Warlord of Mars   2 comments

Isn’t it wonderful how the old adventure classics come back again and again in new and even better forms than before?  One of my favorite novels ever is A Princess of Mars by Edgar Rice Burroughs.  Burroughs first penned this fantasy escape novel back in 1912, and here, almost a century later, it is still going strong.  When I first heard, about three months ago, that it was coming out in comic book form from Dynamite Comics, I immediately had Samurai Comics put it on my hold list.  Well, today it hit the stands, and as a bonus, the first issue only costs one dollar.  I bought 4 of them, getting 3 of the variant covers in the process, and I consider it to be $4 well spent.  That’s about what we pay for a single issue of the superhero comics that rule the comic shops.

I never thought of John Carter as left-handed.

 The story of John Carter on Barsoom–we may call it Mars, but the real Mars was never so vibrantly alive–is a remarkable tale for 1912.  Our hero gets to another world by simply wishing himself there.  Once there he finds a world that is even more bleak and barren than the Arizona desert he leaves behind.  On Barsoom the giant green cacti of the desert have become a race of 6-limbed savage warriors.  There are red men in both places–in Arizona they are called Apaches, and on Barsoom they are simply the dominant civilized people.  You would think on a world with a thin atmosphere that the people would wear lots of clothing, but instead nudidty is the rule.  You probably already know the story. If you don’t, you owe it to yourself to get a copy and read A Princess of Mars.  On the surface it is pure escapist fantasy, but if you really think about it, Burroughs was laying a lot of revolutionary messages between the lines.

My favorite variant cover. Joe Jusko is a simply incredible Burroughs artist.

Perhaps the best thing about the John Carter books by Burroughs is that they give artists incredible inspiration for some of their most gorgeous work.  The contrast of beauty with barbaric savagery, the yin and yang of John Carter and Dejah Thoris, the lure of the exotic, and the brutal reality of monsters in the world.  My soul floats away in dreaming when I see a cover like the one above.

Dejah Thoris, the most beautiful woman/alien in all of science fiction.

The images that artists come up with for the Barsoomian illustrations seem to leap straight out of tarot imagery.  Tell me–isn’t this Strength personified?

Swords aand naked women--Warlord of Mars is all about sex.

And there are four other promotional covers  that only dealers get.  They are bound to be expensive, although they really can’t be better than the ones shown above.

The interior art is also amazing.  Take a look!  Stephen Sadowski is an amazing artist.

Barren but beautiful.

Warlord of Mars would seem to be a misnomer for this comic.  According to Burroughs’ framing device, included in issue 1, the tale should only cover the events in A PRINCESS OF MARS which ends with Carter returning to Earth after 10 years on Mars.  He doesn’t really acquire the title of Warlord until he fights his way from pole to pole in THE GODS OF MARS AND THE WARLORD OF MARS.  Oh well, it will be interesting to see what Arvid Nelson does with the story.

There have been comics about John Carter before.  Dell did a 3 issue series back in the 50s and Gold Key reprinted it with the books out of order during the 60s.  Between 1977 and 1979 Marvel did this amazing series about John Carter Warlord of Mars.  It ran for 28 issues and had 3 annuals. When D.C. took over Marvel’s Tarzan line of comics, they also took John Carter, and continued his adventures briefly in Weird Worlds. It’s a shame the series didn’t last.  I would have bought those comics forever.  As it is, I have them all hidden away in the back room somewhere.  (How time flies!  I didn’t think it was that long ago. Just goes to show, I’m older than dirt.)

Marvel did an incredible series about John Carter--less symbolism, more action, great original stories.

The new Dynamite series by Arvid Nelson is off to a marvelous start–parallel narratives on Earth and Mars.  I hope enough fans buy this comic to make it a success, because if they do, we’ll get an even better portrayal of the John Carter saga than we did from D.C.  And that will be a treasure to read and watch.

end

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Posted October 15, 2010 by atroll in Uncategorized

2 responses to “Warlord of Mars

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  1. Now that you demonstrate that both DC and Marvel had that title, I am having difficulty remembering which series my sister had collected.

    The new one looks nice.

    Enjoy. 🙂

  2. I was debating if I wanted to make a trip up to the comic shop this weekend but this decided it for me.

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