Following a month long hiatus of any activity on the blog, Frank tries to make amends with a half-hour podcast on the debut issue of the New 52/DC You Martian Manhunter series by Rob Williams and Eddy Barrows!
You can enjoy material discussed in this episode online and legal, such as
Probably my favorite of the fan pieces from the SDCC convention booklet/program's lengthy observation of the Martian Manhunter's fiftieth anniversary was this faux ad for J'onn J'onzz Play-Doh. A minor Leaguer to the Baby Boomers and left behind throughout the Bronze Age, the Alien Atlas missed out on a ton of Generation X junk culture milestones, but this nifty piece salves that wound considerable for fans like myself.
Duncan "Skullboy" Crawford is a sculptor who has worked in the art department of major geek cred motion pictures like The Avengers, Green Lantern, Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides and Thor. You can use his blog as a gateway to sites devoted to his design studio, art, Marquettes, and photos of film work. Here, he's offering dual congratulations to J'Onn J'Onzz's half century celebration and indie darling Johnny the Homicidal Maniac's tenth (now twentieth as of this month. I bought the first issue new, for I am now old.)
There were a number of such anniversaries highlighted in the SDCC convention book, but I'd say these two and Krypto were the most legit. Lil' Archie was just the proto-Muppet Babies of Riverdale, but got four pages of art and articles. The New Teen Titans turned 25, meaning they were neither new nor teen, and were only a revamped line-up of a property that debuted in 1964. Adding to the dissonance of devoting 16 pages of art to a questionable landmark was the tendency to showcase designs from the Teen Titans cartoon, then only a couple of years old. A decade of David Lapham's Stray Bullets earned two pages.
JTHM got a two page article and thirteen pages of fan art, with the last quarter page (108) featuring the Manhunter guest appearance above. While The Spirit turned 65, his 19 page section was centered on the passing of his creator, Will Eisner. John Jones would have made for a good team-up partner in theory, but probably not in the diminished spirit of the proceedings.
Tim Burgard is a Hollywood storyboard artist who has worked on such notable geek fare as Batman & Robin, X-Men: The Last Stand, The Incredible Hulk, X-Men Origins: Wolverine, Thor, Green Lantern and Rise of the Planet of the Apes, which is just the tip of the iceberg on his IMDb page. “The First Martian Manhunt” was his contribution to the SDCC program book's celebration of the Alien Atlas' 50th anniversary, complete with guest appearance by Edgar Rice Burroughs' Tars Tarkas. Burgard got his start in comics on Roy Thomas' Earth-Two books of the '80s, which might explain this random combination of J'onn J'onzz and Green Lantern Alan Scott for an unknown project.
Here we see an animation style representation of the Post-Crisis/Zero Hour origin, in which Dr. Erdel saves a more alien J'onn J'onzz from plague riddled Mars through the wonder of teleportation. John Jones makes a winking appearance, and there's even a series of heroic headshots for a Justice League roll call!
Is it summer yet, because it's feeling hot up in here? I dig this unique, quasi-cubist aggressive angle! I'm almost out of "Fiftieth Friday" material, and had to do some rescheduling to avoid gluts of shots of the Martian Manhunter floating in space. Wright helped break that up! Fi-fif-fifteen!
It's funny to me that Mike Grell has to my knowledge rarely if ever drawn J'onn J'onzz, and most of Vanderwolff's art strongly shows his influence... but not this particular piece. Oh well, it still looks good, and I've got a nice big scan of the 50th birthday tribute. The artist has a smaller version in his deviantART gallery, but the SDCC book cropped the original, so check out the full image there.
As part of the sixth seasonal Super Blog Team-Up's theme of top ten lists, Frank offers an audio synopsis of the series of essays The Ten Most Important Martian Manhunter Adversaries from 2010, which has held up pretty well these past four years since nothing much ever happens to the Alien Atlas, even during a line wide reboot. The "new kid" on this particular block debuted in 1998, and how many foes of the New 52 Manhunter can you name, anyway?
I spent a fair amount of time on the artist's deviantART page, going through years worth of pieces hoping to find a color version of this SDCC con book anniversary entry. I knew it looked suspiciously similar to this, which is forgivable, but I got a bit miffed when all I found in the gallery was this. Digital art has its uses, eh?
In a second(!) episode for April (clearly failing weekly offerings, that's a step up from monthly!) we catch up with correspondence given short shrift since the last mail heavy episode, #6: Strawmanhunter from Mars. Besides reading all the long form comments since mid-March, Frank elaborates at length. For instance, he reads a letter about applying the "Three Point Model," three short definitive statements about a character, to the Alien Atlas. Discussion includes the less than stellar Martian invasions of Earth, John Jones' sociopolitical leanings, and more randomness that hopefully augments folks' understanding of the character.
We enjoy dialogue on the red planet, so here are our non-telepathic contact options:
One of the fun things about this "Fifty Fridays*" project is the archaeological aspect. Ten years ago, mostly amateur artists contributed some Martian Manhunter pieces to a convention book, and then they moved on with their lives. Some are in entertainment industries, others are still promoting projects, a few have portfolios available, and most have escaped my cursory detection efforts. Too many have the same names as politicians, which makes for dull image searches. Two Amanda Yaryans turned up on Google, one a photographer whose flair for dramatic make-up could betray a youthful interest in a shapeshifting alien, but that's mere conjecture. It could just as easily be the mom referencing Bill Engvall on Twitter, or another lady entirely.
*To be clear, there are actually only 20-some-odd Fridays worth of material celebrating the 50th anniversary.
Another full page con book entry that was probably in color, based on the other paintings I was able to find online. You'll have to search them out for yourself though, because about half of what's out there are explicit female nudes.
After a hiatus of four episodes and three months, we finally return to our year-by-year overview of the Sleuth from Outer Space's early adventures, 1956 being his first full year of publication with a dozen cases to cover. Co-creator and initial writer Joe Samachson is replaced first by Dick Wood before the arrival of the longest consistent scripter of the strip, Jack Miller. Joe Certa carries on with his own lengthy run on art, here mostly on Detective John Jones as a plainclothes policeman with extraordinary powers who only occasionally runs across challenges of a truly supernormal nature.