A History of Mars: The Rum Rebellion


The universe of Pirates of Mars is a rather unusual creature. It is not exactly science fiction nor is it fantasy. The best way I could describe it is Pulp Adventure in the Future That Never Was. A future of swashbuckling and ray guns and flying ships and strange aliens.So far we’ve been looking at the planet Mars and the struggles of its peoples. This conflict has been very deliberately modeled after the American revolution but viewed through the lense of a crew of privateers who have been dragged into the conflict out of necessity.

Mars is the far reaching colony on the frontier of the relatively young Terran Empire. The movement of ships through the void is slow and costly, so Mars has enjoyed a great deal of autonomy after being settled/invaded/infested with Terrans. Then the Jovians noticed this undesirable element on its doorstep.

The Jovian/Terran war was a civilized and bloody mess. Unfortunately for the Martians, the Jovians decided that they wanted a buffer between themselves and the thoroughly unpleasant inner worlds. The colonial Martians objected. The Jovians nodded and invaded anyway. Nothing galvanizes patriotism like a foreign threat on your front lawn. The combined Imperial Marines and Colonial Militia managed to make things so miserable for the invaders that they decided it wasn’t worth the hassle and returned to Jupiter.

Now as it turns out, wars are rather expensive. It’s why only governments can afford to wage them and why everyone else thinks it’s not worth the money. So when the bill came due the Imperial bureaucracy thought it all well and good that the Martians help foot the bill for the defense of their world. The Martians, just saw yet another foreign power trying to rob them of their independence and said no. And by “said no” I mean they boozed up and rioted. By the time everyone sobered up the damage had been done and Terra sent in forces to put the Rum Rebellion down.

Which brings us to the mess we currently find ourselves in. All of which could have been avoided if accountants and cheap drink specials had not gotten involved.


A Taste Of What Is To Come

So life has happened to both JJ and Veronica and as a result the second volume of Pirates has been delayed. To make up for this some, here are some previews of issue #1. Veronica has grown as an artist in the five years (Five years?! #InternalScreaming) since Volume 1 first started. It’s been really wonderful to see her experiment and change. Enjoy!






Toshiro Mifune On Hollywood Walk Of Fame

Actor Toshiro Mifune Honored With Walk of Fame Star

Japanese actor Toshiro Mifune, who starred in Akira Kurosawa’s “Seven Samurai” and the U.S. TV adaptation of “Shogun,” will finally get to leave his mark on the Hollywood Walk of Fame more than 17 years after his death.

Known for his intense screen presence and portrayal of gruff characters with a tough but selfless demeanor, Mr. Mifune had fans around the world. Among them was Star Wars creator George Lucas, who reportedly offered him the roles of Obi-Wan Kenobi and Darth Vader when casting the first film in the series.

Here at Mars HQ, we are huge fans of Mifune. It is no small accident that the character of Akagi bears a strong resemblance to him. The amount of intensity he was able to convey in a scene without uttering a word was incredible. If you’re not familiar with his work do yourself a favor and go watch Yojimbo.

Pirates on The Comixologist

The fine people of The Comixologist podcast talk about Pirates of Mars on this week’s episode. Give them a listen! They have a surprise at the end that some of you or your friends might be able to take advantage of.

Welcome to the Future

Greeting Martians!
We’re breaking radio silence to relaunch this site. Pirates of Mars has gone through some big changes this year. We’ve transitioned from being a webcomic into a monthly comic book series available on comiXology.com. This is a pretty big deal for us but it means that Veronica and I can deliver new stories on a regular schedule. We’re pretty excited about it. The first three issue arc of PIRATES OF MARS: LOVE & REVENGE is available for sale now.

vol1-1-cover vol1-2-cover vol1-3-cover

So what’s the future hold? Coming in June is the collection of volume 1 but in July is a bonus issue called PIRATES OF MARS: EXTRA LOOT. It’s a lot of behind the scenes content from Veronica and I but it includes a BRAND NEW 8 page story. This is a teaser because in August we have issue #1 (of 5) of PIRATES OF MARS: GODS & MONSTERS. This is the new story arc which picks up where LOVE & REVENGE left off.

So what should you expect to see on this site? In addition to sneak peaks of upcoming issues, we’ll be going into a lot more background of the universe of Pirates of Mars and a bit of how the comic gets made. I spend far too much time world building in my head so this way I can call it “making content” instead of “daydreaming while in line at the DMV”.

So suit up and tool up, Martians! It’s pirating for fun and profit time.

Where we are going

Some of you are probably wondering what is going on with Pirates of Mars. We’ve been running silent for a couple of weeks now and I just want to give everyone an update on what is going on. The first volume of Pirates of Mars: Love & Revenge is done. We are in the process of producing 2 more volumes, the next of which will be Pirates of Mars: Fear of a Red Planet.

With Fear of a Red Planet, we’re changing our process some here at Mars HQ. Instead of producing all 96 pages before we let any of it out the door, we’ll be doing them in 24 page “issues”. What does this mean for you? It means you you will be getting new Pirates of Mars sooner and IN FULL COLOR.

This does not mean that there will be nothing to see here in the meantime. Far from it. Pirates of Mars has gone through several iterations before becoming what it is now. Veronica and I had our first collaboration making a mini comic. So for the new few weeks, we’ll be bringing you a non-continuity story about a far more steampunk version of our intrepid heroes.

John Carter of Mars

I can’t begin to tell y’all how much I am looking forward to this. Please please PLEASE do it justice.

Pirates of Mars Now Available In Print

Buy it at lulu.com

Pirates of Mars: Volume 1 is now available for purchase at Lulu.com. It’s the full 96 page story available now ahead of what we publish on bi-weekly on the website. You should go purchase it. It will make our mothers happy and validate the life-choices we have made in the name of action, adventure, and jaunty eye patches.

Proper Station and Etiquette Under the Jolly Rogers

Life on a pirate vessel is not the cavalier fantasy portrayed in film and marketing pamphlets. It is a structured society like any other, and as such brings along its own socio-political baggage. Navigating this quasi-democratic autocracy requires grace and some form of deployable ordinance. To that effect, here are the hazards you should be aware of.

The Captain
This position is a bit of a mixed blessing. The pay is marginally better than that of the crew but like most professions, it’s all about the benefits:

* Private cabin
* Private dining
* Self-set agenda
* First rights to booty
* Absolute autonomy (1)

Sound great? It is, but it comes with one very important caveat.

Everything is your fault

“That harmless freighter turned out to be not-so-harmless. Nobody is perfect, right?”

Your fault

“How was I to know that ship was only carrying a shipment of Hug-A-Bunch dolls?”

Still your fault

Remember those 30-something individuals you don’t have to sleep near anymore? It turns out being stuck in a cramped and dingy bunk fosters a certain intolerance for poor execution. So much so that they will conspire to demonstrate what good execution is. First they will execute a mutiny and then they will execute the Captain. This is one of the checks and balances of the pirating life.

So if you’re the Captain with a sword of Damocles hanging over your head, it is in your enlightened self-interest to foster an atmosphere were people do not want to mutiny and kill you. To do this, they have three tools at their disposable. The first (and hardest) is success. Say what you will about your bastard of a Captain, you find it really hard to find fault with them when they’re keeping you in a steady supply of loot.

Sometimes a pirate airship will hit a dry spell, and that fountain of pillage will not be available to bath in. Now the captain has to employ the other two tools. The first is to keep everyone busy. They will yell at you to swab/paint/etc all of your waking hours; anything to keep you focused on something other than mutiny. On a pirate vessel, idle hands go for a gun. If they do go for it, the last tool is the only thing between you and thirty thousand feet of free-fall. Fear. Being scary will act as a deterrent against motive, means, and opportunity. Everyone will think twice about rising up against Captain McStabby after they’ve just made an example of the bloodslick on the deck that, up until two seconds ago, you called Bob (2).

The Quartermaster
While the Captain is the face of the ship, the Quartermaster is its very stingy wallet. And like most wallets, given enough time it will develop holes through which your rightfully stolen money will vanish. Charged with overseeing the ship’s tally of provisions and wealth, the quartermaster of a pirate airship has elevated creative book keeping to a level that would shame the most soulless of film studio accounting departments.

Even above the Captain, the Quartermaster is the one person that a pirate should make a point never to cross. Don’t believe us? Well ponder that fact after you’ve recently implied that your ship’s Quartermaster’s parents were unwed at the time of their birth. We are willing to bet large sums of money (3) that you will find every bit of food, booze, and looted pluder to be considerably more modest when it comes time to divvy shares.

And what does the Quartermaster get in return for the word they do? If they’re honest, nothing.

The Engineer
Nobody appreciates the chief engineer. It is the most thankless job on the entire ship, and those who take up the wrench to perform this duty do so out of a love of problem solving and spitting in Fate’s eye. It is a full time job to ensure that several tons of steel defy the Natural Order of Things and suspend itself 30,000 feet in the air like no several tons of steel was intended to. And what, you might ask, is the reward for such a miracle of modern pseudo-science? Neglect.

Nobody notices the Engineer until something bad happens. If they’re doing their job, everything runs smoothly, and life is all sunshine and rainbows. But even the best of Engineers can’t keep everything perfect, and when that moment happens, they suddenly get noticed. That notice usually comes in the form of rotten fruit, threats, and a detailed list of any character flaws they might have.

These heroes of the sky must suffer the slings and arrows of the ignorant slobs that live under the roof they provide. I mean really, would it kill one of you to stop and say hello in the corridor once in a while? I see you make eye contact and then quickly avert your gaze to inspect some particularly uninteresting bit of paint. It hurts. Especially the the comments about how we smell as you walk away. Is it my fault that I’ve been stuck in an engine room without the benefit of central air or a hot bath. It’s been two weeks since we’ve seen the sun. Two weeks. (4)

(1) But not really. See mutiny.

(2) Captain Murderington McStabby had a long and successful career as a corsair. Known for being particularly ruthless with his crew, he would often unintentionally bomb the countryside with the bodies of pirates who failed to meet expectations. Thus terrorizing not only the crew but the greater populace at large.

(3) For very large values of zero.

(4) Mr. Wunk, classically trained in the engineering vocation, was very hurt by his treatment by Mr. Fagnalls while the two were crew on the pirate ship Malice Aforethought. Despite getting top billing once the two began a writing career, Wunk always harbored a certain resentment towards his partner. Fagnalls thought Wunk should quit being such a baby.