Beyond Mars was a science fiction comic strip written by Jack Williamson and drawn by Lee Elias. The Sunday strip ran in New York's Daily News from February 17, 1952 to May 13, 1955, initially as a full tabloid page and, near the end, as a half tab. It is set in the same universe as the Williamson novels Seetee Ship and Seetee Shock.
The creation of Beyond Mars happened in an unusual way—because of a bad review. The New York Times reviewed a Williamson novel, stating that his writing "ranks only slightly above that of comic strip adventures." The review was read by Daily News editor Ana Barker who immediately contacted Williamson, hired him to script a similar comic strip and teamed him with illustrator Elias.
Characters and story
The storyline was loosely based on Seetee Ship. Headquartered on Brooklyn Rock, in the new frontier of the asteroid belt during the year 2191, freelance pilot Mike Flint steered his antimatter-powered craft across the universe by counteracting the pull of gravity on other solar systems. Although Flint held a license as a spacial engineer, he became more of an outer space policeman, often getting an assist from several alien sidekicks.
Comics historian Dave Karlen reviewed:
- In 1952 the New York News wanted to celebrate their success from a steady increase in newspaper circulation and decided an exclusive feature created for their publication would be just the ticket... It is said Chester Gould suggested many of the story lines and helped Williamson from time to time on a proper way to present a comic strip plot. This colorful space-opera drama with a stellar Dick Tracy feel was beautifully rendered in the "Noel Sickles School" by Elias with its amazingly detailed exotic locals, amusing alien creatures, beautiful women and lots of two-fisted action. But as with many strips over time, the New York News believed their creation did not live up to its expectations and cut the size to a half-page in late 1954, which probably contributed to its untimely demise on March 13, 1955 as the creative team wrapped up some final loose ends in the last Sunday.
In 1987, the entire strip was reprinted in two Blackthorne trade paperbacks. Blackthorne also reprinted it as series of comic books. In November 2015, IDW Publishing will be reprinting the entire strip in an oversized hardback book.
- "My Greatest Adventure: Beyond Mars," June 1, 2009.
- Beyond Mars at Don Markstein's Toonopedia. Archived from the original on August 27, 2015.
- Daily News Sunday comics section (1952–55)
- John Clute and Peter Nicholls, editor, The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction (Jack Williamson entry), St. Martin's Press, 1993. ISBN 0-312-09618-6
- Jack Williamson and Lee Elias, Shel Dorf (editor), Beyond Mars (two volumes), Blackthorne, 1987. ISBN 0-932629-84-9