Friday, March 9, 2012
Fanholes Side Story: A Fighting Man of Mars part 2
In the fall of 2010 Dynamite launched Warlord of Mars, an adaption of the first novel A Princess of Mars. As with most Dynamite comics there are many variant covers to collect. Not only that, but some also contain nudity (referred to as 'risque' covers)...just a little fore warning. I guess I should go ahead and inform those who are unaware...the people of Barsoom don't care very much for clothing.
As for the comic, it stays faithful to the spirit of the novel. There are some changes of course. In the novel John Carter hides in a cave from Indians. This element remains in the comic though there is an added sequence where John Carter and a buddy get into a gunfight with 'Yankee' soldiers beforehand.
If you're looking for a good place to start i'd recommend the Warlord of Mars series. It's a quick and easy way to become familiar with these characters and perhaps if you're curious about the upcoming movie, maybe test the waters and see if this is something you'd enjoy. It is a very decompressed story though, and I do suggest getting the trades.
With the success of the Warlord of Mars series Dynamite launched several others. Warlord of Mars: Dejah Thoris is about the adventures of John Carter's princess...only these stories take place hundreds of years before Carter arrives on Mars. Personally, i've really enjoyed this series. It does much to fill in some of the gaps Burroughs left, such as the prolonged conflict between Greater and Lesser Helium. There are lots of 'easter eggs' for older fans as well.
Going beyond even that series is Fall of Barsoom which takes place 100,000 years before Carter. This series shows us the separation of the various races that live on Barsoom, as well as the origin of the oxygen facility among other things. This series is one i'd recommend only for those who are already very familiar with Barsoomian continuity.
The latest series is Warriors of Mars, which sees Gullivar Jones from the novel Lieutenant Gullivar Jones: His Vacation (sometimes known as Gulliver of Mars) by Edwin Lester Arnold meeting John Carter. Some press blurbs state this is the first time these characters meet. Not so. In the second volume of The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen during the prologue on Mars Carter and Jones meet.
These comics are, of course, not the only adaptions out there. There was a series published by Dell and Gold Key in the 60s, and the previously mentioned Marvel series. Dark Horse also released the Tarzan/John Carter crossover comic. Which, aside from a few minor story elements, was pretty enjoyable. Overall it felt like something Burroughs himself could have wrote.
So, if you're curious about the upcoming film I always recommend reading the novel. If books aren't your thing then pick up the Warlord of Mars series. Ultimately, there is a reason these characters and stories have been around for 100 years and have inspired so many people in the entertainment industry.