Strange Adventures (1950-1964)
1 (août-sept. 1950) The Menace of the Green Nebula
2 (oct.1950) Escape from Mars (text)
3 (déc. 1950) The Strange Fate of Adolph H.
6 (mars 1951) The Confessions of a Martian
9 (juin 1951) The Exile of Space
18 (mars 1952) One-Way Trip to Mars
23 (août 1952) The Ghost Planet
24 (sept.1952) the Martian Joke
26 (nov.1952) Mars-On Channel 8
31 (avril 1953) Lights, Camera -- Invasion!
33 (juin 1953) The Snows of Mars
36 (sept.1953) Man into martian
42 (mars 1954) I Delivered Mail From Mars!
49 (oct.1954) Mars on Earth
52 (janv.1955) The Mystery of the martian canals
53 (janv.1955) Martian Masquerade
55 (avril 1955) Movie Men from Mars
64 (janv.1956)The Maze of Mars
65 (fév.1956) The Rock-and-Roll Kid from Mars
67 (avril 1956) The Martian Masquerader
69 (juin 1956) The Museum from Mars
70 (juil.1956) Menace of the Martian Bubble
73 (oct.1956) Science Fiction Convention on Mars
82 (juil.1957) The Man Who Inherited Mars
87 (dec. 1957) Meteor Menace from Mars
90 (mars 1958) The Day I Became a Martian
94 (juil. 1958) Secret of Planetary Cones!
95 (août 1958) The Martian Barrier ; The Boy who saved the solar system
103 (avril 1959) 3 Gifts for Mars
108 (sept.1959) The Martian Earth-Trap
114 (mars 1960) The Case of the Martian Witness (Star Hawkins)
152 (mai 1963) The Martian Emperor of Earth
155 (août 1963) Prisoner Of The Undersea World! ; Prisoner Of The Green Planet!
159 (dec. 1963) Yes Virginia -- There is a Martian
174 (mars 1965) I Was a Living Treasure
176 (mai 1965) The Case of the (martian) Cosmonik Quartet
182 (nov.1965) The Case of the blonde Bombshell (Star Hawkins)
228 (janv-fév. 1971) The Hothouse World!
Chris KL-99: The Menace of the Green Nebula (1950) Writer: Edmond Hamilton.
Art: Howard Sherman.
While most of the story is in a representational mode, Giunta also incorporates abstractions into his tale. The splash panel uses line drawings of a globe of Mars and its canals, together with other astronomical objects and straight lines to create a spectacular abstract design. Similarly, a depiction of a "microwave shower" (p 3) is full of abstract geometric shapes, a bit in the tradition of Miro, although more geometrically regular than his work.
The Martian Joke (sept.1952) script: Mann Rubin (as Starr) / art: Jim Mooney; in From beyond the Unknown 22 (avril-mai 1973)
Les martiens ne savent pas rire malgré leur fantastique civilisation. Désireux d'apprendre ce secret terrien, ils envoient un des leurs, Exerel, le découvrir. Celui-ci trouve Bud Hadley, un ex comédien recherché pour meutre, et lui propose un marché: lui apprendre à rire en échange de l'immortalité. Exerel apprendra la plaisanterie humaine et jouera un (méchant) tour à Hadley qui le fera bien rire.
Lights, Camera -- Invasion! (1953) Writer: John Broome. Art: Murphy Anderson. A teleplay about a Martian invasion of Earth is taken over by real Martians. This tale refers to Orson Welles' famous radio broadcast of "The War of the Worlds" (1938), although not by name, and depicts a TV remake. It is related to the many media stories Broome wrote for Strange Adventures. This story takes place in the Golden Age of live TV. It is only practical as a plot during a live broadcast.
The exiting adventure elements in this story resemble Broome's classic "Raiders of the Waterless World" (Mystery in Space #56, December 1959). Both tales involve a solitary man who must single handedly prevent a surprise alien invasion. The man is engaged on peaceful, unrelated activities when the surprise attack occurs. In both stories, the hero has an off base approach to preventing the alien attack, something they do not expect.
Anderson's art is superb here. His depictions of the Martian spaceships
show excellent geometry. His depiction of Captain Comet in his
red uniform is also at his most macho. He also does a good job
with the Army officers here. These men fail, as they always do
in 1950's sf movies and comics! Our hero then has to take on the
aliens all by himself.
The hero of this tale undergoes experiences somewhat similar to those in Binder's transformation stories. In those tales, the hero gets super powers, or undergoes some personal transformation, such as becoming large or small. The hero of "Mail" does not undergo any physical transformation. But his contact with the letter from Mars affects him in a similar way as acquiring super powers does the transformation story heroes:
Mort Drucker would go on to fame with his delightful work for Mad Magazine. Here he shows that he might have had a successful career as a sf comic book artist.
52 (janv.1955) The Mystery of the martian canals
The Martian Masquerader (1956). Writer: John Broome. Art: Gil Kane. A Martian comes to the offices of Strange Adventures, and tries to sell a story about his own life. The frame tale in the comics office is hilarious. The editor, Mr. Black, seems to be a thinly veiled version of Julius Schwartz, and Broome gets in some funny digs at him. Kane's version of Schwartz is less flavorful and more normal looking than Sid Greene's many caricatures of him. This is the earliest tale of which I am aware that features the DC sf comics as characters in one of their own stories. As is usual in such stories, the words "comic book" are not mentioned. The books are treated simply as magazines or periodicals, and the writers are "science fiction authors". There is perhaps some issue of prestige involved here. Like most of the subsequent tales, this one deals with a writer's attempt to sell a story to Schwartz. Such sales attempts seem to be the central nexus of the relationship between Schwartz and the writers.
The office is full of large framed copies of covers of Strange Adventures; later tales showing Schwartz' office do not contain these. Perhaps this is a fantasy of Kane's to make the offices more colorful. It does visually convey the fact that this is the office of a comic book; if the covers were not there, this would look just like any typical American business office. Also, Kane was a frequent cover artist of the magazines; perhaps he is trying to show off his wares, and stress the importance of the covers in the magazine's work.
The Martian tale itself is routine. We see the whole life story of the hero, as is typical of Broome. Also typical is the way the Martian has left his own society, gone into exile in another, and is carrying out a program that is in radical opposition to his own societies' standards and mores.
The bird-like appearance of the Martians anticipates Kane's later
creation of Tomar-Re in Green Lantern.
The tale is based on a cover by Gil Kane, showing everyone about
to unmask at a "Science Fans Masquerade Party" - this
is perhaps like a typical real life sf fan party of the era, with
everyone dressed as spacemen or aliens. Kane does a good job with
the space suit of the man leading the party.
Binder loved tales about transformations. At first glance, this story falls into the transformation paradigm. Binder even has the sf writer-narrator cite Robert Louis Stevenson's The Strange Case of Dr. Jeckyll and Mr. Hyde (1886) as one of his favorite books. He is plainly speaking for Binder himself, and paying tribute to the source of Binder's many transformation stories. However, the story that unfolds here is different from Binder's usual transformation tales. Here the transformation is tightly focused on a single purpose: testing the hero's new Martian senses. The transformation seems purposive and deliberate. By contrast, in most of Binder's real transformation tales, the heroes' metamorphosis is an accident. He then proceeds to have a remarkably varied and diverse series of adventures, exploiting every possible application of his transformation to his life. The hero might join a circus, solve crimes, work puzzles, help out neighborhood kids, appear on television shows, or even clean out his cupboards or fix his auto with his new powers. This whole approach is absent in the current tale.
This is one of several Binder characters who is an sf writer; in this case as in others, he gets ideas for stories which turn out to be telepathic messages from another planet. The writer Rhett Mason is depicted with the extreme dignity and class with which authors were depicted in Hollywood movies. He smokes a pipe, a sign of intellectuality in the 1950's, and is obviously extremely intelligent. He shows considerable analytic skills, as well as being a creative person. He is the author of sf plays for television. The writers of the DC sf comic books must clearly have wanted to write for TV; they would have had much to contribute to the Golden Age of TV drama in the 1950's. However, as far as I know this never took place: I have never seen a single teleplay by any comic book author of that era. This seems like a huge pity.
The teleplay in this story is explicitly described as being in color. Color was still not common in 1958. It still had the air of being a high tech innovation, and perhaps this is why Binder specifies this. There are other possible reasons. Color has always been very important to the comic books; they had been in full color since the 1930's. So color would seem both natural and important to Binder. Also, the story shows glimpses of the teleplay, depicting blue Martians. The story then shows the hero turning into a similar blue Martian in real life. The effect is of illusion becoming reality. Had the show been in black in white, illusion and reality would have been different: the illusion of the TV show would have been in black and white, while the hero would have become a blue Martian in the real world. The effect of fantasy becoming reality would have been disrupted here.
Infantino depicts the hero as one of his elegant but middle class men. I do not know if he bears any resemblance to Binder himself. Mason's bookshelves include such titles as The Age of Reason and Space Science. When Infantino included a portrait of John Broome in "The Secret War of the Phantom General" (Detective Comics #343, September 1965), he similarly showed some books behind him."The Day I Became a Martian" (Strange Adventures #90, mars 1958) is about an author who is first contacted by aliens from another world through his TV set, then transformed by them into an alien himself.
Secret of the Planetary Cones (1958)
The Martian Barrier (1958). Writer: Gardner Fox. Art: Manny Stallman. A barrier near Mars has prevented any Earth rockets from going there; a pilot volunteers for the first manned space flight to Mars. There are two Fox cycles in this tale: one involves the destruction of unmanned rockets to Mars; the other cycle involves the Martian scientist, his inventions and his relationship to Earth. This tale is distinctive in that both cycles are associated with bad guys, and are basically negative in their consequences. The Martian scientist cycle involves one man and his special relationship with two planets, Mars and Earth: in this it resembles Adam Strange's cycle, and his unique relationship to Earth and Rann. However, Adam Strange is a good guy, and the scientist is corrupt. The Martian cycle holds a sort of magic mirror up to Adam Strange's and suggests what would happen if Adam became corrupt, and started exploiting his cycle for personal gain. Similarly, Sinestro is a sort of dark parody of Green Lantern in John Broome's "The Day 100,000 People Vanished" (Green Lantern #7, juillet-août 1961), and shows what would happen if Hal Jordan sped down the slippery slopes of corruption.
The Earth hero of this story has a familiar Fox role: he is the interrupter of the cycles. The fact that he is a human pilot, not an unmanned rocket, allows him to evade the Martian barrier of the title. This is pointed out explicitly by the story. Fox is always suggesting the value of individual people doing new and innovative things. The extra effort they put into something different often causes the problem facing a large group of people to be solved.
Manny Stallman shows a flair for architecture in this story. I
particularly liked the fountain, and the alien council room.
COMMANDER JOHN MARVIN:In the 8-page story “Prisoner Of The Green Planet!”
ROCKY, the MARTIAN, is indeed an intelligent life-form! So it must need “food” to exist – as my Dad did in the undersea world! My theory is -- ROCKY gets its “food” from the lichens, by absorption…When the lichens grow strong and green the “ROCK” automatically wakes from a hibernation sleep and begins absorbing the life-giving properties of the lichens…The lichens – drained of “food” and turned brown – now “sleep” as ROCKY lives! After a period of time, ROCKY goes back to sleep to give the lichens a chance to grow green-food again! This accounts for the Martian “canals” (beds of lichens) turning green and brown in a regular cycle…Ages ago, Mars had more of an atmosphere, and this means electrical storms. ROCKY and his fellow rock life-forms absorbed this electrical energy to move about…First ROCKY proved to itself that it could move my absorbing our electric energy – remember what happened when the lights first went out. Then, building itself up for a massive effort, it absorbed the entire city’s electric energy – enabling itself to fly to the spaceship – and using the rest of its absorbed energy to fly the ship back to MARS! Just as my Dad managed to steal away in the frog-men’s undersea vehicle – by watching how they maneuvered it – so did ROCKY! It was a battle for survival – and in each case, the alien prisoners won! When we go back to MARS some day – we must convince ROCKY and its fellow beings we made a mistake, that we didn’t mean any harm!
Yes Virginia -- There is a Martian (1963). Writer: Gardner Fox. Art: Carmine Infantino. A little boy keeps telling his skeptical parents about the very nice Martian he's met in the woods. This gentle, upbeat tale milks the "what an imagination Junior has" situation for some classic comedy. The title refers to a famous real life newspaper editorial, "Yes Virginia -- There is a Santa Claus".
Young boys showed up several times in Fox's tales. They seem to be stand-ins for the youthful readers of the comic books. Fox always depicts them as innocent, naive, but courageous young people with a yearning for adventure, and a willingness to get involved and help out when the heroes of the story need assistance. Often times they play a key role in rescuing the hero at the end of the tale. The kids have a fondness for gadgets as well: Fox usually depicts them as mechanically inclined, and proficient at the use of various hand held toys: a facility that always winds up playing a role in the plot. The kids like to dress in "hero" costumes, such as cowboys or spacemen, and show a tendency towards hero worship. The parents of the kids are always depicted as nice people, caring and loving. The kids are not at all smart alecky. But they sometimes come up with very good ideas that turn out to be practical and useful. Fox included a young boy in the Adam Strange tale "The Multiple Menace Weapon" (Mystery in Space #72, December 1961); there are some thematic links between that story and "Virginia".
The Martian in this story turns out to look just like Earth humans. This is rare in sf comics. One suspects it is designed to make him look less frightening: during this era, horror material was considered as inappropriate to mix with children, rightly so in my judgment, and Fox and Infantino have taken pains to make this story as un-frightening and upbeat as possible. Instead of horror, it is filled with science fiction material. The Martian eventually tells a long sf history of his planet. This involves duplicate worlds: Fox often included doubles in his stories, and here he has come up with the idea of duplicate planets. Just as Fox sometimes extended the protagonists of his cycles from single people to mass populations, even whole worlds, here he has extended his idea of doubles to take on an entire solar system.The Case of the blonde Bombshell (Star Hawkins) (1965)
Star Hawkins is hired by the beautiful Lulu Lacey to retrieve some letters from Mars. Ilda is convinced that Lulu is a crook, but Star is too lovestruck to see it. Ilda follows Lulu back to a spy ring. She learns that Star is actually retrieving martian defense plans. When Star returns, Ilda swtiches the plans before he can hand them over to Lulu. When the spies find out they attack Star. He beats a pair that jump him at the office, then he raids their hide-out. Lulu helps Star beat the last of the spies, as she is really a government agent. She apologizes for using Star, but she was unable to tell him the truth.
All characters mentioned or pictured are ™ and © DC Comics, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
Accueil / Bulles de Mars / Plan du Site