Monday, June 30, 2014

Reading Room: CRUSADER FROM MARS "Mission through Space"

Though we've presented a couple of stories (HERE & HERE) about the short-lived...
Art by Allen Anderson
...we haven't shown you his never-reprinted origin!
So let's correct that oversight right now!
If I follow the logic of this concept correctly, the Martians send a proven murderer (along with someone who may be either an accessory to murder or an innocent who had nothing to do with the crime except having a murderer obsessed with her) to fight evil on Earth.
Send a convicted killer with emotional control issues (and advanced weaponry) to a primitive planet and tell him to clean it up.
And then, when he screws up. send a fleet of flying saucers in to straighten out the mess.
(Martians apparently have no non-interference Prime Directive.)
The writer for this premiere tale from Crusader from Mars #1 (1952) is unknown, but probably is the book's editor, Jerry (Superman) Siegel, who co-created another short-lived Martian crime-fighter, Lars of Mars, the year before.
The artist is believed to be Marvin Stein, but the layouts have a stong Jack Kirby feel to them.
Considering Stein was doing a lot of work for the Simon/Kirby studio at the time, and Jack was reputed to be very generous in terms of helping his friends, it seems likely he provided roughs for Stein to render full pencils and inks over.
BTW, you may note that Tarka wears a very Superman-style costume in this tale, but on the cover, and in the next (and last) issue, the colors are reversed.

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