22. "THE WIZARD" -- May 3, '42
(read novelization

P1: "The wizard of Eo!" cried Sola, as the mechanical mount and its riders leaped down from the sky. 

P2: Vovo landed his mount beside the Earthman and the stricken girl. John Carter advanced boldly. "I have heard that Vovo is a great genius -- I beg you -- help the princess of Helium, if you can!" 

P3: Silently the wizard surveyed the Earthman. Only Vovo's big eyes moved, gleaming weirdly in the moonlight. 

P4: Then he mumbled low commands into his mouthpiece and Oman helped him to the ground. 

P5: John Carter pointed to the girl. "Strange gases in the city of Go-La-Ra changed her body to stone," he explained. 

P6: Impatiently the little wizard waved aside the explanation. "I know!" he cried. "Vovo knows all, sees all! 

P7: Perhaps I can help her," Vovo muttered. "But I must take her to my kingdom -- whence none returns!" 


1. From the conversation related in panels 1 and 2, it is evident that Sola knows enough about Vovo to identify him on sight and to have informed Carter that he is "a great genius." What is strange about all of this, is that Vovo appears to be a recluse who does not allow visitors to come and go freely in his realm. Also, he is a member of the green Martians, a group that does not foster education, much less produce noted scientific geniuses. If Vovo is to fit into ERB's Barsoom, his story must be retold to conform with what ERB had to say about savants and green barbarians. 

2. Although the illustrations in strip #22 do not convey the idea very well, panel 4 indicates that the meeting between Carter and Vovo takes place at night. 

3. When Carter attempts to explain to Vovo what has happened to Dejah Thoris, the wizard says that he already knows the facts. His knowledge probably comes from his monitoring of remote probes that can pick up pictures and sounds at a considerable distance. He was listening in upon Carter and Sola as they neared his domain. He also already knows something about the effects of the calcifying gasses present at Go-La-Ra. Probably he does not have very many probes that can monitor events in places so far away that that dead city, however. 

4. Vovo's words in the last panel of this strip are menacing -- saying that no visitors return to the outside world, once they have intruded upon the Plateau of Eo. These "muttered" words can be portrayed in the novelization as being so indistinct that Carter does not full comprehend what Vovo is saying. The wizard's optimism about restoring Dejah Thoris to her former self is explained a little later on, when he says that his decalcifying machine is sometimes able to perform such tissue restoration. Obviously Vovo has performed this experiment before, but when and why he does not reveal. The novelization can add detail to this scenerio, by telling how Vovo built his machine to mimic the effects of the calcifying gasses, and in the process he also learned to to reverse those effects -- at least upon dead animal tissue, if not upon living creatures. 

5. Victims of some kinds of body paralysis (such as stone fish poisoning) can see and hear alright, even though they cannot move or speak.The fact that Dejah Thoris has her eyes wide open in the final panel of this strip may indicate that she knows something of ehat is taking place about her, but cannot communicate that fact. The scene can thus be told partly from her viewpoint in the novelization.

Novelization by Dale R. Broadhurst 

"One of the Wizards of Eo!" cried Sola, as the mechanical mount and its two extraordinary riders leaped down from the sky. 

Before John Carter could respond, the metal thoat and its two odd passengers looped downward and landed beside them. The Earthman's right hand instinctively reached for his long-sword, but its frozen fingers were useless. So, instead, he gripped his short sword as best as he could with the less afflicted left hand. Then John Carter advanced boldly. 

"I have heard that the Wizards of Eo are great medical geniuses. I beg you, sir, to help the Princess of Helium, if you can!" 

Silently the wizard surveyed the Earthman. Only Vovo's big eyes moved, gleaming weirdly in the moonlight. Then he mumbled low commands into his mouthpiece and Oman helped him to the ground. 

"There is but one Wizard of Eo: I am he and you may address me as 'Master Vovo.' You wear a Barsoomian harness, but you are not of this planet. Your arms and hands have been partly calcified and you are in immediate danger of losing them. The body of this female is also afflicted. Chances for any recovery are slender. You have brought nothing in payment or trade for what I can offer. But, if you bring useful knowledge from another world, we can talk." 

John Carter pointed to the girl. "Strange gases in the city of Go-La-Ra changed her body to stone. The same vapors are the cause of my injury. I will tell you what happened..." 

Impatiently the little wizard waved aside the explanation. "I know!" he cried. "I know! Vovo knows all, sees all! There is nothing you can tell me about Go-La-Ra, or the petrifying vapors that I do not already understand." 

"Then help her. I am from the world you call Jasoom. I am but a simple fighting man who has no great knowledge or riches to give. But I will cooperate in any honorable way that you require. Just help, her, for God's sake!" 

"We have no gods here, Jasoomian. I already know as much of your planet as I care to learn. But you say that this is the Princess of Helium, do you? Perhaps I can help her, after all. Any way, I see that there may be some profit for me in this. As for you, what reward might there be for restoring your arms and hands." 

John Carter straightened into a soldier's pose and stared at the little green man. Then he spoke, with anger in his voice and fire in his steel gray eyes. 

"The only grand-daughter of the Jeddak of Helium has suffered many perils. I serve her as a loyal companion. I know not what reward there might be for me after she has been restored to her family, but you may take it. I do not serve her out of greed but out of friendship and..." 

"Yes, yes, I can see that!" Vovo muttered. "It may prove useful for me to treat both of you -- but, I can do nothing for you in this wild place. I must take the two of you to my laboratory -- from whence no outsider have ever returned. The green girl and the calot are useless to me. If they come any closer to Eo than this, that will be their end. Do you understand?" 

Neither of the travelers spoke, but on Mars as on Earth, silence betokens assent. 

"Load the statue upon the anti-gravity device," the little man commanded his robot. "Handle her with care. I shall take her to my tower and send the conveyance back for you and the Jasoomian shortly. Hurry, time is of great importance in healing these sorts of infirmities." 

With that the little green man summoned the robot to help him mount the flying thoat and was soon gone. John Carter watched as the odd contraption lifted the wizard and the poor princess up into the nighttime sky and then out of sight. 

"Can you speak?" John Carter inquired, once he and Sola were alone with the mecho-man. 

"I can hear. I can speak. I obey the transmissions of Vovo. Vovo is great! Vovo is wonderful! Vovo knows all. Vovo sees all..." 

Sola interrupted the monotonous reply: "Your master looks like a Thark, but he does not speak in Tharkian idiom. What is he? Where did he come from?" 

"Master Vovo is very old. You are very young. Were you very old, you could answer these questions," was all the response he gave. 

"Oman," the Earthman began again, "did Vovo build you? Are you his invention? Do you know the story of your origin? In all my years I have never seen anything like you -- but I have heard of a mechanical man in Europe, in a great clock, whose hammer strikes a bell every hour." 

"Your questions have no answers. Master Vovo is very old. I am very old. Vovo has blood in his body. I have oil and radium in my body. I live to serve my Master. My origin I cannot tell you." 

But then Oman's staccato voice softened and took on tones that were almost human. His unblinking glass eyes looked downward for a moment, and he finished his reply with a strange disclosure. 

"My origin I cannot tell you, because I myself have forgotton it. I recall a time when the land was covered in water and Eo was surrounded by an ocean. That was long, long ago. It is my earliest memory. Master Vovo sustains us. Master Vovo's will is our will. We obey none but Vovo. " 

Then the metal man fell silent, his eyes staring straight ahead. The only comparison John Carter could think of was the silence of a telegraph key after the end of a Morse code message. 

"What do you think, Sola?" the Earthman asked. 

"There are no dwarfs among my people," she replied. I once saw a hatchling whose egg had opened late. The child had wandered about for weeks, eating only moss, like a thoat. He was short and very thin when we discovered him. Sarkoja shot him with a pistol and called him a "banth morsel." I never saw another, but Vovo may be such an orphan. Who might have raised him I cannot say." 

John Carter made a move in the direction of Oman's pistol holster and immediatly the metal man came to life. Just then the Earthman saw the flying thoat returning through the moon-lit sky. He directed the robot's attention to the sight. 

"Now you go to Eo; the girl waits here. Your return is indefinite; her wait will be indefinite." 




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