Tarzana, California (October 1, 2019) – Today Edgar Rice Burroughs, Inc.—the company that manages and licenses the creative works of novelist Edgar Rice Burroughs, including Tarzan of the Apes™ and John Carter of Mars®—is pleased to present the first look at Victory Harben, the latest character to join the pantheon of heroes and heroines of the Edgar Rice Burroughs Universe.
Victory Harben is set to appear in the first new ERB Universe novel, Carson of Venus: Edge of All Worlds by Matt Betts, due out in Spring 2020. The novel will be preceded by a three-part, prequel comic book miniseries from American Mythology Productions titled “Carson of Venus: The Eye of Amtor” by Mike Wolfer, based on a plot by Matt Betts. The back pages of “The Eye of Amtor” will feature a bonus comic written by ERB Universe creative director Christopher Paul Carey, “Pellucidar: Dark of the Sun,” starring Jason Gridley and introducing Victory Harben. “Pellucidar: Dark of the Sun” launches the ongoing “super-arc” storyline that will run throughout the new ERB Universe novels, as a mysterious force hurls Jason Gridley and Victory Harben across space-time and they must unravel an insidious and unthinkable plot that threatens to tear apart the very fabric of the universe. Issue #1 of “Carson of Venus: The Eye of Amtor,” which includes the “Pellucidar: Dark of the Sun” bonus feature, releases this December and can be preordered today by requesting it at your local comic shop.
Victory Harben’s epic story is being transmitted to the present-day offices of Edgar Rice Burroughs, Inc., in Tarzana, California, via the Gridley Wave, that singular method of communication between our own Earth and strange, far-off worlds such as Pellucidar, Barsoom, and others. It was by this same method that Edgar Rice Burroughs himself once received the narratives of many of his tales of wonder and adventure. The corporation has also learned much about Ms. Harben from the previously lost journals of her mentor, inventor Jason Gridley, who appeared in several works by Mr. Burroughs, including Tarzan at the Earth’s Core and a number of novels in the Pellucidar, Barsoom, and Amtor series. The following character profile of Victory Harben has been gleaned from both of these sources.
CHARACTER PROFILE: VICTORY HARBEN
Birth Name: Victory von Harben
Birthdate: February 17, 1932
Birthplace: Sari, Pellucidar
Parents: Gretchen von Harben (mother), Nadok of the Voraki tribe (father)
Education: High school diploma; Bachelor’s degree in Theoretical Physics, University of Oxford
Mentors: Abner Perry, Jason Gridley, Tarzan of the Apes, Mudina Macrae, Professor Aloysius P. Ralston
Fighting Styles: Archery, jujitsu, knife fighting (instructed by Tarzan and David Innes)
Weapons of Choice: Bow and arrow, “uncertainty” gun
Personal Interests: Mathematics, quantum mechanics, root beer floats
Present Location: Current whereabouts unknown; last seen in Pellucidar near the ruins of the Mahar city of Mintra, March 1950
In her early twenties, anthropologist Gretchen von Harben* journeyed to the inner world of Pellucidar on a secret expedition to deliver to Abner Perry a load of Harbenite, that rare, lightweight, ultra-strong metal discovered by her brother Erich in the Wiramwazi Mountains of Africa.** After returning to the village of Sari following a wayward excursion to the land of the Voraki on another continent, Gretchen found she had fallen in love with the land of Pellucidar as much as she had with Nadok of the Voraki, and she decided to take up residence in the inner world with her new husband.
On the eve of a great battle against the intelligent, winged reptiles known as the Mahars and their simian Sagoth armies, during a major incursion on David Innes’ Empire of Pellucidar, Gretchen gave birth to her firstborn child with Nadok. Gretchen and Nadok named their daughter Victory, in the hope of triumph against the empire’s enemies and because of a strange dream-vision Gretchen had during childbirth of a barbaric queen of the same name. The name Victory, it turned out, was well chosen, for indeed the people of Sari and the united tribes of the empire overcame the Mahars and their fierce ape-men during the next morning’s battle.
From an early age, Victory displayed all the signs of bearing a remarkable intelligence. At five years old, she took a liking to Abner Perry, often much to her parents’ and the aged inventor’s dismay, for Abner frequently conducted dangerous experiments in his laboratory and little Victory refused to leave his side. When on three different occasions, however, the child’s cleverness and quick thinking saved the inventor’s life, both Victory’s parents and Abner decided it might be best to let the precocious prodigy have her way. Even so, Gretchen and Nadok asked Jason Gridley—inventor of the Gridley Wave and mastermind behind the O-220 vacuum airship that had traveled through the north polar opening to Pellucidar—to look after his goddaughter on the occasions when he visited Pellucidar. Before long, Victory began looking up to Jason, regarding him as both a mentor and an avuncular figure.
At age eight, Victory assisted Abner Perry in deciphering tablets recovered from the vast subterranean archives of the Mahar cities of Phutra and Kazra. Thus blossomed her interest in mathematics and theoretical physics, as she sought to understand the advanced theorems of the Mahars, who Abner claimed could project their thoughts into the fourth dimension. At age eleven, a fateful encounter with a Mahar queen in the depths of the underground city of Mintra steeled Victory’s determination to learn all she could in the fields of math and physics.*** Reluctantly, her parents bent to their daughter’s unyielding will, sending her to the outer world to further her education under the guardianship of the O-220’s skipper, Heinrich Hines, and his wife Anna.
Having spent her first eleven years in a savage inner world unknown to the inhabitants of the Earth’s surface, Victory faced many challenges adjusting to life as a high school student in Southern California. As World War II still raged on, she dropped the “von” from her surname to avoid suspicious glances. Even so, she could not avoid lingering stares, for she looked different from the other school children, bearing large, violet eyes and deep umber-hued skin that she had inherited from her Pellucidarian father. That she was also much smarter than the other kids her age, and worse, smarter than the adults, presented her with even more difficulties. Fortunately, her math teacher, Miss Mudina Macrae, recognized Victory’s talents and stepped in to encourage and support her.
When at last the war ended and Victory was able to test out of the twelfth grade at age fourteen, Miss Macrae hatched a plan to send the young prodigy to study at the university level in England. With a few strings pulled by Lord Greystoke and a little fibbing about her age, Victory Harben passed her Responsions in the summer of 1946 and entered the ranks of freshmen at the University of Oxford in the fall term. At Oxford, Victory excelled under the tutelage of Professor Aloysius P. Ralston of the Department of Theoretical Physics, where she served as his assistant and began advanced study in the field of quantum mechanics, driven to understand the mysteries of the universe after her encounter at the Mahar city of Mintra. Summers she spent at the Greystokes’ Chamston-Hedding estate, where she developed a close friendship with Jane Clayton and Tarzan tutored her in the arts of self-defense. After an intensive but rewarding three years at university, Victory passed her exams and graduated with honors.
The year is now 1950. Eighteen-year-old Victory has decided to return to Pellucidar, eager to visit her family and investigate why the Gridley Wave transmissions to the outer world have mysteriously ceased.
Victory Harben’s epic story continues in “Pellucidar: Dark of the Sun,” a special bonus comic in the back pages of the “Carson of Venus: The Eye of Amtor” comic book miniseries, launching February 2020 from American Mythology Productions. Visit your local comic shop today to preorder Issue #1 of “Carson of Venus: The Eye of Amtor” now! Digital edition available for preorder at Comixology and Amazon.
Victory will also be featured in Victory Harben: Fires of Halos, a full-length novel by Christopher Paul Carey, forthcoming in the Edgar Rice Burroughs Universe’s Swords of Eternity super-arc.
* See Tarzan and the Tarzan Twins with Jad-bal-ja, the Golden Lion by Edgar Rice Burroughs for an early adventure of Gretchen von Harben at age twelve.
** See Tarzan and the Lost Empire by Edgar Rice Burroughs for the story of how Tarzan met Erich von Harben, and see Tarzan at the Earth’s Core by Edgar Rice Burroughs for more on the discovery of Harbenite.
*** See the forthcoming ERB Universe novel Tarzan: Battle for Pellucidar by Win Scott Eckert.