It’s only taken 98 years for Edgar Rice Burroughs’ first novel to go before the cameras. Earlier this month, Disney set up shop to begin production in Utah on John Carter of Mars, based on A Princess of Mars. Carefully calculated marketing and buzz are to emanate out of Hollywood, beginning with this piece of artwork —
— and thanks to the folks over at Blue Sky Disney who hunted down a great explanation. It is certainly evocative of the time period of the classic pulps, but artistically it owes more to art deco aesthetics than pulp illustration. I do like the swirling lock of hair — it’s instantly evocative of the signature of all action heroes of the thirties —
— but perhaps none more so than . . .
But seriously, didn’t you ever wonder about why his hair changes whenever he takes off the glasses? It’s all iconography: the man of meekness suddenly transforms into the man of steel, and it’s signified by the errant lock of hair. Apparently, men of action don’t have time to use a comb.
Back to Mars: the Disney publicity machine is keeping the movie buzz under strict control. What they couldn’t keep under control is the copyright to the original novel. Princess long ago passed into the public domain, and the Disney production, which was to have been the first film adaption ever made, will now be the second adaptation. Asylum Entertainment just filmed a quickie production, scheduled to be out this year on DVD. Princess of Mars stars Antonio Sabato, Jr. as John Carter, and former teenage porn queen Traci Lords as the incomparable Dejah Thoris.
Looks like Mars has giant spiders instead of ten-legged lions — and was Traci’s wardrobe designed by Jabba the Hutt? Looks like some serious leather bikini action. You know, I might just buy it for the laughs . . .
Since the quality version of Princess won’t be out until 2012, here’s some Mars art I found on the web earlier today that may inspire your interplanetary dreams of romance and swordplay.
Artist: Matt Rhodes
Artist: Mark Schultz