A HARD-WORKING MAN,
EDGAR RICE BURROUGHS
NKIMA & TANGOR
(David A. Adams & David Bruce Bozarth)
Copyright © 2001
This afternoon I made a spreadsheet of ERB’s productive years arranged by year. It is interesting how this looks across the board, so to speak, rather than by a simple listing in a column.
I suppose this has been obvious to everyone but me, but a good case can be made that ERB worked more consistently on his NON-SERIES novels and stories than even his famous Tarzan Series. It seems that Burroughs turned out a Tarzan novel or story nearly every year from 1911, however, this is not quite so. There is no Tarzan work for 1913 (unless you count Eternal Lover with Greystoke). Yet, this was one of his most productive years with 7 titles completed.
There is no Tarzan work of 1921, 1924, 1925, 1929, 1932, 1938, 1941, 1942, 1943, at total of 10 years if you go by Bob Zeuschner’s chart of Date of Authorship, which he indicates are only approximate working dates. You do find overlapping dates of work when you consult the Appendix in Porges, but the fact of the matter is Burroughs did not always work hard on Tarzan during the thirty three years between 1911 and 1944.
As everyone knows the largest gap in series work comes in the Pellucidar Series. Burroughs wrote Pellucidar in 1914 but did not return to this series until 1935, twenty-one years later. There is also a large gap in the Mars work from Thuvia in 1914 to Chessmen in 1921.
However, the point I am trying to make is the only gap in ERB’s Non-Series work occurs in 1920 (Tarzan the Terrible year) 1928 (when he wrote 3 Tarzans! and Tanar) 1933, 1934, 1935, 1938, 1941, only a 7 year of non-production in this area, and most of these are in his later years when his over-all production was falling off.
I suppose this is only natural because one can’t always be working on large novels. Admittedly, many of the novels and stories that ERB was working on during those productive years remain unpublished, but he did spend a lot of his time with Non-Series work, which I assume he considered to be important.
Edgar Rice Burroughs was an extremely efficient man who kept careful records of his work, and (as it has been mentioned over and over again) he wrote to feed his family. If Tarzan was “the cash-cow” as Tangor is fond of reminding us, his non-series work was at least what might be considered the “veggies” that garnished his fare and was perhaps the very thing that made the other work possible for him to digest.
My comments on the expanded spreadsheet, (largely created from my ERBTIMELINE) include references to first serial, first editions, second serial, and first radio/film releases. Nkima approached this article by observing ERB's creative writing and how often ERB visited Tarzan--though some of his dates should be extended to include the year (following) when some of the Tarzan stories were FINISHED. My approach is "ERB published," which indicates Tarzan was a constant in publication, particularly in serialization, with few exceptions during ERB's lifetime. It is apparent, however, that the non-Tarzan tales come in close clusters of creative output. They seem to enjoy the same frequency of serial publication as Tarzan, though darn few of them enjoyed the same number of hardback REPRINTS over the years. The Nkima/Tangor viewpoints go hand in glove and, while approached from two different viewpoints: Creation v. Publication, we both end up in the same place: Edgar Rice Burroughs was a hard working man.
My inclusion of Film, Radio, and Comic Daily Strips merely illustrates that ERB was rarely out of the public eye. As regards the Tarzan daily comic it was in constant production throughout his life, though I did not show this for each year after it began. The sum of these non-ERB exhibits simply illustrates that Burroughs' name recognition remained constant throughout the years. My friend Nkima's examination of non-Tarzan story production during ERB's lifetime affirms ERB's determination to expand his horizons and to let no story written go to waste.
ERB saturated the reading market as few other authors have done, then or since. Looking at the spreadsheet below we can see that his serials and novels where in constant production from 1914 until 1949. There were, on average, two ERB hardback publications released each year from 1914 to 1940. Burroughs experienced a burst of creativity between 1912 and 1915 that fueled his "pipeline" of pulp serials and books for several years after.
Once Burroughs became a best selling author his output dropped dramatically and, as has been noted by other researchers, began to maximize dollars for sometimes pot-boiler, or at the very best, consistently repetitive output as regards the Tarzan stories. Hooray for enterprise!
ERB (most unusual) managed to resell serial publication rights on a number of stories over the years. I have included these secondary serializations because they indicate the businessman's approach and are the source of confusing titles for researchers. These repeated offerings contributed steadily to the author's income and name. I have not indicated the G&D, A.L. Burts, Methune or overseas editions, each of which were a source of income for the author. The scope of the spreadsheet is to reveal ERB's writing habits and his initial serial and first edition releases. If all of the exclusions listed above were displayed, ERB would appear to never have been out of print during his lifetime.
The spreadsheet indicates that a number of his pulp stories appeared in serial form only. Many of these were not collected or published in book form until after his death--some well after his death in 1950. ERB had very few slim years in publishing from 1913 to 1940, yet the axe had to fall, eventually. From an Olympian viewpoint years later it seems obvious there were two desperate periods in his writing career.
See Tangor Responds WORDS AND WAGES for a spreadsheet illustrating Burroughs word counts over the years and a graph displaying initial income on each story. Note that after the mid-1930's ERB's income diminished dramatically and that the amounts shown for Escape on Venus and Llana of Gathol are the total income collected on the various story parts.
That first prolific period was a struggling writer and family man in 1912-16, initially selling "cheap." Soon ERB commanded one of the highest "cents per word" of any pulp author and maintained that extraordinary level until the mid-1930s--culminating with Tarzan and the Lion Man being sold for the astounding price of $10,000.
The second prolific period (1940) was that of a writer in public decline, and a man dealing with a second divorce, failed business decisions, and a tax squabble with the state of California which he eschewed by living in Hawaii. Burroughs applied himself to these various tests by working long hours in a rented office in Honolulu and rose to the occasion by penning a flood of imaginative tales. Ed Burroughs was never afraid of hard work.
What Burroughs wrote in 1940 appeared in various pulp mags in 1941 and 1942. The dollar amounts he recieved for this extraordinary effort were extraordinarily pitiful. There was a war on and paper shortages existed for all publishers, which explains why only one ERB book, Land of Terror, appeared between 1940 and 1945. Because ERB offered his services as the oldest war correspondent covering World War II we find that 1943, creatively, was a near dry year and 1945 was zip, nada, zero; however in 1944, at the age of 69, ERB wrote what many consider to be the best Tarzan novel of all time Tarzan and "The Foreign Legion." This title did not see print until 1947.
Both periods illustrate the author's active imagination and determination to offer value for valuta earned. The first period (1911-1915) was ERB getting started as a writer. The second (1940-1944) came at the end of Burroughs' career when pulp magazines began to fail because of war-time extremities and the popular tastes of the reading public changed. ERB, belatedly, realized his one trick pony had few-to-no tricks left and strove to extend himself. Unfortunately, these extensions (Venus, the late Pellucidar stories, and Poloda) did not rise to his previous excellence and are considered some of his weaker products.
1940 saw ERB--and his corporation--dealing with an extreme saturation of market. All of the new and younger writers who embraced attributes of Burroughs' famous style were introducing significant technological themes in their works which were beyond his ability to replicate. (Clarke, Heinlein, Asimov, etc.) By 1939, the man who is considered the Grandfather of Science Fiction, was in eclipse by the works of bright, eager, and more daring authors spawned during World War II.
The war, principally, and media such as radio, daily comic strips, and HOLLYWOOD, competed adversely with ERB's second most prolific--and most underpaid--creative output (1940). Tarzan was nothing more than a mono-syllabic joke as far as the movie going public was concerned; Barsoom was a near forgotten dream, and the Venus satires were lost in the horrid reality of war-time. Burroughs' western and cowboy tales would not find a truly receptive audience until the 1950s--and by that time there were no volumes left to be purchased.
At the end of his career, there were few publishing venues willing or able to accept Burroughs tales of wonder and adventure. Those that were willing to accept his stories sadly, and repeatedly, screwed Burroughs dollar-wise for his adventure stories. The reality is the pulp editors and publishers were equally unhappy to see their markets and previous fortunes disappear. Cheap paperback books were on the horizon and these publications all but killed the pulp magazines. ERB's Cave Girl appeared as a paperback novel in 1949 (Dell)--the only reprint shown in the spreadsheet below. The glory of a publishing era was about to pass and fade.
There comes a time one ceases to swim upstream. When that time embraces us most firmly we should hope to read the Sunday Funnies in bed--and then pass quietly to another plane. Edgar Rice Burroughs died March 19, 1950 at his home in Encino, California. He remains one of the most influential and prolific American authors of all time.
The following spreadsheet collects, in a single view, the creative, serial, second serial, and hardback output of Edgar Rice Burroughs. See also Tangor Responds. Color Coding is IMPORTANT. Please note that Llana of Gathol, Escape on Venus, and Savage Pellucidar are presented as initially seralized--interconnected, but separately published novellas. These 12 stories were later collected as three novels; though the complete Savage Pellucidar volume was not released until 1963 which included the (then) unpublished novella of the same name.
|When written||First Edition Hardback||Film/Radio||(I) Incomplete||Title in white: 1 of kind|
|Written unpublished||Article Written||Daily Comic Strip||Pt# - Story sections later collected||Serial titles may differ from books|
|Serial||Article published||LL# Llana of Gathol||EV# Escape on Venus||SP# Savage Pellucidar|
|THE WORKS OF ERB AS WRITTEN AND INITIALLY PUBLISHED, MAGAZINE AND FIRST EDITIONS, AND SECOND SERIAL RIGHTS|
|Complied by David A. Adams and David Bruce Bozarth, Copyright 2001|
|Princess Mars||Tarzan Apes||Earth's Core||Beasts Tarzan||Son Tarzan||Auto-Gypsying|
|Outlaw Torn||Gods Mars||Cave Girl Pt1||Lad Lion||Man-Eater||Beasts Tarzan|
|Avenger||Monster Men||Girl Farris's||Beyond Thirty||Cave Girl Pt2|
|For the Fool's Mother||Warlord Mars||Thuvia, Maid Mars||Tarzan Jewels||Girl Farris's|
|Return Tarzan||Mucker Pt1||Cave Girl Pt2||Rider||Beasts Tarzan|
|Princess Mars||Eternal Lover Pt1||Eternal Lover Pt2||Zealots||Mucker Pt2|
|Tarzan Apes||Mad King Pt1||Mad King Pt2||Lion Hunter||Tarzan Jewels|
|Monster Men||Pellucidar||Return Tarzan||Thuvia, Maid Mars|
|Cave Girl Pt1||Tarzan Apes||Beyond Thirty|
|Gods Mars||Earth's Core||Eternal Lover Pt2|
|Return Tarzan||Beasts Tarzan||Eternal Lover Pt1 (I)|
|Warlord Mars||Eternal Lover Pt1||Mad King Pt2|
|Mad King Pt1||Man-Eater|
|Outlaw Torn||Son Tarzan|
|Oakdale Affair||Out Time's Abyss||Under the Red Flag||Tarzan Terrible||Chessmen Mars||Tarzan Golden Lion|
|Jungle Tales Tarzan||Tarzan Untamed||Efficiency Expert||Ghostly Script||Girl Hollywood||Moon Maid 1|
|Land Time Forgot||Patriotism by Proxy||Jungle Tales Tarzan||Tarzan Untamed||Tarzan the Terrible||Beware!|
|People Time Forgot||Peace Militia||Warlord Mars||Thuvia, Maid Mars||Mucker||Earth's Core|
|Auto Biography (Republic)||National Reserve Army, A||Tarzan Untamed||Tarzan Valley Luna||Efficiency Expert||Chessmen Mars|
|Little Door||Wanted--Good Citizens!||Oakdale Affair||Revenge Tarzan||Tarzan Terrible||Chessmen Mars|
|Son Tarzan||Tarzan Jewels||Son Tarzan||Adv Tarzan||Girl Hollywood|
|Princess Mars||Gods Mars|
|Lad Lion||Land Time Forgot|
|Jungle Tales Tarzan||Oakdale Affair|
|Auto Biography (Republic)||Rider|
|Bandit Hell's Bend||Marcia the Doorstep||Red Hawk||War Chief||You Lucky Girl!||Tarzan Twins Jad-Bal-Ja|
|Tarzan Antmen||Out Time's Abyss (Urban)||Master Mind Mars||Adv in Plagurism||Tarzan Lord Jungle||Tarzan Lost Empire|
|Tarzan Golden Lion||Moon Men||Cave Girl||Tarzan Twins||Apache Devil||Tanar Pellucidar|
|Pellucidar||Land Time Forgot||Bandit Hell's Bend||Moon Maid||Outlaw Torn||Tarzan Earth's Core|
|Girl Hollywood||Tarzan Antmen||Eternal Lover||Mad King||War Chief||Master Mind Mars|
|Moon Maid||Out Time's Abyss (Urban)||Moon Men||Adv in Plagurism||Tarzan Twins||Tarzan Lord Jungle|
|Tarzan Golden Lion||Bandit Hell's Bend||Red Hawk||Land Time Forgot||Apache Devil|
|Tarzan Antmen||Master Mind Mars||Tarzan, Lord Jungle|
|War Chief||Tarzan the Mighty|
|Tarzan Golden Lion|
|Perils the Jungle|
|Fighting Man Mars||Tarzan Invincible||Tarzan Triumphant||Murder!||Tarzan Lion Man||Tarzan's Quest|
|Jungle Girl||Deputy Sheriff||Calling All Cars!||Pirate Blood||Swords Mars||Pirates Venus|
|Citizen Police||Ghengis Khan||Tarzan Leopardmen||Lost on Venus||Death Valley Exp 33ers||Tarzan Lion Man|
|Monster Men||Tanar Pellucidar||Pirates Venus||ERB Tells All||Apache Devil||Swords Mars|
|Tarzan Lost Empire||Tarzan Earth's Core||Tarzan City Gold||Jungle Girl||Tarzan City Gold||Tarzan His Mate|
|Tarzan Daily Comic||Lost Inside the Earth||Tarzan Invincible||Tarzan Triumphant||Tarzan Lion Man|
|Conquest the Moon||Fighting Man Mars||Fighting Man Mars||Pirates Venus||Lost on Venus|
|Carter Red Planet||Tarzan, Guard Jungle||Jungle Girl||Tarzan City Gold||Tarzan the Fearless|
|Tanar Pellucidar||Tarzan Triumphant||Tarzan Leopardmen|
|Tarzan Lost Empire||Tarzan Radio Starts|
|Tarzan Earth's Core||Tarzan the Ape Man|
|Tarzan the Tiger|
|Back to the Stone Age||Resurection Jimber-Jaw||Carson Venus||Lad Lion (rewrite)||Tarzan Jungle Murders||Tarzan Madman|
|Tarzan Magnificent||Tarzan Magnificent||Tarzan Forbidden City||Synthetic Men Mars||Angel's Serenade||Escape on Venus|
|Lost on Venus||Swords Mars||Two-Gun Doak…||Land Terror||Tarzan Champion||City Mummies LL1|
|Tarzan Leopardmen||Tarzan Twins Jad-Bal-Ja||Writer's Digest (letter)||Lad Lion||Carson Venus||Black Pirates Barsoom LL2|
|Tarzan Immortal Men||Tarzan's Quest||Oakdale Affair/Rider||Tarzan Forbidden City||Tarzan Magnificent||Yellow Men Mars LL3|
|New Advs Tarzan||Tarzan Magic Men||Back to Stone Age||Carson Venus||Tarzan Clans||Invisible Men Mars LL4|
|Tarzan Escapes||Writer's Digest (letter)||Red Star Tarzan||Scientists Revolt||Return to Pellucidar SP1|
|Seven Worlds Conquer||Red Star Tarzan||Synthetic Men Mars||Men Bronze Age SP2|
|Resurection Jimber-Jaw||Tarzan's Revenge||Tarzan Finds a Son||Tiger Girl SP3|
|Tarzan Elephant Men||Tarzan Green Goddess||Beyond the Farthest Star|
|Tarzan Jr||Tangor Returns|
|Strange Advs Dinwiddie|
|Synthetic Men Mars|
|Tarzan Jungle Murders|
|I Am A Barbarian||Return to Pellucidar SP1||More Fun! More People Killed!||Tarzan Foreign Legion||Tarzan Amazons||Tarzan, Lost Adv (fragment)|
|Wizard Venus||Men Bronze Age SP2||Tarzan Triumphs||Savage Pellucidar SP4||Escape on Venus|
|Uncle Miner Relations||Tiger Girl SP3||Tarzan's Desert Mystery||Land Terror||Tarzan Leopard Woman|
|Skeleton Men Jupiter||Beyond The Farthest Star|
|Fall Democracy||War on Venus EV4|
|Fall Democracy||Tarzan's New York Adv|
|Skeleton Men Jupiter|
|Slaves Fish Men EV1|
|Goddess Fire EV2|
|Living Dead EV3|
|John Carter Giant Mars|
|City Mummies LL1|
|Black Pirates Barsoom LL2|
|Yellow Men Mars LL3|
|Invisible Men Mars LL4|
|Tarzan's Secret Treasure|
|Tarzan Foreign Legion||Llana Gathol||Cave Girl (Dell)||Tarzan Slave Girl||Tarzan's Peril||Tarzan's Savage Fury|
|Tarzan Huntress||Tarzan Mermaids||Tarzan's Magic Fountain|