This is a copy of the Illustration on the cover of the Edgar Rice Burroughs 1912 serialization of ‘A Princess of Mars’, which became the first novel of his Martian Series in 1917.
Even though I have taken some pains in creating a fairly close representation of the wonderful 1972 Bruce Pennington, full-colour paperback cover illustration of Burroughs ‘A Princess of Mars’ – I have managed, thankfully, to retain some of the intrinsic characteristics of my own particular techniques and style.
The key characters represented on the front cover are Dejah Thoris [the Princess of Mars] who is also the Earthman, John Carter’s betrothed. Dejah Thoris is shown unconscious and supine across the massive shoulders of a domesticated thoat, ridden by Tars Tarkas, a green-skinned Barsoomian [Martian] Warrior chieftan.
That the giant Barsoomian Tars Tarkas becomes an ally of John Carter’s, is left in no doubt, browsing through the book, which I obviously didn’t read thoroughly when I bought it in 1972.
The story is a fairly complex one politically and although far more serious and adult in nature, very much entrenched in the Flash Gordon, Buck Rogers mould of the times. I would need to restudy it to come to a more definite conclusion, but I don’t think this is necessary as the relevance here is for the painting itself, rather than the story it loosely illustrates.
I may scan the original Bruce Pennington paperback cover illustration into my Mac, as part of a slideshow for comparison – although the Pennington original can be located online by simply googling Princess of Mars, Pennington.
Dave Draper March 2014