Sunday, February 12, 2012

Pulp Heroes EXPLAINED!...John Carter, you're not so naughty now

The pulp magazines discussed previously (click here) were responsible for the sci-fi genre. Horror sci-fi, like H. P. Lovecraft, and planetary travel sci-fi, like Edgar Rice Burroughs, drew fans out of the serie noire (French crime) and the western pulps.  For novices, Edgar Rice Burroughs not only wrote something other than Tarzan,  he wrote something BETTER than Tarzan!

And now Disney is going to kiddify it! Horrified yet? You should be.

Pulp magazines were written to appeal to a more adult crowd than the comics of the same time period.  They were exploitative, bloody, scary, and full of steam! They depicted hard men, damsels in distress, and twisted criminals. Ever wonder what that family in The Thin Man was hiding behind their big fancy house and secret closet doors? Read the book! Same goes for A Princess of Mars. You'll be even more confused after watching Disney's John Carter, I'd wager.


I'll tell you!

John Carter is mysteriously immortal.  He has no idea how old he is.  One night after a strange ordeal in a cave, he finds himself pulled to the planet Mars where clothes are considered ugly and unnecessary.  Good thing he arrived there naked as the day he was born! The hulking, 15 feet tall green Martians that Burroughs describes? Disney has made into skinny, Avatar-esque creatures that wouldn't frighten the flea off a Thark's behind! And what of the beautiful Dejah Thoris, the red Martian princess that John Carter falls immediately in love with? Burroughs? Naked as a jay bird.  Disney? Wearing some silly costume only Earth girls would find appealing.

(Not to mention the description of one of the green Martian leaders could be describing Jabba the Hut, and the titles of some of the ranking Martians are suspiciously a predecessor to Jedi.)

The John Carter of Mars books, beginning with A Princess of Mars, are chock full of nakedness, gory battles, more distress than a damsel can shake a stick at, and epic adventure that could not possibly translate to Disney PG-13 (assuming it isn't going to be PG, I've been too scared to check).

When John Carter was first seen around 1918, I'm sure the nakedness of not only the bizarre green Martians, but more particularly of the hero and heroine and everyone in between, was rather shocking to a puritan America.  It is also one of the most strikingly different aspects of life on Mars.  Of course, they weren't depicted as such on the covers of the pulp magazines, but once you crack open the cover, there they were, displayed in all Edgar Rice Burroughs' beauteous descriptives.

There you are.  How can you tell that John Carter is a pulp hero? Exploitation. Damsel. Epic battles. Exotic locales. Heroic adventures. Check, check, check, check, and check.

We can expect none of the exploitation from the movie, I am certain. So, hop onto your Kindle and download A Princess of Mars for FREE, and see what all this pulp heroism is about!

Keep your eyes peeled for more PULP HEROES...EXPLAINED!

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