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Marvin the Martian

A Martian refers to any sentient being who was born on the planet Mars. The term Martian may also apply to the culture of Mars, any number of its spoken languages, and anything else relating to the glorious red planet. As stories of Martians have entered into basically every element of pop culture media, there is no exacting definition of what a Martian is, beyond their planet of origin. As such, every film, television series, short story, novel, comic book and video game will offer up its own depiction of a Martian.

One of the earliest depictions of Martians came about by British writer H.G. Wells when he penned his infamous 1897 serialized story, War of the Worlds in Pearson's Magazine. Little was presented terms of the Martians themselves, but they were shown to be a conquering race, with large tripod death-machines that could project immense energy beams. As they alien beings were unaccustomed to Earth's atmosphere, the people of Earth were able to destroy the Martians by way of exposure to bacteria. War of the Worlds was adapted into an American film in 1953 by director Byron Haskin, and again in 2005 by Steven Spielberg. There have also been various low-budget adaptations of the story, as well as a War of the Worlds television series. [1][2][3]

Another early interpretation of Martian culture came about in 1912 when author Edgar Rice Burroughs began writing his "Barsoom" series of adventure stories, which were first published in All-Story Magazine. Featuring the heroic Earth hero John Carter, Burroughs' tales took place primarily on the planet Mars, which the native inhabitants referred to as Barsoom. As such, the indigenous people of Mars were known as Barsoomians. There were two sub-classes of Barsoomians presented here, the red-hued humanoids represented by characters such as Dejah Thoris and the hulking four-armed green-skinned Tarks, represented by individuals like Tars Tarkas. [4]

Then there's Marvin the Martian. He was a character featured in the Looney Toons stable of characters and would make infrequent appearances in the various spin-off projects. Introduced in 1948 in the episode "Hardevil Hare", Marvin was presented as a short humanoid in gladiatorial attire, similar to that of a Roman warrior. His face was never seen, and was only presented as a completely black featureless void with no other characteristics save for his large eyes. Marvin was a conqueror by instinct and was perpetually threatening to destroy the Earth with his various Martian weapons, such as his P-38 Space Modulator.

DC Comics stories present two different classifications of Martian. There are the more well-known Green Martians, represented by individuals such as J'onn J'onzz, aka the Martian Manhunter, and there are the more predatory White Martians, which are more monstrous in appearance and are considered little more than psychopathic animals. Both breeds of Martians are shape-shifters, able to assume any form within a limited range of mass and volume. In their natural state, Green Martians are tall, slender bipedal humanoids with angular heads. Classically however, J'onn J'onzz has always taken a more traditional appearance and most people see him as a muscular, bald green-skinned human with a beetle-brow.

In some instances there are Martians that are wholly indistinguishable from regular humans. On the 1963-1966 CBS television series My Favorite Martian, the character of Uncle Martin appeared as a normal middle-aged Earth human.

Characters Edit

Character Series
J'onn J'onzz Justice League Unlimited/Supergirl

Notes Edit

See also Edit

References Edit

  1. War of the Worlds (novel)
  2. War of the Worlds (1953)
  3. War of the Worlds (2005/II)
  4. A Princess of Mars; Edgar Rice Burroughs; 1912.

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