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Interview: Mike Carroll Chats with Arvid Nelson about WARLORD OF MARS

WARLORD OF MARS writer Arvid Nelson chats about the books and the word of Edgar Rice Burroughs

This week, WARLORD OF MARS #32 went on sale at local comic shops everywhere. Mike Carroll (JENNIFER BLOOD) had a chat with WARLORD OF MARS writer Arvid Nelson about his work and the work of Edgar Rice Burroughs.

Mike Carroll: Were you familiar with Edgar Rice Burroughs’ Mars novels before you began, or did you plunge in and read them all in one go when you got the writing gig?

Arvid Nelson: I wasn’t familiar beforehand. Isn’t that pathetic? I guess I was scared of them or something, because they’re over 100 years old. But imagine my surprise! They’re very accessible. Fun, even. So yes, I plunged right in. Gleefully.

MC: Given that the first book in Burroughs’ Mars series was published over a hundred years ago – back when all of this was just fields as far as the eye could see, and the Internet was only in black-and-white, and social mores were rather different to today – were there any particular aspects of the series that you consciously decided to tweak, update or ignore?

AN: Yeah. The depictions of the Apaches in the first few chapters of the original novel are pretty despicable. Frankly So yes, I consciously decided to confront, change, edit and omit the racism, and I have no qualms about that!

MC: I’m sure you’ve been asked this before, but what are your thoughts on the recent John Carter movie? (Personally, I loved it and I felt that it perfectly captured the essence of the Barsoom books!)

AN: I think the creators of the movie had an enormously, maybe even insurmountably, difficult. Burroughs presented the novels as the “memoirs” of his “uncle” John Carter. Think about how brilliant that is – Carter can hit the “pause” button any time he wants to explain the intricacies of Martian society and technology to the reader. No so for a movie. So I don’t think I could have made a better movie, in fact, my version would probably have been a lot worse.

MC: Your Tarzan / John Carter crossover Lords of Mars is tremendous fun and, to my mind, a nice tip-of-the-hat to Burroughs’ own predilections for creating what the kids these days are calling “mash-ups” – if copyright-related stumbling-blocks weren’t a problem, are there any other classic characters that you’d like to throw into the mix? (I’m thinking King Kong versus Dracula on Mars might be fun!)

AN: Nice! How about, I dunno, Robocop versus Hitler? I’d love to see Robocop kicking Hitler’s ass. Instead of saying “STAY OUT OF TROUBLE,” Robocop could say “STAY OUT OF IDEOLOGIES BASED ON THE PREMISE OF RACIAL SUPERIORITY.” I think that would be great. And like you said – the kids would go totally nuts.

You can check out an extended preview of WARLORD OF MARS #32 here, and make sure to pick up the issue which is on sale now!

5 Comments
Posted by Rafa Lee

I think Arvid Nelson adapted Burroughs books alot better than the movie, but he obviously won't say that.

Robocop versus Hitler would be awesome.

Posted by The_Titan_Lord

Nice.