For several years, Dynamite has offered a series of Warlord of Mars titles inspired by public domain tales written by Edgar Rice Burroughs. This November, however, Dynamite will launch its officially licensed John Carter: Warlord of Mars series, produced with the full approval of ERB Inc. And with the new agreement and the new series comes a new writer as comic veteran Ron Marz takes over the Barsoomian saga.
"This is literally a job I've been wanting to do since I was twelve years old,” Marz said. “I grew up on John Carter, Tarzan, and everything else. I was just the right age when I discovered John Carter, Dejah Thoris, Tars Tarkas, and the wonder of Edgar Rice Burroughs' Mars; I loved all of it, but John Carter was my favorite. It fired my imagination like almost nothing else. More than anything else, the John Carter stories made me want to become a writer. So to finally get a chance to write these characters, to visit that world, is a dream come true for me.”
Marz is a veteran comics storyteller who has worked with Marvel, DC, Image, CrossGen, and other publishers during a career that has spanned decades. "We are incredibly excited about Ron coming on board for this project," Dynamite publisher Nick Barrucci said. "When we originally launched the Warlord of Mars series in 2010, Ron and I ran into each other at a comic convention, and Ron grabbed me by the shoulders and said something to the effect of, 'How can you launch a John Carter series and not call me to write it?' It was a statement!
“As we looked at the potential creators for this series, we instinctively remembered Ron's passion for the mythos. He is simply the perfect fit. Add in the fantastic art by Abhishek Malsuni and Neeraj Menon, and this series will take John Carter to new heights!
John Carter: Warlord of Mars takes place against the exotic landscape of Barsoom (the world we know as Mars), where displaced earth man John Carter has to save his adopted world—not to mention his beloved Dejah Thoris—from an enemy like no other he has ever faced.
Marz has ambitious plans for his first storyline. “We’re beginning the series with a big six-issue arc called ‘Invaders of Mars,’ which is exactly what it sounds like. An alien armada invades Barsoom, and naturally the Warlord of Mars has to stop it. I wanted to start off with a sweeping adventure that introduces the characters and the world, and also introduces a new villain to the Mars mythology. I really wanted to give John Carter a worthy opponent, someone who is physically his equal as a warrior, since John is a virtual Superman on Mars. I think we've come up a great villain for him, someone who's everything that John is ... and yet everything John is not.”
If you haven’t read any of Dynamite’s prior Warlord of Mars series, don’t worry: prior knowledge is not required. “We're starting fresh,” Marz said. “The new series is a ground-floor read, so it's accessible to people who have never read the comics or even the novels. The first issue gives you all the background you need to know, within the story, and hopefully drags you along at breakneck pace from there.”
Marz is aware that getting new readers hooked on Edgar Rice Burroughs hasn’t always been easy, but he is confident that it can be done. “These are great characters in a fantastic setting. The dedicated ERB fans know that, so they're along for the ride already,” Marz explained. “My job is to get to the heart of the characters and the setting in way that's welcoming to new readers.
“The heart of the series is the relationship between John and Dejah Thoris, so that's what we're always going to come back. The adventure is great, but if you're not invested in John and Dejah, if you don't care about what happens to them every month, the action is empty. This is an epic love story—but one with lots of sword fights!”
Some classify ERB’s Mars tales as sword-and-planet fantasy rather than science fiction; what’s Marz’s view on that? “I suppose that depends on your definition of science fiction. Most people consider Star Wars and Avatar to be science fiction, but to my mind they have a lot more in common with fantasy then hard science fiction. And they both obviously borrow liberally from John Carter. Edgar Rice Burroughs essentially invented the planetary romance genre, and I'm remaining true to what he created. This isn't the brand of fantasy Tolkien popularized, but it's still fantasy.”
Now that Marz is writing his dream project, he has no plans to leave. “I’ll write this book as long as they let me. This is literally a job I've wanted to do since I was twelve years old, so a horde of savage Tharks couldn't pry it away from me!”
John Carter: Warlord of Mars #1 is scheduled for November 5th release. The book will be offered with covers by J. Scott Campbell, Bart Sears, J.G. Jones, Ed Benes, Emanuela Lupacchino, and Cedric Poulat. In addition, Dynamite will offer a Blank Authentix Edition, as well as incentive variant editions with art by Jose Luis (1 for 10), Abhishek Malsuni (1 for 20), and Jae Lee (1 for 30), as well as black and white variants by Bart Sears (1 for 40), and J. Scott Campbell (1 for 50).
Check out the rest of the covers for the upcoming new series.
Source: Cliff Biggers/CSN