F. PAUL WILSON
The serial version of Pirates of Venus began its six-issue run in Argosy Weekly in 1932. At the time, Edgar Rice Burroughs appeared to have the world by the tale.
Consider: MGM's Tarzan the Ape Man, the first Tarzan talkie, star- ring Maureen O'Sullivan and an Olympic swimmer named Johnny Weissmuller, was well on its way to becoming one of the most popular and profitable movies of the year. Burroughs's publishing venture, ERB Inc., had just released its third title (Tarzan Triumphant) and, despite dire warnings that he would be courting disaster by self-publishing, was turning a profit. The Tarzan daily comic strip illustrated by Rex Maxon was syndicated in more than 250 newspapers, and the brilliant Hal Foster, who later created Prince Valiant, had started illustrating the color Sunday page. The Tarzan radio show had just debuted, sparking, via its sponsors, a surge of merchandising that encompassed everything from Tarzan statuettes and spears to Tarzan chewing gum. In addition to his ranch, he had a new beachfront home in Malibu. The town of Tarzana, named after his ranch, had been incorporated, designated with its own postmark.
But typical of Burroughs's life, every silver lining had its cloud. Never satisfied with the considerable income from his writing, he had spent the preceding decade looking for ways to parlay that money into even larger profits. In one venture he had converted part of the Tarzana ranch into the El Caballero Country Club, which recently had gone into default and foreclosure. Apache Motors, an airplane engine company