Late Twentieth Century Antiques: Martian Comics Martians discovered comic books in the second half of the twentieth century.To be exact, in 1972 they discovered Marvel Team- Up #5, Featuring Spider-Man and the Vision, in a 7-Eleven store in Cayucos, California. Martians themselves give little significance to this occurrence.They insist their enthusiasm for comic books did not begin until late in 1973, with “The Himalayan Incident” in Detective Comics #437.Whether it began in 1972 or 1973, the Martians cheerfully confess that their enthusiasm quickly became an obsession. Within only a few years, the Martian appetite for comic books became so huge it could not be satiated by simple consumption. Martians became discontented with their vast underground vaults filled with dizzying stacks of comic books held in inert suspension, perfectly archived in true pristine mint condition. Four short years after they read that first fateful issue, the Martians succumbed to an overwhelming need to create their own comic books. But they did not want to make replicas of Earthling books.They decided to follow the examples of the French and the Japanese, who took one of the great American art forms and produced comic books within their own cultures. In 1977, the Martians started making comics for Martians. This was an event of immeasurable magnitude in the Martian community, unprecedented except by the great Martian canal landforming debacle. Martian technologies might be beyond the grasp of human intelligence, but their resources are not unlimited. When Giovanni Schiaparelli observed Mars in 1877, and then illustrated the exquisite topography of the now-famous canals of Mars, the Martians were thrilled at very idea of canals on Mars.An unbearable excitement seized the whole communal Martian mind. Canals on Mars became an imperative.A huge portion of their energies was allocated to re-shaping the surface of Mars according to the visions of Schiaparelli, Charles E. Burton and Percival Lowell. It proved to be a task beyond their formidable capabilities. For a few years, they barely managed to maintain a blurred veneer of watercourses darkening the windswept sands of Mars, but it satisfied very few Martians.A campaign for landscape purity emerged at this time, the canal project was abandoned, and the inexorable dunes obscured the remnants. Publishing comic books was perhaps a less daunting task than building a canal system on the arid surface of a dead planet, yet consider the problem of paper. Paper is so ubiquitous on Earth we carelessly use it to wipe our butts when we poop, but there was not a scrap on Mars in 1977. Growing cellulose-producing plants in underground forests, just for paper, that alone must have put a tremendous strain on the Martian reserves. Fortunately they lightened their production costs with their preference for black-and-white pages, rather than the four-color offset printing of the classic American comic publishers. No one knows why the Martians stopped producing comics. If anyone has dared to ask them, the Martians have not deigned to answer.They still buy a large number of comics, but not at the tremendous rate they did in the twentieth century.They remain the largest extraterrestrial market for Japanese manga.They make the pilgrimage to San Diego for Comic-com every summer.They write Dr. Strange and Spider-Gwen fanfiction, and novels based on characters in Jean “Moebius” Giraud’s 40 Days in the Desert B. In 2009, a facsimile of Corto Maltese’s captain’s hat became an incredibly popular fashion accessory on Mars, comparable to the Earth craze for Davy Crocket’s coonskin cap in the 50’s.The Corto Maltese phenomenon was especially remarkable for the fact that Martians have no need for hats, probably because they have no need for heads.