Tales From The Public Domain
Planet Comics #1
Flint Baker And The One Eyed Monster Men Of Mars
Not Gay Porn. Really.
OK, folks. Welcome to an exciting new feature here at mrlizard.com, I’m sure all (both) my readers will be happy with! In this feature, I look at some of the great (cheesy) comics from the Golden Age, with a general intent to look at non-superhero comics, because, frankly, the iconoclastic (lame) superheroes of the Golden Age (such as the Red Bee, a hero whose sole power was that he had a bee — a normal, everyday, bee — in his belt buckle) have been done to death. We’re starting with Planet Comics, which featured, in its 79 issue run, a variety of ongoing serials.
Here’s the cover of issue 1:
Remember this cover — it will come back later. There may be a quiz. For now, though, let’s move on!
Meet Flint Baker!
In modern comic books, it take for-fracking-ever to get anywhere or do anything. In “Ultimate Spiderman”, for example, Uncle Ben didn’t manage to get himself shot until issue THREE. Three issues for Peter’s hippie uncle to get himself offed! By comparison, he was dead halfway through the original Spiderman’s origin story, which was itself only one of three stories in the book. Superman’s origin, in the first issue of Action Comics, took one page!
So here we have Flint Baker. Here’s his origin:
Ok, to be fair, there’s a bit more than that… which is what this article will discuss… but if this comic were being published today, that little caption would probably take up ten issues. We’d have the trade paperback of “Flint Baker: Dreams Of The Father” or something, published in 15 different editions, and it would probably turn out his father was a one eyed martian monster, or something, and there’d be sex. Lots of sex.
Apparently, “Flint” is a common nickname for “Fletcher”. Go figure.
Anyway, it’s 1940 or so, and you’ve built a Mars rocket in your backyard. So who do you get to fly it? Apparently, in 1940, you just go to your local prison and order up a few death row inmates. Really. Flint just walks in, tells the warden, “Oh, I need men to fly a Mars rocket, do you got any?”, and then walks out again, three convicted murderers in tow! Of course, the second they’re free, they wack Flint on the head, steal everything he’s got, rape his girlfriend, and hightail it back to their old gang. No, just kidding. They swear undying loyalty.
Anyway, it’s off to Mars!
So… four men… three of who have been in prison… crammed together in a big, long, hard, metal tube… cut off… alone… with no one but each other… well, we can see where this is going. There’s going to be some “one eyed monsters” all right!
Well, this flight just got a lot more interesting! Of course an Intrepid Girl Reporter happened along. (I’d be tempted to say a “Spunky Girl Reporter”, but I think I’ve beaten the porn jokes off… I mean, to death! Beaten them to death!)
Anyway, Flint is about to tell her to get the hell off his ship, when the ship “swerves to avoid a meteor”, which tosses Mimi into Flint’s arms, which means he decides she can stay. I’m… not even going to try to follow that logic. This being the extremely puritanical 1940s, of course, no one works out what might happen to one woman surrounded by four men. (Or the possible conflicts involved when it becomes obvious at least one man will need to wait his turn. Sigh. The porn jokes, it seems, aren’t dead, just pining for the fjords.)
Well, with nothing else to do — at least nothing they can put in the comic book — the three criminals decide to explain how they got sent up the river.
Likewise, this is the kind of thing that can happen to… wait a minute. What? “Hypnotized to carry out murder plots”??? This was the best defense he could come up with, and he’s sticking to it? Whoa. I guess the Chewbacca Defense didn’t work as well in the 1940s as it did in the 1990s.
Anyway, after “weeks of monotonous traveling”, the craft finally reaches Mars. It lands, and the first thing they find is another wrecked Earth ship! Apparently, in the 1940s, people were launching Mars rockets every frackin’ week! Anyway, next to the ship is a dessicated corpse…
You see a dessicated corpse. >Search corpse The corpse contains: a scroll tube >Take tube I see no tube here. >Take scrll tube I see no scrll tube here >Take scroll tube You now have:A scroll tube. >Open scroll tube The scroll tube contains a note. >Read note You are not holding the note! >Take note You now have:A scroll tube, a crumbled note. >Read note
Keep away from the dark side of Mars! Pretty darn clear, right? I mean, someone dying on the planet Mars used the last reserves of his strength to write you that note! You’d better listen to him! It’s the only sane thing to do!
Anyway, they cruise around a bit, and see super-highways that must be the “canals” visible from Earth, and then a gargantuan art deco city looms up. Our intrepid (by which I mean, “stupid”) heroes approach the gate, only to be attacked by a Martian guard dog.
Aw… isn’t he cute?
Not to worry, though, because, for some reason, peering out a window in the front of the city is a totally bodacious Martian babe.
So, Martian Babe instantly identifies the intruders as Earthmen and switches to English. She says she’s waited a long time, then brings them to her father, King Theoden of the Rohan.
You think I’m joking?
Anyway, Theoden explains that some other Earthmen showed up a while back, were total biatches, and were banished to the dark side of Mars where they set up a dictatorship, and… uhm… wait a minute. Mars doesn’t have a dark side!
Well, that little blunder has totally ruined my suspension of disbelief!
The leader of the evil Earthment, Sarko, is using the one-eyed monsters of Mars as part of his plan to rule over the “warm, light” side of the planet, or, as it’s sometimes called, “the side of the planet you’ll be on in about 12 hours since Mars rotates on its axis you utter and complete moron!” But more importantly, you may remember the cover.
But here’s what the one eyed martian monsters look like in the comic itself…
Yeah. False advertising FTW, baby.
Sarko issues the order to ATTACK!!!!
Gods, I love 1940s pulp art-deco! Fins! Wings! Lasers! Pew pew pew!
The Earthmen “find it possible to discard their space suits”… and everything else, as they boff hot Martian babes! No, sadly, they look skywards and Flint says “Judas! Here they come!” Did anyone in 1940 use “Judas” as a curse word? I mean, is this true-to-life dialogue for the era, or is it totally ridiculous?
Fortunately, the Martian city is protected by a pop-up dome. Seriously. They push a button, and a big dome appears over the city. The evil fleet retreats, and then Sarko, who is “enraged”, orders his one-eyed monsters to attack the city hand-to-hand and kidnap the wimminfolks!
I just want to make sure you’re getting this. The locals can raise an impervious dome over their city when they’re being attacked by ultra-fast rocket ships, but don’t have time to raise the dome when they’re being attacked by… well, by this:
I mean, we saw Flint and company approach the city. It’s on a huge, featureless, plain. The leaping Martians would have been seen mile away. The dome takes about a second to raise. Even given every ridiculous premise they’ve put forth so far, it just doesn’t make sense! Ah well, who cares. Point is, it’s a Martian city being invaded by leaping, one-eyed, monsters. Which want to kidnap the babes. Mr. Logic can go weep in a corner by himself.
With no time to lose..
…our heroes venture forth, loading up their spaceship with guns and zooming to the dark side of Mars to confront Sarko! No mention is made of why the Martians couldn’t do this themselves. Actually, looking back on, we did not see one Martian other than Martian Babe and Theoden in the city. Not even a background shot of someone standing around looking Marsy. It’s a fracking comic book, for Ghu’s sake — you don’t have to worry about paying the extras!
So, they’re at Fortress de Sarko, where they put on black robes which will make them “invisible here on the dark side”. Except that Sarko is an Earthman, so that means his fortress must be, I don’t know, illuminated??? And even if that wasn’t the case, any locals that evolved to live on the “dark side” would be able to see in the dark! Or have radar eyes! Or something!
As a general rule, any amount of Stupid can be counterbalanced by an equal or greater amount of Awesome. This is why Galactic Dragons rule, because their Awesome Rating is 4.5 Kirbys, and their Lame Rating is only 0.9 McCrackens. (A “Kirby” is the amount of awesome contained in a single page of artwork by Jack Kirby. A “McCracken” is the amount of Stupid found in a single page of writing by Raven McCracken. This two-metric scale acknowledges that a given thing can be both awesome and stupid at the same time.)
As this stage, Flint Baker has scored about 0.26 Kirbys and 0.95 McCrackens.
In the fortress, Sarko is preparing to drain the life from from Viga (the Martian babe) to give it to Mimi (the Earth babe), so she will “be his forever”. Dude, first, the Martian babe is hotter. Second, it’s really convenient you had your cool bondage device for two built up when you only knew about Viga and had no idea Mimi was there. Who was originally supposed to go in the device? A one eyed monster?
Suddenly, Grant — the guy who claimed he was “hypnotized” — crashes through the skylight, which makes you wonder why they bothered with the “dark cloaks” if they were just going to jump in. Whoa! Sarko turns out to be the guy who hypnotized Grant into committing those crimes! What are the odds?
There’s a totally unexpected plot twist! And by “totally unexpected”, I mean, “the author pulled it out of his ass”. It’s one thing if you can look back and see some subtle clues that might have led up to this, but it’s just totally random… “Oh, here I am, on Mars, and, wow, that other Earth ship we never heard of just happens to have carried the guy who framed me for murder!” I’m really not even sure why we needed the hypnotism thing, since it could have worked just as well as a normal frame job.
Sarko kills Cliff Grant, though, and is then shot by Harry Parks. With a .38.
At this point, I am starting to wonder why this comic is called “Flint Baker”. Cliff Grant sacrificed his life trying to stop Sarko, and Harry Parks killed Sarko. Flint hasn’t really done diddly.
As they flee the fortress, which apparently had no one in it but Sarko, they get a message that the other Martians defeated the one-eyed monsters. We close with this:
This concludes our look at “Flint Baker And The One Eyed Monsters Of Mars”. No promises at this point what I’ll look at next, or if there will even be a next… but I’ve got plenty of material to draw from.