Kreegah! Ben-ze Rota

Tarzan

When I was a preteen, my Uncle Carl passed on the Tarzan comics that he and my Uncle Clark had collected. I devoured them and went onto read some of the books by Edgar Rice Burroughs too. I know that some people are offended by the racism and colonialism prevalent in the work of Burroughs, but the comics and books have a special place for me because Burroughs crafted worlds of fantasy where I could escape.

I read and reread the comics and I discovered the ape-language of the Mangani, the special breed / tribe of great apes in the Burroughs’ stories. Some of the comics would have a dictionary page that translated a few ape-language words into English. I wrote them out onto 3-ring pages and scanned the comics for other ape-language words and deciphered them by context until I had assembled a comprehensive ape-english dictionary. [My efforts pale in comparison to the well-researched materials at the ERBzine website http://www.erbzine.com/mag21/2113.html. The many links on the page are amazing!]

The phrase, Kreegah, Bundolo (Beware, I Kill) can be found in popular culture. It even has a wikipedia entry. When writing my short story Kismet’s Kaleidoscope, I used the ape-language as one of the ways to introduce both danger and recollection to the story.

Tarzan208Kubert

Tarzan read the scratchings on the leaves. This image is from Joe Kubert’s 2nd DC issue of Tarzan which was dated May 1972.

The title of this blog post translates as “Beware. Great Entertainment.” If you want to read more about the Tarzan comics:

 

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