Editor’s note: JCF is pleased to welcome a new contributor, Eric Holland. Eric has created in depth online databases at www.barsoom.wikia.com and johncarter.wikia.com, and has also contributed to recovering the old John Carter comics printed in “the funnies” anthologies. In this article he traces the history of the depiction of Dejah Thoris as a “warrior-like” princess–doing so at a time when there is considerable debate about the depiction of Dejah Thoris as a “Warrior Princess” in Disney’s John Carter, with Lynn Collins as Dejah Thoris, directed by Andrew Stanton.
Dejah Thoris – The Warrior?
by Eric Holland
Here I have collected a timeline of the various depictions of Dejah Thoris as a warrior!
February 1912: A princess of mars first sees the light of day, while Dejah Thoris is not depicted as a warrior, she is depicted as a strong willed woman willing to stand up for what she believes. And it is important to note, that this book goes out of its way to explain that all martian women carry at least a dagger!
August 1940: The funnies Issue #46 contains a story adapting a princess of mars, Dejah Thoris defends herself during her wedding by pulling out a gun and shooting someone! (a gun not provided by anyone, but she brought herself. Keep in mind this series was drawn and likely written by John Coleman Burroughs, and thus was likely approved by Edgar Rice burroughs
September 1940: The funnies issue #47, Dejah Thoris pulls out a gun and saves John Carters life!
December 1975: DC comics Tarzan family issue #60 depicts the world of barsoom and its people in the most inaccurate way imaginable. This comic depicts Thorjah, the daughter of Mars Kujak as a woman fighting for the right to be a warrior. Although a poor adaption it is clear who these people are meant to be!
July 1978: Marvels John Carter: Warlord of Mars, Issue #14 is released. It is important to know that this series is one of the most beloved and well-remembered things associated with Burroughs barsoom. In this issue Dejah Thoris fights skeletons with a sword
September 1978: Dejah Thoris fights an assassin woman in Issue #16 teenage boys are enthralled by this fight, John Carter is thought to be dead and Dejah Thoris goes off to avenge this death! (He isn’t dead btw)
Early (unknown) 1979: Warlord of Mars Annual #3 is published by marvel, lots of Dejah Thoris butt kicking to be found!
April 1979: issue #23 of marvels series, Dejah Thoris disguised as a member of the guild of assassins beats up john carter, and later in another fight a bunch of other warrior women!
May 1979: issue #24, dejah thoris fights tars tarkas and a bunch of other guys
August 1979: Issue #26 Dejah Thoris shoots a lot of guys, throws sword at one guy, stabs some more
April 1996: Dejah Thoris points a gun at tarzans head in Tarzans/John Carter warlords of mars 2
May 1996:Dejah Thoris still pointing gun at tarzans head in the next issue
June 1996:Dejah Thoris beats up the master assassin of zodanga, as depicted by the awesome cover art
2009: Asylums “A Princess of Mars” she stabs a bug, all fans of the books who have watched this movie enter a catatonic state for three weeks
March 2011: Dynamite Comics begins an ongoing series with Dejah Thoris as the protagonist, showing her with warrior characteristics almost every issue
October 2011: The movie prequel comic is released, Dejah Thoris is depicted as a warrior and a scientist, but her warrior aspects are not over the top and she only manages to kill a few calots throughout the entire series!
March 9 2012: Fans are outraged at the Disney film portraying Dejah Thoris as having warrior characteristics (how dare she defend herself at her wedding), because she has literally never been portrayed as a warrior before!