Saturday, March 20, 2010

Edgar Rice Burroughs in Magazines

My recent acquisition of the very scarce magazine below, the first episode of "Under the Moons of Mars" the first appearance of Burroughs in print, for $1320 (1200+ 10% buyers premium) in the recent Adventure House auction of the Darrell Richardson collection is the motivation for this long overdue post. I had never previously had the opportunity to get it, other than in a run of the six episodes offerred and refused at $8000 from a private collector a number of years ago. (I also acquired three other first issue pulps in a true feeding frenzy from the catalog ).

It represents a milestone in American fiction, the beginning of the serious literary career (at age 36) of one of America's most collectible writers. The manuscript of this interplanetary romance between earthling John Carter and the beautiful Martian princess Dejah Thoris was submitted to All Story on September 28, 1911 and published in six parts. Originally submitted under the pseudonym of a "Normal Bean", somehow the byline entered posterity as Norman Bean.

Far and away, the most comprehensive reference on Burroughs is Edgar Rice Burroughs. The Exhaustive Scholar's and Collector's Descriptive Bibiography by Robert B. Zeuschner: (McFarland 1996). A good price guide for individual magazine issues can be found in the Bookery Fantasy Guide by Tim Cottrill.
Burrough's went on to enjoy a long association with magazines, most famously for "Tarzan of the Apes", his second published effort, in All-Story in October 1912. Since it was published in its entirety and is featured on the cover, this magazine remains the most valuable individual issue of any, with a legitimate 2010 value in the range of $25,000 in decent condition. There are a few dozen copies known the pulp collectors and dealers (as per an anecdotal conversion with John Gunnison).

The announcement of its publication appeared on the title page of All Story the previous month.

After two rejections of his second Tarzan story by All-Story, Burrough's submitted it to New Story, who promptly purchased it for $1000 dollars and ran it in seven parts between June and December 1913. Two of the issues are featured on the cover, illustrated by the legendary N.C. Wyeth, the second of which became the dust jacket illustration for the later book.

Complete magazine runs of this story are exceedingly rare, perhaps two or three in existence in their original state. The cover issues bring about $3000 dollars each.

All-Story eventually became a weekly and went thorough a number of mergers and title changes. Here are a few of the Tarzan covers from my collection.

Burroughs' appearances in magazines remain today highly sought and valuable.

Six in All-Story
Two in New Story
Thirteen in All-Story Weekly
Nineteen in Blue Book
Ten in Argosy Weekly
Four in All-Story Cavalier
One in All-Around
One in Amazing Stories Annual
One in Idle-Hour (exremely rare)
Seven in Amazing Stories Quarterly
Three (reprinted) in Modern Mechanics and Invention
Enjoy the beautiful spring day and "March Madness". I will be spending the late afternoon and evening with my son at our annual fantasy baseball draft (another form of wacky escapist obsessiveness).

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