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Preview: John Carter: Warlord of Mars Vol. 2

John Carter: Warlord of Mars Vol. 2

writer: Ron Marz, Ian Edgington
artist: Ariel Medel
cover: Abhishek Malsuni
FC • 224 pages • $19.99 • Teen+
COLLECTS ISSUES 7-14

John Carter, a hero of the American Civil War now at home on Mars, has survived the Kahori invasion alongside his beloved princess, Dejah Thoris. As the capital city of Helium rebuilds, the loving couple leave for the outlands to recuperate… but rest and relaxation are not in their future. All across Barsoom, sinister forces conspire against them. From savage Warhoon raiding parties to the artificial (and lovelorn) beast known as the Hormad, from the god-like sand spirit Jartak to the last of the world-conquering White Martians, the most evil creatures to ever walk the Red Planet stalk forth from the shadows to challenge the Warlord of Mars!

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Preview: John Carter: Warlord of Mars #14

John Carter: Warlord of Mars #14

writer: Ron Marz, Ian Edgington
artist: Ariel Medel
covers: Fritz Casas (a), Abhishek Malsuni (b), Emanuela Lupacchino (c)
subscription cover: Jonathan Lau
incentive cover: Fritz Casas (B/W art), Jonathan Lau (B/W art), Emanuela Lupacchino (“virgin art”)
Fans & retailers, order the cover of your choice!
FC • 32 pages • $3.99 • Mature

John Carter and Dejah Thoris finally return to majestic Helium, but they find the city strangely deserted. John and Dejah must find out what happened to its inhabitants, or suffer the same horrific fate! More amazing adventure in the tradition of Edgar Rice Burroughs, by the team of Ron Marz, Ian Edginton and Ariel Medel.

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Preview: John Carter: Warlord of Mars #13

John Carter: Warlord of Mars #13

writer: Ron Marz, Ian Edgington
artist: Ariel Medel
covers: Fritz Casas (a), Abhishek Malsuni (b), Emanuela Lupacchino (c)
subscription cover: Jonathan Lau
incentive cover: Fritz Casas (B/W art), Jonathan Lau (B/W art), Emanuela Lupacchino (“virgin art”)
Fans & retailers, order the cover of your choice!
FC • 32 pages • $3.99

Experience Mars in all its barbaric glory, as John Carter and Dejah Thoris continue their search for a way to preserve their dying world. But their journey may lead to certain death, as a mysterious foe stalks their every move! Co-writers Ron Marz and Ian Edginton continue their run, joined by rising artistic star Ariel Medel.

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Preview: John Carter: Warlord of Mars Vol. 1 TP

John Carter: Warlord of Mars Vol. 1 TP

writer: Ron Marz
artist: Abhishek Malsubi
cover: J. Scott Campbell
FC • 160+ pages • $19.99 • Mature

John Carter, the Confederate soldier transported to distant Mars, must save his adopted world from an adversary  who is every bit his equal on the Red Planet: Captain Joshua Clark, formerly of the Army of the Potomac and now the strategist for a species of star-hopping conquerors. While Carter and his staunch ally, the Thark chieftain Tars Tarkas, lead a legion of united Green Men and Red Men against the alien assailants, Dejah Thoris — the princess of Barsoom — is held captive by the bloodthirsty Clark in the fallen city of Helium. The “Invaders of Mars” storyline is cosmic-scale action and adventure, courtesy of Ron Marz, the groundbreaking writer of Green Lantern!

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Preview: John Carter: Warlord of Mars #12

John Carter: Warlord of Mars #12

writer: Ron Marz, Ian Edgington
artist: Ariel Medel
covers: Fritz Casas (a), Abhishek Malsuni (b), Emanuela Lupacchino (c)
subscription cover: Jonathan Lau
incentive cover: Bart Sears (B/W art), Jonathan Lau (B/W art), Emanuela Lupacchino (“virgin art”)
Fans & retailers, order the cover of your choice!
FC • 32 pages • $3.99 • Mature

The fate of Mars hangs in the balance as John Carter and Dejah Thoris race to revive the planet’s dying atmosphere. Standing in their way are killer robots, savage Tharks and villains of all stripes. Will John and Dejah sacrifice themselves if it means saving their world?

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Preview: John Carter: Warlord of Mars #11

John Carter: Warlord of Mars #11

writer: Ron Marz, Ian Edgington
artist: Ariel Medel
covers: Fritz Casas (a), Abhishek Malsuni (b), Emanuela Lupacchino (c)
subscription cover: Jonathan Lau
incentive cover: Bart Sears (B/W art), Jonathan Lau (B/W art), Emanuela Lupacchino (“virgin art”)
Fans & retailers, order the cover of your choice!
FC • 32 pages • $3.99 • Mature

John Carter and Dejah Thoris discover what may well be the key to repairing the dying atmosphere of Mars. But the long-lost technology of the White Martians is not only protected by deadly robots, it’s also being sought by other agents who will stop at nothing to retrieve it. John and Dejah might well save Mars, but only if they can save themselves! The start of a two-part story that could change Mars forever!

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Preview: John Carter: Warlord of Mars #10

John Carter: Warlord of Mars #10

writer: Ron Marz, Ian Edgington
artist: Ariel Medel
covers: Fritz Casas (a), Abhishek Malsuni (b)
Emanuela Lupacchino (c)
subscription cover: Jonathan Lau
incentive cover: Bart Sears (B/W art), Jonathan Lau (B/W art), Emanuela Lupacchino (“virgin art”)
Fans & retailers, order the cover of your choice!
FC • 32 pages • $3.99 • Mature

It ain’t easy being green! With John Carter and Dejah Thoris lost somewhere in the Martian wastes, Thark chieftain Tars Tarkas takes it upon himself to search for his missing friends. Accompanied by the most fearsome of sidekicks in Woola, the shocking threat Tars uncovers in the desert sands is beyond even his warrior skills. Mighty Martian action in the tradition of creator Edgar Rice Burroughs!

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Preview: John Carter: Warlord of Mars #9

John Carter: Warlord of Mars #9

Ron Marz, Ian Edgington (w)
Ariel Medel (a)
Ed Benes, Bart Sears, Emanuela Lupacchino (c)
Fans & retailers, order the cover of your choice!
FC • 32 pages • $3.99
FANS, ASK YOUR RETAILER FOR THE:
Bart Sears B/W art retailer incentive cover
Ed Benes B/W art retailer incentive cover
Emanuela Lupacchino “vrgin” art retailer incentive cover

John Carter and Dejah Thoris try to unravel a mystery in lonely Martian village under attack by a mysterious killer. But even if they manage to gain the trust of the suspicious villagers, something far more deadly lurks in the shadows. It’s a murder mystery, Martian-style, from the minds of Ron Marz, the fan-favorite cosmic writer of Green Lantern, and Ian Edginton!

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Preview: John Carter: Warlord of Mars #8

John Carter: Warlord of Mars #8

Ron Marz, Ian Edgington (w)
Ariel Medel (a)
Ed Benes, Bart Sears, Emanuela Lupacchino (c)
Fans & retailers, order the cover of your choice!
FC • 32 pages • $3.99 • Mature
FANS, ASK YOUR RETAILER FOR THE:
Bart Sears B/W Art retailer incentive cover
Ed Benes B/W Art retailer incentive cover
Emanuela Lupacchino “Virgin” Art retailer incentive cover

John Carter and Dejah Thoris visit a remote Martian city, where residents are being terrorized by a monstrous, murderous presence. Will the Warlord and Princess of Mars be able to solve the mystery, or will they be blamed for the brutal crimes? More masterful Martian adventures from writer Ron Marz and Eisner-nominated co-writer Ian Edginton, authorized by the Edgar Rice Burroughs estate!

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The Best Modern Comic Stories of John Carter’s Mars

Though often treated as a hokey anachronism of earlier literature, John Carter is a character that has helped to define modern science fiction.  In terms of inspiration he was little different from many of the earlier science stories, in that his inspiration was that of Mars, a place which many thought was inhabited up until the early 20th century, thanks in part to Percival Lowell semi-scientific theories about the the supposed Martian canals.  Many of the earlier science fiction stories dealt with Mars, and prominent among them were the War of the Worlds and the Martian Chronicles.  The War of the Worlds played on a different kind of fear, one very evident as it was was only 16 years away from the start of the First World War at the time of its publishing.  This inspiration from Mars provided a different plot inspiration as Martians were almost universally seen as uncaring invaders, interested in our world for its resources and not caring much about the inhabitants.  The Martian Chronicles were something very different though.  Although they were not the first kind of story of this type, it was one of the first of them, and it managed to do something which had never been done before, as it combined a medieval kind of inspiration (the fantasy genre didn’t really exist at the time) with science fiction, and thus helped to give birth to the space opera.

marsIn the modern setting though, John Carter feels a bit dated.  We now know that there is no life on Mars, or in the unlikely event that it does exist, that it would be microbes clinging to life in an inhospitable environment.  Equally we know that the literary suppositions about John Carter have little bearing on what his Earth muscles would do in such a place.  Although the weaker gravity would make him super strong in a sense, it would be more like the “super-strength” of a human on the moon as opposed to that of a true superhero, and instead of a graceful killing machine, he would look more like a stumbling giant.

Despite the shortfalls of the original setting and how they relate to the modern reader, the stories themselves have a rich enough setting that there is no reason that they should be so easily written off.  After all there are many combination of fantasy and science fiction, with Star Wars acting as the most impressive example in modern popular culture, with light sabers taking the place of regular swords.  There are even other relatively popular setting such as He-Man which use the same inspiration, so it is not as though John Carter should be treated as much of the anachronism as he gets to be seen as.

That being said though, the stories of John Carter, at least in modern comics have struggled to get a strong footing, where other similar properties have succeeded or even thrived.  The characters have primarily been used by Dynamite in recent years, although as they are all in the public domain, the characters can be published by anyone, as Marvel/Disney did after the John Carter film in 2012.  What defines the characters are the commonality of the scenarios, as they tend to fall into one of two basic story types.  In the first the characters have to defend Helium from an invader, in the second they explore some previously unexplored and unmentioned corner of the planet and they come upon something often bizarre and often deadly.

marsThe first kind of these stories is much more in line with the original works of Edgar Rice Burroughs, as most of his Martian Chronicles detailed the fight for power of the various cities on Mars.  Every subsequent main story has focused on the same as it forms a part of the character’s origin story.  A man haunted by the events of the Civil War on Earth, who comes to terms with war after winning one on Mars.  However, as origin stories can tend to get somewhat repetitive it is hard to highlight one modern story focused around this concept, as most simply are versions of the original of Burroughs.  Instead if one were to look for something a little different in terms of the usual from the “defending Helium” plots, it would be worth checking out the most recent attempt to make John Carter catch in popular culture, in the first story arc of the current John Carter Warlord of Mars.  There are several different small changes to the story here, mostly in that John Carter and Dejah are already in control, and as one of John Carter’s old nemeses from Earth returns to exact revenge.  It is maybe not excellent but it was a fresh take on what is cliche for the characters by this point.

whiteapesThe second kind of story is one which is not foreign to the original source material, but not one which is specifically related.  The discovery of the bizarre and the deadly was always an issue for those in the Martian Chronicles, as john Carter meets the Tharks of Mars before anyone else, but the discovery has generally fed into the invasion theme, as allies are formed to make victory possible.  The exploration of Mars just for the exploration is a relatively new concept, and one which is tied to what is a relatively heavy prevalence of John Carter stories in recent years, especially from the period when both Dejah and John had their own series, and in which material for the stories had to be expanded.  Although these stories end up being a fluffier as the stakes are not as high, sometimes they are pretty engaging.  Probably the best from this inspiration would be Dejah Thoris and the White Apes of Mars.  Dejah’s series was set a few hundred years before the arrival of John Carter, and she got to stand on her own as a hero.  In this miniseries, she is exploring the ruins of a city, only to discover that it is not fully abandoned, rather that it is being inhabited by the White Apes of Mars, a murderous group of bloodthirsty killers.  It combines the claustrophobic setting of Die Hard with the death by death approach of Alien into a pretty fun series.

As a setting and concept, some might argue that Mars is no longer engaging, especially when the comic companies have such rich cosmic settings, and when other franchises such as Star Trek and Star Wars have populated the cosmos with other stories.  However, a little imagination goes a long way to keep the stories of the John Carter and Dejah Thoris alive, and makes them more less of an anachronism and more of typical space heroes.

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