At The Earth’s Core is a faithful rendition of Burroughs fantastical tale of a separate land in the middle of the planet. The challenge clearly is to take something written with the limited scientific knowledge of 1914 and make it relevant for 2014. For unlike Burroughs’ other title, Tarzan, this story has not aged well and the technology/science risible. Fortunately, the authors/illustrators have taken a visual reference from the original book’s printing dustjacket to tell the story of 1914 – despite the implausibilities and with its sense of adventure and wonder intact.
Story: Young Edgar Rice Burroughs is traveling in the Sahara when he comes upon quite a sight: a man in a loincloth in front of an amazing looking (and very phallic, truth be told) machine standing erect in the sand. Turns out, the man, David Innes, has quite the tale of traveling to the Earth’s core in the machine, meeting and saving a savage princess, saving humans from pterodactyl-like monsters, escaping back to the surface, and the need to return with weapons in order to save the people. All faithfully recounted by Burroughs himself.
The book is a nice nostalgia piece – who didn’t grow up with Burroughs, Wells, Verne, or even John Norman? The adaptation flows smoothly and dialogue/exposition is kept to a minimum. Images tell a lot of the story, fortunately, and so the bane of graphic novel adaptations (text everywhere) is avoided.
The painterly illustration work, heavy on the shadows and colored mostly in Earth tones, has a nice quality that feels appropriate for this period of the work. It’s not pretty, certainly, but it is effective.
Returning to Pellucidar was a great journey and one always hopes that Innes did manage to make it back to defeat the apes/pterodactyls and save the girl. Reviewed from an advance reader copy provided by the publisher.