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Master of Imaginative Fantasy Adventure
Creator of Tarzan®  and "Grandfather of American Science Fiction"
Volume 5638

By Andy Nunez
The good folks at ERBzine wanted me to say a few words about how I became such an ERB enthusiast. It started before I can really remember all the bits and pieces, way back before elementary school. My grandfather used to go to an auction and if they had them, he'd buy me a stack of comics for ten cents. That was back when comics were 10 cents. So, about the time the price went up, I already had a stack of Classics Illustrated and Dell comics, including Tarzan. I don’t remember much about my first Tarzan comics, but I connected it one day to a movie about Tarzan. He was in a swamp somewhere. Anyway, I was hooked on the Ape Man. Pretty soon, I was reading him regularly. The earliest Tarzan cover I can recall was 134, now Gold Key. There was a hunter inside named Burridge and I had to read it twice to make sure he wasn’t named Burroughs!

I was also hooked on reading Magnus, Robot Fighter, so I was delighted when its artist, Russ Manning, began drawing Tarzan and adapting the novels. For some reason, though, I missed a long stretch of them and didn’t pick a Manning Tarzan up until 167. I was 11 then, and better able to understand what was going on in a novelization. It was also when I realized that there were Tarzan books. Another year would pass until I would actually read one, and it was a Whitman edition of Tarzan of the Apes, followed by their truncated Return of Tarzan. My cousin, 3 years older than me, was reading his grandfather’s books, and he would lend them to me as he finished them. The first one was the Monster Men. It was a nice red Grosset and Dunlap edition and it was by Edgar Rice Burroughs. Even though it's not considered one of his better books, it was wonderful to my eyes.

My cousin wasn’t a Tarzan fan, so the few Tarzan volumes on his grandfather's shelf stayed there for a few years. Meanwhile, I went to the Earth’s core, Barsoom, and The Land that Time Forgot. From then on, I bought every ERB paperback I could find and my mother got me the entire Ballantine Mars collection for Christmas one year, so I could fill in the gaps, since Uncle Charles, as I called him, didn't have Thuvia and ended his collection with Mastermind. Growing up a bit, I was bold enough to ask Uncle Charles for the other ERB novels like Outlaw of Torn and Bandit of Hell’s Bend.

Wherever ERB went, I tried to follow, from Gold Key to DC, to Marvel and Malibu. I was conceited enough to think I could follow in his footsteps and wrote several pastiches which are available online, so the reader may judge their quality for themselves. One of my side jobs was editing a magazine called Against the Odds. The first graphics man for the magazine was also its webmaster and gave me my first password as Tarzan. Whenever I could, I would sneak an ERB reference in. In a piece of alternate history, I had Colonel Clayton, fresh from the jungles of Sumatra, crash land in Berlin's Tiergarten, free an elephant and a gorilla and escape 1945 Berlin with them. In the original version, he played a cat and mouse game with Otto Skorzeny, who lost. I’d like to expand it some day.

In another issue, I discussed Askaris and our artist made sure to get the issues I mentioned of Tarzan where I first encountered Askaris. Finally, in the illustration this week, I got permission from Jim Sullos to use the iconic photo of ERB watching Pearl Harbor to illustrate my editorial for issue 43, which featured Wake Island and Peleliu, and discuss his wartime role. Why? Let’s just say its my attempt to keep ERB alive for another generation, so that boys in the 21st century can look up at the red eye of Mars and wonder if they, too, can hold out their arms and traverse the spaces between the planets. 

The Whiff of Grapeshot
From Against The Odds No. 43
War is never static, yet our most memorable images of war are photos.  As our publisher knows my fondness for all things Edgar Rice Burroughs, he ran across a photo of the creator of Tarzan watching the attack on Pearl Harbor.  For those who don’t know ERB, as he is popularly known, was the son of a Union major, serving with Phil Sheridan in the waning years of the Civil War.  ERB was born in 1875 and attended Michigan Military Academy.  After graduation, he ended up in the Seventh Cavalry out West, fighting the Indians.  During World War I he became a major in the Illinois Reserve Militia and wrote fervently of patriotism.

 All this background, along with rigorous exercise like horseback riding and playing tennis with the likes of Ralph Bellamy and Jimmy Cagney, came in handy when Ed moved to Hawaii in the late 1930s with his second wife, Florence.  On a certain Sunday morning, December 7, 1941, Ed and his son Hulbert got up early to play tennis and heard the distinct sound of guns firing in the distance.  At first thinking it was a drill, Ed and Hulbert had breakfast and played tennis, but realized it was no drill when an enemy plane went after a cargo ship only a mile from their position.  Grabbing some binoculars, Ed saw for himself what was happening.

 As brave as the characters he created, Ed, his son, and some friends, volunteered to do their part in the defense of the island.  He was sixty-six, but grabbed a Springfield and helped guard important facilities and interned Japanese.  Sore and exhausted, Ed recounted his exploits and the many rumors that abounded that day.  Enraged at the Japanese actions, but grudgingly admiring their efficiency (he referred to it as “German”), Ed decided to write a series of columns to whip up patriotism, and with the crumbling of his second marriage, became the oldest war correspondent in World War II, travelling all over the Pacific.

 Initially scorning the Japanese as sub-human and cruel (just read his novel Tarzan and the Foreign Legion), somewhere in the war he felt sympathetic toward the parents of those Japanese who were honorably serving in the US Armed Forces and spoke out against planned deportations.   His many interviews with soldiers and his witnessing Japanese prisoners first hand softened his anger as the war dragged on, and by its end, he was tired, physically exhausted, and went back to California to spend the remaining five years of his life.

His thought patterns reflect the US mood at the start of the war:  anger at Pearl Harbor, defiance at Wake Island, and the realization of the grim task ahead that led to our second game in this issue, Peleliu.  After the horrors of the atomic bomb, we paused to wonder if the awful mushroom clouds were the end of just one war, or a prophecy of the future. 

 The clash between Japan and the Western Allies slowly built as the Japanese felt a ring was tightening around them, exacerbated by the Washington Naval Treaty.  Tensions rose during the Japanese occupation of Manchuria, when the US put economic sanctions in place.  The final straw for Japan was in July 1940.  After the defeat and occupation of France and Holland by the Nazis, Japan took advantage of the situation to grab French Indochina.  The US and Britain froze Japanese assets and placed an embargo on petroleum product sales to Japan.

Faced with economic disaster and a stranglehold on the lifeblood of the Japanese war machine, the Japanese took the path to war.  Both sides commited horrific acts in the struggle for dominance in the Pacific, including using nuclear weapons, an act seen both as barbarous and merciful since it staved off a long and savage invasion of the Japanese home islands and allowed a peace with the West that remains in place today.

 I pondered if the world were heading down a similar path with Russia.  The Russians were as opportunistic this spring as were the Japanese back then, seeing Ukraine as their sphere of influence.  The West disagreed and a round of sanctions ensued.  Last night, the parallel was so on my mind that I dreamed that I personally met with Putin to try to iron out the situation.  He seemed amenable enough, then his secretary tried to seduce me.  Sadly she failed (I now know I must be getting old), so I realized he was just playing for time and woke up. 

 Back to reality, though: I would like to thank the nice folks at Casemate Publishing for an advance copy of No Turning Back, A Guide to the 1864 Overland Campaign by Robert Dunkerly, Donald Pfanz and David Ruth.  Also thanks to the happy crew at Osprey for another armload of titles, including Hitler’s Blitzkrieg Enemies, Operation Flipper, Lincoln's 90-Day Volunteers 1861: From Fort Sumter to First Bull Run, and The Shenandoah Valley 1862.  Winners all, though I might be a bit prejudiced since they are publishing my latest book on the Wilderness and Shenandoah.

 For now, though, it’s across the blue Pacific and into the green, volcanic hells of Wake and Peleliu, where every bullet counts and surprises lay around every corner.  Join the Old Breed and come to grips with the Imperial Forces.  Whether the hunter or the hunted, the Marines’ time has come to show that, even against the odds, they are “always faithful”.

Meet Andy Nunez
Born on Maryland’s Eastern Shore, Andy graduated from the University of Maryland Eastern Shore with a degree in art, and has since developed a diverse set of interests that range from drawing comics, to military history, from board wargaming to treasure hunting, to devouring sci-fi, fantasy and horror novels. Married with a daughter and three stepsons, Andy works for the State of Maryland and is also editor of the award-winning military simulation magazine Against the Odds (, where he also writes a continuing column on elite combat units.

Andy’s love of writing evolved from love of the sci-fi and pulp reprints he devoured as a child. His first professional publication was in the Shore Writers Sampler II, from Friendly Harbor Press. Since then he has written an array of pastiches based on the soap opera Dark Shadows and the works of Edgar Rice Burroughs, creator of Tarzan. A number of pastiches can be found here

Andy has had articles and stories published in Lost Treasure, Western and Eastern Treasures, Grenadier, Chain of Command, Inside the Old House, and Tales from the Shadows. He also created the comic strip “Skipjack Pete”, which ran for several years in the Ocean City Maryland Daily Info. His first published book, Treasures of the Eastern Shore, was released in the summer of 2005. His next book, Mysteries of the Eastern Shore, came out in 2006. His first novel, The Crimson Need, a horror story set on the Eastern Shore, was released in 2007 and the final part of his Eastern Shore trilogy, Ghosts of the Eastern Shore came out in late 2008. Andy released a pictorial history of Wicomico County with noted writer and lecturer Gianni Hayes, author of 17 books in early 2008, under the Arcadia Images of America series and Salisbury, picturing the Crossroads of Delmarva (History Press) was released in 2010 along with Ghosts II of the Eastern Shore, a sequel to Ghosts of the Eastern Shore and Pirates of the Eastern Shore. (

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Edgar Rice Burroughs
Edgar Rice Burroughs: The War Years
Edgar Rice Burroughs: A Bio Timeline
Edgar Rice Burroughs at Pearl Harbor
Edgar Rice Burroughs and son Hulbert
Edgar Rice Burroughs and son Hully

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