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Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Cool Ass Cinema Book Reviews: Tarzan Commemorative Edition!


By Scott Tracy Griffin

Hardcover; 320 pages; color and B/W; First Edition: October 2012

I think it's safe to say that everyone has either heard of Tarzan, or seen one of the many publications, and or filmic interpretations of Edgar Rice Burroughs' acclaimed jungle dweller. One of the best known, most widely circulated characters of popular fiction, Tarzan has been a familiar figure within America's pop culture lexicon since the early 20th century; and it is this iconic figure of book and film that is celebrated here in Scott Tracy Griffin's incredible volume of all things Tarzan.

Griffin, a world renowned Burroughs authority, has amassed a sumptuous commemoration of the Mangani wild man in the form of an eye-popping visual history spread out over 320 glossy pages. The author covers some two dozen novels complete with synopsis and critical summary, as well as additional minutiae for the trivia buffs in the audience.

Virtually every form of Tarzan paraphernalia is covered here including Tarzan in comics, canvas, stage and the big screen. Emphasis is mostly on the written word and artistic side of the character via dozens of paintings (including works from Frank Frazetta and Boris Vallejo among others), comic book covers and newspaper strips; most of which have rarely been seen prior to this massive visual collection. Other types of Tarzan memorabilia are on hand here such as clothing, card games and lunch boxes. 

For all you Johnny Weissmuller fans, a good amount of pages are devoted to the late, former Olympic swimmer who has remained the signature cinematic interpretation of the character in no small part due to his undying jungle yell that has been copied, imitated and parodied for decades. There's not quite as much detail paid to the Tarzan movies (all are accounted for in some 50 pages worth including TV appearances), but a plethora of rare stills and behind the scenes photos spanning the near one-hundred motion picture series from the silents to the most recent incarnation will soothe the savage in us all.

This expansive tome -- likely the last word on the wild world of Tarzan -- even includes a Mangani dictionary; a glossary of jungle terms and phrases! Furthermore, Ron Ely (who essayed the role in a 1960s NBC series) gets the adventure started with an enlightening Introduction. There are also opening and closing chapters on Edgar Rice Burroughs detailing the man, the author, and his vast imagination spanning a cornucopia of exotic jungle dangers and mysterious lost worlds.

This book was released November 20th, 2012 through Titan Books. It can be ordered from amazon HERE.

For more information on this book, you can access, and order the book from its publisher, Titan Books HERE.

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