Wednesday, December 31, 2008

What'll Ya Have?!


I got a craving for a Varsity hot dog today, so I hopped in the truck and headed over to the one at Town Center. Not the REAL Varsity of course, an Atlanta landmark that's down near Georgia Tech. But the chili dog and the slaw dog still tasted the same and the air is still full of cries of "What'll ya have? What'll ya have?!"
I can remember when I was a kid, no trip down to Atlanta was complete without a stop at the Varsity. They still had carhops then and would bring out trays laden with greasy dogs, burgers, and fries and attach them to the car window. Sometimes we went inside and stood at the long counter on the red tile floor, surrounded by strangers united in the search for a greasy chili dog.
Over the years my dad and I would sometimes make a trip down to the big city on a Sunday afternoon just to visit the Varsity. And these days if he comes to Kennesaw to see a movie or something with me we'll still hit the Varsity afterwards.
Anyway, I had a chili dog and a slaw dog and a giant Coke with that crushed ice that the Varsity has. Enjoyed it tremendously and I can actually hear my arteries clogging...

Sunday, December 28, 2008

A More Conan-ish Kharrn


My Lord of the Rings avatar Kharrn was designed to look as much like Conan as possible, however lately I've noticed that with the addition of various armor, he was looking more Middle Earth-ish, so I decided to redesign him a bit. Thing is, he's still wearing all that armor, you just can't see it. The character interface allows you to toggle the visibility of various items on and off. So Kharrn is still wearing all his protective material, which he needs, but now he looks a bit more like Conan with his bare arms and simple tunic. Barbarians have to keep up appearances don't you know. Oh and he hit level 60 yesterday Top of the world, ma.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

And So This is Christmas

And what have I done? Well last night, Christmas Eve, my whole family went over to the assisted living home to have Christmas with my grandmother. The home has a new activity room and we were allowed to use it so we had a more private gathering that the last couple of Holidays.
This morning, my parents and I went to my brother's house for Christmas brunch. Got some Christmas money and Roger Moore's autobiography, My Word is My Bond. Tried out my nephew's compound bow and placed my third arrow dead center of the bullseye, impressing the heck out of the nephew.
This afternoon I've been watching Christmas DVDs, reading and hanging out with Bruce and Amelia. Not a bad way to finish out the holiday.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

More Weird Dreams

I don't know if it was the Nyquil or what but last night was a bumper crop of strange dreams. First I dreamed that Beth and I were fighting inter-dimensional demons in New York in 1942. Then I dreamed that someone at work needed CPR but I'd forgotten how to do it. Then I dreamed that I had joined the cast of Torchwood for the fourth season and my brother was visiting me in England when I was on the set. But later in the dream it wasn't the show but instead the real Torchwood and I was still there but not on the team and it gets really confusing after that...

My Most Read Book


When people ask me what my favorite book is, I usually hem and haw and deflect the question, because truly I've read too many books and loved too many to ever really pick a favorite. But if you ask me what book I've read more times than any other, now that one I can answer. It's Swords Against Wizardry by Fritz Leiber. That's pronounced Lie-bur, by the way. For years I pronounced it as lee-bur, but Michael Moorcock tells me that it's Lie-bur and that Fritz could be rather sensitive about that, so I try to get it right.
Swords Against Wizardry was, as near as I can recall, the first prose sword & sorcery I ever read. Not a bad place to start. I've explained in previous posts about how I discovered Conan through the pages of Marvel Comics Conan the Barbarian back in Christmas of 1973. And how upon learning that there were books about Conan, I had sought them only to find that they were out of print. And so I had begun searching for anything LIKE Conan, basically going through all the SF/Fantasy books at the mall bookstores, looking for covers that featured guys with swords. (It's not as labor intensive as it sounds, because the SF section of B. Dalton or Waldenbooks was pretty darn small back in 1974.)
I can still remember the day, not the exact date, but the day when I first encountered Leiber. I was in B. Dalton, which was upstairs in Cumberland Mall, just south of Atlanta, and I spotted several brightly colored books, all of which had the word 'swords' in the title. I figured this was something that might be of interest to me. I can't tell you why I picked Swords Against Wizardry from the five available titles. I may not have noticed that it was the fourth book in the series, or if I noticed, I might have assumed that like many numbered series, it didn't actually matter what order you read them in. Maybe I liked the Jeff Jones cover, or perhaps, being color blind, I just thought it the brightest and therefore the most exotic of the five. (I think the cover is some form or dark pink, but I don't actually know. You tell me.)
I suspect though, that what really happened was that I read the opening few paragraphs, where Leiber's heroes Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser were crouching within the tent of some ancient crone of a witch, and was so immediately caught up in that story that I had to take that book home. Re-reading the first segment last night, I was once again whisked away to the world of Nehwon (no-when backwards) and plunked down right in the middle of that ill smelling tent while ghosts howled around the outside and things best left unseen skittered about the door flap.
So what is it that kept ( and keeps) bringing me back to that particular book? Ultimately it's Leiber's skill with words. I consider him to be the best writer of fantasy ever, and yes that includes better than Robert E. Howard of J.R.R Tolkien or anyone else you care to mention. Leiber could write. Oh could he write. He was the child of two Shakespearean actors (he appeared in many plays and a couple of movies himself) and his early life was full of books and plays and he brought a level of art and to his writings of the fantastic that's hard to match. Writers such as Michael Moorcock, Neil Gaiman, and Pulitzer price winner Michael Chabon all list Leiber as an influence. Chabon's novel Gentlemen of the Road is very much in the spirit of Leiber's Fafhrd and Mouser tales.
But there's more than that, obviously, because while I've read all of Leiber's S&S stories multiple times, none have held the attraction of SaW. Re-reading it last night I tried to nail it down. A lot of it, I think stems from Leiber's descriptions of Fafhrd's and the Mouser's climb up the mountain Stardock. The cold and the snow and the ice. The sheer exertion of the climb and the perils faced. The dizzying height and the rarified atmosphere. I can remember that one of my rituals for several years after finding the book was to read it whenever we had snow in Northern Georgia. I would go outside and play in the snow until my fingers and toes were numb and then I would come home and get under the blankets and read about Fafhrd and the Mouser and feel that I was really there with them on the white slopes of Stardock.
Then there's the level of imaginative imagery in the story. The strange invisible flying creatures, viewed only as distortions in the air or outlined by a swiftly falling snow. The cold worms and the ice gnomes. The jewels that can only be seen at night.
And there was quite a bit of sex. Certainly not graphic by any means, but definitely erotic and I'm sure fascinating as all get out to a twelve year old boy. Add plenty of sword fighting, battles with monsters and beast men, and you have a heady mixture indeed. All told in the lyrical, exotic, and Byzantine language that was the unique style of Fritz Leiber.
Finally you have the characters of Fafhrd and the Mouser themselves. You can tell if you've read earlier posts here how much I love those two rogues. They are not quite the supermen that mighty Conan and his brethren are, but they always manage to survive their run ins with foes both human and supernatural. They make mistakes. They lose fights. They are bested by clever men and cleverer women. But they keep coming back for a brawling, drinking, roaring good time. Leiber brought humor and humanity to heroic fantasy. Not an easy thing to make work.
Last night I sat down to read the first part of Swords Against Wizardry before writing this rambling essay, and before I knew it I'd read most of the way to the end, showing that the book has lost none of its power to charm me. Wizardry indeed.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Merry Christmas from Middle Earth


I took Kharrn all the way up to the Misty Mountains to get this shot.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Scimitars and Sorcery


I've talked before about the lack of decent sword & sorcery films. Though there have been several attempts, Conan, Beastmaster, Scorpion King etc, no one has really managed to capture the feel of old time sword & sorcery. Oddly enough, the movie that possibly comes the closest is 1974's The Golden Voyage of Sinbad. I watched it again last night and was reminded very much of the works of Robert E. Howard.
In tone, it's probably the darkest of Ray Harryhausen's films. Sinbad is up against a sorcerer named Koura, played with scenery chewing relish by Doctor Who star Tom Baker. Koura seems to be a sorcerer very much in the REH tradition. His spells require preparation and sorcerous paraphernalia and many of his "magic" powers are actually forms of mesmerism or telekinesis. He consorts with demons and dark gods. No throwing of mystic bolts or fireballs. This sorcerer has to work for his dark powers and he doesn't mind taking up a sword and mixing it up when things go wrong.
Sinbad and his crew end up on the mythical continent of Lemuria (shades of Lin Carter's Thongor) where they have to fight a one-eyed centaur and a six armed stone idol come to life. Very much the sort of thing we expect from a Conan yarn. Plus there's a tribe of savages who could be Howard's Picts save for their green skin. And then there's heroine Caroline Munroe, who looks as if she stepped right off the cover of an issue of Savage Sword of Conan. She's the very image of a S&S heroine and I can remember being quite smitten with her at age 12 when I first saw the movie.
I saw Golden Voyage of Sinbad in the old downtown Canton movie theater. My dad took me, as I recall. It was the perfect time for me to see that film, because my burgeoning interest in S&S was just beginning to take hold. I'd read Thongor and Fritz Lieber's Fafhrd and Gray Mouser stories and was reading Conan and Warlord in the comics. Golden Voyage of Sinbad seemed to fit right in. Perhaps that's part of the reason why I think of it as a sword & sorcery film, but I believe its overall tone and content have more to do with it than nostalgia. Anyway, it still holds up, all these years later. The special effects are remarkably good. Ray Harryhausen's stop motion monsters may not look as photo realistic as today's CGI created creatures, but there's still something about them. They have a level of personality that a computer image hasn't matched yet.
And Caroline Munroe is still hot. Go Sinbad.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Happy Birthday Mike!


It's Michael Moorcock's birthday today. Mike is, of course, the creator of Elric of Melnibone and many other fantasy heroes. One of the few of the second wave of sword & sorcery writers still writing today and still a hard act to follow. His albino swordsman Elric is still appearing in new comics and short stories. The most recent story, Black Petals, showed up in Weird Tales magazine earlier this year.
So happy Birthday. Mike. You're a class act and a nice guy.

That Time Again

Well I've gotten my traditional Christmas cold a week in advance. Head is stopped up this morning and my throat is sore. I'm hoping this means that I'll actually be cold-free on Christmas itself. The last two years I've taken a cold like two days before Christmas and been in the worst part of it on the day itself.
Fortunately I had already scheduled today off from work because I had vacation time left to burn, so I can just laze around and get better. I've had breakfast and now I'm checking email and the usual stuff.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Galleon of Dream


Picked up an interesting item for my Lin Carter collection last week. Galleon of Dream was a self published collection of poetry that Carter produced in 1953, quite a few years before he became a professional writer. Carter was a prolific publisher of fanzines and the like and he self published several projects of this nature, including a previous volume of poetry, Sandalwood and Jade, in 1951. I haven't found a good copy of that one yet. According to the owners of Haslam's Book Store (who I interviewed years ago when writing a study of Carter), a massive used book store in Carter's hometown of St. Petersburg Florida, Carter used to try and get them to sell his self published work in the store. Lin was reportedly good friends with the late Mr. Haslam and spent a considerable amount of time in the store as a child and young man. One has to wonder what Carter's life might have been like had he not had access to such a place in his formative years. I also wonder what influence his purchases from this store had on his selections for the Ballantine Adult Fantasy line he would edit years later.
According to the Ebay seller, my copy was one of several that Lin had when he passed away. The same seller had several other of Carter's personal items that were bid out of my range. In any case, since Carter printed the booklet himself, it passed from his hands to mine, though several times removed. Not quite in the league of the unpublished manuscript of Lin's that I own, but still pretty cool.
Galleon of Dream contains umpteen poems, mostly about the theme of escaping to lands of fantasy through dreams. There is a plaintive quality about most of these works; the wishes of a young man to escape to far places as in this example from the titular poem, Galleon of Dream:


I sail my galleon of dream
to shores where golden cities gleam.
To Samarkind and Zanzibar,
where sandalwood and rubies are,
and fabled realms that lie beyond,
like Turkistan and Trebizond.


Many of the poems refer to books that Carter loved. Treasure Island. The Arabian Nights. The Oz books. The poems strike me as (not unexpectedly) amateurish, but are certainly competent. Carter illustrated the small book as well and his drawings are fairly well done. Anyone familiar with the maps Lin did for his Thongor and Callisto books will recognize his inkline in these early illustrations.
The thing that stood out to me the most is that the poems have a lot of imagery that seems to have been inspired by Lord Dunsany. Though Carter made his living writing books that were mostly pastiches of Robert E. Howard and Edgar Rice Burroughs, I think that the Dunsanian style fantasy was always his first love. His personal works such as Khymyrium and the Simrana cycle seem to bear this out. Though Carter is often classified as a hack by critics, and even I, a true Carter fan have to admit that he sometimes deserved the title, the works that he did for love often have a considerably higher quality of writing than the books he rushed out to pay the bills. Galleon of Dream shows the early inner life of a young writer, in love with fiction and far off lands, and waiting to escape into a larger world.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Home For Now

So last night I'm sitting on the couch, watching a DVD, and Amelia comes walking into the living room. Her usual pattern is to walk right past me and climb on the cat-condo so she can look out the windows. This time she walks over to the couch, hops up onto the cushion beside me and curls up. Slowly, I reach over and rub her head and she puts chin up so I can run my knuckles under her jaw. Purring, she settles down and goes to sleep. I guess she's decided my place is home for now.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Reading Report

My reading reports have been a bit sparse lately, I know. That's mostly because lately I'm having trouble finding any fiction that I want to read. Part of the problem seems to be that I've sort of burned out on most mystery fiction, which used to be one of my mainstays. Folks like Lawrence Block, Jonathan Kellerman, and Sue Grafton have just missed me with their last few books and I don't know how much of that is me and how much is them. I haven't even bought the new Robert B. Parker Spenser novel and that's been out a couple of months now. In any case, I just don't seem to be able to get into that sort of thing these days. Maybe it will swing back around. We'll see.
So what have I been reading? A lot of short stories. I've read about half of the Simon Magus stories in the Scroll of Thoth collection. Read or re-read a bunch of Robert E. Howard stories. Quite a few re-reads of Michael Moorcock's Elric tales.
Much non fiction, most of it having to do with Norsemen. Also read Memoirs of Vidocq, the autobiography of Franscois Eugene Vidocq, the real life French criminal turned detective who was one of the original inspirations for Sherlock Holmes. Fascinating stuff.
Re-read Edgar Rice Burroughs' Pellucidar novel, Back to the Stone Age, and a couple of Doc Savage pulp novels, The Red Terrors and Mystery Under the Sea. Whenever I read one of Lester Dent's Doc novels, I'm always amazed at what an influence Dent had one me. My third person writing style still has some stylistic similarities to Dent's all these years after I first read his stuff. I make no attempt to imitate him in terms of writing, but the influence is definitely there. Occasionally I'll write a very 'Dent' sort of sentence or paragraph. I'll pull out an example the next time I find one.
I've asked for a couple of memoirs for Christmas and if I don't get them, I'll buy them after the holidays. I'm down to three Repairman Jack books now, and I have one or two other fiction books I've put back for a rainy day. So the reading goes on. Just not at quite the rate I was tearing through stuff for a while there.

Monday, December 08, 2008

Can't Get There From Here

So I've been playing Lord of the Rings Online: Mines of Moria for about three weeks now and I've really been enjoying it. Lot of new monsters to kill and new challenges to face. I do have a couple of problems with the new expansion though. The biggest one is just that it's really hard to get around in Moria without getting lost. Seems like either I or one of my Kinship members is constantly lost. There are maps, as there are in the other areas of the games, but the maps are 2-D and the environment is 3-D. The mines have more than one level, so sometimes when you think you're right on top of something, you're actually below it or above it. Confusing. And of course a lot of the environment is just tunnels which all look pretty much the same.
The other thing is that you can't use your horse inside the mines. You can catch a ride from place to place on these giant goats, (Yes I said, giant goats.) but that's only from town to town. If you're out in the mines and you suddenly have to travel a long way, you'll just have to run. Slows things down considerably.
Got to fight a bunch of warg riders last night. Goblins mounted on giant wolves. Really cool. Also fought several hive queens which are these giant bugs, kind of like the Alien Mother in Aliens. The game is starting to use a lot of monsters and things which aren't strictly from Tolkein, but I figured that was coming. I have been briefly to Lothlorian. You're not really supposed to go there until you've been all through the mines and everything there is level 59 or 60, so it's dangerous, but my pal Nav and I wanted to see it so we tried a suicide run through the mines and actually made it out the other side to Lothlorian. Couldn't get into the main part of that area yet, but we did get to climb to one of the platforms and see some elves.
Anyway, I hit level 56 this weekend, and am well on my way to 57, so I'm rolling right along. Over the halfway mark to the new cap at level 60. The road goes ever on and on.

Remembering Nishiyama Sensei


They say that bad news always comes in threes, and though I don't really believe that, this week it seems to be true. Already saddened by the deaths of Jim Cawthorn and Forest J. Ackerman, I also learned from my friend Lanny that Sensei Hidetaka Nishiyama had passed away recently. This is a far more personal loss than the other two, for while I admired the work of Ackerman and Cawthorn, Nishiyama Sensei was someone whom I knew and who had a major influence on my life. He was my sensei's sensei.
There are any number of websites that you can visit for biographical information on Nishiyama, so I won't spend a lot of time on that here. Suffice to say that he was the senior student of Gichin Funakoshi. Funakoshi Sensei was the founder of Shotokan Karate and the man who coined the name karate for the Japanese system of empty handed martial arts. Thus, my brother and sensei was only one man removed from the founder of the style. Anyone who knows a lot about martial arts will tell you how rare that is. Most martial arts are into their umpteenth generation of permutation. But traditional Shotokan karate remains very close to the source and one of the primary reasons for that was Hidetaka Nishiyama.
What I remember about Nishiyama was his total dedication to Shotokan. He was a tireless proponent of the martial art, with emphasis on the art. Far more than a method of self defense, Shotokan was a way of building character through the seeking of perfect technique. You knew that you would never achieve that perfection, but the attempt was something worthwhile. If anyone came close to having perfect technique though, it was Nishiyama Sensei. His reverse punch and his front kick were lightning quick well into his 60s. His front stance was a thing of wonder. Feet turned just so. Body angled just right and weight distributed perfectly. Hard styles of karate like Shotokan can appear stiff and jerky, but not with Nishiyama. His movements were fluid and graceful.
We all tried to imitate him. To phrase our kata like his. To make our stances and our kicks and punches as much like his as possible. We even talked like him, snapping off the Japanese commands in the almost guttural way that he said them. My counting came to sound more and more like his after each time I trained with him. Ichi! Ni! San!
The word 'master' is bandied about far too readily these days and applied to far too many people who don't deserve the title. But Hidetaka Nishiyama was without question, a master of karate. Anyone who ever trained with him came away with an appreciation of the art of karate and a determination to improve. He was a patient, intelligent, and quietly funny man. He taught through example and through a variety of stories and demonstrations.
I can remember that after one of the marathon seminars I attended with Nishiyama Sensei I was absolutely exhausted and yet didn't really want the weekend to be over. At the end of the final class of the last day, Nishiyama Sensei would always have the entire class sit on the floor and he would take questions. Most of the questions would be about techniques and he would leap up and show how the kick or punch or stance should be executed, punctuating his points with a shinai (bamboo kendo sword). As I said, we all hated for those grueling weekends to end, but eventually we would line up for one final bow. And so I'll end this rambling bit of reminiscence the same way. For Nishiyama Sensei.


Sensei Ni...Rei!!

Saturday, December 06, 2008

The Long Goodbye

Just had dinner with Trish who heads to Iraq Monday morning for her six month hitch. Hard to believe I won't get to see her for that long a period of time. She's one of the friends I see every week and I'm definitely going to miss her. She'll be stationed in as safe a place as anyone can be safe in Iraq, but I'm still not thrilled about her going, obviously. Anyway, her two cats, Amelia and Bruce are both asleep on the couch to my right as I type this. Bruce is snoring.

Friday, December 05, 2008

James Cawthorn 1929-2008

I learned this morning that James Cawthorn passed away on Tuesday of this week. He was 78. Cawthorn is an important figure in the history of sword & sorcery, but many of you may never have heard of him. Cawthorn was a close friend of Michael Moorcock and Mike says that Cawthorn was very influential in the development of his signature character, Elric of Melnibone. Cawthorn did the earliest drawings of Elric and Mike still considers those to be the closest anyone has come to portraying the albino the way that Mike envisioned him. The two met when Moorcock was still a teenager and editing the Tarzan Adventures Magazine in London. Cawthorn provided covers and illustrations for Tarzan Adventures and illustrated the adventures of Mike's first S&S hero, Sojan the Swordsman. Cawthorn went on to do some of the first comic book adaptations of Moorcock's better known heroes, not only Elric, but also Dorian Hawkmoon.
In addition to being a talented artist, Cawthorn was a writer as well. He worked with Moorcock on the script for the 1974 movie adaptation of the Edgar Rice Burroughs novel The Land That Time Forgot and more importantly, for fans of sword & sorcery, Cawthorn collaborated with Mike on the plot outline for the Elric/Conan team-up in Marvel Comics' Conan the Barbarian issues 14 and 15. Writer Roy Thomas and artist Barry Smith turned this outline into two of the best remembered issues of the Marvel Conan. He also contributed to the plot for at least one of Moorcock's Elric novellas.
Cawthorn passed away only a few days short of his 79th Birthday on December 21. He left behind an impressive body of work.
For an interview with Cawthorn and examples of his art, check out this link to Savoy books:

http://www.savoy.abel.co.uk/HTML/cawth.html

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Giving Back Redux

A couple of posts ago I was talking about buying books for an underprivileged kid for my mom's church. After reading that post my pal Cliff, who is a stand up guy, called and volunteered to supply some other stuff. So last night Cliff added some collections of Spiderman and Batman comics, plus more paperback and hardback SF/Fantasy books. (He threw in a copy of Edgar Rice Burroughs A Princess of Mars just because he thought every twelve year old boy should meet John Carter of Mars. I agree.)
So this is one kid who's going to have a darn nifty Christmas. Thanks for stepping up, Cliff. You're a pal.

Never Say Never


A while back I mentioned that I was collecting the old Dell and Gold Key Tarzan comics featuring the artwork of Jesse Marsh. I also mentioned that I was going to a lot of effort to find these comics, most of which are older than I am, because I didn't think it likely that anyone would ever reprint them. Marsh's art style just didn't seem one that would be of interest to contemporary comics fan. Well I've seldom been so happy to admit I was wrong. Cliff emailed me last night to let me know that Dark Horse Comics, publishers of Tarzan:The Joe Kubert Years, will be bringing out multiple volumes of Tarzan:The Jesse Marsh Years.
Each hardback volume will be around 250 pages and the projected plan is to reprint the entirety of Marsh's run on the comic which covered 19 years. The best part for me initially is that Marsh's earliest work on the Tarzan series is far too pricey for me. Anything after issue 50 isn't too bad, but the prices have been going steadily up. Now I can read all the early issues for a fraction of what the original comics would cost. And once the series catches up to where my collection begins, I'll gladly replace my old and fragile comics with sturdy hardback collections. See I don't give a darn about owning the original comics these days. I just love to READ comics. The collections are the way to go for me.
What is it that I love about Marsh's art? I like the cartoonish quality and the heavy ink line. I like his approach to drapery and his storytelling ability. I like his use of chiaroscuro, alternating patterns of black and white to give an amazing illusion of depth. I like the research that went into his Tarzan. Marsh reportedly owned dozens of books about Africa and it shows in the art. His natives are dressed in authentic African clothing and lived in accurately rendered dwellings. Patterns from African art cover buildings, shields and fabrics. His Africa is more grassland than jungle, as the real Africa is. His animals have a naturalistic feel to them that few comics artists could match.
Marsh worked as an animator at Walt Disney for many years and was reportedly an excellent painter. One source said that his real love was fine art and that he basically taught himself to cartoon in an amazingly short period of time basing his approach on the work of Terry and the Pirates/Steve Canyon artist, Milton Caniff. Alex Toth, one of my comics artist idols, absolutely loved Marsh's work and wrote a long and fascinating appreciation of Marsh for the magazine Panels many years ago. I'll have to dig that out and perhaps write a longer post about Marsh in the future.
Now of course it doesn't hurt that Marsh was illustrating the adventures of one of my top five fictional characters. Though Russ Manning's Tarzan will always be the ultimate for me, once I discovered Marsh's work I immediately loved it. Teamed with writer Gaylord Dubois, who took over scripting the Tarzan comic with issue number two, Marsh's Tarzan was an amalgamation of the movie Tarzans and the original Edgar Rice Burroughs version. The Dell Tarzan series is chock full of action and adventure among lost cities, dangerous tribes, savage beasts and later, dinosaurs, beast-men, giants, and all manner of exotic menaces. We get Queen La form Tarzan and the Jewels of Opar, the Ant men from Tarzan and the Ant Men, Roman soldiers from Tarzan and the Lost Empire, etc, etc. Dell's Tarzan was a wonderland of danger and excitement, and all of it rendered for almost two decades in the solid, beautiful art style of Jesse Marsh. And now it will be available again for new readers and for those like me, who just want to have all of it. The first volume goes on sale February 25.