Or 12 covers and a splash page, to be precise…
By PETER BOSCH
Gil Kane (born April 6, 1926 as Eli Katz) was a master comic book artist, stupendous at whatever genre he tackled, whether it was superhero types, western heroes, sword and sorcery, or science fiction. One of Kane’s later series incorporated them all: John Carter, Warlord of Mars, a short-lived Marvel title — 28 issues plus 3 annuals, from June 1977 to October 1979 — that was inspired by the character created by Edgar Rice Burroughs. (The first half of the series was written by Marv Wolfman and the second half by Chris Claremont.)
The Marvel stories were not adaptations of Burroughs’ novels. As Wolfman explained in the first issue, the tales to appear in the comics were original expansions on the adventures, particularly a nine-year gap within Burroughs’ first story about Carter, A Princess of Mars (1912). Carter, for those who have yet to acquaint themselves with him, was from Earth and was mysteriously transported to the planet Mars where he met the love of his life (this was 46 years before DC’s Adam Strange) and he found that, because of the planet’s lesser gravity, he was very fast, with extra strength, and could leap great distances in a single bound (26 years before Superman appeared on the scene).
Gil Kane was aboard for the first 10 issues and his dynamic action style was perfect for a title of this nature. He also drew 12 of the covers for the series (see below). Marvel collected the entire series in an omnibus edition a decade ago, but it is regrettably out of print and quite high-priced when you find it on eBay. The comics are also available in a Dark Horse paperback edition, but in black and white.
These 13 GIL KANE IMAGES will give you a taste of John Carter, Warlord of Mars‘ excellence:
— PAUL KUPPERBERG: My 13 Favorite GIL KANE COVERS AND STORIES. Click here.
— The TOP 13 GIL KANE SPIDER-MAN Stories – RANKED. Click here.
PETER BOSCH’s first book, American TV Comic Books: 1940s-1980s – From the Small Screen to the Printed Page, has just been published by TwoMorrows. He has written articles and conducted celebrity interviews for various magazines and newspapers. Peter lives in Hollywood.