Sunday, February 27, 2011

John Carter Figure and Comic News

As you can tell it's been a pretty quiet month here. I guess chalk it up to lack of news, being busy and having to tighten up financially. But here's two little news bits for you Barsoom fans.

First up Triad Toys has set tentative release dates for their pricey John Carter of Mars action figures according to a recent newsletter For those who pre-ordered it looks like Tars Tarkas is set to ship in March while John Carter and Dejah Thoris will ship in April. I wonder if they'll have any income tax rebate sales?

Also this week saw the release from Dark Horse Comics of their massive John Carter of Mars: Warlord of Mars paperback collecting the entire Marvel run. I probably won't be reviewing it here since I've already reviewed most of the series and I'm still annoyed by the choice to go black and white instead of the original color. But I did find this review on the site Shelfari that talks about it. It also appears Dark Horse has added a new introduction by author Michael Chabon-who worked on the script for the upcoming movie-and based on the reviewer's opinion the book is worth it for those who don't own the original series even with the lack of color. There is also a review of Dark Horse's The Saga of Solomon Kane paperback for those interested. Hope to have more news and reviews next month until then have a good day!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Comic Review: John Carter, Warlord of Mars #12-15

It's been a while since the last review of Marvel's original series (you can check out the last review here, so let's pick up with writer Marv Wolfman's last four issues of his work on the series.

Issue 12, "City of Skulls" opens with Sola going to visit her father Tars Tarkas after he decided to leave Helium and return to lead the Tharks in their land. But Sola never reaches Thark and John Carter begins to investigate with Tars her disappearance. They soon find her trail and find a shocking discovery-"a stark-white monstrosity" temple made out of skulls and it's inhabitants-the living dead! Once inside Tars is struck by a strange beam and John finds himself helpless as his friend is about to kill him...

Which leads to issue 13 "March of the Dead!" John manages to escape death and render Tars unconscious. He also finds Sola and escapes returning to Helium. But when Tars' condition worsens John and Kantos Kan return to the City of Skulls only to find an army of living skeletons and their leader Zhuvan D'ark who eventually march on Helium. We also find out about Zhuvan-a former Heliumite who was banished after causing the deaths of many. But a deal with "the dark gods" has given him a long life and the ability to raise the dead and he plans on taking over Barsoom...after toppling Helium.

Or so it would seem in issue 14 "Tonight is the Night Helium Dies!" Instead his real plan is revealed-he hopes to resurrect his long lost love Adanna, who sacrificed herself to the dark gods. And he plans on using John and Dejah's bodies to house their souls! Only Kantos Kan and a now awake Tars Tarkas can stop him. But will they?

Yeah I would say so since issue 15 is a stand alone story. "The History Holocaust" has a scientist named Tallus who decides to rid Barsoom of John Carter once and for all. He invites John to inspect a new device-which traps our hero inside and suddenly has him sent back to Earth in different time periods, including fighting the Huns and even it seems taking over the personality of Alexander the Great! Will John burst out? The issue also includes a short second story, "Tales of Barsoom" where John recounts the history of Barsoom from the Tree of Life until the present for the benefit of his nephew Edgar.

Again these issues of John Carter, Warlord of Mars seems split between some really great artwork and a somewhat questionable storyline. The three part "Dead" arc in fact plays out more like a plot for Conan the Barbarian with its use of sorcery, the walking skeletons-who would make Ray Harryhausen proud I'm sure-and the whole soul switching technique. Now it's all well written but it seems completely alien to the world Burroughs created. The art though is a knockout with the primary artist on this arc being Carmine Infantino, who gives us a good Thark, a beautiful Dejah and a really nasty looking Zhuvan D'ark. I guess compared to the overlong "Air-Pirates of Barsoom" storyline that took up the first 10 issues it at least moves by at a good pace. As for issue 15 it was pretty much a filler story, nothing more. The idea of John Carter having his mind trapped inside a machine convincing him he's back on Earth and in different eras could have fit in with the original novels-after all the Master Mind of Mars Ras Thavas could have created it but since there was no suspense as to how it would turn out you can file it away as a decent fill-in between story arcs.

In closing the first 15 issues have some great qualities-namely the artwork by some of the best of the time-and it's drawbacks-story lines that seem to bare little resemblance to the Barsoom of Burroughs. They're fun though. I'll try to finish up the remaining 13 issues in the near future.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

A New Thor Trailer

Just barely two months after the last one was released Paramount and Marvel has unleashed a new trailer for the superhero epic. This one plays up the Midgard (Earth for those unfamiliar with the comics) part with more explosions, humor and Natalie Portman. You can see the trailer below:

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Pics from Tarzan and the Amtorans

For those who either don't remember or never heard of it, back in 1996 the TV series Tarzan: The Epic Adventures premiered in syndication starring Joe Lara as the Lord of the Jungle. For the most part the series used characters and plots from Edgar Rice Burroughs' original novels, including appearances by the High Priestess La and even trips to Pellucidar and yep Amtor. So for your viewing pleasure are some pics from that episode (excuse the low quality as these were taken from the copy I had). The top photo shows off the Jong of Amtor Mintep-don't ask why he's a mutated alien; the rest of the Amtorans are purple but at least humanoid-while the second one shows Carson Napier (played by Anthony Guidera) and his love Duare (Michelle Botes). I'll post a review of the episode soon.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Comic Review: Warlord of Mars #4

Let's just say that cover is not safe for work.

When we last left John Carter he had some damn dirty four armed apes attempting to kill him. But he manages to survive thanks to loyal Woola. He has also mastered the language of Barsoom and is beginning to adapt to his new environment when the Tharks attack a fleet of air ships. There is one survivor though-Dejah Thoris, the Princess of Helium who pleas for peace with the Green Men seem to fall on deaf ears. But she finds a friend and protector in the gentleman from Virginia.

As you can tell not much happens story wise in this issue. It's pretty much the "boy meets girl" section, even if the girl is a hot red woman not wearing much. Beyond that though the issue is a quick fast read, even though again for those familiar with A Princess of Mars you know the story.

Of course the big addition here is Dejah herself and I'm sure some are asking "how doe she look?" Well let's say this-stunning. This issue the artwork is by Lui Antonio and he draws one of the most beautiful Dejahs I've seen-both in the body and the face. I will admit this though-having seen much debate and some less than thrilled reaction to the cover art for the series and varying artists' portrayal of Dejah I'm sure some will be less than thrilled with her even less than skimpy attire in the issue. The only thing I can say is well Burroughs himself described her as "destitute of for highly wrought ornaments she was entirely naked..." Probably not a defense for some but there it is.

Still a strong issue for fans and those who've enjoyed the series so far.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Avatar Language Creator on John Carter of Mars

Some alien lip action then! This comes from the blog of a student at Iowa State University who writes that the campus was recently visited by Paul Frommer, who created the Na'vi language for Avatar. At the end of his lecture Mr. Frommer mentioned his next job is creating the language for the inhabitants of Barsoom: "Frommer recently created another new language for the new Disney movie John Carter of Mars, which he described as a much different experience than Avatar. “It was more of a long distance experience and I didn’t work with any of the actors at all,” Frommer said. “The language is not as detailed as Na’vi is. It should be a fun movie.”

Monday, February 7, 2011

The Greystoke Legacy Plot Revealed

A little early morning news. Having mentioned it once before- has posted up the cover artwork and a synopsis for the upcoming Tarzan: The Greystoke Legacy . The synopsis makes it clear this book is aimed at a new and much younger audience than before: "Set in modern Africa, Tarzan: The Greystoke Legacy follows a re-imagined Tarzan who is edgier, untamed and feral while remaining the iconic hero, raised by apes and protector of the wild. Among the 21st-century difficulties the new Tarzan will face: warring guerrillas, poaching of endangered animals, illegal logging and the decline of the environment. The story's original characters will appear in slightly different form: Jane is a 14-year-old girl accustomed to technology, Robert Canler is a runaway with a mysterious past, and cannibal tribes are replaced by rebel guerrillas. " The book is also up for pre-order on the British Amazon site with a release date in England of June 2, 2011 but so far no American date has been announced.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Cowboys and Aliens SuperBowl Spot

Are you ready for some football! Well here's something to keep you busy until the big game-the TV spot for the upcoming Cowboys and Aliens has been posted online by director Jon Favreau and based on this spot it may well be the coolest film of the year-aliens, a kick-ass Daniel Craig and Harrison Ford, action and Olivia Wilde..well just watch the spot below:

Dejah Thoris Sideshow Statue Revealed

Some Barsoom news from San Diego Comic-Con for you guys. Sideshow Collectibles has released first images of a Dejah Thoris statue for fan...