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Claws of the Cat-Woman
by Ron Marz, Igor Kordey, Christopher Chuckry,
& Clem Robins
Paperback: 96 pages
Dark Horse Comics
ISBN: 1569714665
Batman. Tarzan. Two orphaned noblemen who have honed their minds and bodies to the peak of human performance. Two fearless warriors who have sworn to protect their respective homelands. Now, a new evil has surfaced, one that will bring these two legendary heroes together for the first time. In a rousing adventure that reaches from the shadowy spires of Gotham City to the dark forests of deepest Africa, all the skills and instincts of the Dark Knight and the Lord of the Jungle will be needed to save an opulent lost civilization from destruction.
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The 937th EARL of ONE MILE
Series M
by Edgar Rice Burroughs
Illustrations by Michael Wm Kaluta
Cover by original Tarzan artist J. Allen St. John
Edited by Peet Janes
Hardcover: 64 pages
Dark Horse Comics, Inc.
ISBN: 1569712808
A Fractured Fairy Tale from the Creator of Tarzan
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 J. 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 attempt.

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.

--Joseph L Black Bear, Austin, Texas
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