KILSYTH was the scene for the relaunch of one of popular culture’s most famous heroes last week.
It might be a far cry from the deepest darkest Congo, but nevertheless Tarzan, Lord of the Apes has had his career revived right here with the launch of a new book.
Edgar Rice Burroughs wrote the original Tarzan stories between 1912 and 1965.
Wanting to celebrate the forthcoming centenary, the Edgar Rice Burroughs Estate agreed to allow author and screenwriter Andy Briggs to “reboot” the character, bringing him up to date for a new generation of readers.
But rather than a glitzy affair in London the book’s official launch was secured by small independent bookstore Scotia Books following meetings at industry events. Andy was keen to promote his books in Scotland and accepted an invitation from Scotia to launch his book with them.
A tour of local schools followed with Andy meeting pupils and talking about Tarzan.
“Everyone knew who Tarzan is, he’s a big part of popular culture,” said Andy.
“Most were familiar with the Disney version but didn’t know much about the other screen versions.
“Certainly they’d never cracked open one of Burroughs’ books and read that.”
And this, says lifelong Tarzan fan Andy, is why it was important to bring Tarzan up to date.
“He is still the Lord of Greystoke, and Lady Jane is still there too, but now she has an iPod and Facebook and is much more like the people who will read the story. Tarzan himself is also different - much as the Batman films changed him from the camp ‘60s version to something much darker, I have made Tarzan far darker, very animalistic.”
The setting is also very much today’s Congo. “It is rife with illegal diamond mining, constant warfare and deforestation, a place full of danger which makes it the perfect setting for Tarzan,” said Andy.
Tarzan: The Greystoke Legacy is available everywhere, including Kindle, and donations from every sale going to the EAZA Ape Campaign. This seeks to help save critically endangered ape species from poachers, disease and habitat loss.