|Dark Horse presents
an all-new tale by the Master of Adventure himself, Edgar Rice Burroughs!
Written before the twin blockbusters of A Princess of Mars and Tarzan
of the Apes, Minidoka is a whimsical fantasy in the tradition of Jonathan
Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels. Illustrated by comics legend Michael
Wm. Kaluta, and featuring a never-before-published cover painting by
Allen St. John, this fractured fairy tale for children of all ages
is sure to become a highly sought-after collectible!
A Fairy Tale for Every
Child, Even Those of us Who Are Adults:
Minidoka? What kind of a
word is that, you say? Then you stop and think, "Oh, Edgar Rice Burroughs,
creator of Tarzan and John Carter. It's a made up word!" WRONG. Minidoka
is a small town (or was, I don't know if it is still there) in Idaho where
Mr. Burroughs worked in one of his many failed careers as a gold miner
(1901 to 1904) with his brother at the Yale Dredging Company. It didn't
pan out, pardon the pun, and the world is much more richer for the failed
Burroughs has never been
accused of being a literary genius, although his stories have reached every
corner of the world, his books are published in over sixty different languages
(not counting dialects), his tales have been the basis for dozens of films,
TV series, animations and comics. What Mr. Burroughs was gifted with was
the art of storytelling and that trait has made him a legend.
Mindoka, 937th Earl of One
Mile Series M is a story that sprung from that ability. No one knows for
certain when this wonderful tale was created, perhaps it was one of the
series of bedtime stories Burroughs told his children each night. All of
them created on the spot as he paced the hall of their small home and spoke
in a loud voice so that all in the house could hear. What ever occurred,
Burroughs liked this particular story so much that he committed it to paper.
Of a sorts, at least. He used the backs of old letterheads from the mining
company, photo bills from Pocatello and letterheads of the American Genealogical
Society to compose this story. None of the hand written manuscript is dated,
nor was it discovered until 1955, five years after his death, in his personal
belongings. The paper the story was written on gives proof that this is
Burroughs first ever written work, never before seen by another beside
himself until after he had died and never published until today. This makes
that story almost a century old!
The tale is very strange,
not at all like his works that were published in his lifetime. This is
a children's story, it is written with the intention of being read aloud
to children and has all the classic elements of fairy tales. Horrible monsters,
magic spells, beautiful damsels to rescue and battles to be fought, all
of these are in there along with a never before seen look at the man's
sense of humor.
The story itself is quite
captivating, even if it is a bit difficult to read for an adult. I dare
say that I will be hard pressed to pronounce some of the words that Burroughs
has created for this story, but many of the characters and creatures are
quite endearing. I really liked the hoobody and hookidooki. The hoobody
reminded me of one of the mythical creatures of my people, the Apache,
(perhaps that's where he got the idea) and the hookidooki was just plain
fun to read about even if it was a villain.
The setting for the story
is Idaho of a million or more years in the past, but with European type
kingdoms all based as the origin of Irish names. Very interesting concept
and for the life of me I can't determine why he took that tact in the story.
But it matters not, as the tale is fantastic.
Many aspects of his published
works can be seen in this story. The way his heroes act and react is based
on this tale. Many animals and places for completely unrelated stories
are mentioned here as something else. It is almost as if he created an
entire universe from the seeds that he planted for himself in this story
to his children.
There is something else that
is very special about this book. The cover art is a painting by J. Allen
St. John that has never been published before. Who is St. John, you ask?
This is the man that made every single cover painting for Burroughs books
starting in 1915 with The Son of Tarzan and ending in 1942 with The Tiger
Girl (I have copies of all of these). The painting was made over 50 years
ago when an art director told St. John that it was impossible for an artist
to do an illustration using all known mediums that were known at the time.
St. John went to his loft and created a drawing he titled Minidoka by those
exact means just to prove the man wrong. This cover is the first printing
of that painting.
The book is a mere 63 pages
long with about 15 of those pages being lavishly drawn full page illustrations.
Each page also has drawings around the edges that have to do with what
the story is talking about at the time.
The book is published by
Dark Horse Comics and is available now at all book stores. You will more
than likely have to special order it, because it is a limited edition print.
The price is ... well worth it. I can hardly wait until it is mass produced
so that I can get a reading copy to give my children when they are old
enough. Get one of these first prints while they are still out there. You
will never regret it.
L Black Bear, Austin, Texas