Monday, November 17, 2014
Zamba And The Silver Globe!
Zamba and the Silver Globe by John Raymond is an unusual book, which I am careful to point out is not about Tarzan, the classic hero created by Edgar Rice Burroughs. Originally written by Barton Werper, Raymond's contribution to this tome seems to be changing the names. Back in the 60's it was thought for a short time that the ERB characters had fallen into public domain, so several publishers tried their hand at it. Ace Books came out with many handsome but unauthorized editions of the classic works of Tarzan and others. Charlton Comics took a stab at a Tarzan comic by Joe Gill and Sam Glanzman. I took a closer look at this gem here.
So it was in this atmosphere that Gold Medal Books started to publish new stories featuring the Ape Man, the first of which was titled Tarzan and the Silver Sphere. Six of these books hit the stands before action by the ERB estate put a halt to it. I took a closer look at these books here. The books have never been reprinted, until now, at least in part.
Using the cover art for one of Charlton's unauthorized Tarzan comics, this one by Charlton editor and artist Pat Masulli, Fiction House has reprinted the story of Tarzan and the Silver Globe by Barton Werper, but this time minus any of the nominal references to the characters of Edgar Rice Burroughs.
Tarzan has become "Zamba", and his English identity is "John Rupert Baring, Lord Revelstoke". He along with is wife "Jenny" find themselves seeking yet more gold from the ancient city of "Ophir" where they encounter the lovely but deadly priestess "Shona". The "Wazimbi", the loyal African warriors of Zamba's are eager to served their leader as he finds his gold in Ophir, but not before encountering weird tentacled creatures from space called "Followers". These Followers serve "Glamo", the master of the Silver Globe who it turns out has a mighty secret indeed.
Below this point are SPOILERS galore, so tread carefully.
It turns out that the Ophirians, specifically Shona are actually of Venusian descent, that Atlantis was apparently an outpost of Venus and Glamo is from Venus, headed home after a vast interstellar safari has garnered him a space ship full of weird creatures from across the cosmos. He's stopped on Earth to stock up on precious gold which is proof against the Followers who serve the Venusian and Glamo with some reluctance. Glamo has come to gather his former love Shona.
Zamba falls into trap after trap and typically for one of these yarns loses his memory as Jenny is kidnapped by Glamo and taken inside the silver space ship. Zamba fights mysterious and deadly Followers to save her. Eventually all the animals of the jungle unite to come to Zamba's rescue and many die when the Silver Globe eventually explodes killing Glamo. As it turns out Shona had already died, her heart cut from her body by her depraved followers, the little men of Ophir.
END of SPOILERS.
This is a cracking good tale, but not a subtle one by any margin. The logic is suspect, but that's de rigeur for stories of this kind. The tempo is brisk and relentless. There is a hint of a theme with some doubt on Zamba by his mate on how he depends on Ophir for his wealth; the original author of this book was "Barton Werper", a pseudonym for the husband wife team Peter and Peg Scott, and perhaps that accounts for the odd woman's perspective in this male fantasy adventure. The fact Zama / Tarzan fights aliens is a bit off the classic mark for certain, but handled with a briskness which doesn't allow for much doubt on the reader's part.
I recommend this one, if only for its utter weirdness and historical significance.