"Young Tarzan and the Mysterious She"


Things have been so busy lately that I haven't been keeping up with breaking news in our corner of the Webz. Thankfully, my bud, Paul McNamee, tipped me off to this cool announcement from Michael Tierney:

"It's an old question of, if you could, who you would visit from the past? Take that question a step further and ask if you could collaborate with a literary giant on their greatest creation, who and what would it be?

“Here's my answer: Young Tarzan and the Mysterious She. Releases March 2019 from Cirsova magazine.

“The fragment I worked with was first hand-written by Edgar Rice Burroughs in 1930. It was left unfinished, and then lay hidden in his safe for decades after his death. When it was rediscovered, many well-known writers were offered the chance to complete the story, but there were elements that they considered problematic, and they passed.

“Around the year 2000, ERB's grandson, Danton Burroughs, offered me the chance. I found the problems to be opportunities to explain what I considered to be inconsistencies in the jungle lord's established history.

“But on the day of Danton's greatest accomplishment, when he became President of his grandfather's company, Edgar Rice Burroughs Inc., there was a fire in the offices that destroyed many of his father, John Coleman Burroughs' paintings--some of them were lost forever without a record. Danton tragically died that night of a heart attack.

“What I didn't learn until recently was that the fire left ERB, Inc. with no record of the story. Danton took his knowledge with him, and the fragment was essentially lost to the company his Grandfather founded.

“Fortunately, I still had my digital files, and the original fragment was discovered after the announcement of this publication.

“Danton had sent it to be transcribed into digital format by Bill Hillman, webmaster of ERBzine.com, who announced this very day that he still has it.

“While I was creating the Edgar Rice Burroughs 100 Year Art Chronology, I'd asked current President Jim Sullos for an opportunity to do something with the story. What I didn't realize until recently was that he thought this was all my creation. We didn't both put all the pieces together until just a few weeks ago.

“That's the story behind the story of Young Tarzan and the Mysterious She."

Mr. Tierney then went on to say this about the tale:

"This is a short story that is approximately 3500 words. ERB wrote 1100 of them in 1930. When Burroughs wrote his first batch of Jungle Tales back in 1916/17, Edwin Balmer had been his editor during his first run with Blue Book. Balmer was still there when ERB returned in 1927, and in 1930 he had just finished his long run in Pellucidar, with Tanar of Pellucidar and Tarzan at the Earth's Core running back to back. One might speculate that Balmer expressed an interest in more Jungle Tales at this point. However, in 1930 Edwin Balmer switched jobs and went over to edit Red Book Magazine, where he would remain until 1949. New editor Kennicutt turned out to be a huge Burroughs fan, and ERB's streak of consecutive issues continued with first a new Mars story and then another Tarzan. 

“One might speculate that Balmer's departure might have had something to do with ERB starting and quickly abandoning the Young Tarzan fragment, but that's all it is--pure speculation. No one knows for sure. It's definitely set in the Jungle Tales time period. There's more I'd like to say about it, but will wait until everyone has a chance to read it. Don't want to give any of the surprises away! But I will say it is solidly in canon."

I have to say--especially since I'm a huge fan of Burroughs and Tarzan--it's beyond cool that Michael managed to save at least a digital copy of this otherwise-lost fragment. Regarding the "posthumous collaboration," I'm ambiguous about such things, but I'm certainly willing to give Michael Tierney the chance to prove himself. 

As Michael mentioned in the announcement, he is the man behind the massive art book, Edgar Rice Burroughs 100 Year Art Chronology. I've heard nothing but good about it, even from veteran book and art collectors. He lives in the Little Rock, Arkansas area, as does P. Alexander, the editor of Cirsova magazine. The two men have known each other for awhile, from what I gather. That association certainly led to a major coup for Cirsova. Quite a way for Cirsova to launch the number one issue of its second volume! By the way, check out the Cirsova cover above. DMR's editor and publisher, D.M. Ritzlin, has a story in the same issue. Get out there and buy it, sword-brothers.