What is John Carter all about? Mini Anthikad Chhibber gets into Edgar Rice Burroughs works
Say Edgar Rice Burroughs and the first thing that comes to mind is, of course, Tarzan. But even before Tarzan, there was John Carter, who has rip-roaring adventures on Mars or Barsoom as the locals call it. “Under The Moons of Mars” was serialised in the All-Story Magazine in 1912. In October 1912, “Tarzan of the Apes,” Burroughs most successful creation, was published and nothing was the same again.
Tarzan told the story of a boy brought up by apes in Africa after his aristocratic parents are killed. Tarzan meets, falls in love and marries the lovely Jane. While he spends time in the city, Tarzan is only too happy to strip the “thin veneer of civilisation” to return to his beloved jungle, wear a loin cloth, sleep in a tree and eat raw meat with his teeth.
It was after the phenomenal success of Tarzan, that the John Carter story was published as a book in 1917 as “A Princess of Mars.” Tarzan has been a celluloid favourite — IMDB lists 89 movies with Tarzan in the title between 1918 and 2008. The early movies with Olympian swimming champion Johnny Weissmuller in the lead set the template. It showed Tarzan as a simple, noble savage who did not speak English too well — the iconic “I Tarzan You Jane” exchange is an example of this. Greystoke: The Legend of Tarzan, Lord of the Apes (1984), however, was closer in spirit to Burroughs’ novels with Christopher Lambert playing the aristocrat jungle boy who turns his face from civilisation.