Tarzan the pop up book is a true classic of both the legend of Tarzan and a beautiful example of pop up books in the 1930s.
This is among a series of the the “New Adventures of Tarzan”. After Tarzan was originally found, brought back to England and assumed his proper place as the heir to Lord Greystoke, he needs something to do.
Hence, the new adventures. In this adventure, Tarzan is taken to Guatemala in search of an ancient relic known as the Lost Goddess. The Lost Goddess contains untold power and an ancient recipe for explosives. The evil Raglan wants this for himself.
The hallmark for fantasy literature of the 1930s is overly-present in this story. That is, over-the-top feats of strength, hyper masculine themes and heroes who are superlative.
Through the course of the written part of the book, Tarzan, called the “Ape Man” has powers that are superhuman. He manages to kill crocodiles, jaguars and scores of savages. He saves the beautiful Ula from plummeting over a waterfall and he saves others along the way.
Tarzan’s strength is temporarily overcome by a large number of savages who take him to their leader, the scantily clad Maya Queen. Although she is the merciless queen of the savages, she is overcome by a desire to make Tarzan her king. At the moment when she can plunge a knife into Tarzan’s heart, she cannot. She wilts at her visceral attraction for Tarzan.
However, this is not enough, aside from saving everyone, getting the girl and being the master of wanton, albeit justified, killing, Tarzan saves the Lost Goddess from falling into the hands of the evil Raglan. He replaces the relic, thereby keeping the ancient culture of the natives in Guatemala whole.
This is a book that would not see the light of day in today’s ultra-sensitive society. The book is a window into how rigid the world of the 1930s was in terms of gender roles and racial stereotypes.
As a pop up book, the three die-cut pop ups are very well done. The colors are still bright in 2013 and they are interesting to look at. The company that made this book, Pleasure Books Company of Chicago, made these wonderful books that have illustration on both sides of the die-cut paper. This makes the pop ups a 360 degree experience for the reader.
This is a book that truly deserves to be archived and presented to a new generation.