MARS Patrol

MARS Patrol on Ebay
MARS Patrol M.A.R.S. Patrol Total War was a short-lived comic book series published by Gold Key Comics for 10 issues from July, 1965 to August of 1969. The first two issues were titled Total War. The artist on the first 3 issues was Wally Wood, who probably had a hand in creating the series.

The comic was a bizarre war comic. It told of the invasion of all nations by an unknown power. Dressed in purple uniforms with a crab insignia, they invade from the sea with weapons similar to what is currently in use. The invaders make no demands, but kill anyone (military or civilian) in their path. They are all male, bald with no eyebrows. While this is never clearly stated, the impression is they may be invaders from space. Opposing them is the M.A.R.S. (Marine Attack Rescue Squad) Patrol. The MARS Patrol combat teams are a combination of commandos, paratroops, and guerrillas.

The main focus is on one team composed of Lt. Cy Adams, leader and combat pilot; Corporal Russ Stacey, weapons expert and commando; Sgt. Joe Stryker, demolitions expert and paratrooper; and Sgt Ken Hiro, frogman and skilled martial artist. The team is also ethnically diverse, with Stryker an African-American and Hiro a Japanese-American.

A wide range of current (and possible near future) military equipment was used. There was the OV-10 Bronco and the F-104 Starfighter used. There was experimental vehicles like the Piasecki Flying Jeep and one-man gyrocopters. And more outlandish inventions such as laser tanks, unpiloted recon drones, and VERTOL jets. Surprisingly the infantry weapons seemed a little outdated: Thompson sub-machine guns, BARS, water-jacketed Browning machine guns, and the old M-9 Bazooka. This was later fixed in the series by introducing the 'new' M-14 and M79 grenade launcher.

It's unclear how much involvement Wally Wood had with the creation of the comic. As he followed this title with his work on THUNDER Agents, which had many of the same themes (mysterious invader threatening the earth, an acronym team of experts opposing them, etc), he had to have some involvement.