-- Feb. 15, '42
P1: "We are hopelessly lost," said Dejah Thoris,
"but I have never been happier, My Chieftain. Why do you blush, John Carter?"
P2: The ugly Woola kissed the girl. "See!" she mocked.
"Woola knows the answers even if his master doesn't."
P3: "Do not be angry," Carter begged, as they returned
to camp. "I am a fighting man -- little versed in clever speech or lovemaking."
P4: When the camp finally breathed deeply in slumber,
something crept nearer out of the dense shadows of the night.
P5: Woola was away hunting, and no scent of approaching
danger was wafted to the lone thoat grazing upwind.
P6: Now the creature emerged into the firelight and
loomed above the sleeping girl like some hideous apparition.
P7: Her frightened cry was choked by the rough hand
that was clapped across her mouth!
P8: Then, across the moonlit sands of the dead sea
bottom, a giant ape lumbered away with the struggling princess.
1. This sequence
is entirely JCB's creation and it does not conform to ERB's story very
well. The initial panels, in which the couple interact well with Woola,
but not well with each other, should be wedged into chp. 17 of ERB's story,
at the point where he says: "Night fell upon us before we reached our goal,
and, almost fainting from weariness and weakness, we lay down and slept.
-- I was awakened early in the morning by some huge body pressing close
to mine, and opening my eyes with a start I beheld my blessed old Woola
snuggling close to me; the faithful brute had followed us across that trackless
waste to share our fate, whatever it might be." The initial words of this
ERB quotation can be merged with the JCB Sunday story at the end of strip
#10 and beginning of strip #11. The latter part of the ERB quotation can
be applied to the first panel of strip #66. All the remainder of the JCB
Sunday strip story's novelization will transpire between the remark about
the trio sleeping and the one about Woola.
2. Carter's revelation
to Dejah Thoris -- that he is not well "versed in clever speech or lovemaking
-- needs to be muted for the novelization. Some words can be exchanged
between the couple by the novelization narrator, but their relationship
at this point should conform to what is in ERB's story.
3. The ape's
abduction of Dejah Thoris needs to be told in greater detail in the novelization,
providing an explanation of his motivation and some better reason for how
he is able to sneak undetected into the refugees' campsite.
CHAPTER 11: "The Princess
Novelization of the JCB strip by Dale R. Broadhurst
The last embers of the fire had died out, but under
the moons of Mars two of the escapees continued to exchange words while
the third, their guide, slept soundly in her silks and furs.
"We are hopelessly lost, Dator Sojat" said Dejah
She lapsed back into calling him by his Barsoomian
name. Despite their flight from Thark he wore the metal of a chieftain
and she had sworn to remain his captive until they were safely under the
protection of her grandfather. And, more reluctantly, she had also promised
to avoid speaking of their personal relationship until that day of safety
"Well," he answered, "I know that I am lost. I keep
hoping that soon you will recognize some landmark on the fringes of the
vast red empire you speak of. But, perhaps you are right -- perhaps Helium
will never know of our fate. I prefer to hope, however."
"Yet, despite the dangers and despite our slender
chances, I am perfectly happy. I will be no happier on the day we reach
Helium -- if that day ever comes. Old promises do not seem so important
out here, do they, my chieftain?"
John Carter gazed at that perfect face in the moonlight.
In his breast his heart swelled. Already he had told this daughter of ten
thousand jeddaks that he would die in her service if need be. And that
she was in this thoughts constantly -- in fact, their minds were coming
so close as to share bits of communication now and then. The experience
was new to him and he did not know what to do. So he told her that he no
longer thought of her as being his captive at all.
"I suppose you've released other women as well --
back on Jasoom in your life that spanned centuries? Tell me, Captain Carter
of Virginia, did you ever have one you did not release? Why does the blood
rush to your cheeks? -- your color is as red as mine!"
The calot returned from a late evening hunt with
a limp, slimy looking thing between his fangs -- breakfast, no doubt. The
Earthman reached out to scratch Woola's ears but the beast settled down
next to the red princess, nuzzling her thighs, almost to the point of embarrassment
"See!" she mocked. "Even Woola seeks the warmth of
a woman when the night grows cold."
In his mind's eye the bronzed swordsman recalled
vividly how the good beast had saved both their lives, not so many hours
ago, in the fetid palace of Tal Hajus -- before they first exchanged unspoken
thoughts on the ledge. Woola had fought for Dejah Thoris and...
"Do not be angry," Carter begged, as he ran across
the soft yellow moss after the girl. She had suddenly bolted, turned her
back on him and started off.
"I am a fighting man, Dejah Thoris. If you were asking
whether I was married back on Earth, the answer is no. What more can I
say -- or tell you in my unguarded thoughts? You know already how poor
I am with clever speech and -- and lovemaking."
His stammering words only seemed to make matters
worse. The red maiden ignored his pleas altogether and found a sleeping
spot beside the snoring Sola. John Carter sighed. Thought transference
was so unpredictable! But perhaps things would be better in the morning.
A Martian watchdog will remain at his posted position
until overcome by death from thirst and starvation, so obedient are these
creatures to the one who is their master. But a calot who has several masters
can act rather unpredictably. Probably Sola should have realized this,
but even she misjudged the depth of Woola's devotion to the humans. Before
retiring for the night the green girl gave the watchdog explicit orders
to stand guard until dawn. On the other hand, John Carter and Dejah Thoris
had rewarded the calot with so much affectionate attention for his successful
hunting, that Woola put the duty of securing food above his assigned duty
of guarding the camp. The plan the three agreed to had been for each of
the escapees to accompany Woola in standing guard for part of the night,
but Dejah Thoris' emotional altercation with the swordsman disrupted this
scheme. John Carter stood a long, double-watch and was dozing two hours
before sunrise, when Sola awoke. The first thing she noticed was that Woola
and the princess were gone!
"Perhaps she is out hunting with Woola -- or tending
to the thoat," muttered the green girl. "But, no her dagger is here where
Dejah Thoris slept. Why would she leave that behind?"
Sola had barely awakened John Carter when the calot
returned to the camp. He was yelping and jumping about in a most excited
sort of way.
"Dotar Sojat!" The calot has caught a scent of something
dangerous and I cannot find the princess. I think something terrible has
The white apes of Barsoom are not exactly what the
people of Earth call "apes." Certainly no Martian would claim the abominable
brutes as their remote ancestors. Nevertheless these creatures look and
act something like the sub-human primates of John Carter's planet. In form
they are rather like the six-limbed green men, but not as lanky and certainly
not as intelligent. They haunt the age-old ruins of Mars, though seldom
in large groups and almost never as distinct families. They build nothing,
except for temporary nests of vegetation and they make nothing, save for
an occasional club or sharp-edged stone. In times of cold they will drape
skins, furs, even scavenged cloth, upon their frames, but generally they
wear nothing. Their language consists of little more than grunts and the
telepathic signaling of base appetites.
Each male white ape has a distinctive mating cry,
which doubles as his name. "Grombo!" was the lust call of the ten-foot
ape that studied the campsite from out of the dense shadows of the night.
Grombo had watched the camp all through the long
night. Twice he had seen the calot come and go. Each time he stealthily
adjusted his position, so as to always remain upwind of the watchdog and,
as much as possible, upwind of the thoat as well. Grombo's tactics worked
well and his observation spots remained undetected. Most of the night had
already passed when his opportunity finally came. The calot wandered off
and the little male was still. The time had come. The creature was in the
camp in a matter of seconds. He stepped through the fire ashes and loomed
above the sleeping red girl like some hideous apparition.
Dejah Thoris woke with a start. Still half asleep,
she could not make out the features of the tall form that stood above her.
Suddenly she recalled that it must be time for her to stand watch. She
should have been up already. The Jasoomian had come to call her to duty.
-- But she was dead wrong.
Before she could cry out the beast choked her voice
with a rough hand. Three others held her tight, to prevent the slightest
movement. Across the starlit stretches of the dead sea bottom, the giant
beast lumbered away with the overwhelmed princess. Not a sound had he made.
Nor did stop to enjoy his prize until he had put the distance of four hours'
travel between himself and the campsite.