Tarzan 101 | Tarzan and the City of Gold

Celebrating Tarzan’s 101st anniversary by walking through Scott Tracy Griffin’s Tarzan: The Centennial Celebration.

Tarzan and the City of Gold sounds like reheated material at first. There’s another lost city with another white queen who falls in love with Tarzan, but the novel goes beyond that concept in a couple of interesting ways. First, Tarzan is genuinely fascinated with Queen Nemone in a way that should make Jane fans nervous, but the book also focuses on palace intrigue in a cool way as the city’s nobility seek to get rid of Tarzan and take more power and influence for themselves.

There are actually two cities in the novel, the titular one as well as a City of Ivory that Burroughs intended to spin off into a sequel. The second story was never written, but the cities of Cathne and Athne did eventually return in Tarzan the Magnificent.

Griffin includes a supplemental chapter called “Femmes Fatales” that isn’t exactly about what the title suggests. It does include some dangerous women, but is really about all of Tarzan’s romantic interests over the years. Three of them (Countess Olga de Coude, a nameless dancing girl, and La of Opar) appeared in The Return of Tarzan while the ape-man was separated (forever, as far as he knew) from Jane, but the list continues even after Tarzan and Jane were married. In addition to Nemone, there’s German spy Bertha Kircher, whom Tarzan met in Tarzan the Untamed when he thought Jane was dead, and Teeka, the ape with whom Tarzan fell in love in Jungle Tales.

Griffin mentions a bunch of other women too, most of whom had feelings for Tarzan that were unrequited by him, like Janzara from Ant Men, Mentheb from Forbidden City, and Itzl Cha and Patricia Leigh-Burden from Castaways. Griffin also includes a thumbnail gallery of nine paintings by Joe Jusko that depict women from the Tarzan novels, including Balza (Lion Man), Janette Laon (Castaways), Rhonda Terry (Lion Man), Magra (Forbidden City), and Meriem (Son of Tarzan), in addition to some of the others he discussed in the chapter.

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