If you're a Tarzan purist, trying to collect everything about the Lord of the Junble, you might want to pick up (but not read) Bunduki, a series about "the fearless lord of the jungle" by J.T. Edson (not Edison).
A British writer and right-wing goofball (1928-2014), Edson wrote mostly Westerns, and continued long after the genre stopped being popular, creating such "renowned" characters as Dusty Fog and the Ysabel Kid.
Two have been made into movies, Trigger Fast (1994), and Guns of Honor (1994), with Christopher Atkins playing Dusty Fog.
I don't know about the movies, but the novels are intensely homophobic, full of simpering gay-stereotype villains, and racist, promoting the myth that slavery was a benevolent system; most slaves were loyal to their masters, and rose to defend them against evil "Northern aggression."
So it's not clear why the Burroughs estate licensed Edson to use the Tarzan characters. He didn't write science fiction, and he was a wacko.
But they did, and Bunduki appeared in 1975, followed by Bunduki and Dawn and Sacrifice for the Quagga God. Then the estate got tired of the Tarzan name being attached to such rubbish, so they forbade Edson from using Tarzan, Jane, or Korak in future stories. The fourth novel, Fearless Lord of the Jungle, omits any Tarzan references, and the last novel was unpublished.
Bunduki is part of the Wold-Newton Universe, where Philip Jose Farmer interconnects all of the fictional heroes, from Alan Quartermaine to Sherlock Holmes, as part of one extended family. He was adopted by the aging Lord Greystoke after his parents were killed in the dreadful Mau Mau uprising in Kenya in the 1950s.
Later he married Dawn, Lord Greystoke's great-granddaughter, and they were zapped off to the planet Zillikian together.
May 15, 2018
May 14, 2018
To cater to the kid market, he came up with a new duo, The Tarzan Twins.
Dick and Doc were not twins at all, but they did look alike, except for their hair: "Dick had a shock of the blackest sort of black hair, while Doc's hair was the sunny hue of molasses candy."
They were cousins born at the same moment to twin mothers and raised together, half the time in England and half in America. When they were 14 years old, they discovered that they were distantly related to Lord Greystoke, Tarzan of the Apes, so they set out to visit their famous uncle.
In The Tarzan Twins (1927), they get lost in the jungle and captured by cannibals. Uncle Tarzan is not around, so they have to rescue themselves.
A Big Little Book appeared in 1934, and the story was retold in Rex Maxon's Tarzan newspaper comic strip in 1935.
The books appeared together in 1963, and in reprints since.
A web comic strip was launched in 2016, written by Martin Powell and drawn by Carlos Arguela.
As far as I know, they have not appeared on film.
May 13, 2018
"How dare you say that Tony Danza on Taxi was gay? Or the guys in Orange County or Jaws? Or Yogi Bear and Boo Boo? You're reading too much into it! The authors never intended that!"
I hear statements like this a dozen times a week. If a character is not Wearing a Sign, not specifically stating "I am gay," he or she must be assumed heterosexual. Fiction is the last bastian where heterosexuals can breathe free, certain that they are alone in the world, that those pesky gay people do not exist.
I have news for them.
We viewers must figure it out for ourselves.
The main gay clues are:
Bonding (same-sex romance)
Domesticity (living together)
My hero (same sex rescues)
No girls/boys allowed (lack of heterosexual interest)
Beefcake (physical display)
If one or more of these clues are present, the character can be read as gay.
It's ok for different people to "read" different things into the text.
It's ok to see things that the authors didn't intend.
Therefore gay children are interlopers in an alien country. Everything they see, everything they hear, everything they read is meant for someone else.
They have to grab what they can.
If they must distort the text, misread a character, see things that aren't even there, that's fine.
When it's a matter of survival, anything goes.
1. The myth of Darkest Africa may have played in the past, but today everyone is aware that sub-Saharan Africa is not jungles and "savage tribes." How would Tarzan fit into today's geopolitical landscape?
2. Without coming across as racist?
3. And sexist?
4. The story is so intimately familiar, it seems impossible to put a new twist on it.
Here are the contemporary Tarzans:
Tarzan: The Epic Adventures (1996-2000). Back in Africa without Jane, Tarzan (Joe Lara) has "epic" adventures that mostly rehash the books: he goes to Opar, Pellucidar, and so on.
Tarzan of the Apes (2008), a segment of Matinee, an anthology playing homage to the movies of the 1930s. Edgar Rice Burroughs accompanies Jane to Africa. The Ape Man, played by Aaron Sheehan,wears pants.
Tarzan (2013). Tarzan (Kellan Lutz) and Jane fight the evil CEO of Greystoke Energies in this German production.