If you’ve never seen a Looney Tunes cartoon, you’re not from Earth.
Begun by Warner Brothers in 1930 to compete with Walt Disney’s Silly Symphonies, Looney Tunes (along with its sister series Merrie Melodies) introduced the world to the lunacy of Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Tweety, Sylvester, Wile E. Coyote, Road Runner, Elmer Fudd, and a host of other madcap characters. One of our favorites, though, is Marvin the Martian.
Introduced in July 1948 in the Bugs Bunny short “Haredevil Hare,” Marvin was on the Moon preparing his “Uranium PU36 Explosive Space Modulator” to blow up Earth when Bugs stumbled across the Martian and his dog, K-9, and prevented Earth’s destruction using his wisecracking, harebrained brilliance. (By the way, we know Marvin is a Martian because he’s wearing the accoutrements of Mars, the god of war and namesake of the red planet: a Roman Centurion’s helmet and skirt* and a pair of Converse/Chuck Taylor All-Stars basketball shoes.)
Over the next several decades, Marvin tried multiple times to blow up our planet – it obstructs his view of Venus! – before we even knew his name. He’d been referred to as “Commander of Flying Saucer X-2” in 1952’s The Hasty Hare, but he did not, in fact, acquire the Marvin moniker until 1979’s The Bugs Bunny/Road Runner Movie.
He’s now appeared in numerous television programs and movies (Space Jam: A New Legacy is due to be released in July 2021). His image graces everything from keychains, t-shirts, and mugs to Pez dispensers, golf club covers, and men’s briefs. An Air Jordan 7 shoe was named after him. He was on the Spirit Mars exploration rover launch patch (2003). He’s even been Funko’d.
So, the question is: how does Marvin do in the secondary/collectors’ markets? And the answer is, not bad. A perusal of online auctions shows that common items are quite affordable, but rarer pieces such as a 2001 coffee mug by XPRESS recently sold for $107.50 after 51 bids, a 1993 Wild Oats (brand) all-over-print Marvin T-shirt fetched $290 (43 bids), and a Funko Pop! Marvin the Martian Space Jam #415 specimen garnered $62 after 36 bids (while the more limited-edition versions are fetching up to $250+!).
Want to learn more about Marvin and his collectibles? Check out the resources listed below, and
*It’s not really a skirt: Roman soldiers wore strips of metal or metal-studded leather called pteryges over a linen or woolen tunic.)
How well do you know Marvin the Martian? (MeTV.com) – Take the MeTV quiz!
Looney Tunes: 10 Funniest Ways Marvin the Martian Tried to Blow Up the Earth (ScreenRant.com) – A fun read.
The Martian: Marvin the Martian (Marvin the Martian Weebly page) – Site offers biography, games, store, and more.