Jun 27, 2018

Quarter Bin - Lars of Mars (1951)

Welcome to the first ever Quarter Bin post, where comics go to be forgotten. If you're a comic fan, you've no doubt stumbled into a box of comics that someone is trying to get rid of and selling for a quarter each. You also know, that digging through that mess can sometimes result in finding some great stuff for a steal.

This won't necessarily be about "great" stuff and pretty much none of it will be stuff I actually bought. This is mainly going to be a place to throw some obscure comic book stuff at you.

Let's take to the stars (sort of) with Lars of Mars!


You probably haven't heard of Lars considering his first, and basically last, appearance was in 1951. He starred in a whole two comic books, which for some reason were numbered 10 and 11. How great is that cover, though?

You might know the name of one of his co-creators, Jerry Siegel.
For you non-comic geeks, he also co-created Superman!


I absolutely love retro future stuff like this: jet packs, funky robots with claw hands, antennas on your head for no good reason. But this isn't just another superhero in space comic. Lars gets to beat down this weird tentacled lizard thing and that's about the end of the space stuff.

The Mars Council detects an H-bomb going off on Earth so they send Lars to make sure we don't get too big for our galactic britches. Apparently, there was a big H-bomb war between Mars and Venus and Mars is not having that again!

On his way to Earth, Lars' rocket malfunctions! (He's got a jet pack, don't you worry.) As he flies to Earth he see a woman being attacked by robots and being the swell guy that he is, he fends them off...only to find they're actors in costumes and the woman a TV producer who thinks Lars is going all out to audition for a role. Thinking it the perfect cover, Lars plays along and becomes an actor. Everyone thinks he's a crazy dude that's a little too into his role.


It's a whole weird alter ego thing with Lars basically playing a version of himself on TV then going out to fight crime still dressed in the same outfit. ("Hey it's that guy from TV!") He does have a few things to help him like his jet pack, a multi-function ray gun, and some minor telepathic abilities. 

In the second issue (#11 if you're keeping up) Lars helps out a hospitalized sick kid by convincing his idol, a baseball pitcher that thinks he's washed up, to get back in the game. He falsely bolsters the athlete's confidence by secretly "helping" with his tractor beam ray gun but the kid seems to get better once his idol is back on the field, so I guess it's all good?

While I could see Superman doing something like this it just doesn't feel quite right to me for Lars. But I guess not every adventure has to be saving the world. Lars and Supes might both be from another world but based on the covers, I wasn't expecting Lars to be earthbound.

Finally, from the "no way they could do that today" department, let's take a gander at the back cover of issue #10.


This great offer is for you, presumably child reader of Lars of Mars. For just $1.98 not only do you get yourself an engraved lighter but it also holds your cigarettes! No more keeping your cigs rolled up in your t-shirt sleeve for Little Johnny!

If you want to experience Lars' adventures for yourself, you can read issue 10 and issue 11 at the Digital Comics Museum. If you create a free account, you can download these, and many other forgotten comics. If you don't want to create an account, you can still read them online. The site can be a little tricky to learn so let me know if you have questions.

Good luck, Lars!

1 comment:

  1. Love the artwork of those old pulp comics! Nice work.

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