John Carter of Mars!The Warlord of Mars was back on thecomic book racks in the early Fifties whenDell adapted his opening trilogy of novelswith art by Jessie Marsh in their Four Colorseries, where the long-running Tarzan seriesfirst debuted.!John Carter’s first Dell appearance wasin Four Color #375 in March-May 1952. “ThePrisoner of the Tharks” adapts “A Princess ofMars” ong opens fairly close to the originalstory with a mystical cave transporting JohnCarter to Mars. The time period of theopening scene is shifted from an Indian attackduring post-Civil War to a modern battlefield,but it is never made clear if the setting isWorld War II or the Korean Conflict, with thehelmeted soldiers chasing him shown only insilhouette. After that, it is a straightforwardadaptation until the end, when John Carterremains with Dejah Thoris at her home inHelium instead of being transported back toEarth.!As always, Marsh’s storytelling wasexcellent and, having read the books first, Ifound his illustrations of the many bizarreMartian creatures to be very accurate,although the main characters seemedoverdressed to an conspicuous degree,possibly as an editor’s overreaction to DejahThoris’ lack of clothing in novels.9
Edgar Rice Burroughs’ Art Chronology -- Comics: The Universal Language -- Part 2!I have always been a huge fan of thescreen coloring done during the archaic daysof letterpress printing, and how thesecolorists often preformed wonders with alimited palette that still outshines much ofmodern computer coloring. The brilliant huesof the front and back covers are excellentexamples of this, but that was not always thecase with the interiors. Particularly in thethird issue, I found the colors distracting andlacking in subtlety -- sometimes going togarish extremes. They tried somethingdifferent in an attempt to convey anotherworldliness, and some might have likedit, but I was not one of them.!John Carter returned in Dell Four Color#437 and “The Black Pirates of Omean.” JohnCarter had remained on Mars at the end ofthe first comic, unlike in the book where hehad been unwillingly teleported back toEarth. The second comic opens where TheGods of Mars that it adapts opens -- with JohnCarter having returned to Mars after anabsence, but for comic readers that absencewas never explained. This was not the onlyproblem.10
John Carter of Mars!The trilogy wrapped in AugustOctober 1953 with Dell Four Color #488 andJohn Carter’s battle with “The Tyrant of theNorth.” The story opens when John Carter,Dejah Thoris, and Tars Tarkas have theirjourney home to Helium interrupted by anambush from the Black Pirates of last issue.!Overall, these were daring adaptationsof some of my all-time favorite novels. Whenyou like the source material a lot, you holdthe adaptations to a high standard. One of thethings that I liked best about the Dell serieswas the cover below of Four-Color #488.Their painted covers always made Dellcomics stand out from the other line drawncomics on the racks.11
Edgar Rice Burroughs’ Art Chronology -- Comics: The Universal Language -- Part 2!Gold Key reprinted all three John Carterof Mars issues beginning in April of 1964 andconcluding in October (#1 upper right, #2lower left). Only #3 (lower right) had a covernot reprinted from the back of the Dells. Idiscussed in Volume 3 the many oversightsby the Dell editors and how the Tarzan seriesimproved after the Gold Key changeover. Itmust have been a coincidence, because in thisinstance Gold Key completely snarled thestory by running the issues out of order.!Parts Two and Three were switched!!As flawed as the Gold Key reprintsmay be, both series command good prices onthe collectors’ market, with a high grade NearMint copy of the first Dell John Cartercurrently guiding at 700, and a Near Mintcopy of the Gold Key #1 for 100. The Dell #1widened the gap by 100 in just the last year,and a new edition of the annual price guidewill be out by the time you read this.12
John Carter of Mars!The House of Greystoke was animprint of the Burroughs Bibliophiles who,with Vern Coriell as editor, made a number ofTarzan reprints in the Sixties. They also didreprints of Burroughs’ other creations. Somewere significant.!Under the House of Greystoke imprint,The Girl From Farris’ first edition hardcoverwas published by the Burroughs Bibliophilesin 1965. This edition included the nearly lostartwork from the newspaper serialization ofthe story (Volume 2 page 162).!The Efficiency Expert was another firstedition 1966 (Volume 2 page 163).! David Innes of Pellucidar byJohn Coleman Burroughs in1968 was a 60 page reprint ofthe At the Earth’s Core fromthe Hi-Spot issue #2 (page 7),reproduced in greyscale.! John Carter of Mars by JohnColeman Burroughs in 1970(below) was a unique 16 & 1/2” x 10 & 1/4”size. This 78 page book collected all 72 ofJCB’s Sunday John Carter of Mars newspaperstrips, which followed in sequence from hiscomic book run in the Funnies. Some of thenewspaperscarryingthehalf-pagesyndicated strip would at times drop the fourcolors down two. Here, the House ofGreystoke went back to JCB’s original art fora black & white recreation, with a two-colorblack & red cover on the same texturedmustard yellow paper as were their otherbooks. This was a rare use of color by TheHouse of Greystoke.!Another exceptionwastheBurroughsBibliophile #5 in 1971,which carries the circularlabelofBurroughsBulletin #66/67/68. This1971 reprint of theoriginal Pulp publicationof The Master Mind ofMars was a 56 page self-covered (same paperused for the cover and interior) book with acolor cover reproduction of the 1929 AmazingStories Annual cover. Being a full-sizedreprint of the original bedsheets (oversized)pulp, this was as good as amateur colorreproduction got with the limited technologyof the 1970s. The reprint was itself reprintedin 1977 as the Burroughs Bulletin #66/67/68listed on the original cover, which was typicalas the group often planned issues far inadvance, some of which were never made. Astechnology evolved to put the power of aprofessional print shop into a box that fitsonto your lap, the Burroughs Bibliophilesevolved their subsequent work into slick,professional looking magazines.13
comics stand out from the other line drawn comics on the racks. John Carter of Mars 11!Gold Key reprinted all three John Carter of Mars issues beginning in April of 1964 and concluding in October (#1 upper right, #2 lower left). Only #3 (lower right) had a cover not reprinted from the back of the Dells. .