It’s a real shame that John Carter basically tanked at the box office. It was a pretty decent film overall. It’s a shame that Edgar Rice Burroughs’ John Carter of Mars books are basically forgotten nowadays, especially since without them we probably wouldn’t have Star Wars (as it exists today). Yes, put aside the fact that these books are set on Mars, they are top notch sci-fi which is (of course) better written than half the sci-fi sludge out there today. It’s a shame that the only real reason they seemed to be revived as comic books is because most of the characters (as Burroughs originally wrote them) are stark naked, as that is the custom on Mars. There’s all kinds of literary allusions at work here concerning a race of human beings that are so advanced that they don’t need clothing (despite their ornaments) and yet are not a “savage” race. Burroughs was making all kinds of intelligent statements on his native Victorian Age’s prudishness and racism. Sadly, Dejah Thoris being basically nude (in the novels and comics) creates all kinds of sales opportunity to horny adolescents whose parents might still have the family filter enabled on their family PC and thusly are stuck trolling comic shops for titillation instead of the internet.
Sadly as well, Dejah Thoris and The White Apes of Mars, yet another spin off from Warlord of Mars features the pastie and thong wearing Dejah Thoris and her similarly near nude friends going on an archeological adventure of some type where their male entourage gets devoured (literally) by a herd of Martian White Apes. Oh no! Guess what will end up happening next issue…c’mon, you can figure it out.
As far as the art goes, Liu Antonio definitely has a grasp of unrealistic anatomy. Dejah Thoris is going to be in a back brace by the time she turns 35,000 years old (Martians live basically forever so read 35 in Earth years), as are most of the red race women of Mars. Somebody on Mars is going to make a killing on back braces one day. Granted, any comic book with Dejah Thoris as the protagonist is going to end up showing a lot of skin, but the incredibly interesting possibilities for “ornamentation” on these characters is often totally overlooked by the artists who take on these stories. I’m sure that there are more imaginative ways to draw the type of unique ornamentation on Dejah that would cover her private parts and nipples effectively without looking like she has gold coins stuck on the ends of her breasts. Oh well…a guy can hope for some smartly drawn, and written, Martians…
…and that's what keeps me picking these books up every once in a while in the hopes that the Warlord of Mars series of books from Dynamite Entertainment might finally move past being girlie and skin books and actually tell some decent stories. The Dejah Thoris series proper has had its moments, but they’ve been few and far between. C’mon Dynamite. You’ve got a dynamite property on your hands here, pun intended. Let’s see you do something more imaginative and intelligent with it that actually gives it a chance to live up to at least a portion of what Burroughs originally wrote.