John Carter of Mars Covers by Robert K. Abbett

In 1963, Robert K. Abbett was commissioned by Ballantine Books to paint the covers for Edgar Rice Burroughs’ Barsoom series. 1965 saw the addition of John Carter of Mars as the 11th book, and Thuvia received a new cover in 1969. Abbett would also paint a Tarzan series of covers.

For the two different editions of Thuvia, I’ve read two stories. The first is that Ballantine accidentally published one of Abbett’s roughs (Thuvia with the banth), and they didn’t correct it until later. The second story is that John Carter helping Phaidor out of the flier was too risqué for 1963, what with the skimpy bikini, and going with the more chaste mini-skirt was the compromise until society caught up. I’m sure someone more knowledgable than myself will bring some clarity to this.

Abbett was one of the premier illustrators of his day, eventually leaving the commercial art game to master another field, painting dogs for the print and gallery market.


I haven’t been able to gather a complete set of virgin art to include here yet, but I did find a few of them.

Robert K Abbett Jcom Thuvia Maid Of Mars Original

Thuvia, Maid of Mars – the second version

Robert K Abbett Jcom Synthetic Men Of Mars Original

Synthetic Men of Mars

Robert K Abbett Jcom John Carter Of Mars Original

John Carter of Mars


Robert K Abbett Jcom 1 A Princess Of Mars

A Princess of Mars

Robert K Abbett Jcom 1 The Gods Of Mars

The Gods of Mars

Robert K Abbett Jcom 3 The Warlord Of Mars

The Warlord of Mars

Robert K Abbett Jcom 4a Thuvia Maid Of Mars

Thuvia, Maid of Mars – first version

Robert K Abbett Jcom 4b Thuvia Maid Of Mars

Thuvia, Maid of Mars – second version

Robert K Abbett Jcom 5 The Chessmen Of Mars

The Chessmen of Mars

Robert K Abbett Jcom 6 The Master Mind Of Mars

The Master Mind of Mars

Robert K Abbett Jcom 7 A Fighting Man Of Mars

A Fighting Man of Mars

Robert K Abbett Jcom 8 Swords Of Mars

Swords of Mars

Robert K Abbett Jcom 9 Synthetic Men Of Mars

Synthetic Men of Mars

Robert K Abbett Jcom 10 Llana Of Gathol

Llana of Gathol

Robert K Abbett Jcom 11 John Carter Of Mars

John Carter of Mars


Return to Barsoom Banner by Scott Dutton


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