Author Q&A with Scott Tracy Griffin

November 19, 2012
Scott Tracy Grif­fin (web­site) has written and compiled a wonderful coffee table book called Tarzan The Centennial Celebration, which I thought was marvelous, a feast to the eyes and a great gift to any Tarzan, comics, movies or pop-culture fan. Mr. Griffin was kind enough to answer a few questions for me.
Q.  Tarzan has been a beloved figure since its inception to this day. Why do you think thae story has such a grep on kids and kids at heart for generations?
A. Tarzan creator Edgar Rice Burroughs tapped into a primordial fantasy that speaks to many of us: the desire to return to nature and be free of the conventions and restrictions of civilization. It’s wish-fulfillment and empowerment on the most basic levels—Tarzan, a mental, moral, and physical superman, embodies the person we would like to be, living the life we’d love to live.
Q.  What prompted you to write the book?
A.  I’ve been a Burroughs fan since childhood, and his writing has always inspired my artistic pursuits. After years of waiting, I finally had an opportunity to create the manner of illustrated Tarzan book I would have loved as a child—or an adult. The timing of the Centennial was ideal for the release of Tarzan: The Centennial Celebration.
Q. There is an enormous amount of wonderful art associated with Tarzan. How did you go about choosing which pieces to include in the book?
A. It’s impossible to do justice to each artist’s contribution in one volume, so I included all the classic illustrators as well as my favorites, which skew towards the illustrators from my youth: Neal Adams, Boris Vallejo, and other high-profile artists of the latter-half of the twentieth century who portray a savage, contemporary Tarzan, close to ERB’s original imaginings.
Q. There are many incarnations of Tarzan (TV, movies, comics), which one do you think most resembles Burroughs’ Tarzan?
A. My favorite portrayals are the comic book and newspapers strip stories of Russ Manning, who was a terrific storyteller as well as artist; the animated Filmation television series of the 1970s; and the comic book work and illustrations of Thomas Yeates. All of these versions were based on Burroughs’ original concept, rather than the later Hollywood versions.
Q. What are the challenges associated with book promotions in the social media age?
A. One reason that I’ve chosen to work within the medium of large, illustrated books is that they are artistic artifacts in themselves, and will continue to be highly sought and collectible. I believe the near future remains bright for this kind of book, which will garner attention, based on its visual appeal. I don’t face the same hurdles that novelists do, who compete with an almost infinite amount of freely available prose on the internet, as well as mediums like film and video games.
Q. Shameless plug disguised as a question: Why do you love so much and often visit the web-site?
Wise guy answer: It’s a great resource that reviews great books! What’s not to love?
Zohar – Man of la Book
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