Top 10 Greatest Martians
story Mars, the majestic red planet has fascinated humanity for countless millennia. More than a few storytellers have envisioned various races who call the planet named for the God of War home.
Marvin the Martian (Looney Tunes): No list of Martians would be complete without the Looney Tunes’ resident alien megalomaniac. After years of outwitting blowhards like Yosemite Sam, the powers that be decided to put the iconic Bugs Bunny against a soft-spoken almost unassuming new opponent. Unlike the other targets of Bugs’ prankish nature, Marvin is also quite competent and clever. With his canine sidekick, K-9 by his side, Marvin proudly wears the battle armor of the Roman god his planet is named for….with the addition of comfortable Chuck Taylors. Bugs is not the only Tune to cross paths with Marvin the Martian, as Daffy’s Duck Dodgers alter ego has also suffered from the would-be invader’s unassuming wrath. During the latest batch of DC Comics/Looney Tunes crossovers, Marvin croossed paths with DC’s most famous Martian to hilarious results.
Martian Manhunter (DC Comics): J’onn J’onzz is the last survivor from his homeworld who was accidentally brought to earth by an errant scientist (though he stays here because of Oreo cookies). First appearing in 1955, he disguised himself as John Jones, a human detective. As time went on he became a key figure in the overall DC Universe thanks to his vital role as a founding member of the Justice League. While he is not the first extraterrestrial DC hero, but considering he actually spent much of his life on Mars, he is the one most in touch with his alien roots.
Mark Watney (the Martian): Stranded on Mars after a storm forces the rest of his team away, Mark Watney has to rely on his wits and scientific knowledge to survive until he is rescued. While he was not born on the Red Planet, Mark successfully colonized the planet and established a livable residence. In a series of messages back to earth, Mark hilariously makes the case as to why he is legally a true Martian. Despite the brave face he puts on, Mark Watney knows he can only live for a limited time on the surface of the planet if his crew do not return for him.
Uncle Martin (My Favorite Martian): For an entire generation of TV viewers, Uncle Martin was the quintessential TV Martian. A Martian anthropologist finds himself stranded on earth after a crash. Luckily reporter Tim O’Hara discovers the extraterrestrial and gives him a place to live. Passing off as his his new roommate as his Uncle Martin, the two get into a series of hilarious hijinks thanks to Martin’s alien abilities and knowledge.
Martian Invaders (War of the Worlds): One of the great pioneers of science fiction, HG Wells gave readers an interpretation of Martians which is still held as an inspirational piece of fiction. In his famed novel War of the Worlds, the citizens of Victorian England are faced with invaders from the Red Planet and their powerful walkers armed with heat rays. Fortunately for humanity these invaders poorly planned their invasion and did not plan for the biological issues they would face as the tiny bacteria on our planet proved to be their downfall. This tale has been adapted into every medium possible, from film to an infamous radio broadcast courtesy of Orson Welles. Most of these adaptations of the story have moved the events to more contemporary times, proving that Wells’ epic is still relevant no matter when it takes place.
Dejah Thoris (John Carter of Mars book series): Famed pulp writer Edgar Rice Burroughs turned to Mars when planning a fantasy story. Naturally a fantasy story needed a princess and he created the fan favorite character Dejah Thoris who debuted in the story a Princess of Mars. Unlike most fantastical princesses, Thoris is by no stretch of the imagination a “damsel in distress” she is a skilled warrior with a sharp intellect. When we are first introduced to her she is leading a scientific expedition when she is kidnapped. Luckily she is rescued by John Carter, whom she later weds and is his equal partner in their adventures on the planet her people call Barsoom.
Ice Warriors (Doctor Who): Mars is named for the ancient god of war, and the Ice Warriors live by that idea. They first appeared battling the Second Doctor in the 1967 story arc appropriately entitles “The Ice Warriors”. This warrior race would frequently appear to battle the Doctor throughout the classic series. Modern viewers were finally introduced to the Ice Warriors in the episode “Cold War” which a single Warrior who is released on a Soviet sub during the Cold War, forcing the Eleventh Doctor to confront this old foe once again.
Fire Balloons (the Martian Chronicles): Ray Bradbury’s masterpiece chronicling the fictional history of humanity’s colonization of Mars, includes many different takes on the planet’s locals. In one chapter in particular the master storyteller introduces readers to a unique take on the beings that live on Mars. As naturally happens when a new society is discovered, missionaries are sent to spread their faith, and in the case of this book an Episcopalian priest heads out to convert the assuredly heathen Martians. Rather than converting others, the Martians he discovers completely change his outlook on everything. These beings are ethereal creatures, spheres containing a blue flame who roam through the mountainous terrain. Long ago they gave up anything material in life and over time ascended into being the spiritual beings they currently are. These “fire balloons” as they are dubbed have no need for salvation because they have evolved past sin or anything else worldly.
Sailor Mars (Sailor Moon): A member of one of anime’s most popular teams, Sailor Mars, also known as Rei Hino, possesses fire-based powers, psychic abilities and a practical mindset. When adapted from manga to the popular anime Sailor Mars also gained a hot headed temperament which only makes sense given her Martian heritage. Despite being on the same team as Sailor Moon, there is a bit of a rivalry between the two especially when the mysterious Tuxedo Mask is around.
Attacking Martians (Mars Attacks!): In his prime as a filmmaker, Tim Burton put an all-star cast against a society of violent green “ack” spouting Martians. Based off a cult trading card series from the 60’s Mars Attacks! proudly wears it’s Cold War sci-fi influence for all moviegoers to see. They mercilessly and hilariously waste no time in making their violent intentions known immediately after landing on earth and vaporizing everyone at their welcome rally. With their technology the human race seems doomed to stop them. As dominating of a threat as they are, these bulbous headed attackers can be easily thwarted with a playing of the song “Indian Love Call” by Slim Whitman.