The Sad, Sad Song of Widow Johnson, Part One


The Sad, Sad Song of Widow Johnson, Part One is a comic book episode of Sparks Nevada, Marshal on Mars.


Purchase at Simon and Schuster.



As the episode opens, Sparks Nevada confronts a gang of Lizard Men, and a showdown is about to begin when the holoprojection is interrupted by Stacy Kerns-Nevada, Sparks' mother. A young Sparks Nevada and Stacy then walk the grounds of the USSA Academy, where they encounter Sparks' father, Captain Caiaphas Nevada. Caiaphas admonishes Sparks for wasting time and reminds him that he's on track to become a captain of a USSA starcraft.

Cutting to the present, Sparks Nevada is escorting a space coach across Mars, along with his trusty horse, Mercury and several Deputybots. He assures Felton, Mr. Johnson and Wendy Johnson inside the coach that all is well despite Felton's usual rambling worry. They stop for a rest at an oasis, where Sparks momentarily remembers visiting with The Red Plains Rider and allows the Johnsons to pet Mercury. He also notices a butterfly flitting about nearby before the space coach resumes its trek.

The coach is soon stopped by an approaching group of martians. Barlok the Wise informs Sparks that he is in great danger, and implores him to accept the help of Croach the Tracker again, as the tribe is still under great onus to Sparks for saving them during the events of Flood at First Sight. Before Sparks can reject the offer, all of the martians except Croach leave.

Sparks tells Croach that he does not want or need his help, but Croach insists on staying, saying that the danger is great. Sparks says he's aware of the danger, and it involves a butterfly, which confuses Croach.

The butterfly in question is still watching the space coach, and soon returns to the rest of its gang. He is the Butterfly Kid, and his gang, along with Ornery Lou, are planning on robbing the space coach.

As the robot gang approaches, they shoot and kill several of Sparks Nevada's deputybots, while Sparks and Croach fire back, despite Sparks' continued insistence that he does not want nor need Croach's help. Sparks moves to hide the space coach while the Butterfly Kid's gang regroups and heads out to follow the coach. As they move, they hear a loud thrumming behind them.

Sparks and Croach continue to argue, with Sparks insisting Croach leave and Croach insisting he stays to fulfill his onus. Felton, Mr. Johnson and Wendy Johnson request that Sparks allow Croach to stay, and Felton wonders if Sparks' relationship with his father is a reason why Sparks is so dead-set against Croach helping. Sparks says that the job doesn't take volunteers, and finds a canyon in which to leave the space coach along with the remaining deputybots.

Before Sparks can leave to find the gang of robot outlaws, the biker gang who overtook the robots finds the space coach, and threatens not only the space coach's belongings, but the lives of everyone present. Croach informs Sparks that these are the enemies from his warning, which he was never able to deliver. Croach throws himself against Sparks to keep Sparks from being killed by an explosion. As the rest of the gang arrives, Croach happily informs Sparks that he finally pronounced his name correctly.


  • This is a double issue of the print comic. Flood at First Sight is also printed in the second half of this book. This was the first time that episode had been widely available in print.
  • This issue had three covers, depicted above. The art with only Sparks, and the Marc Evan Jackson / Mark Gagliardi photo covers were limited release, while the cover with Sparks and Croach was the general release cover.
  • Just as the podcast, the comic opens with the "Kids, shine your astro spurs and don your robot fists!" speech, and ends with a "Is this the end of Sparks Nevada?" stinger, containing the use of alliteration.
  • Flood at First Sight and all four parts of The Sad, Sad Song of the Widow Johnson were later collected and published together in the paperback Martian Manhunt, available at the purchase link above.



  • Writers: Ben Acker and Ben Blacker
  • Illustrations & Cover: J. Bone
  • Color Art: Omi Remalante
  • Letter Art: Marshall Dillon
  • Variant Cover Art: Jamie McKelvie
  • Variant Cover Photo: Roman Cho
  • Sparks Nevada: Marshal on Mars Logo: Chris Eliopoulos
  • Packaging & Editing: Nate Cosby
  • Book Design: Nate Cosby & Vincent Kukua
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