-- Dec. 7, 1941
P1: Here begins the strange story of
an earthman whose powerful will carried him across 43 million miles of
P2: The following tale is compiled
from John Carter's memoirs written upon his return from Mars.
P3: Arizona, 1865 -- Following the
Civil War, Captain John Carter and Lieutenant Jim Powell are prospecting
for gold -- one afternoon Apache indians attack them.
P4: John Carter barely escapes into
the foothills with Powell's body before his wounded horse falls dead.
P5: Seeking to hide his friend's body,
Carter is choked by strong gaseous vapors inside a lonely cavern.
P6: He slumps to the ground, paralyzed;
then something snaps. "Before me lies my own body!" He whispers.
P7: Now in the sky outside, a glittering
red planet seems to beckon with a strange, irresistible attraction.
P8: Hypnotized by its overpowering
fascination, the man stretches his arms toward the flaming planet. In an
instant of extreme cold and darkness he is drawn through the trackless
immensity of space.
P9: John Carter opens his eyes upon
a weird landscape. "Could this be Mars?" he mutters, puzzled, "or is it
1. Compare the
above narration to what was printed in issue #30 of The Funnies:
After serving in the Civil War, Capt. John Carter and a fellow officer,
James Powell, locate a rich gold claim in Arizona -- Powell sets out for
civilization to buy some mining machinery but while still within sight
is attacked by hostile Indians -- John Carter spurs his horse and rides
madly into the band of Apaches rapidly firing his Colts. -- Stunned by
the sudden attack, the Indians scatter momemtarily. At that instant Captain
Carter reaches down and grasps his partner's body. -- Hotly pursued, Carter
heads into the foothills. -- ("The trail ends right here at a cave...")
-- ... As John Carter carries his dead partner into the cave a pleasant
drowsiness creeps over him. -- He keels against a side wall. -- ("There's
gass in here -- I've got to get out") -- Unable to move, Captain Carter
slumps to the cave floor... he fights hard against the overwhelming anaesthesis
-- then something snaps ("This can't be! My own body lays like lifeless
clay at my feet! -- That red star! Mars, the War Lord! -- It's drawing
me to it like a powerful lodestone!") -- With the suddenness of thought
Captain Carter is drawn through the trackless ommensity of space -- Then
from the speed and intense cold he loses comsciousness! -- When John Carter
opens his eyes he finds himself in the midst of a strange and weird landscape.
("There's no dount in my mind -- This is Mars...")
2. The Carter
story, as told in the Sunday strip, passes over Carter's experiments in
jumping about on Mars, his discovery of the Martian egg incubator, and
his witnessing the hatching of the green children. Instead, the final scene
in the Sunday strip duplicates the last panel in issue #30, where Carter
is threatened by the mounted green men. The fictional narrator of the novelization
of the Sunday strip story can skip over most of the action/events portrayed
on Sunday page #1, summarizing Carter's transportation to Mars as an already
known "fact." The narrator of the novelization will be Valla Dia, princess
of Duhor, a land allied with the Empire of Helium. In a framing sequence
for chapter 1, Valla Dia writes a short letter to "Jane" on Earth, and
there introduces the Sunday strip story as a personal reminiscence, recently
entrusted to her by Dejah Thoris, while on a state visit to Duhor. According
to ERB's fictional sequence of events on Mars, Ulysses Paxton, on two or
more occasions, traveled to Helium. It can be assumed that his mate, Princess
Valla Dia, accompanied him there when he wrote his "letter" of June 8th,
1925, to ERB on Earth. In the Introduction to Master Mind of Mars,
ERB has the fictional Paxton say: "with the aid of one greater than either
of us, I have found the means to transmit to you with this letter (the
manuscript)..." Presumably John Carter, in one way or another, sent the
letter and manuscript to his "nephew" on Earth.
3. For the seventh
tale in the Mars series, A Fighting Man of Mars, ERB uses the literary
device of having Jason Gridley communicate with Ulysses Paxton. from Earth
to Mars, via the Gridley Wave radio, in order to procure the story "re-told"
by ERB in 1930: "It was from Ulysses Paxton, one time captain, -- the U.S.
Infantry, who, miraculously transported from a battlefield in France to
the bosom of the great Red Planet, had become the right hand man of Ras
Thavas, the mastermind of Mars, and later the husband of Valla Dia, daughter
of Kor San, Jeddak of Duhor.... the best minds of Helium had settled down
to the task of analyzing and reproducing the Gridley Wave. " -- ERB uses
a similar framing scenario in the ninth tale in the Mars series, Synthetic
Men of Mars. There Carter tries to find Ras Thavas, to heal Dejah Thoris'
injury. He travels with an assistant to Duhor to enlist the help of Vad
Varo in Duhor, The story narrated by Vor Daj and sent as an English text
to Jason Gridley by Ulysses Paxton in late 1938. Although no such framing
decice is used for the next story after Synthetic Men, which was the "Giant
of Mars," written by JCB, it can be postulated that Paxton also relayed
that narrative to Earth. Thus, the point in time for the similar relaying
of the Sunday strip story, will be shortly after "Giant of Mars" was written
in late 1940.
4. The "letter"
and novelization "manuscript" will be sent from the city of Duhor. This
royal capital of a remote red Martian state is located 10,500 haads northeast
of Helium (not northwest, as mistakenly published). Vor Daj underestimates
the distance... ("Duhor, which lies some ten thousand five hundred haads,
or about four thousand earth miles, northwest [sic] of the Twin Cities
of Helium.") The distance and direction match a point 25 degrees N. of
the equator, in the NW quadrant of Barsoom. Vad Varo is a Jed there, under
Jeddak Kor San, father of Princess Valla Dia. Duhor is 5,000 haads west
of Amhor and 7,800 haads from Toonol. The snow clad Artolian Hills surround
Duhor and separate it from Toonol.