Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Breaking Rare Book News: Tarzan Dumps Jane, Boy Broken-Hearted

By Stephen J. Gertz

I suppose it had to happen. Another episode of Splitsville. I had no idea their relationship was on the rocks.

After living in sin and swinging around the jungle with Jane Porter for years, Tarzan, Lord of the Apes, né Lord Greystoke, has decided, it seems, to throw her to the lions and monkey around with Gloria, another Great White Woman, here in trés chic Chanel, who, apparently, on the way to Altoona, PA, got on the wrong Trailways bus and wound up in Africa.

She met the Ape-Man, who, reportedly in the midst of a mid-life crisis, was vulnerable to her charms. She put the pep back into his tired jungle cry. He was a goner.

These are the first editions in French of Tarzan comic books Nos. 1 & 2 (1936, 1937), originally published in the United States in 1929 and illustrated, as here, by Hal Foster.  P.F. Caillé was responsible for the French adaptation.

Hal Foster (pseudonym of Harold Rudolph Foster, 1892-1981) quit his art studies and followed an adventurous life, big-game hunting and searching for gold. He returned to his home town, Chicago, in 1921, resumed his art education, first at the Art Institute of Chicago, later at the National Academy of Design, and committed himself to art. 

He began as a book and advertising illustrator and soon developed a solid reputation. In 1929, he was asked to illustrate the comic-strip and comic book editions of Tarzan, based upon the 1914 (Chicago: A.C. McClurg) novel by Edgar Rice Burroughs, Tarzan of the Apes,  that spawned the successful series of books that captured the imagination of children and adults and led to a multimedia empire. 

The family in happier times..

Tarzan and Gloria? It could have been worse. Tarzan and Sheila, Tarzan and Gertrude. Tarzan and Hermoine. Tarzan and Tallulah. Or, in a more up-to-date mating with a  light bestial touch, Tarzan and Bambi.

Decades will pass before the full impact of his parents' split hits Korak ("Killer") aka Boy, by then, hopefully, Man, and he fully grasps that his failed relationships, anger and depression, substance abuse, spotty employment record, and unnatural attraction to lower primates of either sex stem from this tragedy when his mom, Jane, disappeared,  and Tarzan took sides with his evil step-mother, Gloria, making his adolescence a living hell and conflict with Pops a daily routine. Divorce is a jungle.

Booktryst is pleased to have scooped TMZ  the National Enquirer, the Huffington Post, the Star, Daily Mail, and other tabloids on this story.  

BURROUGHS, Edgar Rice. Tarzan No. 1 and No. 2. Illustrations de H, Foster. Adapt. française de P.F. Caillé. Paris: Hachette, 1936, 1937. Tall octavos. 64; 48 pp. Quarter yellow cloth over pictorial boards.

Why P.F. Caillé kicked "Jane" to the curb and instead used the name Gloria remains a mystery, Hachette has a lot to answer for.

Book images courtesy of Harteveld Rare Books Ltd, currently offering this item, with our thanks.

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