Poll: Which cover works best for John Carter and the Gods of Hollywood

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Well, there seems to be a number of different opinions and so let’s try a poll.  I can’t guarantee the winner of the poll will prevail, but it will help me figure this out.  Here are the three pix with the argument for each.

Keep in mind that the cover is probably not so important to people like us, who know what this is all about and would buy it without regard to the cover.   It’s more about getting someone who’s not sure what it’s about to stop and check it out.

One other point — calling all artists! Now that I’ve pretty much settled on this design, it opens up the possibility that rather than using the public domain art that I’m using now (for the insert) — it could be a piece of fan art and I’m completely open to that, in fact that would be the ideal solution. If I had gotten around to working on a design sooner than yesterday I would have put out the call a long time ago. (For those who didn’t follow — there was a wonderful piece of fan art by Bryan Bustard that was slotted to be used, but in the end because it depicted Disney characters who were clearly Disney characters I couldn’t use it.) Just keep in mind that it can’t look like Disney John Carter — in other words, it must depict Edgar Rice Burroughs’ John Carter or your imagined John Carter, not the Disney characters, costumes, or design.

Anyway, I’m going to put the poll here up at the top but please do scroll down and look at them all and read the pros and cons for each — click to enlarge. Then join the poll. And thanks for all the good thoughts.

Which book cover do you prefer?

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Abbet — John Carter of Mars

Pros for this are that it fits the storyline — John Carter is threatened by a menacing giant hand that seems to be reaching down from a Hollywood searchlight.  Graphically it doesn’t stand out as much from the background as the other ones. (Night on night.)

Cons — it’s reminiscent of the White Ape which became the symbol of Disney’s failure, and hence it doesn’t suggest that there is more to John Carter than White Apes and mayhem.

Abbet — Thuvia, Maid of Mars

Pros for this one are that it conjures up the romance, the relationship, and the mystery/allure of Barsoom. Looks like glory years Hollywood.  Graphically it stands out nicely from the background.

Cons are that it’s not an action image, JC isn’t threatened so it doesn’t tie together as nicely with the theme of the the book.

Schoonover — A Princess of Mars

Pros for this are that it’s the original image from the cover of the original story; it contains the romance and a Carter is fighting, defending Dejah, all essential elements to the story.

Cons are that this is just a very “old-fashioned” and stylized treatment and if you don’t know the significance of it — does it work?




  • THE HAND. Remember – the book isn’t about the John Carter story so much as it’s about Hollywood crushing the John Carter franchise. “The Hand” captures that perfectly.

  • Don’t be second guessed. It is a serendipitous collision of karma and your instincts that lead you to consider this one, that there is such an image in existence and how perfectly it captures exactly what happened in Hollywood to our beloved character is too strong to fight against.

  • Are these the only options? Have you considered hiring an illustrator? I have some excellent recommendations (with contact info) if you’re considering it.

  • I like the John Carter of Mars, with the large hand reaching out to grab John Carter. Like in Harry Potter , Draco Malfoy’s Hand of Glory which is a dark artifact, a shrivelled hand which gives light only to the holder. Symbolically leaving John Carter and the reest of his fans in the dark.

  • Gotta hand it to you!. Let’s give you a big hand! On the other hand….

    The hand winds hands down!

  • I like the Schoonover cover for APOM, but I voted for Abbet’s cover for JCOM. For me, the image of Joog, the Giant of Mars, equated with the Hollywood moguls made me laugh. Of course, many potential readers may not have read JCOM yet and may not see the signiifcance. Also, you have a point that many who have only seen the movie and have not read the books may equate the hand with that of a white ape.

  • Hmmm, it’s between Abbott JCOM and Schoonover for me.. I don’t think the Schoonover is particularly old fashioned and it looks like he’s protecting Dejah from those Hollywood Therns! But I do like the giant hand representing those Therns, too. Seeing both, John Carter and the “Gods” in the image is very striking, so… I do think that Abbott cover is the best representation. 🙂

  • I voted for the Abbett Thuvia (all of Abbett’s Mars covers are outstanding!), although it could have been centered better….

  • Not to be a stick in the mud, but the Abbet covers are still covered by copyright, I believe. Is ERB Inc. down with you using these? Sorry for being a poopyhead about this.

    ERB Inc. referred me to Jerry Schneider as the expert they rely on. Jerry confirmed they are in public domain. Here is what he said:

    “Because the dust jacket was not a part of the actual book, but something that could easily be removed from, the copyright law looked at it as a separate entity for copyright purposes (pre-1978–now everything is copyright as soon as it is created). Paperback covers are a part of the book, so they would be protected by the same copyright that was registered for the book. As to the Ace and Ballantine paperbacks, my two newest books look into that. All of the first series of covers for both Ace and Ballantine are public domain because there was no copyright registered for any of them. Additionally, more of the covers after that first series of printings are also public domain, but I have not itemized them as yet as I “ran out of steam” preparing for the Dum Dum. I plan on going back and adding those and any others to another book on the subject. ….For the Ballantines, it refers to the Abbetts and the Powers. For Ace it is Krenkel and Frazetta. For the cover of my recent hardcover edition of “Thuvia, Maid of Mars”, I used the variant Thuvia Ballantine cover. Both Ballantine Thuvia’s and A Princess of Mars, along with all of the first printings of the Ballantine Mars series are public domain for the covers.”

  • I voted for the JCOM cover. It just captures the story of this book better-a giant “monster” crushing ERB’s creation. Now if only you could have panned up to see Mickey Mouse or Andrew Stanton at the end of that arm 😉

  • Not to be a stick in the mud, but the Abbet covers are still covered by copyright, I believe. Is ERB Inc. down with you using these? Sorry for being a poopyhead about this.

  • I vote for the Abbet Thuvia art – very, very classy & elegant, speaks of Barsoom and romance.


  • One minor question – in the cover for Thuvia, what scene is that? I re-read the book a couple of months ago, and I don’t recall a scene with Dejah Thoris and John Carter. Is this John and Thuvia? Not that your potential readers care. Thanks.

  • Miscellaneous comments – I hope they help, take them for what they’re worth. I don’t get any white ape impression from the giant hand – note the spiked wristlet. In favor of the Schoonover and Thuvia shots, those may help with the crowd less familiar with the original stories by depicting the romance and chivalry, and in the case of the Schoonover version, action. They might also add some interest for ladies considering your work. And both appear old fashioned, but what would you expect with a 100 year old story? That fact may be a plus and might catch someone’s eye. I still can’t make a definitive pick. That’s a good field from which to choose.

  • I like the Thuvia best but I vote for Schoonover for reasons cited above. I actually liked the original (fan art) one but I guess you couldn’t use it because it was based on the Disney properties.

  • I almost chose the Thuvia one, it’s so classy, I really love this drawing!! But I chose the Giant Hand, much more in tune with how I perceive the book’s tone.

  • I’ve been thinking about the back cover, wouldn’t it look great to have ERB at the top like you have him, followed by St Johns black and white fighting scene with Thuvia, and then Whelan’s full color APOM of the rescued princess last.

    It shows how old the source material is and that it has lasted all the way to modern days, and it even feels like there is closure, by showing the creator ERB, then a black and white fighting scene, and ending with the colorful rescue scene.

  • Out of those choices probably Abbet’s John Carter of Mars on the front because it works with the title the best, making it more clear that it’s an analysis/investigation rather than just a general documentary. And then have your favorite romantic or cool sci-fi covers on the back, like Abbet’s APOM/ Thuvia, or St. Johns Thuvia, or a colorful Whelan or sexy Frazetta for example:)

    There could also be other good choices out there for the front….so if you think of any others let us know 🙂

  • I haven’t had time to read all the comments and suggestions, but I would have thought the Abbett “Princess of Mars” cover would have been good.

    Can’t get that one into a landscape format, unfortunately. I tried — just doesn’t work. Composition is to stacked/vertical.

  • I haven’t had time to read all the comments and suggestions, but I would have thought the Abbett “Princess of Mars” cover would have been good. Since it wasn’t an option, I chose the “giant of Mars” because he is reaching out to crush John Carter. and if it suggests a white ape denoting Disney’s failure, that’s as it should be.

  • I vote Schoonover. Classic, not “dated” nor ape-ish. Romance and action. Stands out from background. Thuvia may evoke glory years of Hollywood, but I didn’t think your book was about that, really. Besides, the Thuvia gal is so vertical that I always think she’s about to fall over backwards. Schoonover all the way.

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