ERB: In Focus

ERB in Focus

Robert Zeuschner

Collecting ERB Musings #1

Tarzan and the City of Gold

If you are reading this, then you are very likely one of hundreds of thousands of people who read the stories of Edgar Rice Burroughs and simply cannot get enough of this American author (1875-1950). Not only that, you found the stories most exciting and wanted to read more. Was is the action, color, or romance of the tales written by Edgar Rice Burroughs from 1912 to 1948 that brought you to this point? Whatever the reason for your interest you are not alone in your feelings.

Although no one knows for certain, there must be thousands of people worldwide who are not only readers of the tales of Tarzan and Barsoom, but who also collect the stories of Edgar Rice Burroughs. Many of these collectors belong to a group called the Burroughs Bibliophiles, and subscribe to numerous Burroughs fan magazines, such as the Burroughs Bulletin, or The ERB Collector, or ERBania.

Out of Time's Abyss

I am one of a large group of people who collect Burroughs. There are a dozen collections I can think of off the top of my head which dwarf my own. I don't have the biggest or most complete collection of ERB books and memorabilia, but I've been at this ERB collecting thing for nearly forty years--and had to be doing something right!

Because of my long time enthusiasim for the works Edgar Rice Burroughs, I have been asked, from time to time, to share some musings as regards collecting ERB with fellow ERB fans. Here goes:

St. John Illustration

Most of us don't start out saying "I think I'll build a world-class collection of Burroughs." Actually, most of us start out saying "I really want to read another Burroughs book, but I can't find one in a new book shop, so I'm going to look in a used book shop." So, you buy paperbacks, admiring the cover illustrations by artists like Frank Frazetta, Roy G. Krenkel, Whelan, and others. Unknowingly, you are building a collection of reading copies--and you stop at different used book shops and ask for Burroughs books. Truly, this is a noble enterprise. You are now a beginning ERB collector!

Then, some day, you may notice that older hardbacks have really cool illustrations, and even more fabulous color dust jackets. When you think to yourself, "I'd really like a hardcover copy of that story," you have graduated to the status of a serious collector.

And from here, things can get serious. First editions. Original pulp magazines. Tarzan toys. Coloring books. Original artwork. Whew! More about that in the next installment.