By Edgar Rice Burroughs
| Edgar Rice Burroughs is a
terrific writer. Tarzan is probably his best creation ever. Where I grew up
-- far from civilization -- we had a large supply of
comic books. Captain Marvel, Superman, The Lone Ranger, Red
Ryder, The Durango Kid --even Roy Rogers. But, our favorite
comic of all was Tarzan. Any time a new issue came in we'd hike
out into the desert to a place where no one would disturb us and we would
take turns reading the pages.
There was just something about Tarzan that spoke to us. Maybe it was the way he could track wild animals and men down. Maybe it was all those trees so thick they blotted out the sun, or those animals chattering in the trees. These were animals we had never seen before and certainly had never seen anyone interacting with them. Thus it was that Tarzan comic books fascinated us.
As some of our elders became more affluent we were taken about once a month and went into the place called "TOWN." It was hard not to be bug-eyed with wonder on my first trip. There were shape shifters everywhere I looked.
Then Daddy led us into a dark building. We were just getting settled in good when there was a blast of trumpets and the NEWS erupted in front of our very eyes. The war wasn't going very well at that point.
The NEWS went away and suddenly, there was TARZAN. We couldn't believe it. So THIS was what he sounded like when he made a kill. This was better than a comic book. We could hardly contain our excitement.
After that night our Tarzan comic books were more meaningful. In our memories we could SEE how elephants moved, how the great apes swung or beat their chests. Best of all, we KNEW how to replicate that terrifying battle cry of the fierce great bull apes. Can you imagine it, Tarzan swinging from cactus to cactus as we read the latest comic adventure for us?
There were more Tarzan movies ahead; we never missed a one. Then I moved into TOWN and rented this old shack that had an even older barn crumbling to pieces behind it. One day I went inside the old barn and there were cases and cases of old books. In one case was what must have been an entire set of original Tarzan books. The first one in the row was TARZAN OF THE APES. Who cared if I already knew the story? I flipped that book open and began to read by the gleaming light of the boiling dust beams around me.
Immediately I was stunned by the sheer eloquence of the author. "I had this story from one who had no business to tell it to me, or to any other. I may credit the seductive influence of an old vintage upon the narrator for the beginning of it, and my own skeptical incredulity during the days that followed for the balance of the strange tale."
This was NO comic book. It was no farce of a movie of some gibbering half-wit either. The REAL Tarzan was endowed with lofty intelligence to match all the cactus swinging abilities we had conjured up for him. If you have never read a REAL Tarzan book before I invite you to share that same astonishment with me. Edgar Rice Burroughs is a terrific writer. Tarzan is probably his best creation ever.
Click HERE for the first chapter
Please note that the chapters have been broken up
for your convenience in reading. These are designed
to be natural rest points. Please take the time to
pause, and think about what you have read since the
last rest point.
Here are direct links to the separate chapters of Tarzan of the Apes