Wednesday, June 24, 2009

M.A.R.S. Patrol

Between DAREDEVIL and T.H.U.N.D.E.R. AGENTS, Wallace Wood's most notable series was Gold Key's TOTAL WAR (M.A.R.S. PATROL TOTAL WAR beginning with issue 3). Running ten issues over a five year period beginning in 1965, Wood and Dan Adkins were only involved with the first three but their enthusiasm showed. As Gold Key--like Dell before it--had always eschewed the Comics Code, Woody went to town with comic strip violence in what might almost be seen as a dry run for his later CANNON strip. TOTAL WAR told the story of a mysterious force invading the US, With Cold War paranoia being what it was, this had been an underlying fear for a generation by 1965. In this take, the US military's response is augmented by the M.A.R.S. Patrol, the Marine Attack Rescue Service Patrol, a specially trained group of fighters who take on the unknown invaders issue ater issue. The first three issues contain some of Woody's best comics work from this period and were recently collected by Dark Horse with an intro by Adkins.

1 comment:

  1. To a degree, the strip was also a sort of dry run for the THUNDER Agents. Both had an elite paramilitary force fighting against a mysterious world-wide military threat. In MARS Patrol, the purple-clad, bald-headed 'crab' forces (we never knew who they really were, and supposedly later issues hinted at them being alien invaders, but if so, without radically more advanced technology). In the THUNDER Agents, you had the Subterranians, but we didn't learn at first that these were the force behind the invaders.

    Its too bad no one chatted with Wood in finding out what is original plans (if any) were for MARS Patrol.