Category Archives: postcards

scotty karate postcard

scotty karate postcard_0001

scotty karate postcard_0002

We love getting weird stuff in the mail. Who doesn’t? No, not creepy weird. More like “strange and mysterious and fun” weird. This mysterious postcard arrived in the martian mailbox signed only by “The DJ Who Shall Not Be Named”. That just brings a smile to our little late-night-blogging-obsessed faces. It features Scotty Karate, and you can witness him performing in this same outfit and colorful stage set-up in the video below.

Video notes: Scotty Karate plays Dig A Hole at Smalls. February 13, 2011. Part of the Henriettahaus Coffee Roasters Acoustic series.

Tiki Lives!

tiki on the road

In the misty dawn of the 21st century, a young human purchased an incredible vessel. Carved from glass in the likeness of the great Tiki gods, this sacred vessel cost merely twenty-five cents. First it served as a planter for small cuttings of succulent plants. Tiki served in this capacity on his second but not final cross-country journey.

tiki lives

Of his many travels and ill-advised drinking adventures, Tiki remains silent. He offers no more explanation than a frightful but strangely ecstatic smile. These days, Tiki’s brains are full of Sharpie markers and paint pens.

Please Select Your Offering of Praise to the Great Tiki:


More missives manifested in the Martian mailbox this month. We will let you guess which one came from mom… and which one did not!

more postcards_0001

more postcards_0002

postcards 13

We may have ‘maintained radio silence’ in the month of April, but that doesn’t mean our readers’ postcards and messages went unappreciated. So, let’s kick off May with a few highlights from the Martian Mailbox.

The fifth most influential man on Pinterest certainly has our number, as evidenced by this wonderful Jack Kirby postcard from the Jack Kirby Museum.

postcard jack kirby museum

Up next, a postcard made out of wood. Yes, we know paper comes from wood, but this isn’t paper. It’s a slab of wood with a squirrel on it! Now that’s how to do wildlife art.

postcard squirrel

Last but not least, we present a card from Mom, who recently picked up photography as a hobby and is learning all about digital cameras. This bird is a Cedar Waxwing, for those of you who haven’t seen one before.

postcard cedar waxwing

inktense + sharpie postcards based on comic book panels

inktense cards - blast off

Those clouds were really fun to draw and we might have gone way overboard on them once we got the hang of it. The lines are definitely influenced by cloud and smoke rendering techniques we have been analyzing from Michael Zulli, Alex Nino, Kieth Giffen, and others.

The color is Inktense. Derwent’s Inktense inks give you vibrant colors in a block form that you combine with water and brush. They work a lot like watercolor paints but as an ink. We have zero background in watercolor or ink brush technique, but they seemed potentially fun to play with.

For these postcards, we applied the inktense colors first, sometimes after a light pencil sketch for layout and design. Then, over the areas of color, we rendered the subjects with Sharpie markers.

Atomic_War_no.4_1953 rocket ship

Since the internet loves to hate Roy Lichtenstein for “stealing” old comic book panels, we will try to include some references here. Yes we are copying comic book panels! It’s fun, and we learn a lot about rendering technique from studying comics. When you want to be good, study the masters!

The rocket above is a study of a panel from 1953, a comic book called Atomic War, issue #4. Look, Roy, we even sourced the original panel :) By the way, Atomic War is so old that it’s now public domain. We got ours at the Digital Comic Museum. So, feel free to reprint it and make posters of it or whatever. You can even buy Atomic War comics t-shirts now.

Next up: Psycho Bear!

inktense cards - psycho bear

Psycho Bear comes from an issue of Weirdo published by Last Gasp. We sold the issue, but have a picture of the page, credited to R. Hayes:

Weirdo Magazine Collection (14)

We started our set with this hand in the eye, based on a sculpture at the Atlanta airport.

inktense cards - hand with eye

Next up, a smoldering planet.

inktense cards - smoldering planet

Source? DC’s planet of Apokalips as rendered by John Byrne and Karl Kesel in the first issue of Legends in the 1980s. The earthy orange tones and sharpie fine point marker made us feel like we were inking Larry Stroman’s work on Alien Legion. That guy can sure draw a space-scape! This felt good, as our first four painted studies of Byrne’s Apokalips ended in utter failure. This one felt like a step forward in rendering technique.

Alright, Roy, here’s the original.

legends 1 -001

inktense cards - thoom 1

THOOM! So much fun we did it twice. It comes from a John Buscema panel in Mighty Thor #200. Buscema, one of our favorite artists, a kind of Jack-Kirby-meets-Frank-Frazetta, created our favorite art textbook: How to Draw Comics the Marvel Way.

inktense cards - thoom 2


mighty thor 200 -017

Anyway, these are all stamped and ready to be launched into orbit from Martian Headquarters. Here are some more photos we took because we’re obsessed with the iPhone 5 camera after living without a decent camera for like 39 years. Look how nice they are in the window!

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quarterly report from the martian underground

ellie and mars dec 2013

Even after 12 quarters, we still receive inquiries into the nature of the cryptic phrase ‘mars will send no more.’ A page dedicated to our secret origin illuminates all.

But in another sense, Mars is our virtual garden. Or maybe a plant in our garden, grown from a digital seed. We tend it, trim it, prune it, feed it, groom it, give it love, and even worry that someday Mike Baron is going to show up and make us take down the whole thing, since he invented the phrase. It’s scary, sometimes: having a little digital pet that someone could just turn off at any time.

Blogging is like writing a book you can never touch. Paper burns, but what do pixels do? Where is the page when you turn off your machine? When we were kids, we read books about magic. When we became adults, we lived in an electric world made of it.

And you know what? We love it. Why do 7000 people drop by every month to look at 7 or 8 pages in the Martian Archives? We don’t know. We do get a kick out of being referred to by such notable sources as The Atlantic, who referenced our scans of America’s most famous comic book: The safety instructions found on every airplane! Interestingly, they don’t reference the exact post. Instead, they use a URL for our tag archives for the word airplane:

What if we posted something new tagged with airplane? It wouldn’t matter what the post was really about, as long as it had a tag for airplane. We could post propaganda for the Martian Underground Resistance, in hopes that the Atlantic’s readers will someday join the revolution. Or, we could just leave them a greeting card with a cute cat and a cozy scarf on it.



Museum Heart by Alberto Rios

The poem Museum Heart by Alberto Rios appears on a beautiful installation in the entrance to the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art.

An award-winning author and a faculty member at Arizona State University, Rios became the state of Arizon’a first Poet Laureate in the summer of 2013.

Museum Heart by Alberto Rios (2)

Museum Heart by Alberto Rios (4)


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