Public Domain Super Heroes

John Carter, Warlord of Mars

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John Carter, Warlord of Mars
Cover art from A Princess of Mars (1917)

Real Name

John Carter

First appearance

Under the Moons of Mars (in All Story Magazine, 1912)

Original publisher

Frank Munsey

Created by

Edgar Rice Burroughs


John Carter was from Virginian and was a captain in the Confederate Armed Forces. After the war, his money and officer's commission was useless, so he set out to rebuild his life as a prospector in Arizona. He was chased by hostile Arizona natives into a lonely cave, where he was mysteriously transferred to the dying red planet of Barsoom, a fictionalized version of planet Mars. Barsoom is home to a myriad of different races of Martian, including the race to which Carter's wife Dejah Thoris belongs, as well as the green skinned, four armed race of which Tars Tarkas is a representative.

After aiding Helium in its battle against its ancient enemies in the city of Zodanga, Carter returned to Earth against his will. By the time he returned to Barsoom, Deja Thoris had given birth to his son, Carthoris. He then led the armies of Helium and Zodanga against Issus, and the "First Born" of Barsoom, in order to save his wife.


On Barsoom, the lighter gravity makes John Carter much stronger than many of his foes, and he is capable of making tremendous leaps. John Carter is also 6'2" and in superlative physical condition. He is considered the greatest swordsman in two worlds, unwilling or unable, due to the simple facts of the matter, to acknowledge any other swordsman as his superior or even his equal. He is also a skilled rider and gunfighter. He eventually developed the common Barsoomian skill to communicate telepathically, but his mind could not be read by the natives of Barsoom.

Literary Appearances

  • Note only works published before 1923 are public domain in the United States.

As primary character

  • A Princess of Mars (1917)
  • The Gods of Mars (1918)
  • The Warlord of Mars (1919)
  • Swords of Mars (1936)
  • Llana of Gathol (1948)

As a supporting character:

  • Thuvia, Maid of Mars (1920)
  • The Chessmen of Mars (1922)
  • Mastermind of Mars (1928)
  • A Fighting Man of Mars (1931)
  • Synthetic Men of Mars (1940)

Novellas and unfinished novels

  • John Carter and the Giant of Mars (1941)
  • Skeleton Men of Jupiter (1943)


  • In addition to his appearances in the Barsoom novels, John Carter is also rerefenced in a number of other Burroughs series, placing him in the same universe as Tarzan of the Apes, David Innes of Pellucidar, Julian 5th (The Moon Maid) and Carson of Venus.
  • Several Burroughs' characters, including Ulysses Paxton (Mastermind of Mars) and Tangor (Beyond the Farthest Star, 1942), possess the same form of astral projection described in A Princess of Mars.

Golden Age Appearances

  • The Funnies #30-56
  • Four Color Comics #375, #437, and #488


  • Although the first five novels are in the public domain in the United States, they remain copyrighted in the UK and most of the world.
  • The major characters of this series are currently trademarked by Edgar Rice Burroughs, Inc. therefore anyone using them should be wary of potential legal troubles.

See Also

International Hero


John Carter of Mars Comic List


Download John Carter Stories at Project Gutenberg

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