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Rex Maxon

Rex Hayden Maxon
Mar. 24, 1892 - Nov. 25, 1973
Lincoln ~ Lancaster County ~ Nebraska, USA
Continued from the
Rex Maxon Arrives
Rex Hayden Maxon (1892-1973), son of a house painter, was born in Lincoln, Nebraska on March 24, 1892. When Rex was still a boy, his brother, Paul, and well-known artist-to-be, Clare Briggs, actually studied cartooning together. The Maxon family moved to Webster Groves, a suburb of St. Louis, Missouri. He spent much of his youth sketching the old river steamers on the Mississippi waterfront but his parents thought that one artist in the family was enough and encouraged him to become an electrical engineer. Rex stuck to his dream, however, and obtained a summer job during his high school years painting the river steamboats for the Government. He enrolled for private art lessons from J. LeBrun Jenkins and studied at the St. Louis School of Fine Arts. He later joined the staff of the St. Louis Republic newspaper. After a short period in Chicago, where he studied art at the Art Students League, worked as an idea man for a small ad ajency and did advertising art for the Lord and Thomas Agency. His first  job there was drawing shoes for three dollars a week. Inspired by St. Louis Republic colleague Hazel Carter who had moved to New York to work for Evening World paper,  he moved east in 1917. Here he lived with Arthur Button in a small studio on 37th Street where they nearly starved to death. He carved out a meagre existence selling theatrical and semi-comic newspaper features to the Evening Mail and later the New York Globe. Rex and Hazel jarried in 1920 and they worked together producing Carter-Maxon features for the New York Glove until it folded. They also did advertising and newspaper serial illustrations using real models for accuracy in their work. During this time Joseph Neebe of Famous Books and Plays, and Max Elser of Metropolitan National Syndicate, impressed with Maxon's experience in working with the human figure, contacted him to try out to carry on the daily Tarzan strip that had been started by Harold Foster. Foster had adapted Burroughs first Tarzan novel, Tarzan of the Apes in early 1929.

Rex Maxon started the daily black and white Tarzan strip on June 10, 1929. Palmer, a writer in Cleveland, plotted out The Return of Tarzan and Rex did the first ten weeks for free. The strip was successful and was sold to United Features Syndicate. Maxon continued to draw the series, almost continuously, for the next 18 years -- a total of 5,200 strips. The adaptations were written by George Carlin and later by Don Garden. Rex took over the scripting during WWII, debuting with the a story involving bats flying out of a cave.

On March 15, 1931, the Tarzan colour Sunday page was inaugurated and Maxon took on this assignment as well. Unfortunately Foster was a hard act to follow. Maxon's inadequacies as an illustrator and storyteller, which may have been acceptable on a black-and-white daily strip, were magnified by the larger colour panels. Many thought him an odd choice as he lacked his predecessor's skill in figure drawing, composition, and several other abilities essential for the drawing of a jungle adventure strip. Edgar Rice Burroughs, especially, disliked Maxon's approach and complained frequently to the syndicate about the strip's art and story lines. He even suggested that Maxon be given photos of animals so he could learn to draw them correctly. Maxon, however, was kept on, possibly because he worked cheap.

In response to Burroughs' complaints, the syndicate brought back Harold Foster to take over the Tarzan colour Sunday pages -- giving Maxon more time to concentrate on the daily strips. This was the start of a very successful run that would stretch from September 27, 1931 through May 2, 1937. Foster then went on to even greater success with his own strip, Prince Valiant.

Between 1929 and 1947 Rex Maxon illustrated all but five of the 27 Tarzan story-strips that were published in newspapers. He continued the strip with original material when the story-strips finally caught up with ERB's output of novels. The Maxon image of Tarzan changed over the years. His original version of the apeman seemed to draw from James Pierce, as he appeared in Tarzan and the Golden Lion. He illustrated him as a handsome figure with short hair and a shoulder-draped leopard skin. Through the years, however, the progression of Tarzan's appearance reflected the public's changing tastes. A clever example of the change in the apeman is evident in Maxon's illustrations for the Tarzan the Untamed storyline. As the strip progressed his hair was shown a little longer each day and he became more savage looking. The draped leopard skin was replaced by a loin cloth. By the end of the story Tarzan had been modernized into the more graceful figure that would be used from then on except for a period in 1936 and 1937. Maxon quit over a pay dispute and William Juhre took over the strip until it started losing money and Rex was asked to return.

On August 28, 1939, the daily strip dropped its original four-panel format with text below and adopted the format still in use today. Most of these numbered daily strips have been reprinted in the English comic, Tarzan Adventures (This numbering started with matrix # 0001 and ran to #9999 by Russ Manning -- and ended with RM0308 / 10308)

v8 n52

Many of Maxon's Tarzan drawings have found their way into book form. Almost all of his early works were reprinted in the Whitman Big-Little and Better-Little Books, and some found their way into foreign hard covers such as TARZAN ET LES JOYAUX D'OPAR and TARZAN ET LA VILLE D'IVOIRE, Canadian editions published in French..

After leaving the Tarzan comic strip in 1947, Rex Maxon worked as a free lancer, mainly illustrating cowboy stories. His work can be found in Young Hawk, the secondary strip of Dell's Lone Ranger comicbook, throughout the 1950s. In 1954 Rex Maxon drew all the interior art for the first issue of Dell's Turok, Son of Stone. He evidently cooperated with editor Matt Murphy in creating the characters of Turok and Andar, and in formulating the prehistoric, Doylesque "Lost Word" that the Indian braves discover. After his contribution to that first issue, Maxon's appearances in Turok were sporatic. Most of the strips, during the comic's first years, were drawn by unsigned artists like Bob Correa, Ray Bailey, Bob Fujitani, and perhaps also Frank Bolle and Samuel J. Glanzman. Rex Maxon generally contributed a four-page "educational" filler strip on prehistoric beasts, entitled "Young Earth," but his work on the Turok strip itself was rarely published.

After Alberto Giolitti took over the Turok comic illustration duties in 1962, Rex Maxon occasionally supplemented the Italian artist's efforts by drawing the magazine's main story. A notable  example may be seen in the issue for Sept.-Nov., 1962, where Maxon drew all the interior art, including the Young Earth strip.  Whether this work was a contemporary contribution or a restrospective inclusion of earlier, previously unpublished Maxon art remains unclear. Maxon retired from drawing comics a few years prior to his death in 1973, but his work continued to appear in Turok throughout the late 1960s and into early 1970s. He and Hazel moved to London in 1969 where he did water colour painting and worked on portraits. His final years were spent with Hazel and their daughter, Jeanne, about 45 miles from New York, in Rockland County on the Hudson river.

Rex Maxon relaxes on the bridge leading to his sister's cabin
in the South St.Urain Canyon in Colorado.
REX MAXON :: (1892-1973)
~ Reference:
Rex Hayden Maxon was born March 24, 1892 in Lincoln, Nebraska. His father, Norris Hayden Maxon, was born 1849 in Iowa. His mother, Ellen Estella Maxon, was born 1851 in Illinois. His parents married in 1874. He was the youngest of three children. His older sisters Jessie and Lois were born in 1875 and 1888. Jessie was a school teacher and Lois was a talented artist. They both helped to train and encourage their little brother to become an artist. His father was a bookkeeper at a manufacturing company that produced pump engines.
  • In 1899 the family moved to St. Louis, Missouri, where they lived at 6719 Sixth Street. They later moved to 6618 Virginia Avenue.
  • In 1904 St. Louis hosted The World's Fair. Midwestern culture was profoundly inspired by the awesome spectacle of The Louisiana Purchase Exposition, which attracted visitors from around the world.
  • At the age of thirteen he began to work in a print shop that supplied local business and newspapers with graphic designs services for advertisements.
  • In 1906 he began to study art at the St. Louis School of Fine Arts.
  • In 1913 he attended the Chicago Art Institute and studied with Jean LeBrun Jenkins(1876-1951). After three years he returned to St. Louis to work for The St. Louis Republic. He lived at 104 Waverly Place in Webster, Missouri.
  • In 1916 he joined the St. Louis Brush and Pencil Club, which provided nude models for Life Class and during the summer months they took weekend trips to the surrounding countryside for landscape sketching and fraternal picnics. Most of the members were professional newspaper artists from the Midwest.
  • He was hired by the Collier Advertising Company of St. Louis.
  • On June 5, 1917 he reported for draft registration during the Great War. He was recorded at the time to be short, slender with brown eyes and black hair. At the age of twenty-five he was not selected for military service.
  • In 1918 he married Hazel Carter, who was born 1892 in Missouri. She was a newspaper writer of feature articles.
  • After their honeymoon they moved to New York City and lived on Nautilus Avenue in the Seagate section of Brooklyn.
  • In 1920 their son William Rex Maxon was born. Their daughter Jeanne Maxon was born eight years later.
  • He drew story illustrations for fictional stories written by his wife that appeared in New York newspapers, such as The New York Globe, The New York Evening Mail and The New York Evening World. He also drew advertisements for clients. These assignments were handled by the Ethridge Association of Artists from their New York Studio at 23-25 East 26th Street.
  • In 1925 he and his family moved to 81 Mackey Avenue in Port Washington, NY, a suburban town in Nassau County, which is connected to midtown Manhattan by a forty minute commute on the Long Island Rail Road.
  • In 1929 he replaced Hal Foster as the artist that drew Tarzan, a popular newspaper comic strip, for which he is best remembered. Tarzan was so popular that Rex Maxon became a newspaper celebrity. He made guest appearances at publicity events that were staged at local department stores, where he set up an artist's easel and entertained the shopping public by drawing quick sketches of Tarzan.
  • His wife, Hazel Carter Maxon, was also a celebrity. In the 1930s she had a cooking show on the radio in New York City. Dutton & Company published her book "Parties," which gave helpful directions on how to organize successful parties. She also wrote articles for The New York Times with helpful hints on skiing, yachting and house pets.
  • During the 1930s the Great Depression devastated newspaper and advertising industries, although pulp magazines enjoyed their most profitable period. The pulps did not depend on advertising dollars, because they sold cheap thrills to the public for pocket change.
  • To supplement his lost income, Rex Maxon began to contribute pen and ink story illustrations to pulp magazines. His work appeared in Fighting Western, Leading Western, Private Detective, Spicy Adventure, Spicy Detective, Spicy Mystery, Spicy Western and Super Detective. Most of his work was unsigned and uncredited, or it was signed in ways that obscured his true identity. Some of his pulp illustrations are signed "M," "H.M.," "R.M.," "R.Hayden," "R.Morton" or "R.Manning." This subterfuge helped to preserve the famous reputation of "Rex Maxon" as the artist that drew the newspaper comic strip, Tarzan.
  • He also drew comic pages that were printed within pulp magazines as an innovative special feature. He drew K-Bar Katie, Tex Morgan, Lariat Lucy and Sob Sister Sue. All of his work in the pulps was under the art direction of Adolphe Barreaux for magazine published by Harry Donenfeld.
  • During WWII he was over fifty, which was too old for military service.
  • After the war he continued to draw for comic book publishers, such as Avon, Better, Marvel, Trojan, and Dell.
  • In 1954 he drew and inked the first appearance of another memorable character, Turok - Son of Stone.
  • During the 1960s he continued to draw for Dell and Western Publishing comic books, on features such as Turok, Dinosauria, Young Earth, Young Hawk, and Track Hunter.
  • His wife also continued her professional career. She wrote articles for The Daily New Record, the newspaper of the New York Clothing Industry, and her book Opportunities in Free-Lance Writing was published by Grosset & Dunlap.
  • In 1969 he and his wife moved to London, England, where she worked on a writing project, while he painted landscapes and portraits.
  • In 1972 they returned to America and settled near their daughter in Rockland County, on the Palisades facing the Hudson River.
  • Rex Maxon died at the age of eighty-one in Boston, MA, on November 25, 1973.
Tarzan was one of the first newspaper adventure serial strips. Although Edgar Rice Burroughs would have preferred J. Allen St. John as an illustrator for these newspaper strips he was relatively happy with Metropolitan Service's choice of young Canadian, Harold Foster to work on the daily serial. Most readers agreed that Foster had done an excellent job on the debut strip -- an adaptation of the first Tarzan novel, Tarzan of the Apes. Ed was very unhappy with Foster's replacement for the adaptation of The Return of Tarzan -- Rex Maxon (actually the first week was drawn by Hugh Hutton). He conveyed his disapproval of the work on the Return strip and even included the criticisms of his 16-year-old son, Jack, who himself was a budding artist. They both felt that Maxon "could put more character into Tarzan's face . . ."

As the years went on Ed regularly sent in criticisms of Maxon's adaptations. In January 1930 he wrote, ". . . I have never been wildly enthusiastic about Maxon's work. To me the strips have no character whatsoever and are being carried solely on the strength of the story, which should not be wholly true." He went on to mention that Maxon was an extremely slow worker and to point out his poor figure technique.

In 1931 when Maxon took over the Sunday colour pages for United Feature Syndicate he relented somewhat, suggesting that he thought the work was "very much better." Maxon, somewhat relieved, sent a letter of thanks, to which Ed responded, "I didn't know that anyone ever gave a damn what an author thought about anything." He sympathized with the problems facing Maxon in creating a black and white daily strip that would please everyone, but admitted that he felt that in his work on the colour pages he had "entered more than ever into the spirit of the story."

Before long, however, Ed resumed his criticisms of Maxon and urged the syndicate to bring back Foster. Why not get Foster to do the strips? We believe you will admit that the best art work on the strips to date was that done by Foster. . . ." He was elated when Foster agreed to draw the colour pages but continued to suggest that J. Allen St. John be hired to do the dailies. ". . . I may be hypercritical as to Maxon's work. . . I felt that if you have the same opinion . . . that I have, my criticisms might fortify any intentions that you may have been harboring to make a change. . . ." He did feel, however, that "with a little care and research" Maxon could correct some of his faults -- the main weakness being in his depict ions of animals. Ed suggested that Maxon should obtain and study animal pictures.

Throughout his writing career Ed was always smarted under the suggestion that he was a children's writer and that the Tarzan stories were designed for juveniles. He often stated that he felt that the success of the books was the result of their appeal to adults. This carried over to his attitude toward the Tarzan strips. In a 1931 letter to George Carlin of United Features he cautioned about the use of children in the Maxon's Sunday color page and commented, ". . . the only Tarzan story that I ever wrote which is a flop is a juvenile called The Tarzan Twins, written around two boys. My readers, adults as well as children, simply did not seem to want this type of story. . . when we are through with these children in their youth I believe it would be wise to confine ourselves to adults in the future as principal characters." He was worried about the effect the "juvenile" element in the color pages might have on his book sales. He wrote, "I am constantly endeavoring to impress on the public that the stories are primarily . . . for adults...." It took a flurry of protests from Ed and his secretary Rothmund before Carlin relented. "We will . . . bring to an end the sequences regarding Bob and Mary. Thereafter, we will try to make Tarzan a more adult product."

Obviously Ed Burroughs was very demanding in his expectations for the Tarzan strips. His high standards and his insistence upon realistic, vibrant drawings, especially where Tarzan and the jungle animals were concerned, resulted partly from his own interest in art, his adeptness at cartooning, and his artist's eye or perception.

Finally, in February 1935, partially in response to ERB's continued dissatisfaction with Maxon's work, his contract was terminated and a new artist, William Juhre, was hired to take over the Tarzan strip. Juhre did the strip for a year and a half, at which time Maxon was rehired.

Ref: Porges and Danton Burroughs' ERB Tarzana archive.
Quotes from ERB correspondence 
expressing his concerns about Maxon's work on the Tarzan strips. 
Most of this correspondence was to the syndicate.
"[My son, Jack] is very much disappointed in the illustrations of The Return of Tarzan and called my particular attention to the drawing of Tarzan's face in the second picture of Strip No. 1 of The Return of Tarzan. From some of the other faces in the strips it occurs to both of us that Mr. Maxon could put more character into Tarzan's face than appears in these two drawings." (June 6, 1929)

". . . no definite restriction should be placed upon the artist or whoever it is that plans the strips, but that an attempt should be made to draw them out as far as it is possible to do so and maintain the interest and suspense. I see no reason why a strip from one of my books might not easily run a year or more when I look at some of the other strips and see the advantage that is taken of extremely minor incidents in the story."

Ed reported that the manager of J.W. Robinson's in Los Angeles: ". . . noticed that his clerks had noted a considerable increase in the demand for my books since the beginning of the strips in the Times. He also told me that he personally was very much interested in these strips and followed them every day; also that he likes Maxon's illustrations tremendously." (September 1929)

Ed reported the critique of Maxon's work that had been done by one of his artist friends: "In the present strips the artist runs too much to drawing his figures, etc. in outline (as could be done O.K. in a comic) and then throwing in a few blacks to balance up. This is of course considerably easier, especially when faking things without the use of a model, photographs or other assistance. Also his sense of composition is weak."

"I do think (my friend's) criticism of Maxon's work is correct. [I agree] that it would be foolish to make a change as long as every one is satisfied with Maxon's drawings and that I did not wish to suggest, but my principle criticism of Maxon's work is that his Tarzan is so damned homely, but he certainly has an eye for feminine beauty. I noticed that particularly his drawing of Meriem in The Son of Tarzan. I am glad that Maxon's work is considered so highly by the newspapers. This, of course, counts for a great deal."

". . . the skins worn by Korak, Tarzan and other Burroughs throwbacks are not supposed to be tailored. They should not me confused with step-ins, but are built more on the order of a primitive brassiere, with one shoulder strap missing. They should be worn in a careless sketchy sort of manner." (February 18, 1930)

"We have just received the daily Tarzan At the Earth's Core strip release for the week beginning August third numbered fifty-five to sixty inclusive, and we wish to call your attention particularly to the third and fourth pictures of Strip 57. The dinosaur (Stegosaurus) is a prehistoric reptile that hs been reconstructed and there are pictures of it with the reconstructions available for any artist who is sufficiently interested in looking them up in order to portray it correctly. These two pictures are absolutely wrong in every respect and tend to spoil the story, especially for one who is acquainted with the facts. The second picture in strip 58 is a mighty poor picture of a bear, and in the next picture it appears as f the bear is leaping instead of rolling on its back, as it should have been shown. We feel that Mr. Maxon is not depicting these stories as they should be and we are wondering how the newspapers and the readers feel about it. If a better artist can be employed and the strips made more interesting, it should be done immediately, for we feel that the strips might lose their popularity if Maxon is permitted to continue as the artist."  (mid-1931)

"Looking over the Tarzan the Terrible strips, numbered 70 to 84 inclusive, as well as some of the previous strips, it seems to us that Maxon's work is slipping a little again." (December 1931)

In early 1932 ERB passed along St. John's request to take over the strip. The syndicate rejected the application.
"[I have been] so anxious to see the continued success of these strips that I may be hypercritical as to Maxon's work. It is not my desire to embarrass him by what I consider shortcomings, but, rather, I wish to be helpful, which was my reason for writing you regarding St. John. I realize that there are certain difficulties to be overcome in changing artists, but I felt that if you have the same opinion of Maxon's work that I have my criticisms might fortify any intentions that you may have been harboring to make a change. I believe that with a little care and research work Maxon could correct some of the faults I have found with his work, especially in his drawing of animals. His antelopes, for instance, are not as graceful and beautiful as they should be, and if he would get pictures of them, as well as of the other animals, I am sure he could improve upon them." (Early 1932)


Rex Maxon - Tarzan Artist
by Vernell Coriell
A Tarzan Adventures Tarzan Club Feature
from Volume 5 - No. 18
(This is a reprint from the Burroughs Bulletin by Burroughs Bulletin founder, Vernell Coriell)
18Tarzan Club Page introduces the man behind the Tarzan strip which you read in "Tarzan Adventures" each week: REX MAXON, whose brush first put the Jungle Lord into pictures on paper.

REX MAXON was born in Lincoln, Nebraska, the home of the late artist, Clare Briggs, creator of WHEN A FEELER NEEDS A FRIEND. When Rex was still a boy, his brother, Paul, and the Briggs studied cartooning together. The Maxons moved to St. Louis and Rex was raised there and in suburban Webster Groves.

The Mississippi waterfront seemed to hold the youthful Maxon in a spell and he spent most of his time there sketching the old river steamers. However, the Maxons thought one artist in the family was enough and suggested that Rex became an electrical engineer. Rex refused to be discouraged and while still a lad of 17, in high school, he obtained a job with the Government during summer holidays painting the river steamboats.

"My first newspaper job, in my late teens," says Mr. Maxon, "was on the St. Louis Republic, which has since closed down. After a short period in Chicago, where I studied art at the ARt Students' League, I did advertising art for an agency. Then I came to New York and did newspaper features, theatrical and semi-comic, for the Evening Mail and later the New York Globe."

"From that work," Mr. Maxon continues, "I went to free-lancing, dividing my time between advertising and illustrating. It was during this time while I was illustrating fiction for the Metropolitan News Syndicate, that I was chosen to do the Tarzan daily strip with fresh material when the story-strips finally caught up with the written works of Edgar Rice Burroughs. Mr. Maxon also introduced the first Sunday Tarzan page in colour on March 15th, 1931. However, the job of drawing both the daily and Sunday features took up so much of his time that he relinquished the Sunday colour page to other artists.

Rex Maxon is now doing fine-art illustration work and painting as a free-lance artist. He lives with his wife, the former Hazel Carter, a newspaper feature writer, and their daughter Jeanne, about 45 miles from New York in Rockland County on the Hudson River.

Danton Burroughs Family Archive
Tarzan of the Funnies by Robert R. Barrett

ERB was never really happy with Maxon's work on the Tarzan strips. 
We present here a sampling of the criticisms and comments regarding Maxon's work on his 32 Sunday pages of 1931.
  • Leopards climb trees. Change Sheeta to Sabor.
  • Luna should be Goro.
  • Change a giant crocodile to Gimla the crocodile.
  • Half-Nelson should be a full-Nelson.
  • Pineapple not native to Africa
  • Care should also be taken in these instructions to the artist to prevent illustrating or describing flora or fauna not native to Africa or to Equatorial Africa.  I learned after the crisicisms were made of the first Tarzan story to be more careful and although I mentioned pineapples in the first book, I doubt if I did so thereafter and you might as well profit by my mistakes. Incidentally, I might say that I put a tiger in Africa in the magazine version of the first Tarzan story, though I was careful to yank him out of the book version before it went to press.  I usually dodge the issue by using generic terms rather than describing fruits and nuts specifically. It was always safe to assume that edible fruits and nuts grow in the forests, but I try to be careful not to mention bananas or coconuts specifically, since I am not at all sure that they grow in central Equatorial Africa.
  • In Strip #1 Tarzan is described as a twelve year old boy and I find nothing in subsequent strips to suggest that any considerable time is supposed to have elapsed between the strips, nor is any reference made to his having attained manhood, yet in Strip #5 he fights successfully with a full grown bull-ape.
  • "That whenever a deer is used in Africa that it be changed to an antelope, as there are no deer in Africa. Bara the antelope can be substituted for the deer and this information should be passed on to the artist so that he will not draw a deer.
  • Another suggestion is that the third page story, instead of having those cannibal dwarfs occupy tents, it seems that they should occupy native huts.
  • Change the name Boreema to Muviro.
  • There is one matter, however, that I wish to call to your attention and which I feel quite guilty in having overlooked originally, my only excuse being that I have been far from well for a year or more and I guess my mind wasn't on my business when these strips were first suggested. I refer to the use of the children in the Sunday strip. What I should have called your attention to is the fact that the only Tarzan story tha I ever wrote which is a flop is a juvenile called The Tarzan Twins, written around two boys. My readers, adult as well as children, simply did not seem to want this type of story. The children seem to be going all righ, however, in the Sunday pages, but if you ever feel that they areslipping I suggest winding this up and starting on a new angle with adults, which could easily be done with these same two children or at least the girl, whom I presume is about twelve or fourteen yehars old, by leaving her mysteriously lost in the jungle and then picking her up two or four years later, as the case may be, at the age of sixteen or older. In any even, when we are through with these children in their youth I believe it would be wise to confine ourselves to adults in the future as the principal characters.
  • To be perfectly frank with you, however, I may explain that the thing that bothered me was the possible effect that the juvenile element in the color pages might  have on my book sales. My stories are written for adults and while I have enjoyed  a large and profitable juvenile following, I am constantly endeavoring to impress on the public that the stories are primarily stories for adults and I am afraid that these Sunday hcolor pages are going to pull some of the pegs out from under my contention. Inasmuch as the book and magazine popularity of my stories laid the foundation for the success of everything connected with Tarzan, including the strips, it might be well for you to bear this thought in mind and consider the advisability of aging the children a few years at least in the later strips. For all concerned it will be well worth serious consideration.
  • The rhinoceros is not a river animal. Some species frequent swampy land, but the black African rhinoceros is found on plains and in the foothills. I should change this panel to indicate that Buto crosses a for from the mainland to the island, or else make no mention of the river in this connection and change the panel. (He requested a panel caption to read: "To the keen ears of irritable Buto the rhinoceros come the sounds of the camp making."
  • He recommended a closing remark in page 16 to be the more heroic "We will take it with us."
  • When informed that there had been letters about the strip being short on humor and containing to many gory scenes ERB said: "Unfortunately, most of the success of the Tarzan stories appears to be the result of a human weakness for gory and gruesome situations. This is the first criticism of this nature that I have ever seen during nearly twenty years of Tarzan.  I do, however, like the idea of using a little relief in some form, such as you suggest, but we must be careful not to get too much comedy into these pages."
  • What is your re-action to the idea of making this page appeal more to adults than to little children. I have always written my stories for adults and I have a very large adult following which has not kept the children from being even more interested in Tarzan than their parents. It just occurred to me that if we make the appeal in the Sunday page a little less to small children, we might be increasing our audience.
  • Tarzan dialogue for page 21: You threaten Tarzan, Lord of the Jungle?" demanded the ape-man coldly. "You might find that dangerous."
  • July: Ed complained that the page would be more popular if "Maxon would put more life, more action in his drawings. As they appear in the papers they are not typically Burroughs stuff, that is evident. My stories are full of action, whereas the picturized version of them, as drawn by Maxon, make them appear dull and listless. There seems to be no life in them."
  • In the August 23, 1931 page Ed had taken exception to the use of the lifeboat by Tarzan as a shield. Perhaps you will say that I, also, have had him do ridiculous things, but they have always been carefully thoughout and I have succeeded so far in making them seem within the range of possiblilities. Hoever, as I cannot visualize a steel lifeboat as being much less than sixteen feet long, which would be rather a small lifeboat at that, it would seem that we would be rather straining the credulity of the raders were we to show even Tarzan using such a heavy and cumbersome thing as a shield.
  • In the August 30 pageEd suggested that the crashing of the yacht could not possibly break the pirates' bonds without severely injuring them -- probably killing them. You might have one of the men get hold of a knife and hold it behind him in his bound hand, and then one of the others could back up against him and by rubbing his bonds upon the blade sever them. (already in print and unable to revise).
  • After numerous pages went to press without his suggested revisions being made, Ed's reaction was: I am returning outline of September 6th release of Tarzan page with my approval, which seems more or less unnecessary and rather a waste of time on my part inasmuch as I gather from your letter of July 28th that the work is all completed before these outlines are submitted to me. I wasted a week on Tarzan at the Earth's Core, sent to me by Joe Neebe, only to find out that the damned thing was in print before it was sent to me.
  • Ed rejected the continuity for page 29, panels 8-12. He rewrote the directions for the artist, called "Action," as well as all the panel captions.
  • Ed's ongoing displeasure with the Maxon Sunday page eventually resulted in change and Hal Foster was hired to take over the page on September 27, 1931 -- the start of a memorable three year run.  Rex Maxon continued doing the Tarzan daily strip until 1947 (William Juhre did the strip from June 1936 through January 1938).

Censored panel for US readers

The Story of the Maxon Tarzan Strips and Reprints

I. Intro and Bio
II. Maxon/Foster Connection
III. Reprints
IV. Summary of Sunday Pages
V. Sunday Pages Thumbnails
. .
Sunday Pages I
Sunday Pages II


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