Sunday, March 13, 2011

I'm in Love with Dejah Thoris (Warlord of Mars: Dejah Thoris #1 - Dynamite Comics)

Yes, it is true. I even told my lovely wife that if things ever end badly between her and I, Dejah Thoris is the woman for me.

I picked up my weekly comics this afternoon at my favorite local comics shop. I normally do not go for the whole "multiple covers" gimmick, but I had a hard time choosing between the four covers offered at my store for this issue. I decided upon my favorite two of those available. Pictured immediately to the left is the cover by Paul Renaud that I purchased (check out his page here for more samples of his art). I also had to have the cover pictured below it by Joe Jusko (click here for more art by Jusko).

I have had a thing for Dejah Thoris ever since I got turned onto ERB's A Princess of Mars late last year. Anyone who has read a fair amount of Burroughs knows that he always has a love interest for his heroes (most often a princess) and they are interchangeable variations on the same theme. Burrough's ability to write strong, in-depth female characters was not, in my opinion, his strong suit. That aside, when I read his initial description of Dejah Thoris in A Princess of Mars, I fell in love (read - "lust"):

Her face was oval and beautiful in the extreme, her every feature was finely chiseled and exquisite, her eyes large and lustrous and her head surmounted by a mass of coal black, waving hair....Her skin was of a light reddish copper color, against which the crimson glow of her cheeks and the ruby of her beautifully molded lips shone with a strangely enhancing effect.

And of course, do not forget the fact that she was: ...destitute of clothes...indeed, save for her highly wrought ornaments she was entirely naked, nor could any apparel have enhanced the beauty of her perfect and symmetrical figure.

I instantly fell in love (again, read "lust"), for know this reader, my vision of beauty includes large lustrous eyes, coal black hair and as to complexion, I like an exotic, darker hued look. Naked never hurts.

The second cover by Joe Jusko features another weakness of mine towards the fairer sex, I love a shapely bum. Yes, I am a good-girl art pervert.

I do not own this cover which features a topless illustration by the great Arthur Adams, but I would be willing to shell out some bucks on ebay to correct that dilemma. While I am primarily an "Ass-Man" I have nothing against, and welcome, a well endowed chest. Ahem. I'm just sayin'...

As to the comic itself - aside from my unnatural attraction to an imaginary character that was created 100 years ago and my perverted joy of gazing upon well drawn, nearly nude (or nude), lovely women - it is a good read.

I immediately read it upon returning home. Like the regular Warlord of Mars series, it is written by Arvid Nelson. Mr. Nelson has promised to give his readers a more in depth look at the character of Dejah Thoris then her creator Edgar Rice Burroughs did.

The story opens on the inside cover with a literary trick that ERB used frequently in his stories. The story's narrator is Edgar Rice Burroughs who, in the context of A Princess of Mars was introduced as the nephew of John Carter, referred to as "Uncle Jack" by the narrator. In issue #1 of this series, a short letter dated 1919 from the narrator is presented as a prologue to the story itself.

In this short letter, it is learned that the narrator while renovating his Uncle Jack's cottage in upstate New York, comes across a locked strong box. The strong box contains hand written pages by John Carter. Burroughs discovers in these pages tales of the life of Dejah Thoris, dictated by her to Carter, and written down by him for record. Since barsoomian's do not age after reaching maturity, and Dejah Thoris was over 4 centuries old when Carter met her, this promises to be the first of several tales.

The story itself takes place 437 years before the coming of John Carter to Barsoom. It opens in the midst of a civil war between the twin cities of Greater and Lesser Helium. Both cities fall under the leadership of Jeddak Yorn. Lesser Helium, ruled by Dejah Thoris' grandfather Tardos Mors and his son Mors Kajak, is about to strike a winning blow against Greater Helium when an envoy from Jeddak Yorn arrives to announce an end to hostilities with a marriage between his own son, Dor Valian, and Princess Dejah Thoris.

All are shocked and angry, but Dejah accepts her fate and hopes that by doing so she can put an end to further bloodshed. The story develops and it is learned that Dor Valian is a pudgy, poetry reading scholar, not at all a warrior; however, he states his sympathies to Dejah Thoris and tells her that he knows how awkward and sudden this must seem to her and that he will do his best to honor her.

I don't wish to give more any of the story away, but do encourage you to give it a read. Arvid Nelson and the folks at Dynamite Comics are thus far doing an admirable job of presenting ERB's stories with great respect and I look forward to this series as a new and previously unexplored chapter of the Barsoom saga. "Warlord of Mars: Dejah Thoris" issue 1 is the first part of 5 issues and I believe it will be a continuing series.

All of the covers offered to issue 1 and sample pages from the comic can be found here.

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