-- Feb. 15, '42
P1: "We are hopelessly lost," said
Dejah Thoris, "but I have never been happier, My Chieftain. Why do you
blush, John Carter?"
P2: The ugly Woola kissed the girl.
"See!" she mocked. "Woola knows the answers even if his master doesn't."
P3: "Do not be angry," Carter begged,
as they returned to camp. "I am a fighting man -- little versed in clever
speech or lovemaking."
P4: When the camp finally breathed
deeply in slumber, something crept nearer out of the dense shadows of the
P5: Woola was away hunting, and no
scent of approaching danger was wafted to the lone thoat grazing upwind.
P6: Now the creature emerged into the
firelight and loomed above the sleeping girl like some hideous apparition.
P7: Her frightened cry was choked by
the rough hand that was clapped across her mouth!
P8: Then, across the moonlit sands
of the dead sea bottom, a giant ape lumbered away with the struggling princess.
1. This sequence
is entirely JCB's creation and it does not conform to ERB's story very
well. The initial panels, in which the couple interact well with Woola,
but not well with each other, should be wedged into chp. 17 of ERB's story,
at the point where he says: "Night fell upon us before we reached our goal,
and, almost fainting from weariness and weakness, we lay down and slept.
-- I was awakened early in the morning by some huge body pressing close
to mine, and opening my eyes with a start I beheld my blessed old Woola
snuggling close to me; the faithful brute had followed us across that trackless
waste to share our fate, whatever it might be." The initial words of this
ERB quotation can be merged with the JCB Sunday story at the end of strip
#10 and beginning of strip #11. The latter part of the ERB quotation can
be applied to the first panel of strip #66. All the remainder of the JCB
Sunday strip story's novelization will transpire between the remark about
the trio sleeping and the one about Woola.
2. Carter's revelation
to Dejah Thoris -- that he is not well "versed in clever speech or lovemaking
-- needs to be muted for the novelization. Some words can be exchanged
between the couple by the novelization narrator, but their relationship
at this point should conform to what is in ERB's story.
3. The ape's
abduction of Dejah Thoris needs to be told in greater detail in the novelization,
providing an explanation of his motivation and some better reason for how
he is able to sneak undetected into the refugees' campsite.
CHAPTER 11: "The Princess
Novelization of the JCB strip by Dale R. Broadhurst
The last embers of the fire had died
out, but under the moons of Mars two of the escapees continued to exchange
words while the third, their guide, slept soundly in her silks and furs.
"We are hopelessly lost, Dator Sojat"
said Dejah Thoris.
She lapsed back into calling him by
his Barsoomian name. Despite their flight from Thark he wore the metal
of a chieftain and she had sworn to remain his captive until they were
safely under the protection of her grandfather. And, more reluctantly,
she had also promised to avoid speaking of their personal relationship
until that day of safety came.
"Well," he answered, "I know that I
am lost. I keep hoping that soon you will recognize some landmark on the
fringes of the vast red empire you speak of. But, perhaps you are right
-- perhaps Helium will never know of our fate. I prefer to hope, however."
"Yet, despite the dangers and despite
our slender chances, I am perfectly happy. I will be no happier on the
day we reach Helium -- if that day ever comes. Old promises do not seem
so important out here, do they, my chieftain?"
John Carter gazed at that perfect face
in the moonlight. In his breast his heart swelled. Already he had told
this daughter of ten thousand jeddaks that he would die in her service
if need be. And that she was in this thoughts constantly -- in fact, their
minds were coming so close as to share bits of communication now and then.
The experience was new to him and he did not know what to do. So he told
her that he no longer thought of her as being his captive at all.
"I suppose you've released other women
as well -- back on Jasoom in your life that spanned centuries? Tell me,
Captain Carter of Virginia, did you ever have one you did not release?
Why does the blood rush to your cheeks? -- your color is as red as mine!"
The calot returned from a late evening
hunt with a limp, slimy looking thing between his fangs -- breakfast, no
doubt. The Earthman reached out to scratch Woola's ears but the beast settled
down next to the red princess, nuzzling her thighs, almost to the point
"See!" she mocked. "Even Woola seeks
the warmth of a woman when the night grows cold."
In his mind's eye the bronzed swordsman
recalled vividly how the good beast had saved both their lives, not so
many hours ago, in the fetid palace of Tal Hajus -- before they first exchanged
unspoken thoughts on the ledge. Woola had fought for Dejah Thoris and...
"Do not be angry," Carter begged, as
he ran across the soft yellow moss after the girl. She had suddenly bolted,
turned her back on him and started off.
"I am a fighting man, Dejah Thoris.
If you were asking whether I was married back on Earth, the answer is no.
What more can I say -- or tell you in my unguarded thoughts? You know already
how poor I am with clever speech and -- and lovemaking."
His stammering words only seemed to
make matters worse. The red maiden ignored his pleas altogether and found
a sleeping spot beside the snoring Sola. John Carter sighed. Thought transference
was so unpredictable! But perhaps things would be better in the morning.
A Martian watchdog will remain at his
posted position until overcome by death from thirst and starvation, so
obedient are these creatures to the one who is their master. But a calot
who has several masters can act rather unpredictably. Probably Sola should
have realized this, but even she misjudged the depth of Woola's devotion
to the humans. Before retiring for the night the green girl gave the watchdog
explicit orders to stand guard until dawn. On the other hand, John Carter
and Dejah Thoris had rewarded the calot with so much affectionate attention
for his successful hunting, that Woola put the duty of securing food above
his assigned duty of guarding the camp. The plan the three agreed to had
been for each of the escapees to accompany Woola in standing guard for
part of the night, but Dejah Thoris' emotional altercation with the swordsman
disrupted this scheme. John Carter stood a long, double-watch and was dozing
two hours before sunrise, when Sola awoke. The first thing she noticed
was that Woola and the princess were gone!
"Perhaps she is out hunting with Woola
-- or tending to the thoat," muttered the green girl. "But, no her dagger
is here where Dejah Thoris slept. Why would she leave that behind?"
Sola had barely awakened John Carter
when the calot returned to the camp. He was yelping and jumping about in
a most excited sort of way.
"Dotar Sojat!" The calot has caught
a scent of something dangerous and I cannot find the princess. I think
something terrible has happened!"
The white apes of Barsoom are not exactly
what the people of Earth call "apes." Certainly no Martian would claim
the abominable brutes as their remote ancestors. Nevertheless these creatures
look and act something like the sub-human primates of John Carter's planet.
In form they are rather like the six-limbed green men, but not as lanky
and certainly not as intelligent. They haunt the age-old ruins of Mars,
though seldom in large groups and almost never as distinct families. They
build nothing, except for temporary nests of vegetation and they make nothing,
save for an occasional club or sharp-edged stone. In times of cold they
will drape skins, furs, even scavenged cloth, upon their frames, but generally
they wear nothing. Their language consists of little more than grunts and
the telepathic signaling of base appetites.
Each male white ape has a distinctive
mating cry, which doubles as his name. "Grombo!" was the lust call of the
ten-foot ape that studied the campsite from out of the dense shadows of
Grombo had watched the camp all through
the long night. Twice he had seen the calot come and go. Each time he stealthily
adjusted his position, so as to always remain upwind of the watchdog and,
as much as possible, upwind of the thoat as well. Grombo's tactics worked
well and his observation spots remained undetected. Most of the night had
already passed when his opportunity finally came. The calot wandered off
and the little male was still. The time had come. The creature was in the
camp in a matter of seconds. He stepped through the fire ashes and loomed
above the sleeping red girl like some hideous apparition.
Dejah Thoris woke with a start. Still
half asleep, she could not make out the features of the tall form that
stood above her. Suddenly she recalled that it must be time for her to
stand watch. She should have been up already. The Jasoomian had come to
call her to duty. -- But she was dead wrong.
Before she could cry out the beast
choked her voice with a rough hand. Three others held her tight, to prevent
the slightest movement. Across the starlit stretches of the dead sea bottom,
the giant beast lumbered away with the overwhelmed princess. Not a sound
had he made. Nor did stop to enjoy his prize until he had put the distance
of four hours' travel between himself and the campsite.