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Volume 6860

Edgar Rice Burroughs'

Marvel Comics Series :: 1977/78
Marv Wolfman: Writer/Editor
Gil Kane and Dave Cockrum: Artists

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STAN LEE'S SOAPBOX
Hang onto your hats, heroes, 'cause here's the sizzling secret we've been sitting on for months! At last we can tell you the dynamite news! From now on, mighty Marvel-- and only mighty Marvel -- will be bringing you the monthly adventures of TARZAN -- as well as JOHN CARTER OF MARS!!! 

That's right, Charlie! Can you imagine it? All the way-out wonderment of the great Edgar Rice Burroughs masterpieces brought to you by Marvel's most titanic talents! Starting March 22nd, you'll be able to pounce upon the very first TARZAN issue written by Rascally ROY THOMAS and drawn by Big JOHN BUSCEMA! Then, while your head's still swimmin', you can also grab JOHN CARTER OF MARS, sensationally scripted by our own Marvelous MARV WOLFMAN and illustrated through the magic of Garrulous GIL KANE and Daring DAVE COCKRUM! 

Get to the newsstand early -- and for a fast subscription -- do it any way you can -- but don't dare miss'em! You'll see all the Burroughs magic as it was always meant to be -- Tarzan, swift and strong and savage -- John Carter, big and bold and barbarous! Think of it, the very first Marvel issue of each! Museums all around the world are probably already making room to display these historic volumes! Yep, here's our chance to possess a couple of instant heirlooms, and thrill to the kind of pulse pounding yarns they just aren't writing anymore! TARZAN! JOHN CARTER OF MARS! Brought to you by Marvel! If only I wasn't too shy to really plug 'em! 

I know what you're thinking! "Why are we so good to you?" Well, don't bother showering us with gratitude -- just go out there and BUY! 


 

WELCOME BACK, CARTER
An editorial of sorts by series writer, Marv Wolfman
In 1963, while making my regular rounds of the bookstores, a nasty habit I've yet to shake, I came across a paperback book titled A PRINCESS OF MARS. I didn't know at that time that the author, whose name was in bold copy over the title, was the same man who created the TARZAN character I enjoyed. The cover was not exactly exciting, after all, I grew up with comic books, but something about eh book roused an interest in me, and so I scooped it up, paid the 50 cents (inflation, sigh) and immersed myself in the fantasy world this Edgar Rice Burroughs writer was about to put me through. 

It was not until I read all ten books that I finally let up. I was hooked, I loved John Carter and Dejah Thoris and Tars Tarkas and the zillions of other characters on Mars, or Barsoom, if you will. 

Let's continue our timeward trek. Being a comics fan, I somehow gravitated toward becoming a comics professional. I began writing scripts for various companies, but I was writing basically to support my way through college, where I was studying to become a big-time art teacher. Rather than ramble on about the wonderful time I had in that profession, let me hasten to say that after one term I fled with my life and returned to comics. A friend told me that Joe Kubert at D.C. was looking for an assistant editor, and so, summoning up my courage, I asked for and got the job, only to learn that D.C had just acquired the rights for TARZAN , which Joe was to draw. Wow! I was ecstatic! But there was more. There would be a backup feature. Yes, of course you guessed it -- John Carter. The same character I grew up with. 

After assassinating all competitors, Joe gave me the assignment, and I was off and away. True, the first few issues were so badly scripted Joe ended up rewriting  virtually everything. But I was at least plotting the book while bettering myself as a writer, and so, by the time JOHN CARTER and company moved into another magazine, I was the full scripter, and remained such until the book folded, which happened to coincide with my coming to Marvel, where I've been ever since. 

By the by, although I've never mentioned this publicly before, when Rascally Roy Thomas hired me on as his assistant, he permitted me to write the two final chapters of JOHN CARTER for D.C. while working on staff at Marvel. He knew how much I enjoyed handling that character, and I went to take this time and thank Roy. It meant a lot. I mean that. 

All, right, timeward bound again. It is now the spring of 1976. I had just left the full-time editing job at Marvel to bask in the glory of a staff writer/editor, which among other things allowed me to wake up at 9:00 instead of 7:00. Ahh, glory. At this time, EDGAR RICE BURROUGHS, Inc., decided to take their characters back and publish them by themselves in Europe. As editor, they hired a good friend, Mark Evenier -- who some of you may remember as a writer for MARVEL MANIA, others will recognize as a writer for Gold Key, and almost all of you know as the recently added name under Story Editor for the WELCOME BACK, KOTTER t.v. show. (say, where have we heard that name before? You stealing our editorial title?). Anyhow, Mark knowing I would slay anyone to handle the new Carter series, immediately asked me to write it. Dave Cockrum was the artist. Dave had completed three pages before the news went out that Burroughs decided to work with Marvel on TARZAN and CARTER, instead. 

Stan called Roy and gave him the news, as Roy was scheduled to handle TARZAN, and though the Rascally One was also a JOHN CARTER fan, he suggested to Stan that I would be interested in handing that title. Thanks a second that title. Thanks a second time, Roy. Boy, the gold stars are piling up.

So here we are. The pencil chores went to Garrulous Gil Kane, and a better artist anywhere you can hope to find. Years ago, in my halcyon days as a far-out fanzine editor., I once called Gil the best action artist in comics. I still believe that today. Along with Gil, on this first issue at least. Dave Cockrum applied his incredible inks to give Carter and Company a distinctive look that future embellishers will emulate.

The lettering chores went to Joe Rosen, while this year's FOOM winner for best colorist, Glitzy Glynis Wein, added her distinctive style to the book. 

And now, the question is, just what are we going to do with JOHN CARTER?

Let's start by saying what we won't do. We won't be adapting the novels, at least for the present. INstead we'll be building on Burroughs' work in a way never before dreamed possible. For time-chronolgy buffs, the Carter stories will be taking place between paragraphs three and four in Chapter 27 of A PRINCESS OF MARS. There is a nine year gap here that has never been fully explored until now. Carter will b a new addition on Barsoom, and you'll be able to discover Mars even as he does. Needless to say, we hope you'll become as enthusiastic with JOHN CARTER, WARLORD OF MARS, as Gil and I undoubtedly are.

We'd also like to thank Dave Cockrum for supplying us with his original layouts and character designs for the art on these pages. Dave did this for himself, never intending it to be printed, but we felt we could not let this part of Marvel's

Burroughs history go unpublished. From time to time we'll be including other pictures of Barsoomian life from Dave's sketchbook. 

Speaking of which, we obviously do not have a title for our lettercol, and so once again we ask you, Marvelite, for ideas. The one who submits the winning name will get a specially engraved Martian no-prize autographed by Gil, Marv, and Dave. 

And while you're at it, don't forget to pick up our other Burroughs mag, namely everyone's favourite vine-swinger, TARZAN OF THE APES, written by the oft-mentioned Roy Thomas, and illustrated by the unbeatable Big John Buscema.

Take care, people, and remember, in the words of a certain Warlord of Mars, "I Still Live!"

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