1. John Carter
6’2” and essentially ageless, John Carter was a good, old-fashioned fighting man: He’d never, under any circumstances, back down from a fight, and there’s no one in our solar system more skilled with a sword (though he’d happily just knock you out with his fists). He first appeared in 1912, and he could still kick your butt. And he’ll be appearing soon on the silver screen in the Disney movie, “John Carter.”
2. Luke Skywalker
Luke Skywalker: son, brother, Jedi, leader of the Rebel Alliance and eventual Grand Master of the New Jedi Order. He was quick with a quip of a lightsaber. Since he first appeared onscreen over 30 years ago, Skywalker defined maverick. George Lucas said he wanted Star Wars to be “an adventure in space, like John Carter Of Mars.”
3. Dan Dare
Dan Dare, chief pilot of the Interplanet Space Fleet, was skilled in jiu jitsu and was a pilot par excellence. He relished a good fight, and took special delight in a daring escape. He’d rather die than tell a lie.
4. Flash Gordon
Despite being a Yale grad and polo player, Flash Gordon would never, ever give up in a fight. His main skill was determination, followed by a flare for knocking out alien goons with his bare knuckles. George Lucas stated, “Originally, I wanted to make a Flash Gordon movie, with all the trimmings, but I couldn’t obtain all the rights. So I began researching and found where [Flash Gordon creator] Alex Raymond got his idea: The works of Edgar Rice Burroughs, especially his John Carter series of books.”
5. Buck Rogers
Rogers, a World War I vet, brought his tough-as-nails fighting style to the future, where he kicked some serious butt. He was one of the first heroes to show us that having advanced weaponry was no match for bravado, which the guy had in spades. Buck Rogers made space exploration popular, and his stories were highly influenced by Jules Verne, H.G. Wells and Edgar Rice Burroughs.
6. Captain Ahab
Ahab was captain of the Pequod in “Moby Dick,” driven by revenge to seek out and kill the white whale. He was one tough old-school sailor; even though his single-focus eventually cost him his life (and that of most of his ship mates), he went out with the pretty awesome line of “to the last I grapple with thee; from hell’s heart I stab at thee; for hate’s sake I spit my last breath at thee.”
7. Daniel Boone
Explorer, trapper, pioneer, Daniel Boone was the original mountain man. He set the bar for toughness pretty high: The guy could hunt, track, make his own clothes, live off the land, and take on any comer.
Tazan was the toughest dude in the jungle. What else do we need to say? Man or beast, everyone feared him. He basically raised himself in one of the most hostile environments on the planet, and lived to become its king. Trademarks ‘JOHN CARTER OF MARS,’ JCM Design, ‘BARSOOM’ and ‘PRINCESS OF MARS’ owned by Edgar Rice Burroughs, Inc. and used by permission. © 2011 Disney Enterprises, Inc.