Volume 2234



34. "FUTILE DARING" -- July 26. '42
(read novelization

P1: "You've sealed their doom! Vovo screamed, as John Carter jerked the wizard from the wreckage of the control room. 

P2: "Now we cannot stop the action of the electronic beams upon the bodies of your princess and your calot," the wizard croaked. 

P3: "Already I have thrown the switch that locks the portal and starts the beam!" 

P4: "This is the end of your cruel rule," Oman declared, "for now I shall rule my own people!" 

P5: Suddenly the Earthman gasped in horror. 

P6: "At last!" cried the wizard. "At last all Barsoom will hail my genius!" 

P7: Vovo's five hundred years of labor were now reaping grim harvest. Under the bombarding Z-ray, Dejah Thoris and Woola were growing rapidly in size. 


1. The events of Sunday strip #34 continue to reflect John Carter's and Dejah Thoris' hazy, dreaming perceptions of the events happening around them under Vovo's diminishing control. In the novelization they are still in his original lab, lying on slabs beside the decalcifying machine -- the great glass dome, control room, etc. are all an illusion that Vovo is attempting to implant into their unconscious minds. At the same time, Oman and Woola have arrived upon the scene and are attempting to stop Vovo. Just as the wizard is most preoccupied in administering his scientific skills to control the couple's sleeping brains, Woola leaps upon the little green wizard. 

2. The dreaming John Carter and Dejah Thoris are left to sleep off the effects of Vovo's drug-induced attempts at mind control -- a process that will take many hours. In the meanwhile faithful Woola and the increasingly independent Vovo minister to the sleeping couple's needs and their presence enters into the shared dream in a hazy sort of fashion. Carter and the princess interpret the happenings to result in the girl and the calot being enlarged to 15 times their normal size. 

Novelization of the JCB strip by Dale R. Broadhurst

"You've sealed their doom!" John Carter heard the little green man screaming. The Earthman's heavy fist sent the mad dwarf flying through the air, but not before the impact of Carter's body had forced the wizard's hand down upon the fifth switch on the machine control panel. 

Vovo landed in a heap upon the floor, but he was not badly injured. All of his attention was centered on Oman, who was at that moment hurriedly flipping switches and turning knobs, attempting to halt the experimental process already underway. 

"So, my trusted odwar, so show your true colors at last!" Vovo screamed. "I should have eliminated you years ago. But there is nothing you can do to stop the action of my machines upon the bodies of the princess and that interfering calot. Already the switches have been thrown that lock the enclosure in place and activates the expansion beams." 

Oman ceased his attempts to terminate the experiment. Vovo was correct in saying that nothing could be done to stop what had been set in motion. However, that fact alone did the green wizard little good. His domination of Eo was effectively finished. 

"What your hands have caused to happen other hands may yet reverse." Oman replied. "Even now your experiment goes forth with all of the controls inoperative. But when it is concluded I shall find a way to remedy the results. Where are your radium pistol and your transmitting microphone now, Master Vovo. See, they are here at my feet. This is the end of your cruel rule, for now I shall govern the mechano-men as the true Wizards of Eo intended they be led!" 

John Carter heard these reassuring words, but his attention was focused upon the Princess of Helium. Beneath the glass enclosure she was at that very moment being bombarded by Vovo's terrible ray machines. The Earthman gasped in horror as the unnatural glow inside the glass intensified and the bodies of the red princess and the calot went rigid and began to quiver violently. 

"At last!" cried the wizard. "At last all Barsoom will hail my genius! My five hundred years of labor were now bear fruit!" 

Dejah Thoris and Woola were growing visibly in size. As though enlarged by the sudden imposition of a great magnifying glass, the two bodies quickly doubled in mass. Dejah Thoris appeared unmindful of the unstoppable metamorphosis but Woola was anxious beyond measure. Then there was another period of intense shaking, accompanied by the pitiful sounding cries of the Martian watchdog. 

"Is there nothing we can do?" cried the Earthman in bitter anguish. 

"Remember that I told you things are not always what they seem on the forbidden plateau of Eo," the mechanical man replied. "You are seeing only one aspect of all that is happening; I perceive many things your mind cannot now comprehend. I can also tell you that Vovo has tried this experiment before, with much smaller, inanimate subjects. The effects need not be permanent. There is yet hope for your princess. 

The second doubling of the glass-enclosed bodies stunned the calot into a stupor almost as immobilizing as Dejah Thoris' drug-induced trance. After that there was no more yelping, but the whole area was plagued with bone-piercing vibrations that caused walls to tumble and objects to crash throughout the vast pile of ruins. Through all of this as many as two hundred of the mechano-men stood, gazing straight forward, as though they were statues. A large piece of machinery fell over upon several of them. This accident caught Vovo's attention and he gave the command that reactivated the crowd of robots. Thenceforth they protected themselves from danger but did nothing else of any consequence. 

When the final doubling was concluded the thick glass of the dome began to crack from the internal pressure, sending forth a loud concussion. For several seconds the observers could only watch in suspense as the thin break-lines spread all across the glassy surface. At the same time the buzzing and humming of Vovo's many pieces of equipment fell silent and the incandescent lights flickered out, leaving the area bathed in the eerie luminescence of numerous unfailing radium bulbs of great antiquity. In this uncanny radiance the unmoving maiden and calot presented the appearance of a giant tableau -- like a great prehistoric monolith, carved by the elements into a semblance of man and beast. 

Finally the entire dome came crashing down, but in a snowfall of fragments so small as to cause no being present any serious injury. So there in the vast open area, covered in sparkling particles of glass were the giant forms of Dejah Thoris of Helium and Woola the calot from Korad. Nothing moved. Nobody spoke. Even Omen was temporarily at the enormous transformation. At length Woola coughed and shook his gigantic body, sending a torrent of glass fragments into the ranks of the mechano-men and causing many of them to move away in self protection. 

Vovo appeared to have gone totally mad. He jumped about in mindless exuberance, gibbering over and over about his great intelligence. When John Carter could take no more of the idiotic behavior, another swing of his fist sent the raving wizard back to his previous spot upon the ground. 

"If only Vo Dor could have lived to see this!" Vovo raved on. "He never would believe that inanimate mass could be multiplied, let alone a living thing's size and weight be doubled three times. And look at them -- they are still alive! I regret now having earlier disposed of my inimical predecessor; he should have died better aware of my superior intellect!" 

Nobody paid any further attention to the deranged wizard, but Oman at last spoke to John Carter about another matter of greater importance and greater danger. 

"You must do what you can to control this monstrous calot, Dotar Sojat. The princess is awakening from the drug that Vovo administered and no doubt she will respond to reason. But the animal will be confused. His insides may ache; or he may be enraged; and he may do great damage if he is not restrained. Never before on the plateau of Eo has there been such an unnatural menace on the loose.

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