Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Marvel Spotlight: John Carter, Warlord of Mars

Written by Marv Wolfman and illustrated by Gil Kane, John Carter, Warlord of Mars debuted with Marvel Comics Group in 1977, based on the Barsoom series by Edgar Rice Burroughs. For a character who turns one hundred years old this year, John Carter unfortunately did not have much of a presence in the comics, with just a handful of issues from Dell Comics and DC before Marvel did its popular but short two year, thirty one issue run. Most of the series was set in a very narrow time frame based on the first novel, A Princess of Mars for the Marvel books. A classic story of science-fiction, Carter was a Virginian that served as a captain for the Confederacy during the Civil war who later struck it rich prospecting in Arizona. While hiding from a band of Apaches in a cave, Carter has a strange out of body experience that transports him as an astral projection to the planet Mars. Leaving his shell of a body behind, he is re-embodied once again to his present form, thought now much stronger and more agile due to the lesser gravity of the "red" planet. A true adventurer at heart, John Carter soon becomes the premiere warlord fighting weird alien creatures and Martians alike while winning the heart of the lovely Martian Princess, Dejah Thoris of Helium. Based closely on the original source material, Wolfman's excellent scripts and Kane's dynamic pictures captured the swashbuckling excitement of Burroughs first hero with all the alien beauty and savage action of the novels. Recently licenced to other comic companies and with a big budget Disney movie to be released soon, John Carter should inspire a whole new legion of fans for the next century.


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