With an eye on the Mars Attacks Kickstarter I have been doing some "historical" background research! And to think some historical wargamers mock us... :-)
As you are probably aware Mars Attacks was originally a series of 55 bubblegum trading cards produced by Topps in 1962 which has entered SF pop culture for their gruesome content and rarity. As the primary source material they are unfortunately extremely rare, however they have been reprinted in a superb 50th anniversary Mars Attacks book containing four unreleased cards and a host of other concept, book and comic cover artwork.
1996 Tim Burton film which captured the wackiness of the background perfectly, even if the Martians were too small compared to the cards. That apart it is a must see if you want to get into game, it captures the whole vibe perfectly.
In the nineties Topps released a Mars Attacks comic series that can now be found collected in three TPD volumes as Mars Attacks Classics. I must confess I'm not overly keen on this series, but the artwork is pretty good and it does expand the background.
Bringing us up to date is the recent IDW Comics series, which it appears Mantic are basing their Kickstarter on. This brings the series up to date and is set fifty years after the initial encounter with the Martians. Two volumes have been released in a collected format so far Mars Attacks: Attack from Space and Mars Attacks: On Ice.
If you are pledging in the Kickstarter you need these as many of the characters are based on ones from these books.
Finally there are a number of crossover comic books, the Martians having encountered Zombies v Robots, Ghostbusters, Transformers and even Popeye! Most recently is one that really appealed to me - Mars Attacks Judge Dredd! A collected edition will be released in February but I couldn't wait and picked up the first of the series today - great fun!