Book Review: The Centennial Celebration: Tarzan by Scott Tracy Griffin



Edgar Rice Burroughs is counted as one of the most influential American authors of all time for a reason.  He is the creator of two lasting characters that have survived through many mediums in Tarzan and John Carter.  Last year, Disney made a movie based on A Princess of Mars, the first John Carter book, after languishing in development hell for many years, and cycling through many different writers and directors in Hollywood.  Still, Burroughs’ greatest creation is in the form of the character of Tarzan, who has lasted over 100 years in popular culture.

The Centennial Celebration: Tarzan explores the past 100 years of the character, and his success through a variety of different mediums.  From the original novels by Burroughs, to the various comics, films, TV serials, and even up to the Disney animated film, this book covers the long gestation of the character over the past 100 years.

This book covers everything, and in good depth.  It has amusing anecdotes on the character, as well as a strong background about its author, Edgar Rice Burroughs, and the things that inspired him to write the character, as well as some brief biographical bits about him as a pioneer American novelist.  Throughout his career, Burroughs alone wrote 25 Tarzan novels, numerous others have taken the character and made it their own, most notably in the medium of comics, where hundreds of Tarzan comics were released over the years.

As usual, Titan Books has collected these works with brilliant full-color reproductions of Tarzan book and comic covers, along with hundreds of concept drawings and other artworks inspired by the writings of Burroughs.  It also includes a lot of pictures and information on the 60+ film and TV adaptations of the character.  For fans of the character, this is the ultimate historical collection and the large colorful pages of this thick volume do enough justice  to the character to justify spending over $25 on a single book.  It’s also the perfect gift for a Tarzan collector, or Edgar Rice Burroughs historians, as it contains a few tidbits about the suburb in Los Angeles that Burroughs founded, called Tarzana, and early pictures of the area, which are now heavily urbanized.


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