the three cents.
This giant-sized volume presents four crazy stories of previous visitations from the attacking Martians to Earth prior to their first big attempt at full-on assault. Coincidentally, the themes match up with assorted holiday celebrations, as the Martians vainly try to understand their targets to be.
Halloween, written, drawn and lettered by Fred Hembeck with colours from Phil Elliott, is a righteous bombardment of puns and clever wordplay, as a trio of the aliens hit 1950s Americana, disrupting the plans of a pair of young brothers. Hembeck is a national treasure, simply put, and Elliott brings even more life to the zaniness of the plot.
Veterans Day, written and laid out by Bill Morrison with finished art by Tone Rodriguez, letters by Chris Mowry and colours by Ronda Pattison, is a flashback tale of the first Veterans Day celebration, and the veterans who protected the world in the days leading up to the parade. A slightly more somber story, and well in keeping with the “strange combat tales” of yesteryear. The art is more realistic than the other stories, with Pattison especially showing a more organic style that wraps things up nicely.
Thanksgiving, written by Ian Boothby and illustrated by Alan Robinson with letters by Chris Mowry and colours by Kote Carvajal, is inspired craze in action. Several celebrities are lampooned as are many more icons of pop culture, as the Martians attempt an early attack during a live Thanksgiving day parade. Boothby may well have outclassed regular Mars Attacks scribe John Layman on this. Really fun pictures too, of course.
Christmas, written and illustrated by the always rock solid Dean Haspiel with letters from Chris Mowry and colours by Allen Passlaaqua is maybe the most realistic work from Haspiel I’ve yet seen, as a group of Brooklyn locals find historical reference amidst the now ongoing war. Not as absurd as the other samplings, but surprisingly emotive in its message. We see a truly different side to the Martians, for sure, in what is certainly the best tale to close the book. Actually, I foresee a nomination for this one at next year’s Eisners or Harveys.
I was surprised by how expansive, how much genuine fun this comic book really is. It’s a great collection by some of the verifiably greatest comic bookers today, that captures the spirit of the assorted holidays effectively. And thew covers are all cheesy gold too, but my personal favorite is Giarruso’s effort from the NYCC, which nailed the left out Groundhogs day. A self-contained explosion of sci-fi comedic funnies, this book’s a good one.