children of mars
|----In 1945 atomic bombs were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki killing over 100,000 people in the blasts. Americans felt a sense of betrayal, as our former allies became our enemies; the Russians were perceived as thieves who stole our atomic secrets. We built underground shelters to protect ourselves, and saw flying saucers in the sky. The Martians inside these ships might be enemies, or perhaps they were saviors come to relieve us from the awesome responsibility of policing the planet.|
|----Out of this
uneasy atmosphere came a character called Marvel Boy which debuted in
the early ‘50’s. The Marvel Boy stories are a rich stew of
the symbols that made up the nations nightmares. In one of them, evil
Martians from a flying saucer kidnap a scientist who had invented an “anti-radioactivity
ray” as protection against nuclear weapons. Although the bad guys
are Martians, Marvel Boy calls them “comrade” while he punches
them. Their base on earth is in Arizona so Marvel Boy decides to drop
an atomic bomb on them: “WHOOM!!” He then announces, even
though it makes nonsense of the plot, that the kidnapped scientist was
actually the leader of the Communists from Mars, and that the antinuke
ray was a plot to weaken our defenses. The story suggested that radiation
was desirable, Martians were all Russians, and the bomb was our friend.
----In another comic from the ‘50’s features a short 8 page story where Man must colonize to Mars because there is so much radiation from all the atomic bombs that all the men are sterile. They successfully colonize Mars and find out that all the life on Mars (which is strikingly similar to life on earth) reproduces asexually by binary fusion. They say that there is also some kind of radiation on Mars that won’t allow Man to reproduce so everyone starts running around saying they are doomed because there is no way for man to continue existing. All the colonists leave the red planet except for the first guy who stepped foot on Mars. Ironically he is experiencing horrible pains throughout his body and ends up reproducing himself asexually by binary fusion.
-----In November 1955 Joe Samachson and Joe Certa working for DC comics created a unique character from an all too familiar planet. When they first created this unusual hero he appeared in a six-page backup tale in Detective Comics #225. In this short tale was told the story of how he came to this planet. A "world-famous scientist" was working on his space exploration machine when he accidentally transported J'onn J'onzz, a Martian scientist, to his laboratory. Before he could send his visitor back, the scientist suffered a heart attack, leaving J'onzz stranded on an alien world. Fortunately, the green-skinned alien could change his shape to resemble a human, and after exploring our culture he decided to use his alien powers to help mankind as a police detective named John Jones. All this in just six pages!!
-----After years of complex story telling and comic book magic, the true origin of the Martian Manhunter emerges based on the information given in the first six-page tale. Roughly it goes a little something like this:
ago there was a vicious plague that killed off an entire race of beings
that inhabited the planet mars. Only a single Martian survived the ravages
of the sickness.
-----This last Martian was pulled out of time and space and transported to Earth as part of an experiment conducted by Dr. Saul Erdel of Middleton, Colorado. once the creature arrived in his laboratory, Erdel nursed the Martian back to health and offered to send him back home; but the Martian, half insane due to the lingering effects of exposure to the plague, destroyed Erdel's teleportation machine before the doctor could calm him down.
|-----After subduing the alien, Erdel decided the only way that he could cure the Martian of the psychic trauma inflicted upon him by the plague was to alter the alien's memories and replace them with a more comfortable past. A fan of old science fiction novels, Erdel crafted an elaborate melodramatic tale concerning an epic struggle for control over Mars and a mysterious Blue Flame, and then planted the entire fiction into the Martian's head as historical fact, obliterating all traces of the plague and the death of the Martian race. Erdel even gave the Martian a name: J'Onn J'Onzz.|
|-----After he recovered, J'Onn J'Onzz adapted to his new Earthbound existence and began secretly operating as a superhero under the name Martian Manhunter. For a while, the Martian Manhunter even used his disguise powers to take on a secret "human" identity, that of John Jones, police detective. When the Appellaxians invaded the Earth shortly thereafter, the Martian Manhunter was on hand to help stave off and co-found the JUSTICE LEAGUE of AMERICA.|
|-----These are only a taste of the many comic books past and present that deal with Mars in one way or another. Our fasination with the planet Mars has develolped into a kind of stereotype or reputation of having odd creatures or strange beings inhabiting it. It still seems that as we gather more information about it, we will continue to create stories that reflect what is currently happening on this planet.|