I was on board with First Comics from the get-go, buying everything they published in their first year and most of their output after. What a fantastic line-up of brilliant creator-owned series: Nexus, American Flagg, Jon Sable, Starslayer, E-Man, Badger and my personal favorite
#9. Mars #1-12
The six-man crew of a terraforming mission to Mars are stranded after Earth is apparently destroyed in a nuclear war. Their only chance of survival is to spend 10,000 years in suspended animation and hope that Mars will be habitable by then. Sounds like a pretty standard, even cliched, science fiction premise, right? Trust me: what they (and we) find on awakening is anything but old school.
Co-creators Mark Wheatley and Marc Hempel propel their cast of quirky characters through a surreal saga in which dreams, illusions, hallucinations, computer simulations and reality intertwine, with deceptively "cartoony" art that serves and complements its narrative far more effectively than the classic illustrative approach seen in most science fiction comics would. Planned from its inception as a limited series, Mars has the always welcome virtue of having a beginning, middle and honest-to-Ares ending, an ending that satisfies intellectually, emotionally and aesthetically.
With its charming (and occasionally disturbing) blend of sci-fi, horror, fantasy, offbeat humor and Swiftian satire, Mars defies easy categorization... and easy description. It can't really be appreciated secondhand so I urge all of you to experience it for yourself
I summon the red planet!