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MEET TOM FLOYD
I am a huge fan of ERB. He is one of the authors I read as a kid. I was able to lose myself in Burroughs' Africa especially. The Tarzan books are my favorites, but I enjoyed the Mars books, and all the others.
My first job doing some Burroughs art other than for myself was with Bison Books. I did several covers and interiors for them. Everything from Pellucidar, to all the Moon books, then I was contacted by Jerry Schiender from the Burroughs Society to do an edition of Tarzan of the Apes. I did two covers, one for the dust jacket, one for the frontispiece, 8 black and white full page illustrations and 28 chapter headers for the text. It was my finest hour, to actually get to do a published Tarzan. This year I was contacted again by a section of the Burroughs Society to do the cover for a new edition of The Mucker. Also I was the artist guest of honor at the convention in Chicago and I was awarded the Golden Lion Award. I must say it was unexpected and of one the greatest honors of my life.
I guess what appeals to me the most about the Burroughs works are the visuals. On one hand he gives you enough details to imagine what things look like, but on the other it is like it is shrouded in a fog. So as an artist you can get in there and add or take away things and people still recognize it as a scene from a Burroughs story. You also canít beat ray-guns and swords for posing people with.
Just the fact that it is ERB is a really daunting fact. Just getting over the shock that someone wants me to illustrate any of ERBs works is a hurtle. Then I have to think about making sure what I draw is true to the text and the visual language of the novel. I always read through the book I am working on. When I did the Tarzan of the Apes, it was the pulp text not the printed book, I read through it because honestly I had never read the pulp. Most people donít realize it is different from the novel. When the book got printed some revisions were made. Most striking to me was the scene where the tiger is attacking the cabin where Jane is hiding. Burroughs went in and changed the tigers to female lions in the book version. So I got to show Tarzan fighting with a tiger. It was great fun.
Trying to pick a certain look for the characters is important. With Tarzan there are so many versions, and influences. My first vision of Tarzan was the Johnny Weissmuller movies. He, even though he is vastly different than the book Tarzan, will always be my favorite on screen version of Tarzan and visual idea of the character. Again Burroughs descriptions of places and characters give you enough information to make them identifiable to fans, but leaves enough room for an artist to play around with. That way each artist can make his/her own version and fans still recognize the character. Also you have to overcome the fact that artists like Hal Foster, Frank Frazetta, Roy Krenkel, and so many great artists have drawn these characters. So you have to bring your best to the table each time.
A Hero's Hero: Tom Floyd is the most talented man I know. We were college pals. Tom was drafted. Spent years in hell. Survived, mostly. Climbed back. Finished college. And has been quietly doing great work as one of the very best comic book artists ó for decades. Tom just won a well-deserved Emmy for his work on a film on Vietnam. This unassuming, nice guy is a national treasure. Congratulations, Captain Spectre. ~ Randall Rudd
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A SAMPLE OF TOM'S MONSTER MEN ART
More of Tom's Art is Featured in ERBzine 7145
THOMAS FLOYD VINTAGE ILLUSTRATION SITE
Tom Floyd: Guest of Honour: 2010 Chicago Dum-Dum
Guest Artist at the 2014 Fargo ECOF
ECOF 2014 AWARD
ERBzine's ERB Artist Encyclopedia
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