Volume 2221

21. "VICTIM OF THE DEADLY MIST!" -- Apr. 26, '42
(read novelization

P1: A week had passed since the strange vapors of Go-La-Ra turned the princess' body to stone. 

P2: "My sword cannot help her now," spoke John Carter, sadly. "Yet I'd gladly die to see her breathe again!" 

P3: "Patience, Earthman," advised Sola. "Soon we shall reach the Forbidden Plateau of Eo! 

P4: Up there lives the wizard of Eo to whom nothing is impossible. To him our people come when trouble besets them." 

P5: Meanwhile, upon a television screen in a high tower on the plateau, their every move was being watched. 

P6: The wizard of Eo saw John Carter kneel before the stricken girl. 

P7: The wizard spoke into his mouthpiece, and Oman, the mechanical man, hastened to obey his master. 

P8: So it came to pass that Vovo, the wizard of Eo, and Oman the mechanical man, rode forth to intercept the strangers. 


1. More details must be provided in the novelization, as to why Carter and Sola journey for "a week" across the dead sea bottoms. The wording can be changed to "nearly a week since the girl's abduction," making their journey a little shorter. The strange party then reach the "forbidden Plateau of Eo," which has obviously been their destination, under Sola's guidance. Obviously Sola knows the approximate direction and distance in order for them to get from Go-La-Ra to Eo. The two places must be somehow related and not too far apart. 

2. When Sola, Carter and the princess escaped from Thark, they intended to travel to the southern outskirts of the Heliumite Empire, (perhaps to Zor), but they got off track and eventually ended up in the domain of Warhoon, not far from the Atmosphere Plant. It makes sense to assume that Go-La-Ra and Eo lie at no great distance from Thark and Warhoon. In the novelization these two locations will be placed between the two green domains, some distance south of the Atmosphere Plant, but not so far south as the polar region. 

3. The plateau is shown as a place of dense vegetation, but JCB gives no explanation of where its water comes from. The novelization can mention a series of ancient wells, dug far down into the subsurface of the planet, which provide life-giving moisture not available out upon the surrounding dead sea bottoms. 

4. Panel 5 of strip #21 shows the green dwarf Vovo watching the approaching trio on a television screen. He is located "in a high tower on the plateau." Since Vovo has mastered the power of anti-gravity, it is possible that he had positioned a number of remote video cameras in the skies around the plateau, in order to detect approaching intruders. This explains how he is able to minitor the progress of Carter and his friends as they come close to his realm. 

5. The "wizard" Vovo has in his service Oman "the mechanical man." Oman will be an important character in the novelization of the Sunday strip. The story will reveal that Oman is much older than the 1000 year old Vovo and that Vovo merely reconstituted/redirected the robot from his prior service to earlier masters at Eo. However, for the first part of Oman's story, his memory of his existence prior to Vovo's time has been clouded, in order to insure his loyality to the "wizard." 

6. In panel 4 of this Sunday strip Sola says: "Up there lives the wizard of Eo to whom nothing is impossible. To him our people come when trouble besets them." In the novelization this declaration will be altered, to imply that the green Martians used to go to Eo for all kinds of assistance, but now they only travel there to obtain sophisticated materials necessary to manufacture firearms and ammunition. Vovo has slowly curtailed the age-old practice of the "Wizards of Eo" to guide and help the green savages. The novelization will also partly disclose the story of Vovo's predecessors -- he being the last of the wizards, who have controlled Eo since before history began on Barsoom. 


Novelization of the JCB strip by Dale R. Broadhurst

It was a glorious night; both moons shone upon the silent plain, giving the Marscape a haunting golden tinge, broken by deep blue shadows. For more than three days they had trudged constantly northward alongside their great beast. The giant thoats of the green men are wild, unruly things which spend their lives bounding over the vast surface of the red planet. The thoat that carried the rigid body of Dejah Thoris chafed under the two controlling beings who forced it into the slow, slogging trek; the dull-witted beast could not know that the fragile burden it carried upon its broad back was the incomparable Princess of Helium. 

My sword cannot help her now," said the man. "Yet I'd gladly die to see her breathe again." 

"Patience, Earthman," advised Sola. "I think it may be possible. Since we left Go-La-Ra I have felt stirrings among my thoughts. I believe it is the faint telepathy of our friend Dejah Thoris. I am convinced that her life spark has not gone out, John Carter. Soon we shall reach the forbidden Plateau of Eo. There perhaps we will find a remedy to her misfortune." 

"The very plateau you speak of, Sola, now stands before us. Already the ground grows rough and we tread a beaten path. You have said very little about this secret place, or why it is 'forbidden' or what we shall encounter there. I must know what dangers we face this night -- and what hope of yours has brought us to this lonely place." 

The girl hesitated, as if struggling with an inner voice that held her back. Then she answered. 

"Dotar Sojat, most that I know of this place comes from Tars Tarkas' woman, Sarkoja, and she has told me very little. It is a place very rarely visited, and only then by a small number of our women. And," Sola added, "never seen by our men, except from great distances. It called the 'forbidden mountain' in the idiom of Thark; the Thurd and Warhoon people call it 'Eo.'" 

"Listen, Dotar Sojat, and I will tell you what I can. As you know, the green women make the guns and ammunition for our warriors. But, in all your travels through our country did you see one place where the metals are mined, or the raw materials turned into gun parts, or the complicated sighting devices assembled and calibrated? No, you did not; for we have no such factories and shops. Some useful things we find in the ruins, or capture from the red race, or trade for with their gun runners. However, it is our accurate radium rifles that they come to trade their ammunition and pistols for in these secret dealings. We and other green people assemble the long guns, but we do not make the components. Do you understand?" 

John Carter admitted that he had never given the matter much thought, but he had seen unexplained evidence of an advanced technology among the green race. The women held such things secret, however, and he had no inkling as to their source. 

Sola said, that for untold centuries, the green women of the southern hordes had come to the "forbidden mountain" to trade for gun parts, medicines and certain other things that they were unable to produce for themselves. The inhabitants of Eo had once furnished them with all manner of trade goods and knowledge, in return for the radium the green scavengers gathered from the ruined cities. Over the past few centuries, however, the trade had dwindled to a trickle. The Wizards of Eo, who had once watched over and protected the green Martians, now seemed no longer to care about them. Still, for them nothing was impossible. And to them the green females came to find cures for life-threatening illnesses and injuries.

As they neared the ascent to the plateau John Carter noticed a durkoos circling overhead in the moons' light. He had seen the bird for the past two days. It was much smaller than the monster he had encountered in Go-La-Ra and it behaved much differently. It appeared to be following them and watching them. But, as it presented no immediate danger, the Earthman gave it little attention. 

"Dotar Sojat," the girl asked, "how is your arm now?" 

"Cold -- it feels cold. And the flesh at the edge of the calcified portion has turned blue. I have seen gangrene take the limbs of many soldiers in my time. I fear I may lose my sword arm if these wizards you speak of do not treat it soon. That would be a cruel fate for a fighting man like myself!" 

Meanwhile, not far away, two figures bent over a viewing screen and watched events as they unfolded at the base of the forbidden mesa. The televising apparatus was located at the top of a high metal tower on the plateau and one of those watching the video images was himself made of the same shining element. As the two strange beings watched, they saw a green woman and a smaller white man unload a statue-like body from the back of their thoat. 

"Do you have the sound transmission ready, yet?" asked the smaller of the two figures. 

"No, Master Vovo," replied the metal man, "the microphone in the mechanical bird cannot pick up their voices from such a distance. I will cause it to land near them so it can hear their words." 

"Don't bother, Oman, we will go out to meet them. Get the flying device from the stables and meet me at the window landing. Bring your sword and pistol. There may be trouble with the man." 

All of these commands the Wizard of Eo spoke softly into a mouthpiece, mounted below his thick green chin. Oman, the mechanical man, hastened to obey his master's transmitted commands, leaving Vovo alone at the view-screen. The wizard saw John Carter kneel before the stricken girl and exchange words with the green girl. Both wore the metal of Thark, a nation he knew well -- and from more than just their infrequent trading with him. Vovo could well guess what the strangers were discussing; his remote video camera had observed their progress all the way from Go-La-Ra. 

"What do we do now?" questioned the Earthman. 

"I do not know. Perhaps the women of my race trade their radium here at the base of the mountain; or perhaps they ascend it by this narrow trail on foot and carry out the exchange somewhere above. No one has ever told me how it is done. But it will be difficult for us to carry Dejah Thoris up the steep and winding path. Her body is frail now and a single hard jolt might fracture an arm or a leg. Perhaps you could follow the trail, while I remain here with her and our thoat" 

As John Carter pondered what to do next, he noticed that the odd durkoos that had been accompanying them was gone from the sky overhead. He wondered if the bird might be a tamed pet, gone off now to warn its owner of trespassers upon the trail to mysterious Eo. 

Oman brought the "flying device" up to Vovo's window. It was the most outlandish flyer ever seen on Mars, a mechanical contrivance having the appearance a large thoat. Nowhere were propellers, flaps or buoyancy tanks to be seen. It appeared to operate by magic rather than by science. The two bizarre figures, one a misshapen green dwarf and the other a gleaming metal robot, mounted their flying thing and departed the silver tower. So it was that Vovo, last Wizard of Eo, and Oman the odwar of the mechanical men, rode forth to intercept the strangers. 

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