Tarzan: The Centennial Celebration Review

Author: Scott Tracy Griffin

This is quite a book. I’m not even sure how I could begin to describe all of the features in it. Let’s cut straight to the best – page 194, titled ‘How to Speak Ape’ – that’s right – a phonetic dictionary of Mangani, an entire language for primates created by Edgar Rice Burroughs’, now at your disposal.

When the book was too big to be delivered to my door, I knew to expect something impressive. From the visionary genius of Edgar Rice Burroughs, this book covers every single aspect of Tarzan. From the films, the funny pages, the radio shows, the stage plays (yes, that’s right) and all the way back to the comic books.

The book starts off with a thorough history of Burroughs’ life, his early writings, including a picture of the now infamous ‘A Princess of Mars’, aka John Carter of Mars, but this thankfully is omitted from an otherwise illustrious history. The history of Tarzan is also a history of Burroughs, from his childhood through to his retirement in Tarzana, his 540-acre home. It covers the fans, the impact of the internet and the future of Tarzan.

This book is extremely glossy. Every page contains high quality reproductions and it’s littered with full page illustrations from pulp magazines, film and TV. I learnt that a copy of All-Star that features Tarzan’s debut will set you back five figures; there’s obviously a market for a book of this quality. You could happily spend an hour leafing through the pictures, dipping in here and there.

But what about non-fans? This book is so packed with detail, you could open up any page and read it without any prior knowledge or real interest. I’ve had the book for a week and have barely scratched the surface. I never realised how popular Tarzan is and how many vehicles it has. It’s a fascinating look at a franchise that is well overdue for a comeback. It’s also just a great book to have lying around that anyone can enjoy.

Maliha Basak


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