John Carter vs. the Mainstream. | Ty Templeton's ART LAND!!
Personally, one of the reasons I like Barsoom is the civilized way in which all parties agree that physics doesn’t really matter there, just like Oz, Wonderland, and Narnia, but apparently that sort of thing causes modern audiences to flee.
The final barrier to mainstream popularity is, ironically, the popularity these stories used to enjoy. Burroughs’ Mars novels were such a huge influence on the Science Fiction creators of the years following 1912 that John Carter can’t seem “new” or “fresh”.
Frank Herbert’s Dune was utterly lifted from Barsoom, as was Star Trek’s Vulcan, James Cameron’s Avatar, and George Lucas’ Tatooine. We’ve seen John Carter reproduced as Superman, Adam Strange, Buck Rogers, Captain Kirk, the Raiders of Gor, Richard Corben’s Den, Green Lantern and Luke Skywalker.
Dejah Thoris inspired Elaan of Troyus, Orion Slave Girls, and Leia’s Metal Bikini. Homages to Tars Tarkas show up in the Klingons, the Predators, J’onn J’onz, and the Sand People of Star Wars. Tharks are the reason we think all Martians are green.
For younger viewers, it’s hard to appreciate the century old template that these modern tropes are drawn from, because it feels like we’ve seen it all before.
When in reality, we’ve only seen it all SINCE.