Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Martian Sightings for December, 2014

Howdy folks! Diabolu Frank (actually) here, following a few weeks away on a sometimes rocky trip (picked up a nasty infection early in, and came home to sweep up broken glass while cleaning up a robbery scene.) I've been going through the comments left in my absence, want to thank all those who chimed in, and direct folks to my replies on...


Martian Manhunter
JUSTICE LEAGUE UNITED #7
Written by JEFF LEMIRE
Art by NEIL EDWARDS and JAY LEISTEN
Cover by ANDREW ROBINSON
Variant cover by DARWYN COOKE
1:25 Variant cover by ROD REIS
On sale DECEMBER 10 • 32 pg, FC, $3.99 US • Combo pack edition: $4.99 US • RATED T
Retailers: This issue will ship with four covers. This issue is also offered as a combo pack edition with a redemption code for a digital download of this issue. Please see the order form for details.

The Infinitus Saga continues as the JLU battles the Legion of Super-Heroes over the fate of the innocent alien who may grow up to destroy the 31st century!
Dadgummit! A second straight Andrew Robinson cover without J'Onn J'Onzz, or even the JLU this time. Well that's okay, since Darwyn Cooke was not only incline to feature the Manhunter from Mars on a second cover this month, but to give us his swank take on the New 52 version!

JUSTICE LEAGUE #37
Written by GEOFF JOHNS
Art by JASON FABOK
Cover by JIM LEE and SCOTT WILLIAMS
Variant cover by DARWYN COOKE
1:25 Variant cover by MICHAEL CHOI
On sale DECEMBER 17 • 32 pg, FC, $3.99 US • Combo pack edition: $4.99 US • RATED T
Retailers: This issue will ship with four covers. This issue is also offered as a combo pack edition with a redemption code for a digital download of this issue. Please see the order form for details.

Super heroes are no more! What it means to be human is in question! The world is on the brink of a new stage of evolution – or total extinction! – and it’s up to the Justice League to save it! “THE AMAZO VIRUS” continues to devastate the Western World as Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman and Lex Luthor struggle to not only contain the virus, but cure those affected by it. But as they work against the clock, a legion of assassins is out for Lex Luthor’s head. Will the Justice League protect Luthor...or the world? This issue is also offered as a combo pack edition with a redemption code for a digital download of this issue.
Sometimes, I don't quite know what to make of Darwyn Cooke, but then he'll do a variant cover so good I list an issue here that I'm fairly certain will not feature J'onn J'onn, because it's so darn good. While Cooke includes later Leaguers in Silver Age attire Black Canary and Green Arrow, the very prominent appearance of the Alien Atlas as the only full figure and flying character fairly screams "still a founder of the Magnificent Seven." At the same time, Cooke acknowledges the New 52 status quo by offering Cyborg as one of the most visible heroes on the cover, and manages to give him a more classic, iconic look. The guy's aces!

DC: THE NEW FRONTIER DELUXE EDITION HC
Written by DARWYN COOKE
Art by DARWYN COOKE, J. BONE, DAVE BULLOCK and others
Cover by DARWYN COOKE
On sale FEBRUARY 11 • 480 pg, 7.0625” x 10.875” FC, $49.99 US

Darwyn Cooke’s acclaimed take on the Silver Age heroes of DC Comics is back in a new hardcover collecting the 6-issue miniseries plus, for the first time, JUSTICE LEAGUE: THE NEW FRONTIER SPECIAL #1! When Cold War paranoia outlawed the heroes of the Golden Age, stalwarts such as Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman continued to fight for truth and justice. But as the world hurtled toward an uncertain future, a new breed of hero would define the American Way!
I read an oversized hardcover library copy of the main mini-series, and bashed up my New Frontier Special. Probably ought to invest in this version, eh?
SHOWCASE PRESENTS: BLUE BEETLE TP
Written by LEN WEIN and JOEY CAVALIERI
Art by PARIS CULLINS, BRUCE PATTERSON, CHUCK PATTON, ROSS ANDRU, GIL KANE and others
Cover by PARIS CULLINS and BRUCE PATTERSON
On sale JANUARY 28 • 584 pg, B&W, $19.99 US

This value-priced title collects the entire 24-issue run of BLUE BEETLE from the 1980s, including the Beetle’s battles against DC Universe villains Chronos and Dr. Alchemy. Includes appearances by The Question and the Teen Titans in stories from BLUE BEETLE #1-24.
You know, I'm just not that into Blue Beetle, but I know a lot of folks who are and will be happy to have this collection. I'm just glad DC still produces the cheap black & white Showcase Presents. Marvel seems to have abandoned their Essential editions for full color "Epic Collections" that cost at least twice as much for fewer pages and stick to more mainstream tastes. I've yet to buy an "Epic," no Essential in a year, but I just got the Showcase Presents for Men of War and Super Friends a few months ago (about the only money of mine DC can still rely upon.) Anyway, Martian Manhunter appears here in three consecutive issues, mostly related to Millennium tie-ins.
JLA VOL. 6 TP
Written by JOE KELLY
Art by DOUG MAHNKE, TOM NGUYEN, YVEL GUICHET, LEWIS LaROSA and others
Cover by DOUG MAHNKE and TOM NGUYEN
On sale JANUARY 21 • 432 pg, FC, $24.99 US

With Wonder Woman’s Lasso of Truth severed, the very concept of truth has been fractured – and the Justice League must contend with a world redefined by the dreams and fears of the human race. Then, the JLA battles for control of Atlantis with the help of some mages...and when only Batman remains, the Dark Knight assembles an unexpected new Justice League! Don’t miss this title collecting JLA #61-76.
It seems like you cannot overvalue the JLA brand. DC is still drawing ducats a decade and change removed from the dull, distancing Kelly/Mahnke run by repackaging the issues as part of a more comprehensive collection under that seemingly evergreen banner. Are any of the trades from the Meltzer/McDuffie/Robinson JLofA volume still in print? This edition covers the launch of this creative team's run with the so-so "Golden Perfect" and the interminable "Obsidian Age," plus peripheral tales.

Miss Martian
TEEN TITANS GO! #7
Written by SHOLLY FISCH and MERRILL HAGAN
Art by BEN BATES and JORGE CORONA
Cover by DAN HIPP
On sale DECEMBER 17 • 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US • RATED E

When Starfire develops a massive crush on the latest teen pop sensation, Robin will stop at nothing to recapture her attention – even if he must become a teen idol himself! Plus: Cyborg gets an awesome new jacket! Boo-yah!

Monday, September 15, 2014

Killer Fisk



Alter Ego: Monte Fisk
Occupation: Criminal
Group Affiliation: Boss of a pair of unnamed murderous goons
Base of Operations: Middletown, U.S.A.
First Appearance: Detective Comics #227 (January, 1956)
Eyes: Dark
Hair: Black

History:
Lieutenant Saunders and the Office of the Chief of Detectives were stymied by the dangerous criminal Monte Fisk, believed beyond any reasonable doubt to be responsible for a dozen murders, but too cunning for it to be proven in a court of law. "He covers his tracks like a fox!" On June 4th at noon, Killer Fisk had an alibi of being asleep during a shooting that Middletown Police couldn't crack, but was swiftly revealed to Detective John Jones. Secretly an extra-terrestrial, Jones used a technique unknown on Earth of retracing "thought processes" to draw out Fisk's criminal memory, but still lacked for evidence. Jones confronted Fisk with the knowledge that he'd used a clock's chime to cover his gunshot, which rattled the hoodlum enough to decide Jones needed to perish in an engineered accident.

Killer Fisk dispatched a pair of goons to run down Jones with their car, but the Martian Detective turned immaterial before impact. They next tossed Jones over the railing at High Gate Bridge to no greater effect. The hoods were spooked, but Killer Fisk presumed Jones was just too clever for them, and set about erasing the detective himself. Fisk dropped a safe on Jones, but when no body was found underneath, Killer decided Jones was too much for even him to tangle with. Planning to flee town, Fisk was visited by a spectral Jones who passed through a wall and soon hung from the hood of his speeding car. Killer Fisk was so disquieted that even after shaking the "ghost" of Jones loose, he decided to turn himself in to police.

Quote: "Say listen, Mr. Cop... I've got rights as a citizen! Either prove I killed somebody and arrest me or... beat it!"

Created by Joe Samachson and Joe Certa

Sunday, September 14, 2014

2012 “.:Justice League:.” fan art by Sanny Vajra

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"Everthing is okay! I have just watched the two seasons of Justice League and feeling superpower inspired!

I'm amazed with myself, for once, I managed to draw The Martian Manhunter...I thought I would have a real struggle with that dude!

...but NO!"
This an entertainingly unique interpretation of the JLA. It's like the Precious Moments Liefeld collection.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Trigger Tom Taylor



Trigger Tom Taylor was the first apprehension of a named criminal suspect by Middletown Police Detective John Jones in the "Manhunter from Mars" comic strip. He was preceded by a gang of three unnamed hoods in the panels immediately before those that made up Taylor's first and only appearance in Detective Comics #226 (December, 1955). Taylor was shown firing a revolver down a rooftop staircase at Jones, who was pressed against a wall around a corner. Jones turned invisible, walked up the stairs, and reappeared with his service pistol planted into the small of Taylor's back.

Quote: "Come and get me-- if you think you can!"

Created by Joe Samachson and Joe Certa

Thursday, September 11, 2014

2011 “Cost of freedom” fan art by Gabbie Gross

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"J'onn J'onnz and King Faraday © DC comics. Comic panels in the background from DC: The New Frontier, written/illustrated by Darwyn Cooke."

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

2014 “Zoo Crew JLA” fan art by Oobalaboo Lordwormm

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Just'a Lotta Animals were the anthropomorphized JLA of Earth-C-Minus, home of Captain Carrot and His Amazing Zoo Crew. Their time was the early '80s, when J'Onn J'Onzz was still relatively obscure, but Scott Shaw included "The Martian Anteater" all the same. Lordwormm included him here, along with Zapanda, Rat Tornado, Stacked Canary and Green Sparrow, though I cropped some of them, so you'll have to embiggen for the lot. Also, you may recall the artist's fondness for super-pets.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

The Manhunter from Mars Annual #14 (1997)

The Martian Marauders have left a trail of dead in their wake!
J'Onn J'Onzz wants to reclaim a doomsday weapon and bring the bandits to justice!
B'rett wants to be free from captivity & revenge on his treacherous former accomplices!
Three agendas! Two pursuers! And no can be trusted!

"Red Planet/White Heat"
Written by Christopher J. Priest
Art by Larry Stroman and Prentis Rollins
Cover by Mark Texeira

In stores May 7, 1997.
FC, 64 pg. $3.95
Another one of those comics that never existed, but I like to pretend. B'rett is from a Mark Texeira watercolor commission I got at Comicpalooza 2014 that I'll post a full image/write-up on sooner or later. I extended the cape through cloning and paint to conceal J'Onn J'Onzz's lack of a lower body. Martian Manhunter is from a 2006 Justice League of America Painting homage. The brick wall background is from a small detail in a Penthouse Comix story Tex did. My scan didn't fill the image space, so instead of trying for a different one, I just lazily copied and vertically flipped the same image. The trade dress is from the fifth and final Batman: Shadow of the Bat Annual, chosen for sheer practicality because it had the fewest elements breaking borders that needed to be cleaned up. I took the # "14" from the first Nightwing & fourth Catwoman annuals to maintain the design aesthetic as best as possible. These annuals were signified as such by mostly basic Microsoft style computer fonts similar to Papyrus, so that's what I was going to use, until I forgot. I'd already sent my templates to the recycle bin and uploaded a draft to Photobucket before I realized my error. The easiest fix was to just steal and shrink the logo from JLA Annual #1, where I'd already gotten the "Suspense Detective." This "Manhunter from Mars" logo had the right look for the retro stylings of this event, and actually predates J'onn J'onzz, as it was used for Roh Kar's 1953 tale in Batman #78.

Most of DC's "Pulp Heroes" annuals were only tenuously tied to themes like "Young Romance," "Tales of the Unexpected," "Weird Western" and "My Greatest Adventure," all recycled from old anthology titles. Pairing up B'rett and J'Onn begs tension, and race has been an issue for the property since the '60s. I figured that rather than the dime dick novel material already used in "Hardboiled Hangover", we'd try to mingle some blaxploitation into the "solo" Manhunter from Mars annual. Christopher Priest had already done nice work with J'Onn in Justice League Task Force, and clearly wanted to do more. I think Priest was comics' finest African-American comic writer, and his absence from Milestone Media was one of its failings as a company. Milestone also lacked most of the top black comic artists, including Larry Stroman, whose first issue of Tribe probably outsold the debuts of most of the Milestone launch titles combined. Stroman wasn't working much by 1997, so it was easy to suspend belief that he could be seen here, inked by one of Milestone's best embellishers and DC period stalwart Prentis Rollins. It would have been a thing of beauty, let me tell you.

Monday, September 8, 2014

2007 “ask the lonely” color fan art by hipgnostic

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"I got hold of a friend's JLA collection and in so reading I realized that J'onn J'onzz and Diana of Themyscira were the two loneliest characters there.

J'onn because Mars and his whole green race got fragged by white martians. I think that in itself is a metaphor for imperialistic tendencies of developed nations..but I digress.

Diana because Paradise Island ( and her Gods ) disappeared back behind the Veil and left her to find a new purpose.

I was remembering that Journey song when I read the comics so, that's what I called this piece.

Ahh..... comics are so complicated now."
I really like the intensity of the emotions and the linework on J'Onn in this piece. See the original black & white art here.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

2011 “J'onn and Diana” fan art by Monique J

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The funny thing is that, while I don't advocate for Wonder Woman and Martian Manhunter being in a relationship, it's kind of a workable pairing. J'Onn is c-list on a good day, and most folks seem unaware that he was ever considered a solo player. J'Onn was consumed by the Justice League franchise, but he's so much more powerful than most heroes, he'd still be seen as a respectable mate to the premier super-heroine.

Diana and Steve Trevor haven't had much traction as a couple since at least the Post-Crisis relaunch, and she has a history of dating mer-men and Hindu deities, so why not an alien? J'Onn could be burnt out and tripping on Martian PTSD, his vulnerability allowing Diana to protect and support her beta but still valuable super-mate. J'Onn longs for a connectedness lost with his telepathic race, while Diana long had her fill of a "paradise island" of Amazons, wishing to stand apart. Complimentary dichotomies, as opposed to the forced talking points meant to jazz up the dishwater dullness of Superman/Wonder Woman.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

2014 “ice cream” fan art by annie hedgehawke

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"I think it was the first season of JLU when J'onn was just constantly in the watchtower managing everything and everyone; so I had this headcanon that Diana would drag him out of there every once in a while and introduce him to new foods or other earth things"
While seven years of roughly daily posts should stand as a testament to my affection for the Manhunter from Mars, Wonder Woman will always be a more paramount concern, because her treatment reflects the state of womankind in comics. If you have her hook up with a bigger name, she's the lesser half, and that's unacceptable for the super-heroine. You can join her with a lesser name, but then she's dating below her station. It's like if Superman had actually gotten with Ice or Maxima, who were once rendered as sad, deluded super-groupies. Everybody's just going to be like "Dude, you could have gotten with Batgirl, but you went with Tora Olafsdotter? Low bar, bru."

In the '90s, Wonder Woman and Aquaman kind of made sense, if you could get past Aquaman being a long time punchline overcompensating with macho posturing (still true to this day, by the way.) Ultimately though, Lois Lane and Steve Trevor exist because they're "the one(s)," who belong to their franchises and with their super-significant others, though DC seems to see them as first-spouses their heroes need to trade up from, which shows what an icky place they're in.

Friday, September 5, 2014

2009 “Ex Tempus Cover” fan art by Maija Spockman

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"I do covers Pendant Publications. This week my art was featured in the Last Martian Manhunter issue...

It's a neat website. They have very talented artists doing work for them. It's also full of original radio plays for comics."

Thursday, September 4, 2014

2009 “It is Not a Bird Series 1” fan art by Juan Sebastián Rubiano

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I don't have a problem with shipping in general, but when it comes to matches like Superman and Wonder Woman, I'm reminded of why pros are pros and fans are supposed to just be fans. Pros are supposed to have more insight, foresight, and imagination than that. For years, the "couple's" characterization was interchangeable and they came off as quasi-siblings, so the only reason to hook them up was their being two-thirds of the DC Trinity. To help differentiate them, Wonder Woman has become Super-Red Sonja, so that her character gets thrown under the bus. Superman meanwhile is just as milquetoast as ever, in spite of all those spangles and seams on his New 52 costume. We're different! We're exciting! Superman is schtupping Wonder Woman! Don't you like us now?

Hell no. Yeah, it's nice that Wonder Woman finally got a second title again, but it's a team-up book where she's second bill. Where do you go from here? Marriage? Then they'll have to kill Wonder Woman for teh sayles, which is gross and misogynistic. So have them break up instead? Over what? Superman wanting kids? Concerns over Wonder Woman's bloodlust? Infidelity in the heart? Wherever it goes, Superman and Wonder Woman get to be eternal exs, with Diana always the lesser half.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

2007 “Martian Manhunter and WW” fan art by Fabio Yabu

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I tend to hate it when iconic characters hook up. One of the very worst examples was Storm and Black Panther, who had an established non-romantic relationship dating back to the Bronze Age. Suddenly, Reggie Hudlin gets a wild hair, and we're getting deep retcon mini-series turning them into childhood loves so that he can marry them off for a sales bump. Yeah, they're the most visible and prestigious super-heroic Africans of their respective genders, but they otherwise had nothing in common. Storm is a core member of the X-Men, and despite lip service to the contrary, non-mutants really have no place within that militant civil rights group. Black Panther is mostly a soloist who sometimes works alongside the Avengers, which has hosted its share of mutants, just so long as they don't go shooting their mouth off about any homo superior business. Storm's no shrinking violet, and she tends to be in a leadership role, which could make for nice tension if T'Challa wasn't her chief competition.

An interesting compromise was having the couple replace Reed & Sue in the Fantastic Four, but that was doomed from jump amidst the most whitebread conservative family-oriented team in comics. So Ororo becomes an appendage and pseudo-teammate in Panther's book for a while, goes back to the X-Men, and King T'Challa unilaterally retroactively annuls their marriage. As always happens, either one icon eclipses the other, or the whole thing goes down in flames, and everyone comes out looking terrible.