Monday, November 8, 2010
He's John Carter!
The first pulp adventure series created by Edgar Rice Burroughs (predating Tarzan by several months). the six-part serial "Under the Moons of Mars" detailed how soldier-of-fortune John Carter, mortally-wounded by Indians while prospecting for gold in 1870s Arizona, somehow projects his consciousness to Mars, where it is reincarnated in a body identical to his Earthbound form.
(Burroughs suggests that Carter is immortal. In the opening pages of "Under the Moons of Mars", the author reveals that Carter can't remember his childhood, having always been a man of about thirty years old. Generations referred to him as "Uncle Jack," but he always lived to see all the members of the families grow old and die, while he remained young.)
In Mars' lesser gravity, Carter's normal-human strength is, literally, superhuman!
He can lift over a ton, and can leap over a quarter of a mile!
And, yes, he can breathe, because the Barsoomians operate atmosphere-generating facilities bringing the oxygen content of the air to near-Earth levels.
He rescues and falls in love with the beautiful princess of the city/state Helium, Dejah Thoris, and joins with her in battling tyrannical enemies in a world filled with hidden cities, exotic creatures, and advanced technology (sometimes disguised as "magic").
It's the prototypical "high adventure" series, and it's concepts and tropes can be found in most later sf/fantasy from Flash Gordon to Captain Future to Star Wars.
Probably because of heavy special-effects requirements, there were no film or tv adaptations of John Carter stories until 2009, when a direct-to-video version of A Princess of Mars was released.
(Legendary animator Bob Clampett attempted to produce an animated version in 1936, going so far as to produce an illustrated bible and test footage. But no studio wanted to bankroll the project, believing "realistic" animation wouldn't sell. Several years later, the Fleischer Studio produced the classic Superman cartoons, proving them wrong.)
Now, production is under way on a cgi-enhanced feature film (like Avatar, Sin City, and Sky Captain) called John Carter of Mars based on the first novel, A Princess of Mars, with noted author Michael Chabon doing the screenplay.
With public interest in these interplanetary adventures ramping up, Atomic Kommie Comics™ feels it's the right time to re-present some of the best art of past versions of Barsoom and John Carter and offer our fans the chance to go Secret Chic with classic Carter collectibles in our Martians! Martians! Martians!™ collection including mugs, t-shirts, and an Art of Barsoom 2011 12-Month Calendar!
With Christmas coming, any of our collectibles combined with one of the books or dvd below as a gift set would make a great lead-in/intro to a pop-culture/high adventure fan to prep them for the new movie due next year!
*Though The All-Story magazine the first chapter of "Under the Moons of Mars" appeared in is cover-dated February, 1912, the magazine was actually on sale in November-December 1911.
Cover-dating fiction magazines (including pulps and comic books) 3-4 months ahead of the actual release date was standard practice until the 1990s.