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Friday, April 23, 2010

John Carter of Mars

I did this drawing yesterday, colored it today. It's one I've been wanting to do for a while, an Edgar Rice Burroughs (You know, the Tarzan guy) science fiction character from 1911 known popularly as John Carter of Mars.


(Click on the drawing for a bigger view)

Now, Carter has generally been illustrated by Frazetta-type guys (including Frazetta) as being this muscular, loincloth-wearing clean shaven guy with a flowing mane - basically Conan the Barbarian with a ray-gun. I've never liked this interpretation - John Carter is strong on mars because he's used to Earth's higher gravity, NOT because he's super ripped. So I made him of average build. He is (or was) a civil war soldier, too, so I wanted him to have those big fancy cavalry 'stache and chops, and he's described as having short cropped hair. He's also described as being naked, which I never see, so I was sure to include that, too. A couple of my preliminary sketches had his wiener for all the other world to see, but I figured that since kids check the blog and come to my table at conventions I'd strategically place a green martian gun holster over his junk. The holster, gun, and sword are all made for fifteen feet tall fellas, so they're intentionally disproportionate to Carter's size - he's using a waist belt as a bandolier as a result.

Also, John Carter is going to be Pixar's first live-action movie, which I'm excited about.  Pixar movies are usually great NOT because of their animation (though it IS top-notch) but because of the incredible amount of emphasis placed on story structure, detail, and quality, and I expect this will be no different.  Here's hoping!

The original drawing is 9"x13.25" on an 11"x 15.5" piece of 80# stock, ink over blue pencil. The stars were made by flicking white ink from toothbrush bristles after covering the linework with painter's tape.

8 comments:

Mike Lawrence said...

this is a hilarious post, and a great drawing. I like the rational behind your John Carter, I also like that while you omitted the weiner for younger viewers, you still talked about it. Is the word weiner worse than an image of one? The world may never know. I also find it very funny that a ray gun is covering his junk, I hope that your militant feminist readers aren't as sensitive as your younger readers.

Andrew Wales said...

I used to love all of Burroughs books as a kid, but I have a hard time rereading them now. There was also a Marvel comic of John Carter at that time, which I loved. I agree that he should not be that ripped, and I always like seeing a cartoony take to these properties.

Chris Schweizer said...

They CAN be a little purple in the prose. The writing style is definitely not my cup of tea, but the stories themselves are great, which leads me to lean towards adaptations rather than the original source material.

Ben Towle said...

This looks fantastic. Great coloring as well--something you don't use a whole ton. I love your alien designs. -B.

Derrick said...

Very true depiction of John Carter, I agree. I recently picked up a book from Barnes&Noble that was the main 3 books (apparently, I wouldn't know any better) with a good number of illustrations and they all show John Carter as a Conan-type. So props to you!

PS best touch is the 'stache :)

Sean McGowan said...

I love it. You get bonus points for using the word "wiener".

Michael Mckelvey said...

Freaking awesome!

Stan said...

Weiner. I have got to find a way to use that word in Usagi.