A century is a long time for a fictional character to still hold currency, and dedicated Burroughs scholar Scott Tracy Griffin's Tarzan: The Centennial Celebration commemorates this impressive span in style.
I usually don't go in for coffee table books. Always heavy on beautiful imagery but light on actual content, the typical coffee table book is fun for a quick perusal but rarely commands repeated attention...something you pick up once or twice and then rarely look at again. Happily, Griffin's terrific compendium is a notable exception. In short, it is - like its subject - magnificent.
Published by Titan Books, Tarzan: The Centennial Collection is huge (13 x 10 inches) and beautifully designed, with thick, glossy pages chock full of stunning images, but Griffin hasn't scrimped on the text side of the equation, either. This a fabulous, juicy tome that not only is a feast for the eye and a salve for the soul of adventure fiction junkies everywhere, but works as a splendid overview of Burroughs' most famous character.
Griffin also peppers the book with sidebar articles (equally lavishly illustrated) on all manner of Tarzan-related goodies, from entries on Jane, the various beasts of Tazan (Tantor the Elephant, Numa the Lion, Nkima vs. Cheeta, etc.), Korak (Tarzan's son), Pellucidar, feral children, lost worlds, implacable foes, femmes fatales, an "ape language" glossary, and on and on. Later chapters of the book delve into Tarzan's forays into the world of comics (both newspaper strips and comic books), radio, film, television, stage, memorabilia and the like. Every possible facet is covered in brief, with myriad nuggets of information that many fans might not be aware of. (For example, did you know that actor Rod Taylor of The Time Machine fame starred in over 800 15-minute Tarzan serials for Australian radio in the late 50s? I sure as heck didn't!) There are also a couple of fascinating biographical chapters (again, accompanied by rare and enlightening photographs) discussing Burroughs youthful military service and later life as a world famous, elder statesman writer hanging out at his Tarzana ranch (and, of course, Tarzana itself gets its own chapter).
And best of all, the book has inspired me to start working my way through those original Tarzan novels, many of which I've never got around to reading before. Indispensable for fans of Tarzan, Edgar Rice Burroughs, pulp adventure fiction, and wonderful cover art in general, and worth much more than what it's currently going for on Amazon (can you tell I like this thing?), Tarzan: The Centennial Celebration comes highly, highly recommended.
My Grade: A+