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WonderCon 2019: ‘Tarzan,’ ‘John Carter,’ and Edgar Rice Burroughs, Inc.: What’s New? – Panel Coverage

Every year for the past six years, various folks that are part of Edgar Rice Burroughs, Inc. host a panel at WonderCon to discuss recent and future activities with the different Edgar Rice Burroughs properties. For 2019, the panel was moderated by Scott Tracy Griffin (author, Tarzan: The Centennial Celebration) and included Jim Sullos (president, Edgar Rice Burroughs, Inc.), Christopher Paul Carey (author, Swords Against the Moon Men), Thomas Yeates (Tarzan comics artist), and Robert de Young (filmmaker, Tarzan Revisited) talking about their different projects, new projects from Edgar Rice Burroughs, Inc., and even spotlighting projects done by other companies.

The panel began with a discussion on the Tarzan Revisited documentary, with Griffin asking de Young how Tarzan has been received in Australia. De Young talked about how allusions to Tarzan could be seen in films such as Crocodile Dundee before transitioning to a history of Australian television that was inundated with both British and American programming. From his perception, Tarzan become quite popular, in particular with children, as he was a basic character who didn’t have any props or guns: “It was a character that children could play with.” He went on to elaborate on the relationship of Tarzan and Jane being one of the great romances, while the myth of Tarzan was extremely malleable and easily incorporated into stories for successor generations. For De Young, the process of creating Tarzan Revisited was an almost four- to five-year project, starting with research to actual filming with various flights to and from Australia to the States.

Yeates chimed in to discuss the virtues of Tarzan Revisited as a rare opportunity to see Tarzan television actor Ron Ely on screen, as he usually shies away from appearing on camera. Sullos also commented on the genesis of Tarzan Revisited, noting that back in 2012, the 100-year anniversary of Tarzan was going to happen and six production companies had approached him to do a documentary; however, over time, after becoming exposed to the level of effort involved, five of the six companies withdrew from the project, leaving only De Young’s Tarzan Revisited.

Griffin transitioned the dialogue to Yeates to discuss some of the Tarzan-related comic book projects he had been working on. He began by talking about The Once & Future Tarzan, a trade paperback released by Dark Horse in late 2018. Yeates got the idea of The Once & Future Tarzan from seeing television shows like Life After People that discuss the state of the Earth when there are no more humans to maintain the infrastructure; he thought this would be the perfect playground for Tarzan. Yeates was able to do the first half of the comic, with Scott Hampton completing it. While Yeates would love to work more on The Once & Future Tarzan, his current obligations of working on Prince Valiant, as well as completing Groo Meets Tarzan, prohibit him from doing so.

Next, the panel moved onto Carey, a recent addition to the ERBI staff as Director of Publishing after years of working at Paizo. Carey talked about the comics program, many with publisher American Mythology, with titles such as Carson of Venus: The Flames Beyond, a Carson/John Carter crossover comic, Moon Maid, and Princess of Venus. He also mentioned projects that Dynamite Entertainment was working on, including the John Carter/Mars Attacks! and Dejah Thoris/Barbarella crossovers.

Finally, Sullos talked about fiction news of Edgar Rice Burroughs which focused on the publication of a rediscovered story fragment. The fragment was originally written by Burroughs in 1930 and was only a scant few pages. Michael Tierney fleshed out the fragment to a completed short story, giving it a new title, Young Tarzan and the Mysterious She, which is to be published in the Spring 2019 issue of Cirsova.

Before concluding, the panel brought up one of the biggest news in regards to Edgar Rice Burroughs: the upcoming release of the John Carter of Mars tabletop RPG from Modiphius Entertainment after having completing a majorly successful Kickstarter campaign.

Photo by Nicholas Diak

Nicholas Diak, Fanbase Press Contributor



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