Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Far-Out Fantasy Week! If You Blinked You Missed: Gillivar Jones

Yeah, this one's been a long time coming, Groove-ophiles! Actually Gullivar Jones in Creatures on the Loose has been on my radar (and in my scan file) for almost as long as the Diversions has existed. Why? Well, for lots of reasons! To many scholars, Edwin L. Arnold's naval lieutenant on Mars may quite possibly be an inspiration for the great Edgar Rice Burroughs' John Carter of Mars, as his book, Lt. Gullivar Jones: His Vacation was published seven years before Burroughs' Barsoonians saw the light of day, so that makes Gully interesting historically. Next comes the fact that the first two of Jones' adventures (though a mere ten pages each) were written and illustrated by my dream team of Roy Thomas and Gil Kane. Add to that the following issues were illustrated by such fab-a-mundo and diverse talents as Ross Andru, Wayne Boring, and Gray Morrow--well, you can figure out Ol' Groove's interest in G.J., now, can't you?

Marvel's adaptation of Gullivar Jones (aka Warrior of Mars) ran in Creatures on the Loose numbers 16-21 (December 1971-October 1972), with the threads picked up and completed later in Marvel's black and white mag, Monsters Unleashed in issues 4 and 8 (which, par for the crazy course for moi, I have already posted the story from MU #8 and you can read it here). The run was short but sweet, with George Alec Effinger writing most of the series (Roy only wrote issues 16-17) and Tony Isabella writing the two b&w tales (tales which sported art by George Perez, Rich Buckler, and Dave Cockrum). Yeah, Gully seemed to have it all. Pedigree. Awesome creative teams. A blend of sci-fi and sword and sorcery. It had everything it needed--except readers. Man, sometimes no matter how good ya are, ya just can't win!

But we don't wanna end on a down note! Big hearted Groove has got both of Roy and Gil's G.J. efforts ready and rarin' for ya to read! Here come "Warrior of Mars" (with inks by Bill Everett) and "River of the Dead!" (inked by Sam Grainger). Who loves ya, baby?


  1. Thanks for these lovely rarities.

    Anyone else share my totally inexplicable love for those "framed" Marvel covers from '71-73? As a kid they always seemed to me to make the mags seem more grown-up and scary.

  2. Marvel UK reprinted the entire run in their 1970s Planet of the Apes comic and I loved it. It was one of those strips that was perfect for Gil Kane.

  3. Even more than the Thongor stories that followed, I would love some kind of collected reprint edition of the Gullivar Jones run, including the b&w stories from Monsters Unleashed. Isn't this actually doable? As far as I know, the original Gullivar books and, I'm assuming, the character himself, are now public domain.

  4. Very cool! Roy Thomas & Gil Kane! Nuff Said!

  5. I actually had some of these, acquiring them second or third hand at flea markets and such in the 80's. Great stuff, and, yeah, I echo Edo Bosnar's call for a TPB collection.

  6. Like my buddy Steve above, I also first read these fantastic stories in British Marvel reprints. I was about 10 years old and just the right age for this throwback to the "Planetary Romances" of the old pulps. A dashing hero, Heru's metal bikini, the Wingmen and the phearsome Phra... what more could you want...?

  7. Thank you for this gorgeous stuff.

  8. Is it just me, or does anyone else really think that Bill Everett inked the first story? It just doesn't look like Everett's inks to me, unless he was in a "beat the dreaded deadline doom" production mode; and, I understand that his health wasn't always the best either. Well, if it wasn't Everett, whose inks are they? Darned if I know. Probably Everett in a hurry..... - Jeff Clem

  9. Thought these were great when I read the UK reprints as kid, and I have just started recollecting them, because for me these are examples of some of Kane's greatest work - SO strong, SO fluid, SO dynamic, SO inventive! The story absolutely bursts from the page like a tornado! Fantastic stuff! thanks for sharing.



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