Childhood heroes: Not my John Carter

   John Carter, Jeddak of Jeddaks, Warlord of Barsoom may be the literary character with the most significant influence on my young mind as a child.  It is safe to say my heroic ideal of slaying dragons, rescuing maidens, and thwarting villains across the galaxy can be directly attributed to my early introduction to his comic books.

My earliest memory of John Carter is this comic book cover. Awesome!

   John Carter, Conan, and Tarzan were who I wanted to be at a very young age. I recall my mother reading their comics to me before I was able to read myself.  Later, armed with plastic swords I would weave a tapestry of steel and blood across the landscape of the living room and down the hallway. Evildoers and their henchmen fell by the hundreds as they were repelled from a fortress of pillows and blankets.  Gun play and swashbuckling ruled the day!

  Eventually I graduated to reading the paperback books. Although my first one was a Conan novel I quickly got into reading John Carter again and actually finished that series before I finished Conan.

I consider Michael Whelan’s cover art as “my” visual of John Carter and Barsoom.

   After being introduced to Frank Frazetta’s art through Conan book covers I was delighted to find plenty of John Carter art by him as well.  And yes, this is pretty much how I see myself at any given time of day.

This is me after giving a negative counseling in the office.
A1S on patrol in Kharmah, Iraq.

   Decades later I find myself a somewhat accomplished adventurer and student of the sword and firearm much like John Carter himself (alas, I come up short in the Martian Princess dept).  Now Hollywood is all set to quite possibly wreck my entire childhood in one fell swoop. Here is the pretty boy they have playing the role of John Carter:

Not once have I ever imagined looking like this guy.

This rugged character, on the other hand, is much better suited to take on Tharks and other denizens of Barsoom.

While I’m hoping the movie will be a decent adventure film I’m bracing myself for disappointment. Considering Hollywood’s track record for wrecking cool ideas, I’m not holding my breath.  Ah, maybe I shouldn’t be such a hater.

America’s 1stSgt

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17 comments

  1. America’s 1st Sgt:

    I suppose that in this, as with much else, one has to hope for the best and prepare for the worst.

    Paul L. Quandt

  2. Hollywood uses pretty boys with huge senses of self-importance as “Hero”s. They should take a look at the last 50 Medal of Honor awardees for their model.

  3. Pax, I don’t suppose we’ll have to wish too hard for that to happen.

    Anonymous, no snow here but the blasting sand feels like sand paper on all exposed skin.

    AnonymousII, we just can’t win one can we?

    Paul, true. I am hoping the film will be a decent sci/fi adventure at least.

    Lin, c’mon now. Can’t let a little realism infect our fantasy world now can we?

  4. I never read any John Cater stuff, but just saw the preview before watching Act of Valor. Didn’t look bad… very 300 like… so I guess it’ll depend a bit on if you liked the 300.

  5. I felt the same way when the ruined the Ooompah Loompahs in Charlie & the Chocolate Factories by presenting us with the multi-colored dwarfs. Anyone who read the book, knew they were pygmies.

    Anyway, I feel that I must (for the sake of literary accuracy) say that while we see you slaying dragons and playing with sticks and stuff, how come we never see you depicted here on this blog rescuing any maidens? I mean, dude, we are more apt to hear of you sipping Kona coffee than pulling a damsel in distress from the wreckage of the latest modern day dragon.

    Or does this mean the female Marines simply aren’t wanting to be rescued?
    Might have to find a Valley Girl for you to extricate from the mall.

  6. Randy, the previews do look decent. 300 didn’t really blow my skirt up that much to tell you the truth. If you read Gates of Fire by Stephen Pressfield you’ll feel my disappointment.

    Kanani, female Marines do not get a lot of sympathy from me in the rescuing dept. They’re Marines, they have a rifle and bayonet like I do, so get to work already.

    I generally have to console myself to rescuing ladies from closed doors and such. While acts like these are not as dramatic, I consider it my duty as a gentleman.

    Since the opportunity to trounce creeps who accost women seems to elude me, I’ve done what I can through aforementioned self defense seminars. Do I need to change my tag line to “empowering maidens?”

  7. The idea behind becoming a Marine (Female or otherwise) is that you will do the rescuing….Not sit around waiting to BE rescued….
    Can I have a bayonet????

  8. Aside from being a pretty boy, I can’t get past his name. In German, kitsch means tacky, vulgar, tasteless, overblown, etc. For me, the subliminal associations are just about impossible to ignore.

  9. I was a tad excited when I first heard they made this movie, however, he isn’t “my” John Carter. Cool that he is a Canadian actor, but they needed someone with more… beef, more… presence.

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