Most Requested Figures:
John Carter of Mars

Some of the toys I find myself wanting most aren’t your random characters that a beloved toy line has so far left out of a series, or in a modern update on old line. I tend to daydream for lost causes of much greater magnitude. Sometimes I get my wish, like the incredible Mezco Captain Nemo figure, but most of the time I don’t.

When Toygiant posted this suggestion on our forums, Noisy and I knew that John Carter of Mars had to get a spot in our Most Requested Column.

In 1866, John Carter sought refuge in a cave. Inside, he met an elderly Indian woman and was overcome by a mysterious smoke she had conjured. Upon waking, he found himself in a strange and savage land. Carter would eventually discover he was on Mars, or Barsoom, to the locals. He would go on to battle aliens, rescue princesses, and even save the planet from annihilation a time or two. Inevitably, he became the classic warrior/savior of his new adopted home.

In July of 2011, John Carter will be a century old, but he doesn’t look a day over thirty. He won’t have gone a century without a toy. Over the last few years, there have been a handful of attempts at turning various Barsoomian characters into toys. In 1995, Trendmasters released a line of action figures mostly based on Tarzanfigures, but a few other Burroughs’ characters were slipped in. John Carter, Dejah Thoris, and a couple different Martians were sold in both as singles and in two-packs. With very limited articulation, they relied mostly on sculpt, but that wasn’t that great either. The one bright side to the Trendmasters’ license is the inclusion of a micro playset that ended being fun despite the limitations. And last year, Triad Toys released a twelve inch Dejah Thoris doll. I’m not a big fan of dolls in general, but I have to admit it looks pretty good. As far as I know, these are the only attempts at a John Carter toy line. Not that impressive for 99 years.

So, what would I like to see? If I could get everything I wanted, it’d be a MOTU Classics style of action figures based on Edgar Rice Burroughs’ entire Martian series. With eleven books, there are plenty of characters to keep a line healthy. John Carter and, his wife, Dejah Thoris, Tars Tarkas, the four armed warrior Thark, a myriad of colored Martians ranging from green to yellow to black, artificial men called Hormads, or the spider-like Kaldanes that command headless bodies, and countless more. There really is no lack of interesting and even disturbing designs that would be perfect for first class sculptors like the 4 Horsemen (yeah, it’s a long shot to get them, but, at this point, aren’t they everyone’s first choice?).

You may think this is a crazy idea. After all, who would want action figures of a character that’s going to be a century old? Well, I might normally agree with you and go back to daydreaming about these figures. But there’s one thing that gives me hope. Pixar/Disney owns the current rights to make a movie of the first novel: A Princess of Mars. Scheduled for release in 2012, the film has been cast and has started shooting. That sounds like good news for us Barsoom fans. And there’s no way a Disney Pixar movie can be made without a toy line, right? And after looking at the various companies Toy Story 3 offerings, I pulling for Thinkway Toys.


Got a suggestion for this column? Shoot us an e-mail or post it in our Most Requested section.

24 thoughts on “Most Requested Figures:
John Carter of Mars

  1. The Pixar John Carter movie has to be better than the last one, that’s for sure.

  2. I’m hoping two things for the movie. One that it’s good and two that it has toys.

  3. I agree with this. There’s so much potential to the line (concept), but I fear the…what to call it, the ‘Batmanization’? of the line.

    I want variety, not a packout that’s 4 variations of John Carter, two Tars Tarkas and a shortpacked Dejah Thoris. I don’t want carmel colored ‘lava fighter armor John Carter’ with bolo launcher.

    (OK, I DO want a bolo launcher, it’s an action figure tradition, but anyway)

    I want a size that allows for vehicles. I want decent articulation. I want swords that aren’t limp and too bendy.

    I’m probably hoping for too much there.

    1. I agree, I’d like a lot of variety here. Along with good sculpts, and poseability, and accessories. Maybe that is too much to ask for lol.

  4. Ha! One of my suggestions made the cut! Sweet! =)

    Right after I made the suggestion I went out and bought the first 3 books and haven’t been able to put them down. Just amazing stories in such a richly created world. The preface by Edgar Rice Burroughs telling you who the real John Carter was (he called him Uncle Jack) in Princess of Mars is a mind blower and is what sold me on attempting to finish all 12 books by the end of summer.

    My first toy wish would be that there are figures made based upon Frank Frazetta’s take on the denizens of Barsoom. But, if rumors are right, that is where Pixar is pulling a lot of it’s inspiration for the film. Only time will tell, but I’ve become such a big fan of the poperty in such a short time I’m dying to get my hands on some figures. And, as poorly as they look, I may pull the trigger on purchasing the Trendmasters stuff as a place holder until the Pixar stuff hits store shelves.

    For the most part, John Carter is bare-ass naked in the books. Hopefully no one will make completely book accurate figures. =)

    Oh, one more thing. Everyone do yourself a favor, I’m pleading, skip the SyFy movie. Dispite good intentions by the “writer/director” with the budget he had, it’s god awful. As a result of watching it’s world premier 2 saturdays ago, my wife is now reluctant to see the Pixar version. Don’t make the same mistake I did, just read the books or wait for the real deal.

  5. Literary characters just aren’t sexy enough for toys. It’s a real shame because I think a lot of collectors would buy some of these characters.

  6. Yeah, he wrote some really good stories. I can’t wait to see how Pixar does. Those trendmasters aren’t terrible, they just aren’t great. Definitely not what the toy line should be.

  7. The only reason I know who Dejah Thoris is, is through Frank Cho’s art. I approve of this idea.

    1. Frank Cho is the best. If only we could get toys that represented his stuff, lol.

  8. I sure do hope that the Pixar movie is awesome, given their track record, it’s pretty much a done deal. Now if only the toyline can be as awesome. I want scale Thoats, Zitidars, White Apes, and Woola. I want the Flyers, and Dead City of Mars playsets, and Sith Wasps, and the Atmosphere Factory Playset, and the Arena Of Issus, and Oh man, this toyline would rock! The world of Barsoom has endless possibilities and would make an amazing venture in the boy’s aisle. Of course, I want them to be Six inch scale, so John Carter can pal around with Wolverine and kick Martian Manhunter’s a**! I would, of course, be alright with 3 3/4 inch scale as well, but I love the Six inch scale much more. Of course, they would have to well articulated, along the lines of a hybrid of Marvel Legends and Dc Classics, or NECA’s recent video game figures.

    1. It would be awesome to get that many things from the line.

      NECA would be an interesting choice.

  9. Frank Frazetta’s take on the denizens of Barsoom. But, if rumors are right, that is where Pixar is pulling a lot of it’s inspiration for the film.

    I’m quite certain Pixar has said they want to AVOID Frank Frazetta’s influence in bringing John Carter’s world to life. I approve of this idea.

  10. this is a “most requested” i can definitely get behind. ERB was a fantastic author and JC proves it. these toys could awesome beyond awesome, if executed well… we just need to keep toy guru as far away from this project as it humanly possible.

    1. Maybe they could find a smaller studio to prototype the figures for “big toy conglomerate”.

      Now where would they find a place like that? =)

      (***Wishful thinkning***)

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