Thoughts on Eric John Stark’s Ethnicity

Recently, Barnes & Noble decided to try something for Black History Month that everyone decided was a Bad IdeaTM. No, that wasn’t a Babylon Bee article, they took characters from classic works [in many cases the villains, ironically] and made them black on the cover art as part of a promotion.

Cover Only JPGLast year, we put out a fully-illustrated edition of Brackett’s Planet Stories-era Stark adventures, and one thing we wanted to be sure to do was portray him on the covers and in the interior the way he’s described: black. No, not ethnically black, but dark-skinned; easily shorthanded as “black”.

Some people take issue with or confuse Stark’s changed nature with the de jour racial politics: “How is pretending Eric John Stark’s sun-blackened skin makes him a different race any better than just straight up race swapping characters?”

Who is Stark? Is he a white man? Is he a black man? Is he a white man with black skin?

His skin is black and everyone calls him a “great black ape.”

He’s stripped of any white ethnic identity by his physical condition as well as his upbringing.

Enchantress Cover for ebookHe’s an eternal outsider.

He identifies as N’Chaka, Man with no tribe.

If Stark was ever “white”, he is no longer–he feels no racial kinship with “white” men of Earth. But he’s not “black” either, in that he is not African, nor would he feel any racial kinship with “black” men of Earth, though given his upbringing, he might feel more sympathetic towards them.

Brackett was a huge fan of Edgar Rice Burroughs and Tarzan, and in some ways Stark may be looked at as an anti-Tarzan.

Tarzan was Nature over Nurture. Burroughs emphasized the importance of his noble Anglo blood that always shone through despite the circumstances of his upbringing; Tarzan was always true to his blood and nothing could change that. When he meets fellow whites, he knows them to be his people.

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Stark was Nurture over Nature. His environment changed him physically and mentally; though he was the child of frontier settlers from earth, at his core he is a savage, more kin with the the wild Mercurian indigenous hunters than with the earth men who found him and dragged him back to earth in a cage “to civilize him”. That Stark was at some point in his early childhood a white boy would be immaterial to his ethnic identity as it presents to every other person he comes in contact with, and you can be damn sure he feels no sense of racial connection to “white” people. He’s a character who was crafted to be completely and totally an outsider among any race.

To say “he’s white with black skin” glosses over the experiment Brackett was doing with the character, creating someone with conflicting ethnic signifiers and no racial identity besides “other”.

So, when I say “Eric John Stark is black,” I’m not saying “Eric John Stark is either descended from African American slave stock or is a Sub-Saharan African”; I’m saying he’s literally black.

More details on our 70th Anniversary Illustrated Stark can be found here.

Also, be sure to check out our Spring Issue, available for pre-order now in e-book form [print pre-order coming soon!], out March 13th!

Spring Cirsova Cover Reveal!

Jim Breyfogle’s Mongoose & Meerkat are back in an all new adventure, The Golden Pearl.

We still have a little bit of room left for advertisements inside, so try to get them in to us ASAP!

eBook Pre-Order: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0847SD58P

Merch: https://www.teepublic.com/t-shirt/7730992-the-golden-pearl

Paperback and Hardcover: coming soon!

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This issue contains:

Alpdruck! by Michael Reyes

Clock has been dispatched to the private hell of a powerful demon–and only a being of true evil on its own path towards redemption can aid him in this deadly fight!

Pour Down Like Silver, by Cynthia Ward

Banished for refusing to follow her order-pair into death, Rhesanna seeks the Tower of Ancient Time to free her comrade’s soul from the demon they failed to slay!

Lest Darkness Wreck the Stars, by Robert Zoltan

When Dareon and Blue uncover a mysterious gemstone in the wastes, a strange violet star appears in the sky and visions of a lovely woman invade Dareon’s dreams!

The Golden Pearl, by Jim Breyfogle

After a harrowing experience in their search for Burning Fish, Kat and Mangos are determined to never be poisoned again—could a Golden Pearl be the answer?!

Slave Girls for Sacrifice, by D.M. Ritzlin

A powerful sorceress with a bestial lover requires a blood sacrifice to complete her vile rites… Will Avok’s brawn and bag of tricks be enough to stop the witch?!

Praying to Thasaidon, by Tais Teng

No one prays to the Charnel God–but when a necromancer comes to collect on a family’s debts, there may be nowhere and no one to turn to but a god of death!

Adeste, Fideles, by G. Scott Huggins

Long ago, the “Last Fleet” was sent to find a new world for Earth’s orphaned children! That expedition to the fringes of space had been thought lost… Until now!

Return of the Dark Brotherhood, by Adrian Cole

Aruul Voruum nears completion of his witchfinder training… but the remnants of Daras Vorta’s cult have worked their tendrils into the heart of Mars’ government!

Outside the Outside?, by J. Comer

A review of The Tingleverse and Feast of Legends

My Name is John Carter (Part 8), by James Hutchings

James Hutchings continues his longform poem…

Wild Stars Available on Amazon [If You’ve Read Your IGG/KS Copy, Leave Us a Review!]

By now, just about everyone should have received their copies of Wild Stars!

Because we were able to fulfill both crowdfunds a month earlier than we’d planned, we were able to move up the world-wide release date.

The Wild Stars pages on Amazon are now live, so if you enjoyed Wild Stars and would like to continue to support Michael Tierney and Cirsova Publishing, you can do so by leaving reviews!

Book of Circles
Force Majeure
Time Warmageddon
Wild Star Rising
Omnibus

These help raise book, writer, and publisher profiles on Amazon and are a quick and easy way to help us out that doesn’t cost anything but the couple minutes it takes to leave one.

Thank you all again for supporting this exciting project, and we hope to be able to bring you much more exciting science fiction, fantasy, and adventure in 2020 and beyond!

Don’t forget, submissions open a week from today!

About Wild Stars & Michael Tierney

Michael Tierney has been in the comic industry for about 40 years. His Little Rock location, The Comic Book Store has been in business for 30 years this year!
His site thewildstars.com keeps you up to date on the latest comics and more!
In addition to having a hand in all sorts of comics doings, Michael Tierney is an AdventurerTM!

He’s a certified diver and done dives all over the world [part of where he gets his inspiration for wild alien fishmen, and stories like Shark Fighter!]

Michael is also a Maumelle City Councilman. Which may be the least exciting part, except when you remember that there are guys as cool as Michael trying to fight city hall from within.
People in our circles talk a lot about how there’s a #pulprevolution going on [the #pulprev crowd], but in the 1970s, there was another pulp revolution going on, as interest in older works and weird tales were in resurgence. It ran parallel to what would become the Tolkienesque.
The original #WildStars stories originate from this time period. The wild and bizarre fiction, however, went unsold to editors at the time, so Michael underwent the herculean task of reformatting his novels into B&W indie comics. Erlik in 1984 and First Marker in 1988.
Erlik, the son of an immortal from another universe, and Carthage a renegade Wild Star battle over ownship dispute for Earth, Old Atlantis. Carthage’s allies seek to wrest control of Earth or destroy it, while a psychic woman has been given the immortal’s memories of the future.
The First Marker, the clone of an earth adventurer who has been given the memories of a dead Wild Starrior, has been given the task to be modern earth’s first representative to the humans who left on the exodus to space 75,000 years earlier.
Michael wrote, drew, inked, and in the case of First Marker even printed his own independent comics because he wanted to get the stories of his #WildStars out there. As his comic shop’s success grew, he was able to do a more significant run, hiring professional artists for Vol.3
Volume 3 of Wild Stars further adapted the novels from the 1970s, with some of the story running concurrent with Erlik and First Marker. Frank Brunner, whose work you’ll see shared by @70sscifiart, did the covers for the 2001-2002 #WildStarscomics.
These comics, along with Erlik and First Marker, would be collected into Wild Stars: The Book of Circles.

Another 2002 comic, Prairie Bay: Force Majeure would expand the #WildStarsuniverse into the future.

Prairie Bay: Force Majeure tells the story of a young woman who falls afoul of a tough military commander and her escape, the circumstances surrounding which lead to a telepathic alien dinosaur getting its hands on a powerful alien artifact, the Marzanti Trident.
Rather than continue the comic, Force Majeure was expanded into a novel of which the comic served as a couple of chapters. In revenge for his defeat, Carthage has kidnapped First Marker’s infant daughter. Erlik and Daestar can help with their time machine, but there’s a catch…
If they rescue the First Marker’s daughter too soon, the timelines that the Ancient Warrior had been carefully crafting to facilitate his ultimate plan will be out the window and all foreknowledge of the future that Erlik and Daestar have will be useless. They have to wait until a fully grown Atlanta has done what she needs to do to prevent a resurgence of the Brothan and create a future where Mankind still has a chance to survive an alien onslaught and a modern earth can become reconciled to their Wild Stars cousins. This book became #WildStars II.
In 2016, Cirsova started, and in the process, I got to become friends with and publish some short fiction by Michael Tierney. At one point, he showed me some of his Wild Stars stuff and asked if we’d be interested in doing a special for his latest book.
Michael had brought on @POTUSThump and @MOWheatley to do art for this new project, Wild Stars III: Time Warmageddon. Though it stood somewhat alone, WS III builds on side characters from Force Majeure, expanding the story and the universe in new directions.
Another big project that Michael had going on around the same time was his truly monumental 4-volume Edgar Rice Burroughs 100 Year Art Chronology published by @chenaultandgray.
[Michael is something of an #EdgarRiceBurroughs aficionado].
It was through this project that Michael renewed his relationship with @EdgarRBurroughs for the first time since Danton Burroughs’ untimely passing. And from this came the “lost” #Tarzan story, Young Tarzan and the Mysterious She, published in spring this year.
On the heels of this project, Michael asked if we could do another Wild Stars book for him, Wild Star Rising. After reading the manuscript, we were so excited about it, because of how it not only grew the world and expanded the story, it made the older books better in retrospect!
Just how good #WildStars IV: Wild Star Rising is is a big part of why we decided that we wanted to full-ahead and put out an all new matching edition of all of Michael Tierney’s Wild Stars books! These are so cool and we want to share them with our friends, fans and readers!
So we’re asking for your help and your support!
Support for pulp revolutionaries!
Support for independent publishers!
Support for your Local Comic Shop Owner!
Support for #WildStars!

Cirsova Summer Special Available for Pre-Order!

The Summer Special will be out June 3rd!

The Ghost of Torreón
By EDD VICK and MANNY FRISHBERG
A strange experiment gone wrong has granted Professor Rigoberto “Beto” Caminante an extraordinary power—the ability to “ride” radio waves!

The Bullet From Tomorrow
By MISHA BURNETT
A mysterious visitor claiming to be from the future has a simple job for Private Investigator Butch Norton: sabotage an airplane to prevent World War III!

The Star-God’s Grave
By SCHUYLER HERNSTROM
A young sorcerer’s apprentice steals a starship from his master… only to be pressed into the service of a pair of space hussars to undertake a perilous quest!

Bleed You Dry
By SU-RA-U
A simple news assignment—talk to the reprobate son of an aloof dying billionaire—leads one small-town reporter down a trail of death and madness!

The Last Fortune of Ali al’Ahmar
By REV. JOE KELLY
No search for treasure is ever easy, but the hoard of a legendary pirate sought by a shifty client steeped in sorcery may prove tricky for even Sudah’s tough crew!

Halcyon
By CAROLINE FURLONG
An interstellar war has spilled onto the planet Halcyon, where humanity finds an unexpected ally in their fight against an alien race and their sinister masters!

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Summer Advertisements Due Friday!

We’re trying to get everything in for our Summer Special, which will be out June 3rd!

We need all Advertisements in by 5PM EST on May 10th!

250 Character Text Advertisement $25
1/4 page Advertisement $35
1/2 page Advertisement $50

1/2 Page – 7.5″ w x 4.5″ h or 3.5″ w x 9″ h
1/4 Page – 3.5″ w x 4.5″ h

Send images at 300 dpi and payment via paypal to cirsova at yahoo dot com!

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Cirsova Magazine of Thrilling Adventure and Daring Suspense Out Now!

The Spring issue of the All-New Cirsova Magazine of Thrilling Adventure and Daring Suspense is out now!

The big star of the spring issue, of course, is the brand-new Tarzan story Young Tarzan and the Mysterious She, by Edgar Rice Burroughs and Michael Tierney. Based on a fragment from 1930, this previously “Lost” Tarzan adventure takes place in the Jungle Tales period and, in addition to being a cool adventure in and of itself, ties into and resolves some issues from The Jewels of Opar.  Young Tarzan ponders his nature among his ape family in the jungle when he hears there may yet be another such as he! Who is the white-skinned she who lives among the Gomangani tribes, and is it she whose visage haunts the ape-man’s dreams?!

But in addition to this all-new Tarzan story, we’ve got a bunch of other thrilling adventures that you’ll want to check out!

Atop the Cleft of Ral-Gri, by Jeff Stoner – The Nazis’ never-ending quest for powerful and sorcerous relics to aid the Father-land’s conquests brings the SS to the mountains of Tibet, where a deadly and mysterious weapon is rumored to lay dormant and waiting for a new master!

The Idol in the Sewer, by Kenneth R. Gower – A reverse of fortune sends Kral Mazan fleeing through the labyrinthine sewers of Vasaros empty-handed from his audacious heist! His life may be forfeit to the rat-men who lurk in the tunnels—unless he accepts a job to retrieve their idol for them!

Born to Storm the Citadel of Mettathok, by D.M. Ritzlin – For aeons, Verrockiel the Warlord has struggled vainly to seize the stronghold of Mettathok! With infinite time and resources at Verrockiel’s disposal, what of those fated to claw, tooth and nail, inch-by-inch, progress towards their master’s goals?!

The Book Hunter’s Apprentice, by Barbara Doran – An ancient and powerfully magic book has laid a curse of death upon a sage who had spitefully defiled it! Can Zhi, a book hunter, and Qing, her apprentice with the power to “fall” into nearby closets, retrieve the volume from a haunted manse?!

How Thaddeus Quimby the Third and I Almost Took Over the World, by Gary K. Shepherd – A strange object has fallen from the sky and into the hands of one Thaddeus Quimby III! The alien artifact creates life-like facsimiles of anything imaginable, so it’s only a matter of time before everyone’s wildest dreams may be fulfilled, right?!

Deemed Unsuitable, by WL Emery – A beautiful young woman is at the center of a high-speed chase and shoot-out right where Morgan, a crack-shot Construct, was about to grab some lunch! Against his better judgement, Morgan enters the fray, but who is after this woman and why?!

Warrior Soul, by J. Manfred Weichsel – A strange man with a mysterious camera claims that he can capture the truth and inner beauty of a subject’s soul! Lured in by the photographer and his entrancing prints, a pair of young women find themselves imprisoned and in dire peril!

Seeds of the Dreaming Tree, by Harold R. Thompson – Its fruit are the subject of myth and legend—some hope to exploit it for knowledge and medicinal purpose while others are prepared to kill to keep its secrets! Can the bookish adventurer Anchor Brown survive the trials of the Dreaming Tree?!

The Valley of Terzol, by Jim Breyfogle – Kat and Mangos have been hired to accompany the adventurer Andorholm Wallenoop to the ruins of Terzol in search of an ancient lost delivery! A thousand-year-old receipt offers a clue to fabulous reward or certain death in the Valley of Terzol!

The Elephant Idol, by Xavier Lastra – The blind thief Auger sneaks into the opera house to steal a trinket that the lovely Trännen von Fitzburg received from a lovestruck foreigner! The gift-box’s riddle and its giver’s suicide engulf Augur—and the opera house—in a world of darkness!

Moonshot, by Michael Wiesenberg – The Government wants to put a barn on the Moon—why?! To prove that the United States is capable of landing a barn on the Moon, of course! But the question is, whose barn are they going to send and can they send it to the moon on budget?!