Here at Mister Kitty we're pledged to bring you Stupid Comics every week, except when we take a break. And one of our guidelines is that these Stupid Comics are comics we actually physically own, that we paid cash money for, and therefore feel entitled to pass sarcastic judgement upon. And sometimes this policy means that the comics we present aren't in the greatest shape, because we like crazy old comics, and sometimes crazy old comics are crazy expensive, except when they're beat-up. Hence this week's offering, a comic that has been around the block a few times, that has been read and re-read and re-re-re read for more than fifty years in spite of it being a hacked-out, trite piece of...well, this is Stupid Comics, after all!
If, back in 1960, you really enjoyed one of the stories in Journey Into Mystery #57, and were hoping against hope that a silly page-filler about a Martian taking over a human body would somehow be continued in the next issue, well, you were in luck! Because that Martian - Zetora the Martian, the most AMAZING CHARACTER IN MAGAZINE HISTORY!!! - has returned!
Are you amazed yet? Really? Because Martians have been invading Earth for, let's see, H.G. Wells' "War Of The Worlds" was already sixty years old at this point and Orson "No Relation" Welles' radio version had spooked America twenty years previous, and the Hollywood "War Of The Worlds" film starring Gene Barry and stock footage of a flying wing had appeared only seven years before Zetora here (sadly the Jeff Wayne musical version was still 18 years away). What I'm saying here is that Martians had been invading the Earth with mind-numbing regularity in pop culture for decades at this point, so pretending this is AMAZING is really kind of stretching things.
Remember last issue when Zetora landed on Earth secretly, and, without a pang of conscience, swapped bodies with an innocent Earthman in order to further his evil plans? And remember how the unbelievable truth was discovered and he was forced to change back? Before their very eyes?
And so Zetora, seemingly helpless, went to County Lockup to be fingerprinted and await his first visit from his court-appointed attorney. Or will he???
Suddenly in jail Zetora remembers that he is a fifteen-foot tall alien creature with amazing strength, and he could have just gone on a rampage of destruction first thing, rather than try all this "swapping bodies with Earthmen" nonsense! And so it's Giant Monster Rampage time, without which the Marvel books of the late 50s and early 60s would have been very quiet indeed. I bet we're gonna get a lot of dialog like "Fools! Your weapons cannot harm me!" and "Flee, puny humans!"
Yes! Your weapons have no effect on Zetora! Flee in terror before his crashing onslaught, Earthmen! This is what we came here for, the monster destruction.
Oh crap the Martian has discovered the New Jersey Turnpike. And you thought traffic was terrible before!
This is probably my favorite panel, because of the casual attitude of the driver, the "WHAT? YOU DARE SPEAK THUS TO ZETORA!??" dialog, and just the whole thing of honking at the space alien. Maybe that's their secret weakness, honking! All space aliens have a secret weakness.
Wow, looks like Zetora is determined to ignore those "no pedestrians on freeway" signs! But here to strike back - the full force of the United States Government, represented here by NY State National Guard 40th Student Riot Quelling Divison.
This is one of those drawings that probably took a whole math class to finish. The artist was making "pew pew" sounds as he drew the explosions and right as the bell rang he remembered to put some jet planes in there. Pew pew!
(yeah I know this is some Dick Ayers art here, and I know he wasn't in math class, and I know he probably made "kapow" noises instead of "pew pew")
My god it is an absolute disaster as Zetora smashes our troops like toys and we can't use the A-Bomb because it would kill at least half the population of New York City and the sad part is, we can't tell which half, I'm just saying, there are a lot of people in New York City that could use some A-bombing, but that's besides the point, the point is all our human technology has failed, all we can do now is pray for a miracle, like in that story where Mars invaded Earth, what was it called again?
Seemingly able to change his size at will, Zetora has smashed his way into the United Nations, which helpfully happened to be in session that day when the Martian attacked, just so they could surrender the entire Earth. Out in the street a John Birch Society member is hollering "I told you so!"
Boy, this really looks like the end for mankind, just like in War Of The Worlds, except without the cool tripods or the flying wing or Les Tremayne. I wonder- what will save humanity?
I bet you thought we were going to get out of this story without seeing one of those "word balloon from Earth in space" panels, huh? Well you were wrong! But what's this? Zetora the Martian, at this moment of triumph, about to use his "cosmic radio" to alert Mars to Earth's subjugation, suddenly cold and weak and collapsing? Why, it's almost like...
It's almost like the exact ending of War Of The Worlds, is what it is totally ripped off from. I get it guys, you have six pages to fill, that Martian has to die somehow, this is all new to your 8-year old readers, but dang, at least try to file the serial numbers off. At least make an ATTEMPT to pretend to try to do some creative work. Don't just throw bacteria in our face and then smash-cut to American Family Pondering Their Faith - an American family apparently in low Earth orbit, judging from what's outside their window.
And that's it. "IT WAS GOIMS!" says Tony Danza in the Brooklyn Academy Of Fine Arts production of "War Of The Worlds," and we can throw this comic book in the corner, let the dog chew the cover off, let the kids down the block read it fifty times, swap it for some marbles, let it sit in a box for thirty five years, and finally, let this comic be made fun of on the internet. What strange, perhaps bacteria-related fate awaits this comic book in the future? As long as we keep our faith, we have nothing to fear!
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