Jump to content

Sign in to follow this  
Dr.Bedlam

Mars Attacks and the Postwar World

Recommended Posts

So, this afternoon, I been paintin' Martians. I love me some Mars Attacks.

First heard about Mars Attacks back in the seventies. Found a magazine at the drugstore devoted to science fiction. These didn't turn up as often as I would have liked, being as I lived out in the distant reaches of south Texas (I loved Famous Monsters, but they only turned up about every second or third month), so when they DID turn up, you bought them. Fast, before someone noticed a flicker of color and creativity on the magazine rack, and disposed of it in favor of Rancher's Monthly, Quilting Today, or Dull Periodicals.

And this particular magazine, some small press thing I can't remember the name of, had an article on Mars Attacks, the infamous 1962 trading card set. They included illustrations of several of the cards, and talked about how due to the rarity of the cards and the weird chord they struck with kids of the early sixties, these cards were now worth a zillion dollars each, and that an art production outfit out of New York was reproducing the art as poster sized prints for way too much money.

c79dfbc91de2bec5df7b85b8989c27a6.jpg

I devoured the article with avid interest. I was a sucker for fifties style science fiction, I admit it. Still am. Hell, I can still watch and enjoy Earth Vs. The Flying Saucers, and one of the great pleasures of last Halloween was finding Robinson Crusoe On Mars showing on TV that evening. And I still get a kick out of giant bug movies. Because when I was a kid, I soaked this stuff up with abandon. The Black Scorpion. Invasion Of The Saucer Men. Invaders From Mars. Earth Vs. The Spider. Mars Needs Women! And now I was reading about this so-called series of trading cards that seemed like they were MADE of this stuff... albeit, a tad on the gory side.
5684ab9ad75ceac2fe06abc0c903c31a.jpg 47ab03c7a3a77fa8d7c5e47720d960fa.jpg

These were not your Ray Bradbury crystal spires and toga Martians. THESE Martians did NOT mess around. None of this "Peace In Our Time" nonsense. And they were PROPER equipped. They had death rays, heat rays, disintegrator rays, shrink rays, and freeze rays, as well as the growth ray, which they used on Earth bugs in order to make about a third of the card set be about gigantic bugs eatin' civilians and snackin' on soldiers and tearing up the Eiffel Tower, among other things. They had flying saucers, they had giant stompy robots, they had everything you'd expect Martians to bring to a gunfight. It was ON! Washington burns! Panic in Parliament! Moscow is gone! China is attacked! And that humungous caterpillar can't be doing Paris any good, even after he's full from eatin' the Eiffel Tower!

 

And best of all, they didn't have to do any of this "mind control" or "possess Earth bodies" silliness to save money on costumes, makeup, and special effects. No, WE don't need no steekin' MIND CONTROL and endless talky dialogue! We just bring out the DISINTEGRATOR RAYS!

I was downright disappointed. This stuff had actually existed, and here I was finding out about it fourteen years too late! The article went on to explain how the card set never got national distribution, and was yanked from shelves on the East Coast after the local parents and moral guardians found out about it, adding to its rarity... which had added to its popularity... which had led to the insane prices collectors were willing to pay for the original cards. Finally, Topps, the company who'd printed them originally, did a reprint set in the early eighties, which apparently totally went nuts at the card and comic shops, leading Topps to actually publish a line of Mars Attacks! comics, which would eventually lead to MORE card sets, and finally, a Tim Burton movie. 

I dunno what it is. I mean, these cards were printed before I was born, but there's something about them that completely awakens my inner ten year old and makes me wanna play toy soldiers and giant bugs and big stompy robods with Earth Vs. The Flying Saucers on the DVD player in the background. What IS it about these evil, green, brain headed, skull faced sadists from the Red Planet that has this effect on me? And apparently a lot of other people, for that matter?

 

My fondness for bad science fiction movies has led me to study the matter. The fifties was a heck of a time. The psyche of most of the human race was still recovering from the horror and insanity of WWII, and since PTSD hadn't been invented yet, all the sol'jers who were suffering from it were just expected to suck it up and get over it and get on with getting a job, buying a house, and raising the kids, bringing it all back to normal. And a lot of those kids... my own parents included... were old enough by the 1950s to start spending money. What could we sell kids and teenagers in the fifties? Well, movies were a big thing... and cheap, lurid films were in big demand as drive-in movie product... and, then, there's our old friend, the Atomic Bomb, the great symbol of science as savior, ender of war... as well as a pandora's box that might have some pretty scary stuff in it. The film THEM!, which was about giant mutant ants caused by the original A-bomb tests, is laughable nowadays... but was nominated for an Academy Award in its time. It was vurra serious stuff, and gave birth to the entire giant bug genre. And what about those flying saucers that Col. Mantell supposedly saw scooting around the southwest, where all those secret airbases are?

There was plenty of real stuff to be scared of; the Soviets had the bomb, and they had Nikita Khruschev, and they had better missiles than we did at the time. What better way to forget about real terrors than by going to the movies and immersing in the fake ones?

By 1962, this was all the stuff of cliche, a bunch of established tropes... ready for assembly and use. And Topps did exactly that. They assembled every old hackneyed trope and cliche into a cohesive whole, and launched it as a set of bubble gum cards. And oh my, did they start something. 

I discovered this stuff back around 1976, and I've had it with me ever since, part and parcel of alien invasion movies, giant bug films, and the great and wonderful and chaotic world of the really awfullest science fiction of the fifties and sixties. We're well into the new millenium now, but weirdly enough, the horrors of giant spiders and the evil of brain-headed invaders remains with me, a set of villains to be fought that remains far more appealing to the child within than Nazis or stormtroopers or the terrorists of COBRA... living relics of the pulp sci fi of the fifties.

Reaper and Gene Van Horne aren't immune. They did a lovely line of Alien Invaders a few years back. Snagged every one of them, some in multiples. Still regret the lack of bubble helmets for them. Mantic did this when they released their Mars Attacks! miniatures game earlier this year; bubble helmets packaged separately, to be carefully glued into place after painting.

Anyone else have memories and/or reminiscences of the Martians and their spawn? Bad movies? Giant bugs? I'm curious to see who else on the forums gets charged up with the flipping of this particular switch...

a10e33d9039a39f8c4980c68601770ba.jpg

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You are at least a decade older than I am, but I remember seeing, and buying, the reprints of those cards in stores such as Rose's and Nichols. My brother and I also ate it up, which explains our enjoyment of so many of the horrible sci-fi movies that have come out since the eighties, such as AVP, the Star Wars Prequels (I know they are horrible and why, I just enjoy them as cheesy bad science fiction movies), and the final few Star Trek movies before Abram's Trek came along. I even looked up and watched Plan 9 From Outer Space, and have to say I enjoyed that too.

 

ETA: not trying to imply that you are old, just I can barely remember 1986 (I was 4 that year)

Edited by FaekiasDracon
  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Good, it was one of the few movies with "An All-Star Cast" that was really worth watching, and it shows the world saving power of Western music.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm too fat to be wizened.

 

And the movie wasn't... BAD, but I was kind of underwhelmed. Black comedy is okay, I guess, but too many of the people involved seem to feel like they were above the material... parody works better if you don't feel like you're too good to be doing what you're doing.

 

Coulda been better.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Fun Fact: It is said that Jeff Dunham built his "Achmed The Dead Terrorist" puppet using a pair of Martian eyeballs from a maquette used in the movie...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm too fat to be wizened.

 

And the movie wasn't... BAD, but I was kind of underwhelmed. Black comedy is okay, I guess, but too many of the people involved seem to feel like they were above the material... parody works better if you don't feel like you're too good to be doing what you're doing.

 

Coulda been better.

 

 

^ This.  The fun of a stupid movie is when the people in it act like they don't know they're in a stupid movie.  Paul Winfield was like the best actor in the movie, and the only other role he did that I can remember was Capt. Terrell in Wrath of Khan.

 

Also love for Pam Grier.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Perhaps I am miss-remembering it. It has been years after all. I recall feeling as if everyone involved was having fun and not taking anything, including the movie, seriously. You both seem to have a very different take.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Perhaps I am miss-remembering it. It has been years after all. I recall feeling as if everyone involved was having fun and not taking anything, including the movie, seriously. You both seem to have a very different take.

It's a subtle line. I thought there was a little too much "winking at the camera". William Shatner does it right as a general rule. The dude is a scenery-eating ham, but he's an enthusiastic and dedicated ham. He's maybe not taking the material itself too seriously, but he's still taking his performance seriously. And that's funny. Charming, even. He knows the joke, and he knows we're in on the joke, so he doesn't need to *tell* us it's a joke.

 

Mars Attacks and most of the performances in it don't respect me like that, so the humour gets lost. It's trying too hard to make sure I know it's a stupid joke. I could fill in the blanks myself if it let me.

Edited by buglips*the*goblin
  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

A proper satirical movie should not insult its own fans or imply they are morons for liking this sort of stuff. I think that's why Schwarzenegger's "Last Action Hero" felt so flat and meanspirited.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hmmm, Yes. I seem to recall it being more like Rowan Atkinson's Blackadder with a dash of Rocky Horror, but what you are saying makes sense. I should watch a few clips on youtube and see for myself.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yeah, but see Blackadder actually gets it. What it is, and again the line can be subtle, but the best way to make the ludicrous funny is always to play it straight. Blackadder plays it straight, so the wink and commentary work. It invites us in, because we can sympathize with Adder's immediate plight: "the people around me are idiots". But Blackadder still takes his world seriously, so the joke isn't in the scenario but in how the people therein deal with it. Mars Attacks plays the ludicrous as ludicrous, and it doesn't really work. It's just circa two hours of stating the obvious and saying: "get it?"

 

This is why Dr. Strangelove works so well. It's nuts, ridiculous, but the people in it (as actors and characters) never let on that they know this.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

  • Similar Content

    • By Pingo
      This is Patrick Keith's 50246: Marie, She-Bot, famous from the old Fritz Lang movie "Metropolis," and two other robots Johnny Lauck sold adjacent to his sci fi Salvage Crew.
       
      I painted them up in less than an hour. WIP thread here.
       

       

       

       

       

       

       

    • By ThirstyBob
      So, Hi there, first post, there might be an introduction sub forum that I missed. I'm Relatively new to mini painting, I've painted Blood Rage, and some Pathfinder Bones, and some other stuff. At the moment, I'm working on Fireteam Zero, from Emergent games. Amazing game, btw. I am working on the Infested faction at the moment and I have 1 finished, and 2 with the torso; I think; finished, and 3 more basecoated with some rough highlights. So I would like some input, feedback, criticism, whatever, for things to do different on the next 5 minis.
       
      Color scheme for torso is basecoating green, red for intestines and parasite, drybrush light green, wash dark green (or dark purple, done one of each so far), then blend in some decayed skin with yellow, orange, red, purple, blue, and black. Tell me if I'm doing this in a feasible order, this is the first time I'm asking for feedback from someone who is not a friend.
       
      The first 2 pics are with just the base green, highlights and purple wash. The second 2 have the decayed skin blending. I have larger pics if the res on these is too small, I wasn't sure if the 150k limit was still in effect.
       
      Any help/criticism is appreciated!
       
      P.S. PAY NO ATTENTION TO THE SWORDS AND THE PANTS. (WIP)




    • By SisterMaryNapalm
      Hello again.


       
      Some time ago, during a game of Bolt Action, one of my friends told us about a campaign he was planning, focused on a fantasy setting using the rules of Frostgrave.

      As he and some other friends were working on a SciFi setting simultaneously, I thought of the possibility of creating an army that fits both settings – Fantasy and Sci Fi.


       
      But what kind of figures would be able to fit into my setting? Looking around, I got aware of the Blood Vestals by Raging Heroes. They seem to be perfect for my army and so I acquired a group of them and also got me some bases with ruins – currently I don’t have got the time to make them all by myself.

      There is only one problem – they are partially clothed …


       
      RATED N for NUDITY



      RATED N for NUDITY II RATED N for NUDITY III
       
      So … though a young woman in all her natural beauty might be quite a sight for sore eyes, I figured them to be a bit unfit for my idea. I mean - we are talking about Frostgrave. Frost. Cold. Quite Cold. Who would risk to get a cold by running around naturally dressed? So – best way for me to work with them might be to unnude them.


       
      I looked around a bit further, but couldn't figure a way to make the figures look like I wanted them to look like. To be honest - I don't even have an idea what I want to do. Bravo, Monsieur. You're quite something.


       
      Then by chance, I stumbled over the at concepts of NieR: Automata, which is a sequel to the critically acclaimed game NieR and includes some pretty artwork and figures. I already know the game, especially for the "AB" Diskussion regarding the clothing of main character 2b, but still never really thought about the design. Hm. Not bad.



       
      I somehow like the lolita concept. But it is quite modern, so there should be a change in design to make it more fantasyesque.
       
      Also having been a fan of the Valkyria Chronicles franchise since I came to know it (some 6 years ago or so), I figured that the clothes of Selvaria and Aliasse from the franchise would make a good addition.


       



       



       





      Sexy Lolita clothes, white and blue-white hair, red eyes and dark grey and golden colors? I am currently thinking about how to bring all those concepts together – but I am sure that the outcome will be great :-D Haha.
      If anyone has an idea on how to put all that stuff together, I'd be thankful :-D

       
      For the skin I took a picture from the internet, which I really liked:


       



      Quite a thought.


       
      I checked my bits box and found a fantasy figure I will use as the central figure for my army – the Crimson Empress or Witch or whatever. She will be the figure on which I test how the colors work together. Looking forward to seeing her finished …



       
       
      Well then - Let's start and see where this ends.
    • By Rilkyn
      This is a boss character from the skirmish game - Wild West Exodus.
       
      At some point I need to get round to painting more of these.



    • By Pingo
      So my husband is running a game this Saturday and he asked "Do you have any robot figures?" and I said "Ummm, let me get back to you."
       
      Happily, I had on hand a copy of Patrick Keith's 50246, "Marie She-Bot" familiar to film aficionados from Fritz Lang's seminal "Metropolis".  I also had a handful of little robots from Johnny Lauck's Salvage Crew.
       
      So I glued them together and primed them and painted them very simply with metallic paints.  The whole thing took less than an hour.
       
      For metallics I use the principles I learned for gilding:  Everything has a color underneath it, usually a rust-red for gold and a black or grey for silver (or aluminum or palladium -- I never could bring myself to gild with something that could decay as fast as silver leaf).
       
      I originally planned to paint the Metropolis robot gold, so I primed her with Red Iron Oxide. 
       

       
      Then I did the same with a little monkey-robot from Johnny Lauck (ignore the two little guys to the right; I didn't get further than this with them and I plan to paint them like plastic anyway, if I get to them before Saturday).
       

       
      Then my husband pointed out that if I painted the Metropolis robot silver she could stand in for a Moonsilver Alchemical later on.  D'oh! 
       
      ... Okay, so now I was going to see what silver paint looks like over brick red.  For science!
       
      I washed over the two red robots with dark paint to bring out the details:  Burnt Umber on the little monkeybot, as is normal for under a warm color like gold.  But then I used straight Carbon Black on Maria She-Bot since she was going to be cold silver, and black generally looks cold under other colors.  I notice that she looks just like the Chinese lacquer sculptures I've seen around, a point worth remembering to try some other time, perhaps.
       
      I also painted black primer on the servo on the left, another Johnny Lauck 'bot.  I had to glue that one to a fender washer as it had a tendency to topple over to its left; otherwise its base had been the same size as the other Lauck robots.  That's also why it appears now; its glue was setting while I was priming the others.  (Once again, ignore the two on the right.)
       

       
      I then took my good #2 Winsor and Newton series 7 brush and drybrushed silver metallic paint onto the armed servo Lauck 'bot and Marie, She-Bot.
       
      ... I find using good brushes helps give a lot of control and evenness, even for this.  This wasn't the really scrabbly kind of drybrushing anyway, more like stroking tiny amounts of unthinned paint over the high points of a countoured surface.
       
      Anyhow, you can see the different color effects based on what went under the silver paint, black on the left and brick red on the right.  You can also see the detail level difference between Johnny Lauck's sculpt and Patrick Keith's.
       

       
      Then I did the same thing, only using gold metallic paint, to the Johnny Lauck monkey robot.
       
       
       
      I painted their bases solid black.  Normally I like a base with at least a neutral grey with shadows, but I was in a hurry and the black contrasted better with their metallic shininess.
       
      I also added a few details, red eyes on the Lauck robots and a glowing yellow inside the armed Lauck bot's gun barrel (Which I see I didn't take pictures of.  Need to fix that for the Show Off thread).
       

       

       
      And there you have it.  Really really fast quick and dirty robot painting. Total painting time: About forty minutes.  (With prep time, work time is probably an hour, or a smidgen more)
       
       
  • Who's Online   8 Members, 0 Anonymous, 144 Guests (See full list)

×