Saturday, July 30, 2011

Comic Review: Warlord of Mars-Fall of Barsoom #1


Another week, another trip to Mars. This time before John Carter even arrived.

After a brief intro, showing John in battle in the fallen city of Horz, we flash back 100,000 years when the city was capital of the Orovar Empire. But like most empires they've fallen on hard times-in this case their atmosphere and great oceans are evaporating due to the increase of the Red and Green Men on Barsoom. A scientist, Tak Nan Lee, has been commissioned by the Orovar Jeddak Xan Mu Xar to build an plant that helps the atmosphere but Tak is beginning to worry that they may be losing time, especially after the Jeddak breaks the alliance with the Okarans and the First Born. While that is going on in the city of Thark, Orovar general Van Tun Bor and his troops are fighting for survival against green men who have laid siege. And Tak risks his own life to save some red men from the green savages and meets someone who might change his future...

After Dynamite's two previous series, I was curious how this one was going to play out. Deciding to set the story long before John Carter or even Dejah Thoris were on Barsoom actually allows for more breathing room for writer Robert Place Napton to explore Barsoom's past and show the divisions that ultimately result in the savage planet John Carter finds centuries later. I did like that we meet the creator of the Atmosphere Plant and see the Orovars at the height of their power as well as the separate storyline following General Van Tun Bor, even if he only gets a few pages. I hope he shows up in a more expanded role. I admit that like most first issues it's hard to tell where the story is going but so far I'm intrigued.

Artwise, artist Roberto Castro does bring a pre-fall Horz to vivid life, even though I'm sure some will wonder about the futuristic design of it and the vehicles. Let's just say in some panels I was flashing back to Coruscant in the Star Wars prequels. Also offbeat is the way the characters are drawn or dressed-the First Born are towering 7 foot men, the Orovar leader and his men are dressed like the Asgardians from Thor while Tak Nan Lee is drawn in normal looking clothes. The red men though sport the usual future Barsoom ensemble, a nice touch. In all Castro does a good job, even without the scantly clad babes (well until the end).

So to close up I'll give a thumbs up for this issue and hope the next issue delivers just as strongly.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Fire and Ice Concept Art


Some of you might remember over a year ago it was announced that director Robert Rodriguez was planning a live-action remake of Fire and Ice, the Ralph Bakshi/Frank Frazetta animated fantasy film (if not here's a previous post on it http://jcomreader.blogspot.com/2010/05/remake-of-day-fire-and-ice.html). At that point I'm sure many-myself included-wrote it off as another one of the 1000 Rodriguez projects that never went anywhere, lapsed into limbo (Sin City 2 anyone) or moved on without him (John Carter of Mars and Conan the Barbarian for example). But this time it appears Rodriguez will keep his word as Entertainment Weekly has posted three pieces of concept art for the film, which the director is promising will begin filming in early 2012. You can see the other pieces and the full article at http://insidemovies.ew.com/2011/07/26/exclusive-images-robert-rodriguezs-sexy-concept-art-for-fire-and-ice/


A brief update: I decided to add the theatrical trailer for the original film below. Enjoy.


Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Empire's John Carter Preview


I'll just cut to the chase. Empire magazine has released a preview of their next issue which will include an article on John Carter of Mars as part of their "Heroes of 2012" special http://www.empireonline.com/magazine As you can tell currently only a low resolution pic of the preview has been released but it looks like the pics are the already released concept art of Helium and two shots from the trailer. I'll try to post a high resolution version in the future.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Comic Review: Warlord of Mars #8


As usual no snappy opening so let's just jump in.

When we last left off, John Carter had disguised himself with red paint and had gotten himself appointed as guard to the Jeddak of Zodanga Than Kosis. But when he discovered Dejah Thoris there declaring her affections for the prince Sab Than...well let's just say hell hath no fury like a guy with a big sword. After mowing down a few guards he finds Dejah and after discovering she thought he was dead again lays his heart on the line and asks for her hand in marriage. But those darn Barsoomian customs get in the way as she has promised her hand to Sab Than and that she can not be with John if he kills him. But again not taking no for an answer John vows to smash Zodanga's assault on Helium and escapes. Eventually he finds Tars Tarkas and some Tharks under siege by the vicious Warhoons where John reveals the truth about Tars' daughter and the one who betrayed his true love, leading to a final showdown with Tal Hajus to decide the rule of the Tharks...and the fate of Dejah.

As you can tell we're heading towards the climax of the series' adaptation of A Princess of Mars and the story is picking up. The action scenes here are well drawn, showing John in action and making short work of the Zodangan guards and the fight between the Tharks and the Warhoons. And of course there is the incomparable Dejah still looking pretty attractive. There is still some things in the artwork I'm not fond of-Hajus the Hutt for example. Also the final fight between Tars and Tal Hajus gets short shrift, which I guess happens when one is drawn as a fat Thark with little mobility.

Where I do have to give this series a solid A plus rating is in the writing. If anything Arvid Nelson has at least kept the series faithful to Edgar Rice Burroughs, more so than the previous comic book versions and I'm sure probably a lot more than Marvel's upcoming series (I wonder if the horny Amazons, Wingmen and walking skeletons will be back). That faithfulness in comics is a rarity and is appreciated by this fan.

And again some cool covers by Joe Jusko (shown above), Lucio Parrillo and Stephen Sadowski helps seal the deal. At least none of them have the most beautiful woman of two worlds covered with tattoos.

Friday, July 22, 2011

John Carter Anthology Gets New Title + Cover


Some might remember a new anthology book was announced under the title The New Adventures of John Carter of Mars a few months back (if not here's the press release http://jcomreader.blogspot.com/2011/05/new-adventures-of-john-carter-set-for.html). Well it looks like the book has undergone a name change. Amazon is now listing it as Under the Moons of Mars: New Adventures on Barsoom http://www.amazon.com/Under-Moons-Mars-Adventures-Barsoom/dp/1442420294/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1311348970&sr=8-1. Some other bits of info was also revealed: it will be around 256 pages long and is not endorsed or has the involvement of Edgar Rice Burroughs Inc-which I suspect is the real reason for the name change. Fans will remember that originally the book that was later published as A Princess of Mars was also first published in serialized form as Under the Moons of Mars so the title change at least is a nice homage. The book will still be released on February 7, 2012 so plan accordingly. UPDATE: As you can tell the cover for the book has been released courtesy of editor John Joseph Adams' web site http://www.johnjosephadams.com/2011/07/under-the-moons-of-mars-new-adventures-on-barsoom-2/ He also has a complete list of the book's contents so please head over there to get the full info.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Marvel's John Carter: World of Mars


Continuing it's exploitation of Marvel Comics as a promotional tool, Disney and Marvel has announced John Carter: World of Mars, a new prequel comic book series set to hit stores this October according to Comic Book Resources http://www.comicbookresources.com/prev_img.php?disp=img&pid=1311006581. So for those playing at home this will be the 5th Barsoom comic book series on shelves with Marvel's previously announced John Carter: A Princess of Mars and Dynamite Comics' three series, Warlord of Mars, Dejah Thoris and their own prequel Fall of Barsoom.The team working on this series is writer Peter David and artist Luke Ross, who previously worked on Marvel's comic book version of Stephen King's The Dark Tower and both are working with Disney and director Andrew Stanton to make the comic fit the upcoming film, even though David confirmed some elements from the Edgar Rice Burroughs novels will be included. I just wonder if they'll explain Dejah's hideous tattoos.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

John Carter of Mars Trailer!!!


Yes I know I'm late but here it is, your first glimpse. Some of it looks great, some of it looks like it needs work and please dump that song. Otherwise take a view and let me know what you guys think.


UPDATE JULY 16: I decided to add a few more pics from the trailer. As for my thoughts on it there are definitely things I'm not pleased with-Dejah Thors in general (I hate those tattoos), that light up device which some has speculated is a key to open the Atmosphere Factory (either that or she's opening the Bifrost Bridge), the look of Barsoom as a dusty planet that is too close to Utah and that song but there was some good stuff as well-John Carter "sakking," the airships and the touching shot of John sketching Dejah in one of his journals. If I was pushed I would say this might be a good movie but probably not a good adaptation of A Princess of Mars. And yeah the Thark needs work!



Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows Trailer

Elementary my dear readers. I guess wanting to get the jump on the other trailers, Warner Bros. has released our first look at Holmes and Watson's new adventure online and here it is. Among the sights: actor Jared Harris as Professor Moriarty, former Girl with the Dragon Tattoo Noomi Rapace, more action and...well just watch it and you'll see.

Monday, July 11, 2011

John Carter of Mars: Press Day Preview


I guess Disney must have overcome their paranoia. Several sites, including Collider and Aint It Cool News are posting reports from an "edit bay visit" that was arranged to preview footage and other material from John Carter of Mars. The visit actually turned out to be two day affair, with the first day devoted to showing footage from the film and the upcoming teaser trailer, while the second was a set down table talk with director Andrew Stanton, shown above with our first glimpse of the Tharks. I decided to go with AICN's report http://www.aintitcool.com/node/50322. Here's what they said and be warned there are spoilers so avoid if you want to preserve the suspense:

-Three scenes and a snippet of one were shown, in some cases with unfinished effects. The first was John Carter (Taylor Kitsch) and his arrival on Barsoom and his first meeting with Tars Tarkas (Willem Dafoe) at the Thark hatchery. The second was a brief scene between John and Dejah Thoris (Lynn Collins) after her capture by the Zodangans and the third was an arena scene where John and Tars have to fight off White Apes. The brief snippet showed Sola (Samantha Morton) talking with Dejah.

-Dejah and the humanoid Martians are not red skin, but rather have "red tribal tattoos." I can hear the complaints now.

-Also John Carter does not arrive on Barsoom naked.

-The Zodangan battle ships are described as similiar to the Galactic Empire's ships from Star Wars.

-Woola is in it with "great white shark" teeth.

-The film is being post-convered into 3D.

-The trailer will feature a Peter Gabriel cover of an Arcade Fire song. Can't we get something from Disney without pop songs?

-Some personal revelations: Stanton first discovered John Carter through the Marvel Comics series (which should explain a lot) and that he and co-writers Mark Andrews and Michael Chabon both took turns drawing Tharks in their youth.

-The film is planned as a trilogy and Stanton is currently planning the second film, if the first one succeeds.

UPDATE: The film's trailer will premiere online this Thursday July 14.

Finally Collider released a "video blog post" that features most of the reporters talking about what they saw. You can watch it below




JOHN CARTER Video Blog from ColliderVideos on Vimeo.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

John Carter of Mars: The Airships of Barsoom


Last time we took a look at the various concepts of Helium that artists have done for the movies. Now we take a look at the various ships of Barsoom. And we kick off with the pic above, a spectacular piece by Ryan Church which I believe was done for the Paramount John Carter of Mars. Not only unique in design we get Tharks in action.

Another airship from the Paramount area is the pic below, drawn by Phil Saunders. In this case we get a one man flier soaring out of Zodanga which captures the pulpy feel of the stories quite nicely:




Next up is the current airship artwork released from Andrew Stanton's film. Probably the thing that has caused the most confusion here was the "tentacles" or "legs" that are on the sides. A closer look seems to show them as possibly cables to secure the ship to the ground or possibly to help get people on and off easier.



Next up is another sketch from the 1970s Amicus movie. In this case it looks like we have some sort of air current device attached to help get the ship off the ground which makes it look like a giant balloon or blimp. An offbeat design choice I would say.




And finally we have well not a piece of artwork but an actual Martian ship. In this case the air ship from the Asylum movie version of Princess of Mars (the pic comes courtesy of http://www.tarstarkas.net). Not the most original design of the bunch-in fact more than a few people said it was too close to Jabba's Sail Barge from Return of the Jedi but given the low budget still quite good all things considered.


So there we go. Maybe with the release of more concept artwork from Disney we'll do another look in the future.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

John Carter of Mars: Concepts of Helium


A friend of mine suggested this idea so here goes. With the recent release of concept artwork from Disney's John Carter of Mars (and yes that is the REAL TITLE that fans know and love, despite what a bunch of dummies at the Mouse House think) showing off both Helium and a Barsoomian Flier he thought it might be interesting to see some of the previous attempts to portray both on film. In this case we take a look at three different visions of Helium. The first one up is the artwork (courtesy of http://www.design-concepts.co.uk/Mars/johncarterplaces.htm) shown on top from the unmade Amicus Films production, circa 1977. Sorry for the low pic size but that was all that was available at this time.



Next up is art by Phil Saunders for director Jon Favreau's version from 2006.



And finally we have the current piece from Andrew Stanton's version, which I believe has been credited to concept artist Ryan Church (if I'm wrong please let me know and I'll correct this. )

And I guess this will lead to this week's poll question-which version do you think portrays Helium best? Take the time to vote and thanks ahead of time.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

James Purefoy Talks John Carter (OF MARS!)

Yes the Barsoom news doesn't stop for the holidays. In this case, the busy guys and girls at Collider scored a new chat with the equally busy James Purefoy who is out promoting his latest sword and mud epic Ironclad http://collider.com/james-purefoy-interview-ironclad-john-carter/97733/. He also talked a bit about John Carter and his character of Kantos Kan. Not much new plot wise is revealed, even though Purefoy mentioned that Kantos won't be in much of the film but possibly will have a bigger role in the sequels and discussed working with fellow Rome co-stars Ciaran Hinds and Polly Walker again.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

John Carter Movie Site Online


It's about time. Disney has finally created an official site for John Carter at http://disney.go.com/johncarter/ So far there isn't much to see except for a cast list, a brief synopsis of the film's plot and the poster as well as a piece of music that...well leaves something to be desired. I hope it isn't used in the movie. Beyond that take a look around and have a safe weekend.