Mars Attacks Complete Collection
Published by IDW
Written and Lettered by John Layman
Art by John McCrea
Coloured by Andrew Elder
Originally published as MARS ATTACKS issues #1–10.
As I said in the preview of Mars Attacks: First Born:
“Many people in the UK think that the Tim Burton film in 1996 is where Mars Attacks started. That’s not the case as many others know, Mars Attacks started in 1962 as a collectible trading card series with 55 cards in the set sold in packets of five for 5c.
The film brought the title to the mainstream public but before that there was a failed comic series in 1988, it only lasted four issues.”
I re-watched the film recently and several people I talked to about it needed educating on the above facts.
This book has two stories each of which was previously published over five issues. Same creative team throughout. I’m not familiar with John Layman but know John McCrea’s work from 2000AD & Judge Dredd Megazine. John BcCrea was the artist on Mars Attacks Judge Dredd.
The first story tells the tale of General Zar, a Martian officer who is bent on revenge for what happened to him in the Summer of 1962. Crashlanding in USA he was found and sold to a travelling Freak Show. In 2012 he leads an invasion force.
Then we follows the exploits of young Tommy Bailey, a science whizkid from Tortilla Flats New Mexico. It also tells us of the doubts held by a Martian soldier called Blyx. Oh and check out Jimmy Aquino’s cameo!
Both stories have a wonderfully varied cast and both give us a set of three heroes to root for and a Martian to follow on the other side. Action and comedy are well-balanced and the plots of both evolve nicely.
The trading cards that are dotted throughout the story are fun in and of themselves and an homage to the origin of the bulbous brained villains.
John McCrea’s art is excellent and fits the genre brilliantly. The characters are animated and the storytelling is perfect. The Martians, giant insects and warrior robots are all expertly done.
A real treat of a book.