First Lancer Edition, 1966
Cover Art: Gray Morrow
Plot Synopsis (of cover): Tarzan, tired of adventuring with Jane and the apes, is itching for new challenges to meet. He strikes out on his own to battle against a sex cult of Blue Man Group worshipers at their annual carnival in the middle of the ocean. They are generally a peaceful bunch—their uniforms, assless BDSM garments patched together with crimson strips of Fruit by the Foot, were designed with several purposes in mind, but making war was not amongst them. Tarzan, however, was unaware of this, and his uninformed first impressions of the blue crew skewed combative. Their cerulean wieners, for one, bobbed beneath candied loincloths, revealed in their tumescence by even the briefest of zephyrs. Tarzan took these angry azure dongs as a threat. What’s more, Tarzan noted that some of them were armed with vicious, multi-pronged implements of torture. It was one of these apparent villains that Tarzan would choose as his first opponent, swooping down upon him with a mighty jungle bellow. Of course, having never before seen a barbecue fork, Tarzan could not be held too much to blame for his mistake.
Relatively Irrelevant Inside Text: To start, I want to say that this was a fun read. I’m gonna shit all over it in a second, so I need to get that out of the way. If you want something simple and enjoyable to bring to the beach on holiday, this isn’t a bad choice and you can stop reading right now. If, however, you’re a cynical prick and don’t mind spoilers… look, I love Moorcock, but this reads like fanfiction featuring someone’s “totally original” Gary Stu drop-in character. For real, this book should be called “Oh No! Thank Goodness.” “Oh, No! I’ve been teleported millions of years into the past onto Mars! Thank Goodness I materialized unharmed into a breathable atmosphere in a field where the princess of the most benevolent culture on the planet just happened to be standing.” “Oh, No! She speaks a completely different language than I do! Thank Goodness unseen ancient aliens left behind a machine that dumps the one root language on the planet into your head, and the princess knows exactly how it works and how it feels even though nobody has ever used it before because everyone speaks the same root language.” “Oh, No! We’re besieged by sword-wielding warriors! Thank Goodness I’m an Olympic-level fencer who was also trained from a young age to use broadswords, and oh look you’ve got an epee in your armory.” “Oh, No! The warriors are organized, and the city’s army is scattered! Thank Goodness I’m a Vietnam veteran and can apply my knowledge of tactics and warfare to hatch a plan as well as climb the ramparts to use my awesome sword skillz (and be constantly confused at how good at it I am).” “Oh, No! The princess has been kidnapped and taken to a village of thieves and murderers! Thank Goodness the leader of our military is best friends with a thief in that town who is intimately familiar with the place she’s been taken captive.” “Oh, No! The princess with whom I’ve fallen in love is betrothed to another! Thank Goodness he’s a traitor and she was in secret love with me the whole time because I am ALL THAT IS MAN!” Seriously, that last one wasn’t even a spoiler, unless you are a) giving the plot more credit than it deserves, or b) thick as a brick. On top of all that warrior training and sex appeal, the protagonist (who speaks eight languages, including a smattering of Apache and Sioux) is also the physics prodigy who invented the teleporter in the first place—somebody’s definitely been using cheat codes on their character creation screen. But do not fret, fellow adventurer, as I can unsnarl this unseemly narrative and make sense of it all. See, the book is told from the perspective of a wealthy young writer who encounters the protagonist at a bar in Nice, buys him a beer, and then takes him back to his hotel room to record the story on audiotape for future publication. The book concludes with the writer agreeing to assist the protagonist in his quest to return to Mars (the protagonist being re-integrated on Earth in his own time by his technicians, Thank Goodness after his adventure had concluded) by funding the manufacture of a more finely-tuned teleporter. My headcanon extends as follows: our protagonist, a con artist of little repute, attempts to get a free beer off of a mark. The mark just happens to be the most gullible, spoon-fed whale of a rube ever to grace God’s green earth, and the con man recognizes him immediately for what he is. On the spot, and half in his cups already, the con man ineptly tries to milk the writer for all he’s worth. The transparent and fantastical falsehood he concocts somehow convinces the naive young fop that the con man is essentially a living deity. Stars in his eyes, the writer agrees to finance the con man’s teleporter, sending him monthly checks in the mail “for research and development of new technologies.” Why they were always cashed at the liquor store, the writer never knew.
Rating: 7.3 Topless Martian Princesses Who Think You’re Dead Sexy
Questions for Critical Cover-Viewing:
- Is it possible to get the jump on somebody by dropping down on a rope right in front of them without any surrounding cover whatsoever?
- Given the length of the man’s arms compared to the length of the sword on his hip, wouldn’t he need someone else’s help to draw that thing out?
- Seeing as Mars only has two moons, are we handing out free moons now, and, if we are, is that rope attached to a fourth one in super low orbit?