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Volume 0724
J. Allen St. John: Tarzan  and the Leopard Men - 4 interior b/w plates
Larger DJ Image
Large Cover Image
Large Cover Art by St. John | Alternate

J. Allen St. John Art ~ Publishing History ~ Summary ~ Review
Cast ~ Chapter Titles ~ Lord Greystoke's Cover Gallery ~ Pulps
Articles ~ Trader Horn Connection
Read the eText HERE

Written by ERB between July and September 1931
Blue Book Magazine: 1932 August - December ~ 1933 January
    Joseph Chenoweth: Tarzan cover art on the first three issues ~ Frank Hoban: numerous interiors
ERB Inc. Tarzana: September 7, 1935 ~ 332 pages ~ Print Run: 7,500 ~ Approximate word count: 80,000
    J. Allen St. John: wrap-around DJ and four interiors
Grosset & Dunlap: 1937 ~ only two St. John interiors ~ special TA DJ endpapers
Grosset & Dunlap: 1938 ~ no endpaper illo
ERB, Inc. Tarzana: 1940 ~ St. John DJ and frontispiece only
ERB, Inc. Tarzana: March 26, 1948 ~ St. John DJ and frontispiece only
Ballantine paperback: March 1964 ~ 192 pages
    Richard Powers cover
Ballantine paperback: April 1970
    Robert Abbett cover
Ballantine paperback: November 1975
    Neal Adams cover
For detailed information, see Robert B. Zeuschner's
Edgar Rice Burroughs: The Bibliography (ERB, Inc., 2016).
Click on or call 214-405-6741 to order a copy.

Tarzan and the Leopard Men
An amnesiac Tarzan and his monkey companion Nkima are taken by an African warrior to be his guardian spirits, and as such come into conflict with the murderous secret society of the Leopard Men.
CAST (in order of appearance)
Kali Bwana ~ (Jessie) woman looking for Jerry Jerome
Golato ~ her headman
TARZAN (Muzimo) ~ John Clayton, Lord Greystoke
Nyamwegi ~ Orando's friend, killed by Leopard Men
Nkima (Spirit of Nyamwegi) ~ little monkey friend of Tarzan
Orando ~ Tumbai Chief's son
Lobongo ~ Tumbai chief
Imba ~ Kali Bwana's servant
Old Timer ~ (Hiram) 30-year-old elephant hunter
The Kid ~ (Jerry Jerome) 21-year-old hunter
Sobito ~Tumbai witch-doctor
Lupingu ~ Nyamwegi's love rival, traitor
Gato Mgungu ~ Chief of the Leopard Men society
Lulimi ~ old man in Mgungu's village
Mumga ~ old woman in charge of prisoner Kali
Robolo ~ tribal chief and a Leopard Man
Ubonga ~ old woman at Leopard temple
Kapopa ~ witch-doctor friend of Bobolo
Rebega ~ Chief of pygmy village
Wlala ~ pygmy woman guarding Kali
Nyalwa ~ elected temporary pygmy Chief
Zu-tho ~ King of new branch of Tarzan's ape tribe
Ga-yat ~ friend of Zu-tho
Nsenene ~ girl of Bobolo's villlage, fond of  The Kid

The steel-clawed Leopard Men were looking for victims for their savage rites. The secret cult struck terror in the hearts of all the villagers. Only Orando of the Utengi dared to declare war on them. And with Orando went Tarzan of the Apesóbut a strangely changed Tarzan, who now believed that he was Muzimo, the spirit or demon who had been Orando's ancestor. There were traitors among Orando's people. And in the village of the Leopard Men was Kali Bwana, the white girl who had come to Africa to find a missing man. Only Tarzan could save her....

I. Storm
II. The Hunter
III. Dead Men Who Spoke
IV. Sobito, the Witch-Doctor
V. "Unspeakable Boor!"
VI. The Traitor
VII. The Captive
VIII. Treason Unmasked
IX. The Leopard God
X. While the Priests Slept
XI. Battle
XII. The Sacrifice
XIII. Down River
XIV. The Return of Sobito
XV. The Little Men
XVI. A Clue
XVII. Charging Lions
XVIII. Arrows Out of the Night
XIX. "The Demons Are Coming!"
XX. "I Hate You!"
XXI. Because Nsenene Loved
XXII. In the Crucible of Danger
XXIII. Converging Trails
Review contributed by Doc Hermes ERB Reviews

First published in BLUE BOOK from August 1932 to January 1933. This one was a real chore to slog through. If you are a pulp or adventure fan who had never read a Tarzan book before and happened upon TARZAN AND THE LEOPARD MEN, you might think, "Hey, that's not bad. Wonder if there's any more in this series?" But if you had enjoyed the earlier books (some of which are just excellent in the genre, like TARZAN THE TERRIBLE or TARZAN AND THE JEWELS OF OPAR), by the time you got to this eighteenth episode, serious deja vu will have swamped you. 

Actually, it has a fine premise to base an adventure on. Instead of finding another pair of warring cities originally founded in Africa somehow by Olmecs or Picts, Tarzan tackles the cult of Leopard Men. So much could be done with this. A dreaded secret society of African tribesmen (living unsuspected in their various villages) who don leopard robes and steel claws to carry out missions of murder and cannibalism... how could you ask for better villains? And the actual plot of the book uses this idea (in a lukewarm way), as the Apeman joins forces with Orando of the Utengi, the only chief brave enugh to stand up to the cult.

  There could be savage battles with the killers, our heroes trying to find out which tribesmen are loyal and which belong the cult, having a young native forced into the society and struggling between his loyalty to his family or to the cult. And at the end, one hundred Waziri led by Muviro would come charging down for a big slaughter. It could have been a great yarn. 

But no. By this time, Burroughs was grudgingly cranking out stories about a character he had long since grown tired of. I personally felt the series peaked around TARZAN AND THE ANT MEN and then twisted its ankle and tumbled downhill fast (with an occasional flash of the old spark here and there.) There are large stretches in this book that I half suspect were pasted out of earlier epics with new names pencilled in. 

At the very beginning, Tarzan is in a tree in a storm, when a tornado (a TORNADO? In the jungle?) sends him crashing down and leaves him pinned helplessly under a huge branch. Once again, a concussion has left him able to speak and reason but has wiped away all memory of his identity. (Just once, I would like to see a head injury leave Tarzan talking like a duck or seeing everything upside down for a while, instead of just this selective amnesia.) Or course, later on, a second sharp smack to the cranium instantly restores all his memories and he's not any worse for all the head trauma. 

I really don't see the narrative purpose of this particular session of "Who am I?" Tarzan is taken to be a spirit by Orando and is renamed Muzimo (and little N'Kima the kvetching monkey is now believed to be the ghost of the slain warrior Nyamwegi). What's the point of all this? If I didn't know better, I'd suspect Burroughs was trying to fill up page after page with Tarzan trying half-heartedly to remember his real name and Orando speculating on muzimo theology. 

And frankly, it would be a lot more exciting if Tarzan found evidence that the Leopard Men were active again, that they were terrorizing tribes who were under his protection and were defying his law. Imagine the Apeman standing up after searching for life in the victims of a massacred village, growling "Leopard Men....again!" and then hurtling up into the trees to begin his war. It would have made him seem genuinely heroic, Lord of the Jungle in more than nickname. 

The other half of the story involves three white Americans who keep running into each other, being captured and rescued, escaping one pickle after another and in general carrying on like the exact same characters in half a dozen earlier books. There's the Playboy centerfold candidate called Kali Bwana, who is looking for her lost brother; there are two ivory hunters, Old Timer and the Kid. (Wait, wait... don't tell me who the kid really is, I think I can guess.) Almost inevitably, Old Timer and Kali Bwana get off on the wrong foot, hold unreasonable grudges against each other throughout all their adventures together and stubbornly resist the instant True Love that boings up between them like a stepped-on rake. Huh, did I doze off? Is it 11:45 already... what page was I on? 

Anyway, there are a few moments where we get a glimpse of the old magic that made Edgar Rice Burroughs in his prime such a major pulp writer. The scenes in the Leopard Man temple hidden on an island guarded by crocodiles are lurid and ominous enough (a hand falls out of the merrily bubbling stew pot). And there is a moment when Kali Bwana lies trembling as a leopard crouches and is ready to spring at her... and hurtling up silently behind the cat silently a huge bronzed giant. This was one of the few scenes where I got a clear visual snapshot. 

Some of the racial snarks are a bit more blatant than usual ("He saw that religious and alcoholic drunknness were rapidly robbing them of what few brains and little self-control Nature had vouchsafed them") and we don't see enough of the noble Utengi tribe to counter-balance that impression. Also, it's disquieting to see Burroughs ragging on Pygmies the way he does. I read a couple of books years ago by a man named Jean-Pierre Hallet (CONGO KITABU and PYGMY KITABU*) who lived among these people for years (and in fact grew up with them until he was six). He never mentioned that they were cannibals, filed their yellow teeth to points or beat their captives, and other reference or travel books also gave a different impression than Burroughs did. Maybe Kali Bwana just fell in with a particularly riff-raff Pygmy (more correctly called Khoi-San?) tribe, I guess. 

Finally, a couple of Mangani make a belated appearance and it's worth noting that they are definitely a unique species. "It was evident that they were not gorillas, and that they were more man-like than any apes he had seen." I'd like to see the next Tarzan movie or TV show dwell on this and show the Mangani as sort of Bigfoot or hominid creatures, contrasting them with a actual live gorillas to make the point. 
*Here: is a eulogy page for Hallet. As you can tell, he was an interesting guy who led a more exciting life than most of us. Hallet had good observational skills and a clear writing style, but he also had a strong political bias and some of his speculation about African anthropology was, well, imaginative. (As I recall, he thought all the world's religions had their source in Pygmy beliefs.) Great material for thrillers, though -- it's too bad Robert E Howard couldn't somehow have been sent back copies of Hallet's books... think of the plots he might have spun from some of those incidents! 


Part I:
Intro & Trader Horn
Part II: 
Debunking the Debunkers
Part III:
This Silent River
Of Mystery And Death
Part IV:
Cast of Characters
Part V:
How the Story
Is Told
Part VI:
Edgar Rice Burroughs
In His Milieu
Horning Into Africa
W. S. Van Dyke
A Photo Gallery
A Guide to the 
Articles of
R. E. Prindle

John Clayton, Lord Greystoke
Blue Book Pulp Cover amd Interior Art ~ Plus e-Text Edition

Click for full-size pulp art collage

J. Allen St. John Gallery

Cover art for front of DJ (see above for full images)

Typical ERB Inscription and Custom Slip Case

St. John Frontispiece Art
The High Priest seized her (frontispiece)The Stranger Watched ~ page 28

A priest entered ~ page 188Ga-yat emerged from the forest ~ page 312

The High Priest seized her (frontispiece)The Stranger Watched ~ page 28A priest entered ~ page 188Ga-yat emerged from the forest ~ page 312
St. John Interior Art

US Paperback Covers
Richard Powers: Ballantine 1964Robert Abbett art: Ballantine 1974Neal Adams: Ballantine 1981Neal Adams art: Ballantine 1993

UK Paperback Covers
Goulden UK edition - early 50sEdward Mortelmans art: Four Square UK editionEdward Mortelmans art: Four Square UK editionTarzan and the Leopard Men: Japanese edition
UK Nel Four Square Edition

Tarzan and the Leopard Men art by Mike Hoffman

Blue Book Pulp Cover and Interior Art ~ Plus e-Text Edition

Blue Book Pulp Cover ad Interior Art

Web Refs
ERB C.H.A.S.E.R. Online Encyclopedia
Hillman ERB Cosmos
Patrick Ewing's First Edition Determinors
John Coleman Burroughs Tribute
ERBList Summary Project by Duane Adams
J. Allen St. John Bio, Gallery & Links
Edgar Rice Burroughs: LifeLine Biography
Bob Zeuschner's ERB Bibliography
J.G. Huckenpohler's ERB Checklist
Burroughs Bibliophiles Bulletin
G. T. McWhorter's Burroughs Bulletin Index
Illustrated Bibliography of ERB Pulp Magazines
Phil Normand's Recoverings
ERBzine Weekly Online Fanzine
ERB Emporium: Collectibles ~ Comics ~ BLBs ~ Pulps ~ Cards
ERBVILLE: ERB Public Domain Stories in PDF
Clark A. Brady's Burroughs Cyclopedia
Heins' Golden Anniversary Bibliography of Edgar Rice Burroughs
Bradford M. Day's Edgar Rice Burroughs: A Bibliography

The Fantastic Worlds of Edgar Rice Burroughs
ERB Companion Sites Created by Bill Hillman
ERBzine Weekly Webzine
Danton Burroughs Website: Tarzana Treasure Vaults
Burroughs Bibliophiles
John Coleman Burroughs Tribute Site
Tarzine: Official Monthly Webzine of ERB, Inc.
John Carter of Mars
Edgar Rice Burroughs
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Weekly Webzine
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ERB Centennial

Volume 0724

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