Sunday, July 7, 2013

Marvel Spotlight: Creatures on the Loose

Published in 1905, Lieutenant Gullivar Jones: His Vacation was a science fiction/fantasy novel by author Edwin Lester Arnold. His last novel which received meager reviews is still his best know work because of its important contributions to future sci-fi writers, especially Edgar Rice Burroughs. A likely inspiration for the classic Princess of Mars which Burroughs published in 1917, which really spawned the sword and planet genre. Bearing many similarities to Arnold's later retitled Gullivar of Mars, Burroughs' "Barsoom series" also had a military man transported to the planet mars as he fights for a lovely princess. With Burroughs' stories more exciting as John Carter defeats his enemies and gets Dejah Thoris, Arnold's protagonist did not always succeed in his adventures on the red planet. In March of 1972, Marvel Comics was searching for a new sword and sorcery hero and landed on "Gullivar Jones, Warrior of Mars" for its anthology title Creatures on the Loose #16 -21. Initially written by Roy Thomas and drawn by Gil Kane, it was later scripted by Gerry Conway and George Alec Effinger illustrated by Gray Morrow. With six issues that lasted only one year, it is fondly remembered by Marvelites for its action, adventure, and wild characters. It was revived in two issues of Marvel's black and white magazines, Monsters Unleashed, in 1974, though recasting the hero as a Vietnam War veteran in a modern setting with scripts by Tony Isabella and art by Dave Cockrum and George Perez.

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