John Carter and Dejah Thoris: Beyond the Disney Film by Robert Sodaro

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via the Examiner

by Robert Sodaro

For those of you who labor under the impression that last year’s Disney film John Carter was just another funnybook hero to crack the big screen, with a storyline and visuals that simply looked just like all the other sci-fi comicbook films to hit the big screen over the past decade or so. Well nothing could be further from the truth. Nor — in spite of his adventures occurring on Mars — is Carter “technically” a science fiction character either. No, John Carter is actually more of a swashbuckling, fantasy adventure type of character who actually debuted in 1912, as the lead character in the first novel written byEdgar Rice Burroughs (the guy who gave usTarzan). Sure, sure ‘Carter’s adventures take place on Mars with great big green men with four arms, and lighter-than-air ships, and all that, but they were born out of flights of fantasy not hi-tech science.

On some level, what’s really important here is that this epic adventure revolves around the imaginative exploits of John Carter (formerly of Earth (circa 1860s) and currently of Mars) and now that he has made Mars his home, he is totally devoted to the incredibly beautiful and eternally captivating Princess Dejah Thoris. Over the course of the 100+ years since his introduction, there have been (understandably) numerous adventures about these two lovers. All of which take place on a world that is on the brink of collapse, amidst exotic locals and strange indigenous peoples. Throughout the course of all these adventures, Carter rediscovers his humanity and realizes that the survival of Barsoom (Mars) and its people rests in his hands.

Read the rest at the Examiner



  • It’s a shame that the one company that does a good job with the property is the unofficial one. Apart from the John Carter prequels that were well written by Peter David, Marvel’s efforts have been subpar. It was my dream for many years to read a good John Carter comics when none was available. Unfortunately the deal with Disney probably forbids any company to publish anything official based on lthe first three novels. I hope a financial arrangement will be found, Dynamite’efforts are well worth it.

  • “why don’t they just dial it back a bit and do a deal with ERB to make peace and then everybody would be happy.”

    From what I’ve read they tried to do that. Dynamite approached ERB Inc about publishing John Carter of Mars comics only to be told that Dark Horse still had the official license. Then ERB turns around and makes a deal with Marvel? I’m surprised that Dark Hose never sued them. Also ERB Inc was the ones who filed suit a good year and a half after Dynamite started publishing their comics. Why did it take so long? Why didn’t they file an injunction and stop it before the first issue came out? It seems that it took Dynamite’s comics outselling Marvel’s comics (and let’s be honest, the only reason that Marvel even made their own was because they are now part of Disney) to finally have them bring suit. Finally the first five books are in public domain, there is no copyright protection on them.

    I guess this goes back to my feeling that ERB Inc is being poorly run. I don’t have anything agaisnt ERB starting the company and fighting for author’s rights. I’m all for that and believe in it. But the company now? I mentioned this before they allowed ERB’s books to go out of print that are copyrighted. Walk into a Barnes and Noble and see what ERB books they have. Most of them are just the ones that have lapsed-Tarzan of the Apes or the first five Barsoom books. Where’s Pirates of Venus? The Moon Maid? Not to mentiont their continued not caring about the movies being made. Really Tarzan needs a sidekick mercenary and fights a diamond warlord? Or Andrew Stanton’s constant belittiling of ERB’s talent?

    I guess I just don’t see the Dynamite books as being imperfect since there has been an attempt to be faithful and respectful to the world ERB created. Granted the nudie covers I could do without but most of them are retailer exclusives, I’ve never seen them on the shelves so I doubt that’s really hurting the character’s reputation. If anything Stanton’s movie did more damage both by failing at the box office and their support of him.

  • I’m not wedded to the term “twisted”……why don’t they just dial it back a bit and do a deal with ERB to make peace and then everybody would be happy. Why not pay a small royalty? ERB is alive as it is today in part (oh boy, you’ll go nuts when I say this) because ERB created ERB Inc, lobbied for authors rights, and advanced the whole situation pertaining to authors.

    As for the art . . . . .some of it’s over the top and as far as I know, ERB Inc has never gotten on board with breasts that don’t at least have some peek-a-boo nipple coverage. Nothing like this has ever been approved to my knowledge.

    I tend to agree that even having imperfect stuff out there is better than having nothing out there. Would you agree with that? Including with movies?

  • What is the “twisted manner” that Dynamite is doing? Look I’ll admit that some of them have gotten off track-the Dejah Thoris series especially, even though the last issue was probably the best one to date. The thing is that the main Warlord of Mars series has been probably the most faithful comic book series to date in adapting and sticking to ERB’s Barsoom. more than the previous comic series. And as pointed out its keeping John Carter and Dejah out there. It seems all ERB Inc got upset with was that they weren’t getting paid and their claim about the books being risque, despite the fact that most of the artwork for the books has always been risque (or did they overlook Frazetta and Whelan).

    That and the fact that their deal with Marvel is now pretty much dead and buried so what do they want to do? Because removing Dynamite’s titles pretty much removes any John Carter of Mars comics or product and makes it even more dead than anything Disney did.

  • Dislcaimer — I know this article speaks favorably about Dynamite comics, not really addressing the conflict between Dynamite and ERB Inc . . . . just basically making the point that Dynamite is keeping the brand out there, even if in a somewhat twisted manner. We obviously support ERB Inc’s efforts to keep the brand consistent with what it has been traditionally — so please don’t take the fact that I reprinted the article here as an endorsement of that view. We try to provide excerpts and links to pretty much all articles that we find which address this topic.

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