois, Gold Key Comics, 1967
In 1965, Russ Manning assumed artistic chores on Gold Key Comics’ Tarzan of the Apes title, and, with scripter Gaylord Dubois, embarked on an ambitious quest to illustrate authentic adaptations of Edgar Rice Burroughs' novels, a first for the comic book medium. Among the best is Tarzan the Terrible, in which Tarzan battles dinosaurs, saber tooth tigers, and pithecanthropi (tailed, primitive men) across the lost land of Pal-ul-don in a quest for the missing Jane. The prehistoric perils offer even greater challenges than that of Tarzan’s jungle, and the ape man rises to the occasion. This novel also showcases an increasingly self-reliant Jane, who escapes her captors and uses the woodcraft taught by Tarzan to survive. In addition to ranking alongside Hal Foster and Burne Hogarth in the triumvirate of great Tarzan comic artists, Manning’s storytelling ability and attention to the details of Burroughs’ stories is unparalleled.
2. "The Return of Tarzan" by Thomas Yeates, Dark Horse Comics, 1997
Dark Horse Comics launched its Tarzan title by assigning an adaptation of The Return of Tarzan to Thomas Yeates. Serialized strips were collected into a three-issue mini-series recounting Tarzan’s return to Africa, following his unsuccessful pursuit of Jane Porter in America. Tarzan, who previously waged war on the African cannibals who killed Kala (his mother ape), has been influenced by his time in civilization, and befriends the Waziri, a fierce, martial tribe that joins him on subsequent adventures. This tale also introduces La of Opar, High Priestess of the Flaming God, whose unrequited love for Tarzan imbues romantic tension into the proceedings. Yeates' pen-and-ink work recalls the era of classic illustrators; his passion for the Burroughs franchise is evident in every panel.
3. "Tarzan of the Apes" by Joe Kubert, DC Comics, 1972
In 1972, DC Comics won the Tarzan comics contract, thanks to a promise to grant Joe Kubert artistic and editorial chores on the title. 

DC began its run with a lush, four-issue adaptation of Burroughs’ original novel, which was reprinted in an oversized Superspecial edition. 

Kubert’s Tarzan has a dynamic, heroic quality, with line work and designs reminiscent of his early idol, Hal Foster.

4. "Tarzan and the Jewels of Opar" by John Buscema and Roy Thomas, Marvel Comics, 1977
Marvel Comics launched its Tarzan, Lord of the Jungle title with a nine-issue adaptation of Jewels of Opar by “Big” John Buscema and “Rascally” Roy Thomas (nicknames were de rigueur in the Marvel bullpen of that era). 

Having illustrated Robert E. Howard’s Conan property for years, Buscema proved ideal for depicting the ape man’s feral savagery, while veteran writer Thomas offered a partnership steeped in Burroughs’ lore. Marvel’s first issue featured a Buscema cover homage to Clinton Petty’s original 1912 All-Story magazine art.

5. (Tie) "Tarzan/John Carter: Warlords of Mars" by Bret Blevins and Ricardo Villagran, scripted by Bruce Jones, Dark Horse Comics, 1996; 
"Tarzan in the Land That Time Forgot/The Pool of Time", by Russ Manning, Dark Horse, 1974, 1996; 
"Tarzan vs. the Moon Men" by Thomas Yeates and Al Williamson, scripted by Timothy Truman, Dark Horse, 1997-98
My top four comic stories are all adaptations of early Tarzan novels by Edgar Rice Burroughs; conversely, these mini-serializations offer original stories set within ERB’s literary universe, taking Tarzan to Barsoom, Caspak, and a future Earth dominated by aliens. The result is three gripping crossover tales that all Tarzan fans should experience.
Tarzan Dark Horse covers from the ERBzine Comics Encyclopedia
"Tarzan The Centennial Celebration" by Scott Tracy Griffin hits stores on November 20.
Book Review: Tarzan – The Centennial Celebration
by Scott Tracy Griffin
Titan Books, 2012
Open Letters Monthly ~ November 2012 ~ By Steve Donoghue 

The autumn of 2012 is famously (for those who keep track of such things) the 100th anniversary of the appearance of Edgar Rice Burroughs’ character Tarzan in the pages of The All-Story magazine. From one viewpoint this seems a fairly venerable birthday; how many of today’s pop fantasy creations – Hellboy, Jason Bourne, Bella Swan – can realistically hope to reach 100? But from another point of view, it seems almost ridiculously recent; Tarzan’s fame has spread to such astronomical proportions that he feels almost Homeric, like some kind of heroic phoneme that’s always been a part of human speech, a “pervasive pop-culture presence” as long-time Burroughs fan and authority Scott Tracy Griffin puts it in his Introduction to Tarzan: The Centennial Celebration, a platter-sized compendium of all things Tarzan that encompasses all the official ERB-authored novels, all the authorized sequels, the comic-book adaptations, the movies, the TV shows, the collectible paraphernalia, Tarzan – the character and cultural phenomenon – has had many tributes in the last 100 years, but nothing has ever come close to the scope and sheer physical beauty of this volume. No Tarzan fan can possibly be without it.

And we are all Tarzan fans. By that strange osmosis of cultural saturation, the character’s myth is known all over the world, the hack and huckster Burroughs having stumbled upon an avatar of the collective consciousness when he invented the story of an English lord and lady who are stranded in what was once called darkest Africa, die there, and leave behind their baby son who’s raised by a tribe of apes (in Burroughs’ original story, he specifies they’re mangani, an otherwise unknown species of great ape somewhere between gorillas and humans) as one of their own. The character went through much finer delineation in the novels that followed; he married his beloved Jane Porter, had a son who became a jungle adventurer after him, etc. But that original premise – the scion of British nobility growing into a man entirely free of Victorian behavioral constraints, an animal-powerful man with hyper-developed senses and no compunctions about killing – has proven so irresistible to the popular imagination that Burroughs’ ink was scarcely dry on the first serial than the character was being adapted into every medium available.

Astonishingly, virtually all of those various adaptation-categories get equal and respectful attention in this wonderful book. Griffin tirelessly slogs through every novel (to put it mildly, they’re uneven affairs; classics like Tarzan and the Jewels of Opar are ballasted with more rote numbers like Tarzan’s Quest), provides a lively overview of every knock-off production, and proves an endlessly intelligent enthusiast for every manifestation of Tarzaniana in existence. The highest compliment a reader can pay to Griffin’s enormous work here is that it would be every bit as entertaining if it were an unillustrated work of black-and-white prose.

But it’s hugely, almost outrageously not that. As befits a character who’s been intensely visual from his first incarnation, Tarzan: The Centennial Celebration is profusely illustrated. The long history of often glorious Tarzan-artwork is on display in these oversized pages. The series of novel covers done by the great comics artist Neal Adams for Ballantine Books in the 1970s are given their first-ever full-page color reproductions, as are the far more sensuous ones done for the same series by Boris Vallejo. And in a wonderful and long-overdue visual tribute, so too are highlighted the dorkily earnest and striking cover illustrations for the old Gold Key series of Tarzan comics – and the book covers done for the previous run of Ballantine paperbacks by veteran artist Robert Abbett, whose work’s shimmering colors and rough brush-strokes look gorgeous in an extra-large presentation. Tarzan’s other great artists – Frank Frazetta, Burne Hogarth, Russ Manning, the great Joe Kubert – are here as well, looking better than their originals ever did in newspaper or comic strip.

gordon scott as tarzan
Tarzan’s life as a fictional character coincides with the advent of popular cinema, and all the actors who’ve played the Ape Man are profiled in Griffin’s book, from the emblematic if slightly doughy Johnny Weissmuller to the leaner Herman Brix to the almost cartoonishly muscular Gordon Scott (tall and charismatic actor Ron Ely, who played Tarzan in the character’s only successful U.S. television series, writes the book's Foreword). The various actresses who've played Jane are also here, from Karla Schramm in 1920 to Sarah Wayne Callies in the disastrously ill-conceived 2003 TV ‘update’ of the character. Casper Van Dien, Wolf Larson, and Joe Lara – three of the luckless actors to portray Tarzan most recently – are loyally represented in full-page studio shots that give little hint of how disappointing their finished products were (although Van Dien brought a quicksilver physicality to the character in 1998's Tarzan and the Lost City and Lara's portrayal in a 1996 television series at least dispensed with the ridiculous “me Tarzan” pidgin-talk inflicted on the character by an entire generation of Hollywood movies).

Tarzan: The Centennial Celebration arrives, ironically enough, in something of a Tarzan-lull. There are no ongoing comics series, no TV series, no movies (and none in the offing, except a 2013 animated feature whose trailer is admittedly arresting), no new novels. The 21st Century has left all of those old Victorian behavioral strictures far, far behind, and it’s possible this has lessened somewhat the elemental appeal of a character who does exactly as he pleases, but this magnificent Tarzan tribute volume makes a compelling case that the Ape Man has as strong a grip on our collective imaginations as he always did. With any luck, he’s still out there in the jungle, waiting to be remade by a new century.

Tarzan Archives:
The Russ Manning Years Volume 1
Gaylord DuBois (Author), Brendan Wright (Editor), Russ Manning (Author)
List Price:  $49.99
Amazon Price:  $28.42
Publication Date: January 1, 2013 | Series: Tarzan Archives

Experience seven of Edgar Rice Burroughs' Tarzan novels as drawn by Russ Manning, the most beloved comic-book interpreter of the lord of the jungle! 

Manning's adaptations appeared in the Gold Key comics Tarzan #155-161, #163, #164, #166, and #167. 

This collection of comics originally published in the 1960s is an essential addition to any comics fan's library!


The Unauthorized Tarzan
From Dark Horse
A classic run of Tarzan comics, reprinted for the first time! In the 1960s, believing Tarzan to have fallen into the public domain, Charlton Comics enlisted Joe Gill (Flash Gordon, House of Mystery) and Sam Glanzman (Hercules, Our Army at War) to create a new comics version of the Lord of the Jungle. Only four issues were produced before Charlton was forced to end the series, and much of the original print runs were destroyed. Collects Chalton’s Jungle Tales of Tarzan #1–#4.
* Includes never-before-seen Tarzan comic strips by Glanzman and historical essays by Roger Broughton!
* Also available in a limited edition of 250 copies, featuring a tip-in signed by Glanzman!
Writer: Joe Gill
Penciller: Sam J. Glanzman, Bill Montes
Inker: Sam J. Glanzman, Ernie Bache
Publication Date:March 20, 2013
Format: FC, 112 pages; HC, 8 3/8" x 10 7/8"
Price: $29.99
ISBN-13: 978-1-61655-070-7

Robin Maxwell, the best-selling author of The Secret Diary of Anne Boleyn
goes on a whirlwind tour to promote her newest novel,
Jane - The Woman Who Loved Tarzan,
appearing before sell-out crowds at Comic-Con, Barnes & Noble, KTLA,
and the fabled Book Soup on Sunset Blvd., among others.

Robin Maxwell's
Jane: The Woman Who Loved Tarzan Soars With Romance
Huffington Post ~ November 9, 2012

Most of us have heard of Tarzan of the Apes. Since 1912, the famous character by Edgar Rice Burroughs has been featured in pulp fiction magazines, novels, comic books, countless films, radio programs and even the Broadway stage. He was forever immortalized in a leopard print loin cloth by Olympic swimmer Johnny Weissmuller in 1930s and '40s. Tarzan's story was even an animated feature film by Disney.

Tarzan, it seems, has really never gone out of style. But not many movies or even books showcased his sultry blond love interest, Jane, to the fullest extent. But that's all changed with the recently published Jane: The Woman Who Loved Tarzan by Robin Maxwell.

The historical action-adventure is the first Tarzan novel written by a woman, and has been endorsed by the Edgar Rice Burroughs' estate. What inspired Maxwell to tell Jane's story? She explains:

    The inspiration for Jane comes way out of left field...or more to the point, from deep in my subconscious. I had never read even one Burroughs' Tarzan novel as a kid, but I did watch the old black and white Johnny Weissmuller/Maureen O'Sullivan Tarzan flicks on TV. And I was a Sheena Queen of the Jungle TV series junkie (loved her outfit)! I had a serious jones for African adventure, wild animals, lost civilizations and the fantasy of swinging through the forest with a gorgeous, next-to-naked wild man. The rules of civilization -- piffle! Young and free and breaking all the rules. I was there.

As the years passed, the ape-man and his main squeeze faded from Maxwell's memory. But several decades later, the historical novelist, who was working on her retelling of Romeo and Juliet, was driving down the road with her husband, Max, when he asked her which literary character she would like to write about. She says:

    Without missing a beat I blurt out, 'Tarzan and Jane!' [Max] looked at me like I'd lost it, but I said, 'No, no, hang on. What wilder or sexier couple is there on earth than these two? This could be good!' It was as though my deep-seated, long-lost fantasies, like boiling magma, suddenly erupted volcano-like from my brain. Nobody was more surprised than I was.

After explaining in a letter that she had a new twist on the old classic, Maxwell, who had already penned eight successful historical novels, was contacted by Jim Sullos, the president of the Edgar Rice Burroughs estate. She pitched the idea as 'Tarzan's story from Jane's point-of-view.' After receiving an enthusiastic response, Maxwell's partnership with the estate began. But her journey wasn't quite over yet. She traveled to Tarzana, California, where Edgar Rice Burroughs set up his empire. Maxwell says she pitched her idea for a record-breaking five hours, explaining in detail all her points of the story. The Edgar Rice Burroughs Board of Directors approved her request, but she wrote the book on spec giving Sullos and board members, including Edgar Rice Burroughs' only living grandson, John R. Burroughs, drafts of the novel. Maxwell says the toughest part of writing the whole book was the sex parts. Why?

Well, there's a list of rules, which she learned, is called the 'Tarzan Universe.' For instance, Tarzan can't harm women, he may not be racist, smoke, or get the idea. But number 17 specifically stated Tarzan couldn't engage in illicit premarital sex. That was a problem for Maxwell. She explains:

    My book was squarely aimed at adults. It wasn't porn, but the whole point was to write a sexy adventure about two beautiful young people swinging around the jungle in not much more than their birthday suits. How could they not have sex? I told Jim that if there was no sex allowed, there would be no book.

Sullos negotiated with the Board and number 17 was amended to read, "Tarzan and Jane may have sex...if handled tastefully." The estate has thrown its full weight behind Jane, including high praise from Jane Goodall, founder of the Jane Goodall Institute and UN Messenger of Peace. Maxwell is extremely grateful for the estate's support.

Jane: The Woman Who Loved Tarzan is definitely romantic, and the chemistry between the two main characters is well worth the 320 pages. Personally, my favorite parts of the novel are when Jane is in the jungle. The novel switches back and forth between Jane Porter's adventures in the dangerous African jungle and her life at Cambridge University. Jane, a student in the medical school, wants more than anything to be a paleontologist like her father. Jane challenges conformity to be her own person and follows her dreams. She's a strong, fiercely independent woman in an all male world, and she fits perfectly in Tarzan's world. As for the male who comes to Jane's rescue, Maxwell explains:

    While he is primal and savage, he is haunted by fleeting memories of life, language, learning and emotions with his civilized parents before their deaths. These are all deeply buried until he meets Jane. He has the capacity for tenderness. He nurses her when she is badly injured. He allows her to help him uncover what he has forgotten. Tarzan is not just Jane's protector and teacher, but he allows her to be his teacher, and even his protector at times. It is a relationship of equality between a man and a woman.

Maxwell conducted copious amounts of research for Jane -- from the role of women at the beginning of 20th2012-11-08-RobinMaxwell.png century to the study of Darwin's theories and influence. Not only is it wildly entertaining and more swoon-worthy and tastefully erotic than Fifty Shades of Grey or any of its knock-offs, but also, Jane has heart and soul. If you are looking for a stellar historical romance and adventure story, Jane should definitely sit on your bookshelf. It has charming and fascinating characters and sociopath villains who scare the living daylights out of you. Jane: The Woman Who Loved Tarzan has positively reinvented the beloved couple for the modern age.

What would Maxwell like readers to take away with them after reading her novel?

    For people who might not have read Burroughs' Tarzan novels, I'd like people to take a wild ride -- enjoy an old-fashioned rip-roaring adventure. For Edgar Rice Burroughs purists, I'd like them to see and accept the story told from another perspective. At its core, Jane is a wonderful and unique love story, and the romance reflects what I consider the best kind of relationship; one of equality between the partners. Neither dominates the other. There's give and take, mutual respect, true passion and uninhibited sexuality. And in Jane I hope there is a role model (like so many of my other heroines) for women. Not being afraid to defy convention. Stand up to a parent who would keep you from fulfilling your destiny. Take a risk. Give your heart fully. Leap into the void.

An award-winning and bestselling novelist, Maxwell is a Huffington Post blogger, and writes about women who are 'ahead of their time.' Jane: The Woman Who Loved Tarzan was released on September 18. Pick up a copy and enjoy!

10 Potential Blockbusters Killed by the Internet ~ Nov 13, 2012
. . . John Carter
Fanboys had been salivating for this film adaptation of the Edgar Rice Burroughs books for years; sites like Ain’t It Cool breathlessly announced the arrivals and departures of a series of possible directors, including John McTiernan, Robert Rodriguez, Kerry Conran, and Jon Favreau. It finally went ahead in the hands of Pixar genius Andrew Stanton, but its production press was less about the possible quality of the movie than a production out of control. Much ink was spilled over its reported $250 million budget and its 3D retrofit (never a good sign), while observers smirked over the studio’s inability to even pin down a title; it was based on the Burroughs book A Princess of Mars, but that was jettisoned as being too girly, though the switch from John Carter of Mars to simply John Carter remains utterly inexplicable. When it finally opened in March of this year, reviews were mixed, but the months of bad buzz took a clear toll on the box office — it took in a mere $73 million in its domestic run, though it did much better overseas. (Indiewire’s Anne Thompson has a fascinating run-down of the production’s woes
Alexander Skarsgard swings into 'Tarzan' frontrunner
Thesp is David Yates' choice for Warner Bros. adaptation
Variety ~ November 14, 2012
Alexander Skarsgard has emerged as the frontrunner to topline David Yates' "Tarzan" movie at Warner Bros. The "True Blood" star is Yates' choice to play the vine-swinging hero, sources tell Variety. Skarsgard doesn't have an offer and the studio hasn't finalized any casting decisions for the film, which has yet to go before the studio's greenlight committee.

However, with a summer start date being planned, it is expected to be greenlit before the end of the year, as Warner is high on Yates and wouldn't tie up his schedule with a movie it has no intention of making. Warner Bros. and Skarsgard's reps had no comment.

Should Yates convince Warners brass to sign off on the casting, the 6'4" Swedish thesp would play John Clayton III, aka Tarzan. Years after he's reassimilated into society, he's asked by Queen Victoria to investigate the goings-on in the Congo. Tarzan teams with an ex-mercenary named George Washington Williams to save the Congo from a warlord who controls a massive diamond mine. Samuel L. Jackson is being eyed to play Williams.

Yates, who has been connected to the project for several months but only officially committed last week, has had an array of actors to choose from, including Henry Cavill, Charlie Hunnam and Tom Hardy, all of whom topline upcoming Warners pics. Cavill and Hardy play the title characters in WB franchises "Man of Steel" and "Mad Max: Fury Road," respectively, while Hunnam stars in Guillermo del Toro's "Pacific Rim." Sources say that execs were wary of having Cavill anchor a second franchise before "Man of Steel" opens. Meanwhile, Hardy has been looking to tackle a small, character-driven project such as Fox Searchlight's "Animal Rescue."

Yates directed the last four entries in WB's "Harry Potter" franchise, so he has enough clout on the studio lot to get execs to sign off on his choice of a leading man.

The studio is keen to be in business with Skarsgard, who stars in the upcoming low-budget thriller "Hidden" with Andrea Riseborough. Skarsgard is also attached to star in "The Vanguard," a Viking-themed epic written by Chris Boal that WB will produce with Atlas Entertainment.

A bigscreen adaptation of Edgar Rice Burroughs' series of novels, "Tarzan" is being produced by Jerry Weintraub, Alan Riche and Peter Riche of Riche Prods. and Mike Richardson and Keith Goldberg of Dark Horse Entertainment. Numerous scribes worked on the script including John August, Cormac and Marianne Wibberley and most recently, Adam Cozad.

'Breaking Dawn's' Kellan Lutz on His Next Move: Playing 'Tarzan'
The “Twilight” actor tells THR: “Motion-capture is amazing. I prefer it.
Hollywood Reporter ~ November 13, 2012
Though it’s not due out until Oct. 3, 2013, the actor has already wrapped filming on Constantin Film’s 3D motion-capture Tarzan movie and declares the project one of his “favorite things I’ve done in my acting career." Speaking with The Hollywood Reporter at the junket for Breaking Dawn – Part 2, out Nov. 16, Lutz described the film as “fun” and “brilliant.” “Emmett is quite the monkey man and now playing the real monkey man was so much fun,” Lutz said. “Motion capture is amazing. I prefer it. You wear a Power Ranger-esque suit, you have tape balls on you, you have 60 cameras around you capturing your every movement and there’s no hair, no makeup. Then you’re swinging on ropes that are gonna be vines later on… and then you see it on the screen as a computerized version. It’s brilliant. I love how technology’s really come.”

Reinhard Klooss is directing the adaptation as well as producing alongside Robert Kulzer. Kloos, Yoni Brenner and Jessica Postigo wrote the script, which sees Tarzan’s billionaire parents killed in a plane crash and Jane, played by Spencer Locke, as the daughter of an African guide. The duo work together to defeat the CEO of Greystoke Energies, a man who took over the company from Tarzan’s deceased parents.

The last time Samuel L. Jackson traipsed off into the jungle he got eaten by velociraptors. But David Yates wants to send him back out there just the same. Yates is eyeing the Avengers star for his upcoming adaptation of Edgar Rice Burroughs' adventure classic Tarzan, which is being set up right now at Warner Bros., the same company that produced Yates' last four films, each of them blockbusters in the Harry Potter franchise.

Yates' involvement in the project has apparently been discussed for months, but we only just got wind of the deal when it was confirmed last week. The new version of the film, the biggest adaptation of the character since the 1999 Disney animated movie, doesn't have a star yet, but Tom Hardy (The Dark Knight Rises), Henry Cavill (The Man of Steel), Charlie Hunnam (Pacific Rim) and Alexander Skarsgard ("True Blood") are all reportedly in the running for the title role. A week later, Variety reports that Yates has zeroed in on Skarsgard as his top choice, and we couldn't be happier. Dude looks great shirtless and is a damned good actor to boot.

But he won't be alone. While we've heard no rumblings about who might play his iconic urbanite love interest Jane yet, Variety also reports that David Yates is looking to Samuel L. Jackson to fill out another lead role. The film's storyline follows the jungle-dwelling Tarzan, years after his return to civilization, who is sent on a mission to the Congo by Queen Victoria, along with a former mercenary named George Washington Williams. Together they'll take on "a warlord who controls a massive diamond mine." Jackson would play the mercenary, in what we can only imagine will be the world's first "Buddy Cop" interpretation of Tarzan (although the character has been adapted to the screen so many times it's possible that we're forgetting about one where that's already happened).

We can't think of a single film that was worse for having Samuel L. Jackson on board, so we're happy to take this as a good sign of things to come. Cast Samuel L. Jackson, Mr. Yates. We dare you. We double dare you.

Michael D. Sellers' Comments on Disney's JOHN CARTER 
"Getting Disney has always been the first option . . . . . but not the last. I do think that the recent developments start pushing us in the direction of at least thinking about whether continuing to focus on getting Disney to do a sequel is really the way to go -- or whether focusing on other options (and there are other options) is better ...... But I think we need to let the news about Lucasfilm/Star Wars "marinate" a little . . . . and gather as many inputs as we can. Plus it's not really an either/or kind of thing. We can continue pushing Disney while at the same time showcasing the idea of a sequel to other studios as well . . . .

The key is to keep a focus on John Carter and keep reminding that there is a motivated fan base that provides a backbone for whatever happens going forward. . . . . Doing that serves all the different variant scenarios -- Disney sequel, other studio sequel, reboot, etc . . . . .

. . . until they bought Lucasfilm, a case could made to Disney based on the following: 1) 300M global revenue for a film that was disastrously marketed -- so figure base level with an adjustment for marketing of $350m (and prometheus got a sequel with numbers like that, 2) figure out how to shoot films 2-3 concurrently for total budget of $300m or 150 each, 3) look into coproduction with a Chinese or Russian coproducer to lower risk (Kung Fu Panda 3 and Iron Man 3 are both being done with a Chinese coproducer) . . . . If you put all of these elements together, there's a case that makes sense except for the the great big giant STIGMA that Disney attached to the movie by its tragic handling, particularly the $200m writedown announcement . . .

But that same pure business case I've outlined above makes sense, more or less, whether it's Disney or someone else . . . the variable is the stigma -- is it permanent? Temporary? Can the actions of a motivate fan base affect the stigmatization of the movie and transform it's reputation from "disaster" to "misunderstood classic" or "disastrously marketed classic" ... ?

Either way ... there is value in people here keeping on keeping on because everything that we do contributes to the gradual acceptance of the film as something other than the world's biggest flop ever. And that a) could have an effect on someone at Disney, although it's a long shot, b) could have an effect on another studio, c) could have an effect on some foreign coproducer hungry to get in a big time Hollywood scenario (Chinese, Russian), d) will have an effect on how the film is perceived, regardless of whether or not a sequel gets made by Disney or anyone else.

Anyway -- the way I see it, the reasons for continuing to "rehabilitate" the unfairly maligned John Carter (of Mars!) are all still there . . . .we just have to be patient.

Tarzan actor, De Wet Du Toit, filming with Canadian television crew at Knysna elephant park,
Plett elephant park, Monkeyland, Birds of eden, Tsitsikamma Khoisan village.



Frank Frazetta Self-Portrait

Tarzan and Jane Preliminary by Frank Frazetta

Tarzan at the Dum-Dum
Frank Frazetta Sketch


Unauthorized Editions

John Carter on Mars Vol. 1 & Vol. 2

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