I finally snagged a copy of the Dark Horse reprint of the John Carter of Mars adventures from the back pages of DC's Tarzan and later the Burroughs spin-off Weird Worlds.
I have never read the entire saga, and it was neat to finally get the chance. I let this one slip by me when it first appeared early last year, and I've been looking for another since.
The story of ERB's John Carter as translated by a young Marv Wolfman is straightforward adventure, with Carter's soldier's spirit shining through. Death was commonplace on Barsoom and these stories capture that despite the four-color limits of the medium traditionally. While it's certainly not graphic under the deft lines of Murphy Anderson, there's no lack of lethal swordplay in these chapters.
Anderson supplies the artwork for the majority of this series, with Gray Morrow stepping in for the second chapter, and Sal Amendola taking over the series with the final few chapters. The reproduction of the Anderson work seemed a little grainy to me on certain pages, his feathery light lines not standing up well. I noticed no such deterioration in the other artwork, which was by and large less subtle.
John Carter's story is a mad dash once he is transported to Mars/Barsoom. He meets the Tharks and kills many of them and at some undefined point becomes allied with the surly Tars Tarkas. The romance between Carter and Dejah Thoris seems to rocket from nowhere as the series compresses the details of the first novel necessarily. Both Princess of Mars and Gods of Mars are adapted in this short run, and Carter never stops hardly once during the adventures. That has the feel of ERB for sure.
I've long wanted to read these and now I have. I'd love to see the Venus and Pellucidar stuff reprinted sometime too, but with no movie in the offing for either I'd reckon I'll be waiting a while longer for those.
Here's a cover gallery of the comics the John Carter stories appeared in which are in this reprint. He's not featured on many and not mentioned on a few. John Carter had a few more adventures in Tarzan Family, but those stories are not included in the Dark Horse reprint.