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Hollywood Books:
'Tarzan The Centennial Celebration' is wild for him
Los Angeles Times ~ November 28, 2012 ~ By Susan King
Scott Tracy Griffin will sign his coffee-table book about Edgar Rice Burroughs' Lord of the Jungle, 'Tarzan The Centennial Celebration,' on Saturday at the Aero Theatre at a screening of 'John Carter.'

Even at 100, Tarzan, the Lord of the Jungle, is still the ultimate swinger. Since Edgar Rice Burroughs' first tale, Tarzan of the Apes, appeared in the popular All-Story magazine a century ago, the world's infatuation has never abated for the athletic, buff and educated man who lives in the jungles of Africa. Now Tarzan is the subject of a lavish coffee-table book, Tarzan The Centennial Celebration, by Scott Tracy Griffin. The well-researched look at Burroughs and his creation features a foreword by Ron Ely, who played Tarzan in the 1966-68 NBC series. Griffin will be signing copies of his book at a screening Saturday afternoon at the Aero Theatre in Santa Monica of "John Carter," the sci-fi fantasy that is based on Burroughs' novel A Princess of Mars. We talked with Griffin about the character's enduring appeal.

Why has Tarzan captured our imaginations for the past century?
Tarzan represents sort of a freedom — a primal freedom where we can return to nature and not worry about the mortgage payment or the traffic cop or the stoplight. I think that is universal. Around the world, people want to fantasize about mastering their own environment.

Was that the reason why Burroughs created the character?
He was very canny about his inspirations and his influences. He said he was inspired by Romulus and Remus. He had a very firm grounding in the classics. I think that is one reason his works are like the tales of Hercules and the heroes of old. He studied Greek and Latin through his school years. He was a very well-read man. He did research in the Chicago Public Library.

He would today be a cubicle jockey. When he wrote "Tarzan," he was writing for a business magazine and giving business advice. I think, probably sitting there [at his desk], he was staring out the window wishing he was somewhere else.

Was the first story, "Tarzan of the Apes," an immediate success?
Yes. Burroughs had written A Princess of Mars [titled "Under the Moon of Mars" when serialized in All-Story magazine in 1912] before under a pseudonym. So from the time Princess of Mars appeared, there was a clamor for more of his writing. When he sent the manuscript of Tarzan of the Apes to Thomas Newell Metcalf, who was the editor of All-Story magazine, the editor wrote back and said he read it in one sitting. He wasn't going to serialize this one, but put it all in one issue. It immediately began to be serialized in the newspapers, which printed fiction back in those days.

Why did he first write under a pseudonym?
He was shy. He felt that writing was a silly profession for a big, vigorous outdoorsman, as he fancied himself to be, having been in the cavalry, a cowboy and a railroad cop. He was always a very modest man. He thought writing was sort of a lark — "let me see if I can do this." He didn't want to be known for that unless he was successful. He wanted to be known as Normal Bean for A Princess of Mars. But the copy editor messed up [his byline] and it said Norman Bean. Burroughs told the editor when Tarzan was coming out, "You messed up the pseudonym, so just run this one under my name."

Tarzan movies began in 1918 with Elmo Lincoln and then became a huge franchise in the 1930s and '40s when Johnny Weissmuller played the role for MGM and then RKO. But his Tarzan is far removed from the erudite, educated hero of the Burroughs' stories. What did he think of these movies?
I think creatively he was dissatisfied and unhappy about some things they did. But he realized that the films brought his character to a much larger audience. The movies boosted book sales, just as the comic strips and other marketing did. So I think he sort of recognized that the movies were a necessary evil.

Burroughs continued to write Tarzan stories until 1944. Did he ever grow tired of his creation?
He'd get tired of Tarzan at times, but he would always come back to them because he realized there was a demand and market.


Santa Monica Author Celebrates Tarzan In New Commemorative Book
'Tarzan: The Centennial Celebration' explores 
the many varied appearances of Tarzan on stage, screen, and in print.
Local author Scott Tracy Griffin is excited to release 
a commemorative illustrated book looking back on all things Tarzan.
Santa Monica Mirror ~ Nov. 29, 2012

Celebrating 100 years of Tarzan, Santa Monica author Scott Tracy Griffin explores the original 24 Tarzan novels in the only official commemorative illustrated book called Tarzan: The Centennial Celebration. As an internationally-acclaimed Edgar Rice Burroughs expert, Griffin explores the novels and the many varied appearances of Tarzan on stage, screen, and in print. Each receives a detailed commentary, illustrated with some of the most evocative and beautiful artworks, illustrations and photographs, many rarely seen in print before. He said the book was the result of a life-long passion for the works of author Edgar Rice Burroughs.

“His novels have always inspired me artistically, and I saw this as an opportunity to commemorate his contribution to our pop culture,” Griffin said. “Authorities such as the renowned Ray Bradbury have lauded Burroughs as the most influential writer of the 20th century. Without Burroughs, we might not have had Flash Gordon, Buck Rogers, Superman, Star Wars, Avatar, and the multitude of pop culture franchises his work inspired and influenced.”

Griffin said he pitched the project to Edgar Rice Burroughs, Inc., the family-owned business that controls the trademark from their Tarzana, CA offices. He said they approved his proposal, and contracted him to compose the franchise’s history. He said he pleased when Titan Books signed on as the publisher. “My years as a fan and follower of Burroughs contributed immeasurably to the 10-month research phase, followed by nearly six months devoted to the writing,” he said.

He said he learned many interesting things during the course of his research. “Re-reading all of Burroughs’ novels, nearly 80 books, in the order he wrote them while also studying the definitive Burroughs biography, Irwin PorgesEdgar Rice Burroughs: The Man Who Created Tarzan was enlightening,” he said. “It was intriguing to trace Burroughs’ artistic process from his early, idealistic days when he wrote flowery prose in A Princess of Mars and Tarzan of the Apes through the last days of the pulp magazines, when his writing became terse and gritty in short stories like ‘Pirate Blood’ and ‘Elmer.’ His work reflected the changing times, from the birth of the automobile, airplane, radio, and motion picture industry, through the Jet Age of post-World War II America.”

Griffin said he tried to write the definitive illustrated history of the Tarzan character, which has something to offer to a wide range of pop-culture buffs. “Tarzan conquered every medium – print, radio, film, television, stage, mass merchandising and web – and all this is recorded in Tarzan: The Centennial Celebration,” he said. “I believe the art, especially the full-page illustrations, some of which were previously unpublished, will make this a highly sought collectible that will appreciate in value.”

Griffin said he discovered “Tarzan of the Apes” at age nine and has been an avid reader of Burroughs throughout his life. “His work inspired me to write, and my creative bent has been to explore Burroughs’ fictional worlds and their adaptations in various media,” he said. “I began my professional career by writing for film and television periodicals and interviewing former Tarzan film stars like Denny Miller and the late Herman Brix and Vanessa Brown. I find the history of the film industry, and those who have contributed to it, fascinating.”

Griffin said he has lived in Santa Monica’s Wilmont neighborhood for most of his 24 years in California. “I like the small-town atmosphere, beach living, climate, healthy tourist economy – the only downside is over-development,” he said. “I hope our town doesn’t lose its character due to the rapidly increasing overcrowding and congestion.”

Griffin’s debut Santa Monica book-signing event will be in conjunction with a benefit screening of Walt Disney’s “John Carter,” based on Burroughs’ first published novel, at the Aero Theater on Saturday, Dec. 1, from noon to 5 p.m.

For more information, visit


10 Things You Might Not Know About Tarzan
Flavor Wire ~ Nov 21, 2012 by Emily Temple

Everyone knows Tarzan, but how many people know the real Lord of the Jungle? Last month, the ubiquitous figure turned a whopping 100, and to celebrate his legacy, Edgar Rice Burroughs expert Scott Tracy Griffin has collected an enormous, glossy volume filled with rare art, movie stills, and insights on every corner of the Tarzan universe. With Tarzan The Centennial Celebration hitting shelves this week, Griffin has put together a list of a few things your average moviegoer might not know about Burroughs’ creation, complete with a set of exclusive images from the book. Start swinging from vines (er, branches) like a pro after the jump.


He's multi-lingual

“Film Tarzans usually grunt a few mono-syllabic commands to convey their intent, but Burroughs’ Tarzan taught himself to read using the children’s books in his dead parents’ cabin, and learned a succession of languages, including French, English, German, and Dutch, in his adventures spanning 24 novels.”


He lived in a cabin, 
not a treehouse

“Though his favorite naptime perch was curled up in the crotch of a tall tree, Tarzan’s refuge was the small cabin built by his dead parents. He later resided in a ranch house on a sprawling estate that seemed to encompass most of British East Africa, his birthright as Lord Greystoke.”


He married Jane Porter, 
a blonde Southern belle from Baltimore

“Maureen O’Sullivan’s interpretation of Jane is beloved by fans, but the petite brunette’s common-law cohabitation with Tarzan was not reflected in the books. To satisfy convention, Burroughs had the couple properly married by Jane’s father, an ordained minister, in The Return of Tarzan.”


He claimed his hereditary title

“When Tarzan leaves the jungle in pursuit of Jane, his identity as the heir to the title Lord Greystoke is established. He spends several years in London living a civilized life following his marriage to Jane.”


He had a son named Jack Clayton

“MGM’s Tarzan and Jane had to adopt ‘Boy’ onscreen, since they were never married and censors wouldn’t allow a biological child. The happy couple procreated in the usual fashion in Burroughs’ novels; at age 10, their son Jack ran away to Africa, earning the sobriquet ‘Korak the Killer’ during his own adventures among the apes in The Son of Tarzan.”


He was fabulously rich

“Unlike Johnny Weissmuller’s Tarzan, who eschewed civilized wealth for fresh fruit, lots of swimming, and the companionship of Cheeta and Jane, Burroughs’ Tarzan was well aware of the power of money, and tapped the gold treasuries of the lost city of Opar whenever he needed a little pocket money.”


Branches, not vines

“Like apes, Tarzan brachiated branch-to-branch, not trusting his bulk to some vine (which was really a conveniently placed rope on those studio lots).”


He didn’t yodel

“Tarzan gave the ‘victory cry of the great bull ape’ whenever he made a kill in the novels, but Burroughs left the precise nature of this terrifying, inhuman sound to the imagination of his readers. Tarzan’s onscreen yell had its genesis in star Weissmuller’s Alpine yodeling skills, which were sweetened by studio sound engineers.”


He wasn’t friends 
with all the jungle animals

“Burroughs’ Tarzan got along well with elephants, monkeys, and most species of ape, but routinely engaged in mortal hand-to-fang combat with lions, leopards, crocodiles, pythons, and other hungry predators, who wouldn’t always turn tail and slink away at the command to ‘Umgawa!’”


He had native backup

“Tarzan of the books didn’t have to rely on the whims of the local fauna for rescue; he had the well-armed Waziri warriors, a fierce, martial tribe who adopted him as one of their own in The Return of Tarzan.”

Josh Wilding Reviews:
On sale now from Titan Books, Scott Tracy Griffin's Tarzan The Centennial Celebration looks at one hundred years of Tarzan in the only official commemorative illustrated history of the worldwide phenomenon. Hit the jump to read my verdict!
ComicBookMovieBlog ~ November 22, 2012
With Tarzan heading back to the big screen in 2014 from director David Yates (Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows), now really is the perfect time for a book like Titan Books' Tarzan The Centennial Celebration to be released. The beautifully presented 320-page hardcover shines the spotlight on just about everything and anything you could possibly want to know about the iconic Edgar Rice Burroughs creation as the Lord of the Jungle turns 100 this year. This is an incredibly in-depth and revealing publication, and while I'm no Tarzan expert, it's hard to imagine a single area that the book fails to cover. From his creation to later appearances in comics, novels, musicals, movies and more, this stunning collection delves into the world of this character which author Scott Tracy Griffin (a renowned expert on all things Burroughs) is clearly very, VERY passionate about.

Despite being packed full of lavish images, the Tarzan The Centennial Celebration manages to avoid the pitfalls of similar releases (glorified picture books basically) and crams in a lot of genuinely very interesting information. Griffin finds the perfect balance of both, meaning it never gets bogged down in too much information OR feels like too light of a read. In terms of what you can expect, the book features many of Burroughs' original notes, as well as stunning artwork from the various comics and novels which have been released over the years. There's also plenty of stills from the various small and big screen adaptations, many of which are printed here for the first time. Of course, Tarzan wouldn't be Tarzan without his supporting characters, and the likes of Jane and Cheetah all get their chance to shine as well. Topped off with a look at collectibles, conventions, authorised sequels and more (not to mention a brilliant foreword from big screen Tarzan Ron Ely), there's no doubting the fact that this is a must-have for any fan of Tarzan.


Counting Down The 5 Best 'Tarzan' Comics With 
'Tarzan The Centennial Celebration' Author Scott Tracy Griffin

MTV Geek ~ November 14, 2012
Tarzan is 100 years-old this year and to celebrate, Titan Books is releasing "the only official commemorative illustrated history" of Edgar Rice Burroughs' iconic Lord of the Jungle on November 20 with "Tarzan The Centennial Celebration." Burroughs expert Scott Tracy Griffin takes readers through all of Tarzan's appearances from books to comics to movies to cartoons to musicals throughout over 300 pages of lovingly detailed artwork and insight.

For our part of wishing the wildman a happy one, author Griffin has shared with us his favorite "Tarzan" comics of all time. So without further ado, let's let Scott take it away.

1. "Tarzan the Terrible" by Russ Manning and Gaylord Dubois, Gold Key Comics, 1967
In 1965, Russ Manning assumed artistic chores on Gold Key Comics’ Tarzan of the Apes title, and, with scripter Gaylord Dubois, embarked on an ambitious quest to illustrate authentic adaptations of Edgar Rice Burroughs' novels, a first for the comic book medium. Among the best is Tarzan the Terrible, in which Tarzan battles dinosaurs, saber tooth tigers, and pithecanthropi (tailed, primitive men) across the lost land of Pal-ul-don in a quest for the missing Jane. The prehistoric perils offer even greater challenges than that of Tarzan’s jungle, and the ape man rises to the occasion. This novel also showcases an increasingly self-reliant Jane, who escapes her captors and uses the woodcraft taught by Tarzan to survive. In addition to ranking alongside Hal Foster and Burne Hogarth in the triumvirate of great Tarzan comic artists, Manning’s storytelling ability and attention to the details of Burroughs’ stories is unparalleled.
2. "The Return of Tarzan" by Thomas Yeates, Dark Horse Comics, 1997
Dark Horse Comics launched its Tarzan title by assigning an adaptation of The Return of Tarzan to Thomas Yeates. Serialized strips were collected into a three-issue mini-series recounting Tarzan’s return to Africa, following his unsuccessful pursuit of Jane Porter in America. Tarzan, who previously waged war on the African cannibals who killed Kala (his mother ape), has been influenced by his time in civilization, and befriends the Waziri, a fierce, martial tribe that joins him on subsequent adventures. This tale also introduces La of Opar, High Priestess of the Flaming God, whose unrequited love for Tarzan imbues romantic tension into the proceedings. Yeates' pen-and-ink work recalls the era of classic illustrators; his passion for the Burroughs franchise is evident in every panel.
3. "Tarzan of the Apes" by Joe Kubert, DC Comics, 1972
In 1972, DC Comics won the Tarzan comics contract, thanks to a promise to grant Joe Kubert artistic and editorial chores on the title. 

DC began its run with a lush, four-issue adaptation of Burroughs’ original novel, which was reprinted in an oversized Superspecial edition. 

Kubert’s Tarzan has a dynamic, heroic quality, with line work and designs reminiscent of his early idol, Hal Foster.

4. "Tarzan and the Jewels of Opar" by John Buscema and Roy Thomas, Marvel Comics, 1977
Marvel Comics launched its Tarzan, Lord of the Jungle title with a nine-issue adaptation of Jewels of Opar by “Big” John Buscema and “Rascally” Roy Thomas (nicknames were de rigueur in the Marvel bullpen of that era). 

Having illustrated Robert E. Howard’s Conan property for years, Buscema proved ideal for depicting the ape man’s feral savagery, while veteran writer Thomas offered a partnership steeped in Burroughs’ lore. Marvel’s first issue featured a Buscema cover homage to Clinton Petty’s original 1912 All-Story magazine art.

5. (Tie) "Tarzan/John Carter: Warlords of Mars" by Bret Blevins and Ricardo Villagran, scripted by Bruce Jones, Dark Horse Comics, 1996; 
"Tarzan in the Land That Time Forgot/The Pool of Time", by Russ Manning, Dark Horse, 1974, 1996; 
"Tarzan vs. the Moon Men" by Thomas Yeates and Al Williamson, scripted by Timothy Truman, Dark Horse, 1997-98
My top four comic stories are all adaptations of early Tarzan novels by Edgar Rice Burroughs; conversely, these mini-serializations offer original stories set within ERB’s literary universe, taking Tarzan to Barsoom, Caspak, and a future Earth dominated by aliens. The result is three gripping crossover tales that all Tarzan fans should experience.
Tarzan Dark Horse covers from the ERBzine Comics Encyclopedia
"Tarzan The Centennial Celebration" by Scott Tracy Griffin hits stores on November 20.

Tarzan turns 100
Lord of the Jungle celebrated in books, comic reprints, more
NerbBlog ~ November 16, 2012
The son of a British lord and lady is raised in the jungle by apes, growing into a heroic figure and protector of the innocent. Tarzan, created in 1912 by writer Edgar Rice Burroughs, celebrates his centennial in 2012. The character has appeared in books, comics, movies and television programs and is one of the world’s best-known fictional characters.

Titan Books is celebrating the centennial with an official commemorative illustrated history of the character and phenomenon. Edgar Rice Burroughs expert Scott Tracy Griffin has collated items from throughout the past century of Tarzan tales. Movie posters, book covers, and complete comic strips — by artists including Mike Grell, Gil Kane and Gray Morrow — are reprinted inside. Commentary is provided for each of the 24 original Burroughs novels. Tarzan: The Centennial

One of the greatest comic-book interpretations of Tarzan was reprinted in a high-quality “Artist’s Edition” this year. Joe Kubert, who passed away in August, was the writer and artist for DC Comics’ “Tarzan” comic. “Joe Kubert’s Tarzan of the Apes Artist’s Edition,” released by IDW Publishing, collects six complete Kubert Tarzan adventures, including the classic four-part origin story. Each page is reproduced in the size of the original art, from which it is shot directly. “I first read these comics when I was 10 years old, and they remain some of my favorite stories ever,” said Editor Scott Dunbier in a news release. “This is Joe Kubert at his absolute best.”

In the Artist’s Edition, fans can see paste-overs, blue lines, notes and corrections that give a behind-the-scenes experience. “Joe Kubert’s Tarzan comics developed the visual material that still rumbles around in the American psyche,” local comics writer and critic Rob Vollmar said. “While Burroughs’ Tarzan lorded over the jungle, Kubert’s Tarzan, informed by his lush line and talent for capturing the kinetic in the frozen moment of a comics panel, was nurtured by it – its organic forms making his own more rich by comparison. Kubert’s jungle is a place of mystery that no longer exists as it did for the readers of Burrough’s own age and one, through the power of fiction invites to a place divorced from the tragedies of colonial Africa.”

Tarzan continues his ongoing battle in comics: Dark Horse has the official license and has released archival reprints of artist Jesse Marsh’s comics and a new one-shot, “The Once and Future Tarzan.” A collection of artrist Russ Manning’s Tarzan comics is slated for December. Tarzan has appeared in motion pictures dating back to the silent era. He was perhaps most successfully portrayed by Olympic swimmer Johnny Weissmüller in a film series that began in 1932.

And there’s a chance Tarzan will again return to movie screens in the near future. One “Tarzan” film in the works features motion-capture, and will star Kellan Lutz (“Twilight”).  This film is currently set for 2013 release. Lutz recently told Brandy McDonnell about the role. “As far as Tarzan? When I got into acting, I just fell in love with everything about it. And for me, to step back and ask myself what would be a dream role, growing up in the Midwest, I just love the Monkey Man, and much like my character in Twilight, Emmett is the Monkey Man,” Lutz said. “So to make that transition to play the Monkey Man was quite, quite fun for me. And I just fell in love with the script. It was very hard for me to think they were going to recreate a Tarzan after the tenth time, how could they? Even after Disney’s animated version, and when I read the script, it’s so much more contemporary and modern. It’s a brilliant script, full of comedy, full of action, and it is motion capture which was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done, quadri-peding, running, working with Peter Elliot on how to even walk like Tarzan which is pretty much like a ballerina?esque walk. And I’ve played football. So to break my dhun, dhun, dhun, Emmett walk took a few weeks with Peter Elliot, and he was telling me how people lead with their chin, lead with their knees, lead with their chest. They roll with their back foot versus pull with the front. And stuff that I’d never really thought about. So we just did so much research. And I loved the whole experience, and I’m really looking forward to it.”

And that’s not the only possible Tarzan film in the works. Vulture reports that David Yates, who directed the final four films in the “Harry Potter” series, has signed with Warner Bros. for a new film adaptation of Edgar Rice Burroughs’ Tarzan. So it looks as if the Lord of the Jungle’s influence on society is far from done.

Ron Ely, who played Tarzan on television in the 1960s, writes in the foreword to the “Centennial Celebration” book about Tarzan’s origins and influence. “Edgar Rice Burroughs withdrew to the confines of his own imagination and envisaged a world that was the antithesis of all he saw around him,” Ely wrote. “Perhaps influenced by the eminent English writer Rudyard Kipling, he created a place so filled with wonder that it exposed, by comparison, the flaws of the real world.”


Book Review: Tarzan – The Centennial Celebration
by Scott Tracy Griffin
Titan Books, 2012
Open Letters Monthly ~ November 2012 ~ By Steve Donoghue 

The autumn of 2012 is famously (for those who keep track of such things) the 100th anniversary of the appearance of Edgar Rice Burroughs’ character Tarzan in the pages of The All-Story magazine. From one viewpoint this seems a fairly venerable birthday; how many of today’s pop fantasy creations – Hellboy, Jason Bourne, Bella Swan – can realistically hope to reach 100? But from another point of view, it seems almost ridiculously recent; Tarzan’s fame has spread to such astronomical proportions that he feels almost Homeric, like some kind of heroic phoneme that’s always been a part of human speech, a “pervasive pop-culture presence” as long-time Burroughs fan and authority Scott Tracy Griffin puts it in his Introduction to Tarzan: The Centennial Celebration, a platter-sized compendium of all things Tarzan that encompasses all the official ERB-authored novels, all the authorized sequels, the comic-book adaptations, the movies, the TV shows, the collectible paraphernalia, Tarzan – the character and cultural phenomenon – has had many tributes in the last 100 years, but nothing has ever come close to the scope and sheer physical beauty of this volume. No Tarzan fan can possibly be without it.

And we are all Tarzan fans. By that strange osmosis of cultural saturation, the character’s myth is known all over the world, the hack and huckster Burroughs having stumbled upon an avatar of the collective consciousness when he invented the story of an English lord and lady who are stranded in what was once called darkest Africa, die there, and leave behind their baby son who’s raised by a tribe of apes (in Burroughs’ original story, he specifies they’re mangani, an otherwise unknown species of great ape somewhere between gorillas and humans) as one of their own. The character went through much finer delineation in the novels that followed; he married his beloved Jane Porter, had a son who became a jungle adventurer after him, etc. But that original premise – the scion of British nobility growing into a man entirely free of Victorian behavioral constraints, an animal-powerful man with hyper-developed senses and no compunctions about killing – has proven so irresistible to the popular imagination that Burroughs’ ink was scarcely dry on the first serial than the character was being adapted into every medium available.

Astonishingly, virtually all of those various adaptation-categories get equal and respectful attention in this wonderful book. Griffin tirelessly slogs through every novel (to put it mildly, they’re uneven affairs; classics like Tarzan and the Jewels of Opar are ballasted with more rote numbers like Tarzan’s Quest), provides a lively overview of every knock-off production, and proves an endlessly intelligent enthusiast for every manifestation of Tarzaniana in existence. The highest compliment a reader can pay to Griffin’s enormous work here is that it would be every bit as entertaining if it were an unillustrated work of black-and-white prose.

But it’s hugely, almost outrageously not that. As befits a character who’s been intensely visual from his first incarnation, Tarzan: The Centennial Celebration is profusely illustrated. The long history of often glorious Tarzan-artwork is on display in these oversized pages. The series of novel covers done by the great comics artist Neal Adams for Ballantine Books in the 1970s are given their first-ever full-page color reproductions, as are the far more sensuous ones done for the same series by Boris Vallejo. And in a wonderful and long-overdue visual tribute, so too are highlighted the dorkily earnest and striking cover illustrations for the old Gold Key series of Tarzan comics – and the book covers done for the previous run of Ballantine paperbacks by veteran artist Robert Abbett, whose work’s shimmering colors and rough brush-strokes look gorgeous in an extra-large presentation. Tarzan’s other great artists – Frank Frazetta, Burne Hogarth, Russ Manning, the great Joe Kubert – are here as well, looking better than their originals ever did in newspaper or comic strip.

Tarzan’s life as a fictional character coincides with the advent of popular cinema, and all the actors who’ve played the Ape Man are profiled in Griffin’s book, from the emblematic if slightly doughy Johnny Weissmuller to the leaner Herman Brix to the almost cartoonishly muscular Gordon Scott (tall and charismatic actor Ron Ely, who played Tarzan in the character’s only successful U.S. television series, writes the book's Foreword). The various actresses who've played Jane are also here, from Karla Schramm in 1920 to Sarah Wayne Callies in the disastrously ill-conceived 2003 TV ‘update’ of the character. Casper Van Dien, Wolf Larson, and Joe Lara – three of the luckless actors to portray Tarzan most recently – are loyally represented in full-page studio shots that give little hint of how disappointing their finished products were (although Van Dien brought a quicksilver physicality to the character in 1998's Tarzan and the Lost City and Lara's portrayal in a 1996 television series at least dispensed with the ridiculous “me Tarzan” pidgin-talk inflicted on the character by an entire generation of Hollywood movies).

Tarzan: The Centennial Celebration arrives, ironically enough, in something of a Tarzan-lull. There are no ongoing comics series, no TV series, no movies (and none in the offing, except a 2013 animated feature whose trailer is admittedly arresting), no new novels. The 21st Century has left all of those old Victorian behavioral strictures far, far behind, and it’s possible this has lessened somewhat the elemental appeal of a character who does exactly as he pleases, but this magnificent Tarzan tribute volume makes a compelling case that the Ape Man has as strong a grip on our collective imaginations as he always did. With any luck, he’s still out there in the jungle, waiting to be remade by a new century.


by Scott Tracy Griffin ~ November 8, 2012
Titan Publishing have released a simply wonderful book which contains multitudes of photos, articles and stories from the legacy that Edgar Rice Burroughs created when he invented Tarzan. The story has been made into books, movies, plays, cartoons and much much more. From all these adaptations has come bucket-loads of wonderful art all of which are showcased in this wonderful new book. Titan Books are publishing the only official commemorative illustrated history of the lord of the jungle.

Each of the original novels and Tarzan’s many varied appearances on stage, screen and in print receives a detailed commentary, illustrated with beautiful artworks, illustrations and photographs, many rarely seen in print before. The book is compiled by Scott Tracy Griffin and features an introduction by Tarzan screen great, Ron Ely. It’s available now and I urge you to check it out. You can order your copy here. Below are a collection of images from the boom which Titan have kindly given to us to share with you all. This will give you a great insight into what you can expect from the book itself.

Tarzan Centennial is out now published by Titan Books.


Interview: Scott Tracy Griffin
Tarzan: The Centennial Celebration ~ October 19, 2012

To celebrate 100 years of Tarzan we ask why the character has remained so popular for so long?
Tarzan is one of the most enduring action adventure characters of all time: created by Edgar Rice Burroughs 100 years ago he still lives on in popular culture after all these years. We chat to Scott Tracy Griffin, author of Tarzan: The Centennial Celebration (Titan Books), about the longevity of the Lord of the Jungle.

For anyone who hasn't heard of Tarzan could you explain the concept?
For generations, Tarzan has been the prototypical feral man: a British peer orphaned in the jungle and raised by the great apes to become a physical, mental, and moral superman in the absence of civilization’s influence. He didn’t wear tights or possess superhuman powers but was, in many respects, the first superhero with a global audience.

What were Edgar Rice Burroughs' inspirations for the character?
Burroughs had a strong academic background in the classics and attributed the story’s genesis to the legend of Romulus and Remus, the founders of Rome who were adopted by a wolf after being abandoned in the wilderness. Burroughs cited Rudyard Kipling’s Jungle Book, too, though he downplayed Kipling’s influence on inspiring Tarzan.

What is it about the character that appeals to yourself?
I’ve always been an animal lover; as a child I was captivated by the notion of interacting with apes, elephants, and other exotic species. When I discovered the original novels by Edgar Rice Burroughs, I found his prose and concept of the character to be engrossing. Burroughs’ ability to portray exotic worlds and breath-taking action is unparalleled in the adventure genre.

Why do you think he has been so popular for so long?
Burroughs taps into our innermost, primal urges, the desire to renounce civilization, return to nature and master it. Tarzan’s appeal is universal, and cuts across cultural, political, and ideological lines.

What is your favourite version of Tarzan and why?
Edgar Rice Burroughs’ original concept, as reflected in the early Tarzan novels, is unsurpassed. Burroughs offered a far more nuanced character than most of the succeeding films, comics, radio and television programs.

Who do you think best personified the Tarzan character on film or TV?
I don’t have a favourite screen Tarzan, because every actor brought something unique to the role. Johnny Weissmuller’s performance was perhaps the most charismatic and memorable, but I’ve always liked interpretations starring actors who played Tarzan as the intelligent, articulate man Burroughs created, such as Herman Brix and Ron Ely.

Over the years Tarzan has cropped up in many strange and wonderful places in official and unofficial versions of the character - what's the strangest you've seen?
Tarzan has endorsed a wide range of products worldwide: bread and gasoline (with ‘The Power of Tarzan’) in the US, ‘Tarzan Grip’ glue in Australia and tinned nuts from Malaysia are several examples. Onscreen, the unauthorized Bollywood Tarzans offer a distinct cultural departure from Burroughs’ concept of a British peer stranded in the jungle as an infant. And I’m amused by parodies of the character, including George of the Jungle, Mad magazine’s satirical comics, and Dudley Moore’s classic ‘One-legged Tarzan’ skit.

Weissmuller Tarzan Yell
BBC Interview with Ron Ely and Scott Tracy Griffin

Photos from Scott Tracy Griffin's
Tarzan: The Centennial Celebration
From the ERBzine Archives
While appearing at the Bridgewater College Celebration
Denny and Nancy Miller enjoy the photos in
Scott Tracy Griffin's TARZAN: The Centennial Edition

Dust jacket illustration for ERB's first Tarzan title: Tarzan of the Apes

Tarzan Art
Tarzan dust jacket art by ERB's son, John Coleman Burroughs ~ A Map of Tarzan's Africa
A 1930s Tarzan Sunday page by Hal Foster ~  Tarzan comic cover by Joe Kubert
ERB's son-in-law James Pierce in Tarzan and the Golden Lion ~ Denny Miller in Tarzan, the Ape Man

Pretty Clever Films


Tarzan the Centennial Celebration 
Collectible Limited Run Special Edition 
with Slipcase and Signed Tip-in Sheet [Hardcover] 
Scott Tracy Griffin (Author), Ron Ely (Editor), John Burroughs (Illustrator) 
This collectable limited run special edition 
comes with a signed tip-in sheet by 
Edgar Rice Burroughs' grandson - John R. Burroughs.
Scott Tracy Griffin Features in ERBzine
 Meet Scott Tracy Griffin
 Tarzan Sunday Pages by Scott Tracy Griffin and Gray Morrow
 Tarzan: The Centennial Celebration I
 Tarzan: The Centennial Celebration II
 Tarzan Centennial Celebrations
Tarzan: Centennial Reviews
The Tarzan / Santa Monica Connection

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