The Martians have invaded and no place is safe. A group of bikers are riding down the highway when the Martian ships start strafing the highway. Bud Garcia manages to survive but his buddies Lenny, Blitz and Screwy Joe aren’t so fortunate. Needing a place to hide he comes upon the Gelman Mansion. A rich millionaire named Ebenezer Gelman build a huge place with secret passages and filled it with weird antiques and other kooky stuff. Now it is a tourist attraction. Bud finds the tourists watching the attack on TV. Meanwhile the Martians come on this place and leave a squad to check it out and see if its a threat to their invasion. Now the survivors are trapped in this crazy mansion with a Martian deathsquad. Outside are giant insects that the Martians unleashed but can’t control. Both sides are trapped and must fight each other and the insects if they are to survive.
Back in 1962 the Topps Bubblegum Company released a line of trading cards. These cards combined an H.G. Wells type invasion with the true horrors of war. They were gruesome and quickly banned to protect innocent young minds. The cards became a cult collectible. In 1995 the Topps company released these cards and a comic book series. When the Tim Burton movie came out two books were released based on the comic books. This is the first.
This was a fun book. I am a fan of the comic book series and someday I will cover it on my comic blog. It is just a pure cheezy adventure filled with Martians gunning down and torturing people including young boys. The humans come in a wide variety from the hero biker Bud to the parents who seem to not be concerned that their boys were killed by the Martians. There is a phony mobster who is really an accountant but pretends to be a wiseguy to pick up girls. His showgirl date Tiffany who goes full Rambo with a captured Martian gun and gets captured and tortured. A group of college students who were on the beach and arrive at the mansion still in their swimwear. Even the Martians are treated as individuals and get own personality quirks. Indeed they are just grunts dropped off and trying to survive themselves. Add to this the giant insects like the beetles that bit a woman in two or a giant mosquito who impales a man this is just a fun B-movie ride.
I think the Gelman Mansion is based on the House on the Rock in Spring Green Wisconsin. It is a crazy place filled with old antiques and other strange exhibits. I know when I first when there and was just expecting a house on the rock but it is so much more. I recommend visiting if your in the area.