Birth of a Hero

The complete history of the rise of the space-faring hero figure, echoing across a hundred years. Learn what an Italian astronomer and a rich, eccentric American would-be scientist from the turn of the previous century have to do with the cradle of fantasy and space opera. Are there really channels on Mars? How many times can Earth officers go to Mars before the public begins to take notice?

What does any of this have to do with Star Wars?

Channeling Mars

The story of an Italian astronomer and an American would-be scientist who gave birth to one of the great foundational science fiction tropes: Life on Mars.

Across the Zodiac

Mars captured the imagination of a world which was in the throes of massive sociopolitical changes and coming to terms with equally massive technological progress. From it  sprang the grand space adventure genre, sword and sandal.

Lieutenant Gullivar Jones: His Vacation

Swept by magic carpet to the glorious planet of Mars, no sooner has Lt. Gullivar Jones fallen for the beautiful Princess Heru of the Hither people before she is kidnapped by the hideous Tither people. Gullivar pursues in bumbling fashion, in an adventure across the jungles and rivers of Mars. John Carter takes notes.

John Carter of Mars

Edgar Rice Burroughs might have stood on the shoulders of earlier 'officer adventures on Mars' tales, but his distinct style and sense of storytelling has cemented his place in the history of adventure stories. Here we meet John Carter and his martian bride to be, Dejah Thoris, and their planet-spanning escapades.

Buck Rogers

Though not providing much in terms of direct influence on Star Wars, Buck Rogers is nonetheless vital to the evolution of science fiction as we know it, not to mention comic books.

Flash Gordon

Fair-haired, square jawed and irresistible to women, Flash Gordon is the great American hero personified. Alex Raymond managed to upstage Buck Rogers in the comic strips with his sense of adventure, and ever-changing perils.