John Carter is a fictional character, created by Edgar Rice Burroughs, who appears in the Martian series of novels. Though actually a Virginian from Earth and a visitor to Mars, he is often referred to as "John Carter of Mars" in reference to the general setting in which his deeds are recorded, in the time-honored tradition of other heroes (such as Lawrence of Arabia). The character is an enduring one and has appeared in various media following his 1912 serialized debut.
John Carter first appeared in A Princess of Mars, the first Burroughs novel set on the fictionalized version of Mars that the author dubbed "Barsoom". Written between July and September 28, 1911, it was serialized as Under the Moons of Mars in the February to July 1912 issues of the magazine All-Story and first published in book form in October 1917.
Carter reappeared in subsequent volumes of the series, most prominently in the second, The Gods of Mars (1918), the third, The Warlord of Mars (1919), the eighth, Swords of Mars (1936), the tenth, Llana of Gathol (1948), and the eleventh, John Carter of Mars (1964). John Carter is also a major secondary character in the fourth volume, Thuvia, Maid of Mars (1920), and the ninth, Synthetic Men of Mars (1940).
Carter stands 6 feet 2 inches (1.88 m) and has close-cropped black hair and steel-gray eyes. Burroughs portrays him as an immortal being. In the opening pages of A Princess of Mars, the author reveals to the reader that Carter can remember no childhood, having always been a man of about thirty years old. Many generations of families referred to him as "Uncle Jack," but he always lived to see all the members of the families grow old and die, while he remained young.
His character and courtesy exemplify the ideals of the antebellum South. A Virginian, he served as a captain in the American Civil War on the side of the Confederacy. He strikes it rich by finding gold in Arizona after the end of hostilities. While hiding from Apaches in a cave, he seemingly dies, and leaving his inanimate body behind is mysteriously transported by a form of astral projection to the planet Mars, where he finds himself re-embodied in a form identical to his earthly one. Accustomed to the greater gravity of Earth, he is much stronger than the natives of Mars.
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