Psychedelic Adventures of A Hero Mailman in Speed Comics, at Auction

Imagine a sort of early 1970s psychedelic concert poster art style somehow transported through time to 1940.  Further imagine that this retro-futuristic style is used to illustrate the comic book adventures of an interplanetary mail carrier.  This gives you some tiny glimmer of a notion of the wonder that is Mars Mason of the Interplanetary Mail Service.  Fletcher Hanks' Stardust the Superwizard, which debuted in Fox Feature Syndicate's Fantastic Comics #1 (1939) gets deserved attention for its creative and stylistic distinctiveness among Golden Age heroes, and Mars Mason creator Munson Paddock was mainlining that same brand of unbridled creativity for his science fiction mailman the next year in Speed Comics #7-11.  Not that they are similar stylistically, but rather they are both startlingly unique among Golden Age comic book heroes.  There are three parts of this tragically short-lived saga in Speed Comics #9, #10 and #11 and a bunch of other issues of Speed Comics up for auction in the 2022 August 28-29 Sunday & Monday Comic Books Select Auction #122235 at Heritage Auctions.

Mars Mason in Speed Comics #9 (Brookwood, 1940)
Mars Mason in Speed Comics #9 (Brookwood, 1940)

Munson Paddock (1886-1970) was a longtime cartoonist and illustrator who had done a number of short-lived comic strips including Mr. Bluff (1907-08), The Wisdom of Wiseheimer (1907-09), Little Miss Thoughtful (1908), Naughty Ned (1909) and Angelic Angelina (1908-09) along with cartoons and illustrations for magazines such as Judge and Leslie's.  Paddock was capable of a slick, polished style from early in his career, and while his approach varied with the subject matter he was working on, in comic books he began to exhibit an Art Deco influence in some elements of his first feature for Speed Comics #1-7, the fireman action-drama Smoke Carter.  The Bulletman story in Master Comics #43 is another interesting example of the design-oriented style Paddock developed for his early 1940s-era comic books.  While Paddock worked on a number of comic books of the early Golden Age, such as a serial called The Blood Pearls, written by DC Comics founder Major Malcolm Wheeler-Nicholson in New Comics and New Adventure Comics 1936-1937, Paddock's work history in comics has been somewhat confused.  He was a frequent user of pen names, some of which may have also been used by other artists.

The science fiction elements of Mars Mason seem to have been perfectly suited for Paddock's stylistic choices during this era, and this short-lived feature is a unique example of Golden Age adventure comics.  There are three parts of this tragically short-lived saga in Speed Comics #9, #10 and #11 and a bunch of other issues of Speed Comics up for auction in the 2022 August 28-29 Sunday & Monday Comic Books Select Auction #122235 at Heritage Auctions.

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Mark SeifertAbout Mark Seifert

Co-founder and Creative director of Bleeding Cool parent company Avatar Press. Bleeding Cool Managing Editor, tech and data wrangler. Machine Learning hobbyist. Vintage paper addict.
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