Thursday, September 24, 2015

Tales From The Quarter Bin--What 70s DC Should Have Taught 2012 Disney!

When DC picked up the rights to Edgar Rice Burroughs' characters from Gold Key in the 70s, they wasted no time expanding them empire. The At The Earth's Core back-up strip from Korak and the John Carter Of Mars back-up from Tarzan were very quickly spun off into their own title:

Note that DC took pains to tell readers what the hell this was:

They threw the creator's name on there, along with having his most famous creation "present" the book...and featured Tarzan just hangin' around for no reason on the cover:

They continued on the inside, as the first page continued to remind readers that this was an ERB book, and he created Tarzan, so you're going to love this, dammit!!

And every single issue had Tarzan plastered across the top of the cover, trying to beat the connection into peoples' heads:

Now, this didn't necessarily work: John Carter and David Innes only lasted 7 issues of Weird World, before they were shuffled off to Tarzan Family. The last 3 issues of Weird World featured Iron-Wolf, and then was cancelled (according to Denny O'Neill, because of a paper shortage!).

Contrast that to Disney's disastrous flop with the John Carter movie:

It's Disney's John Carter, you see...and you have to get out the magnifying glass to find ERB's name anywhere on the posters. And you'd think that they would be trumpeting "from the creator of freakin' Tarzan!"

Nope...hell, eventually they even dropped the "Of Mars" from the title. So if you weren't already familiar with the character, the marketing campaign pretty much gave you nothing (not to mention rendering the "JCM" logo meaningless...).

I'm not saying that Disney should have necessarily had a Joe Kubert-drawn Tarzan on the posters saying, "Yeah, I present this!" But a "from the creator of" might have moved a couple of more tickets, not to mention using ERB's actual name, and keeping the word Mars in the title.

Hell, why go small at all? Disney should have gone whole hog, pushing an "ERB Cinematic Universe." Carson of Venus movies. Pelluidar movies. Tarzan movies. Korak movies. Crazy-ass crossover movies!!

But for some reason, Disney seemed, well, ashamed of the pulpy origins of John Carter, and tried like hell to hide it. See how well that worked out?


Dale Bagwell said...

Yeah, the whole John Carter thing should've easily been a slam dunk and yet it wasn't for most likely the very reasons you listed.

It's highly-questionable and bone-headed decisions like this that make me seriously worry about the future of Marvel movies now that Feige has more power and say so, allowing that infamous Disney interference we all dreaded when they bought Marvel.

Martin Gray said...

I love that OTHER WORLDS equates to a sex siren!

notintheface said...

It's head-scratching that they buried the Mars connection in its marketing considering how much money they spent to create "Mars" onscreen.