Monday, April 25, 2016

Secret Origins Podcast: Martian Manhunter & Friends

Click to hear podcast!

Secret Origin #35: Booster Gold, Martian Manhunter, and Maxwell Lord

I'm proud to have taken part in this episode of Ryan "Count Drunkula" Daly's Secret Origins Podcast, and I frankly think I did a better service to J'Onn J'Onzz there than on any episodes of our home grown show devoted to the character. You can read a more detailed recap of Secret Origins #35 (1988) or check out the show's sample pages gallery.
The (epic? sure!) finale of the Justice League International trilogy kicks off with Ryan Daly and Andy Kapellusch reviewing the story of Booster Gold from Secret Origins #35. Then, Diabolu Frank schools Ryan on the history and legend of the Martian Manhunter. And finally, Doug Zawisza returns to help Ryan cover the origin of Maxwell Lord.
Plus, details on a new listener incentive contest. You can win a signed copy of a Secret Origins comic for FREE! Listen to the episode to find out how!
Secret Origins Podcast Facebook page:
Secret Origins Podcast on Stitcher:
Let us know what you think! Leave a comment or send an email to:

This podcast is a proud member of the FIRE AND WATER PODCAST NETWORK.

Subscribe via iTunes as part of the FIRE AND WATER PODCAST:
“Premonition” (Theme for Secret Origins Podcast) written and performed by Neil Daly.
Additional music: “Alien” by Bush; “Oh Yeah” by Yello; “Moneytalks” by AC/DC.
Thanks for listening!

Thursday, March 31, 2016

2016 Martian Manhunter Justice League movie petition

Our buddy Rafa Rivas of Ralph Dibny, the World-Famous Elongated Man has started a petition asking Warner Brothers to include Martian Manhunter in their upcoming Justice League movies, and asked me to help promote the effort. I'd actually see Ralph & Sue as a better fit for Zack Snyder's creative vision, which aligns more with Identity Crisis than anything in a Showcase Presents... I haven't seen Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice yet nor will I anytime in the near future. I'm perfectly happy watching J'Onn J'Onzz on CBS's Supergirl instead, but please sign on if you want the Alien Atlas to get the big screen treatment the rest of his JLA friends will soon experience...


Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Podcast: 60 Years of Martian Manhunter - 1957

Episode #22

Look for us on iTunes, ShoutEngine or directly download an art-tagged MP3 from the Internet Archive

After nearly a year, you'd be forgiven for thinking we were covering our retrospective of John Jones' publication history in real time. Blame our coverage of the current but increasingly finite ongoing Martian Manhunter maxi-series? 1957 offers a lot of repeats with slight variations on John Jones stories, but also the debuts of pretty probationary policewoman Diane Meade and TOR, Robot Criminal from Mars! Also, we look at the Sleuth from Outer Space's international publication history, which started quite early in Mexico and Australia, the latter proving the Martian Detective his first ever cover appearance (a phenomena well known to Aquaman, who turned up on lots of foreign editions in original illustrations before fronting a book in his native country.) Also, ads for our friend podcasts, Pulp 2 Pixel's Secret Sagas of the Multiverse and Count Drunkula's The Power of Fishnets. Please stick around to rank the Detective Comics stories from 1955-1957...

Create your free online surveys with SurveyMonkey , the world's leading questionnaire tool.
Create your own user feedback survey

We enjoy dialogue on the red planet, so here are our non-telepathic contact options:

Monday, March 14, 2016

2013 Vulkor, the Capsule Master Space City Con Commission by Josh C Lyman

Click To Enlarge

As I held back art commissions for the Martian Manhunter's sixtieth anniversary celebration and became increasingly less productive working on this blog, pieces like this one by Josh C Lyman have collected dust for 2½ years when they should have gotten the exposure while blogging was still a thing that was helpful to anybody. He'd previously produced a Chibi-ish Thythen for me as well, at a very agreeable price (that again, probably isn't applicable a quarter decade on, but nice of him at the time.) This is a cool piece in the artist's more realistic style, and has quietly served as Vulkor's sidbar icon for some time. I've included my totally basic coloring job below. You can read up on The Capsule Master if you're so inclined, and here are some more resources related to the artist...

Josh C Lyman

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

2014 Bel Juz Comicpalooza Commission by Paul Gulacy & Walden Wong

Click To Enlarge

...Or technically, 2015 Bel Juz Space City Comic Con Commission inked by Walden Wong after the pencils were laid down the previous year at a different convention. For the record, Paul Gulacy is one of my top five all time favorite comic book artists, and one of the rare few that can still get me to buy a book I otherwise wouldn't solely because I want to see them draw it. I do really, really miss the zip tones though, which Gulacy was more a master of than that Shang-Chi kid with the kung-fu. If I recall correctly, I attended my first comic convention in 1994, and one of the dealers was telling me he was trying to get Gulacy to come down the following year to promote a T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents revival that never happened (aside from dumping the already produced material into the last issue of Omni Comix.) Twenty years is a long wait to meet an idol, so it was nice to final close that particular life loop.

Gulacy ended up doing two pieces for me, a smaller one as part of a jam with another of my all-timers (two at one show!) and this one with my favorite Alien Atlas femme fatale, Bel Juz. Unfortunately, this one was only pencils, and I could not get the thing to reproduce when I tried to scan it (as you can see above.) I considered getting it inked, but I'd already spent a lot more money than I should have on my hobby in 2014, so it had to wait until the following year.

Click To Enlarge

Several choice inkers came to Houston in 2015, but when I've talked to embellishers in the past, they either were doing exclusively their own original art, lacked the time for a full piece, or were cost prohibitive. X-Men, Deadpool & JLA inker Walden Wong was the first instance where everything lined up just right to get a redux done, and I think he did an excellent job of retaining the Gulacy while instilling his own personality into the piece, plus it must have been a real pain to do all those crossed spirals in the shadows! Wong often inks Carlo Barbieri, who had done Martian Manhunter for the J'Onzz Family jam, and offered to erase the Gulacy nipples I specifically asked not to be inked, but I waved him off to keep them for posterity. Um, anterity? Look, I didn't order the nipples, but if Paul Gulacy wanted nipples in his pencils, I'll keep them so long as I don't have to wave them around on the internet.

Paul Gulacy Walden Wong

Sunday, March 6, 2016

Secret Origins #28 (July, 1988)

Click To Enlarge

For many years I've had a copy of Nightshade's origin set aside, waiting for me to catch up with covering the point in Justice League International where the team fought the Suicide Squad for this blog. This project did not outlive my intentions however, and if I ever cover that period, it'll probably be in podcast form. But how could I let the opportunity to post a scan of Rob Liefeld drawing the Martian Manhunter go by, even if it is more of a proto-Liefeld and I got a more classic take through a Malefic commission last year? Oh, and if you're interested in hearing this specific story discussed audibly, why not check out its spotlight episode of The Secret Origins Podcast

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Podcast: Martian Manhunter #6 (2016)

Episode #21

Look for us on iTunes, ShoutEngine or directly download an art-tagged MP3 from the Internet Archive

Frank summarizes and critiques the sixth issue of the "DC You" Martian Manhunter series by Rob Williams and Eddy Barrows, plus we catch up on a backlog of mail.

We enjoy dialogue on the red planet, so here are our non-telepathic contact options:

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Podcast: Martian Manhunter's 60th Anniversary Special Part Two (1993-2016)

Episode #20

Martian Manhunter's 60th Anniversary Special:
A Celebration of the Alien Atlas, Concluded

Click To Enlarge

To permanently save this episode's MP3 file to your computer or other listening devices, right-click the link below to bring up sub-menu and select “Save Target/Link As...” Pick where you want it to save to, and you're set.

Look for us on iTunes, ShoutEngine or just Download MP3

New York Times Program Synopsis:
A special which pays tribute to The Manhunter from Mars, the least popular co-founder of the Justice League of America and one of the greatest hanger-on associates to pop culture heroes of all time. The special interweaves memorable moments from J'onn J'onzz's television series, cartoons and comics highlighting his super powers, secret identity, acts of heroism, and personal life. Also included are comically inept text-to-audio vignettes featuring unrecorded guest stars discussing the best super-hero ever of Middletown, U.S.A.
  • 00:01:38 Prelude: My Name is J'Onn J'Onzz
  • 00:06:50 Reevaluating the Martian Manhunter with Grant Morrison
  • 00:09:54 Justice League Task Force with Peter David
  • 00:16:41 JLA with Grant Morrison, Howard Porter & Kevin Smith
  • 00:30:20 Martian Manhunter solo series with John Ostrander
  • 00:36:28 Elseworlds with Howard Chaykin, Darwyn Cooke & Mark Waid
  • 00:47:47 Martian Marvel Media with Carlo Barberi, J. M. DeMatteis, Carl Lumbly, Phil Morris, Bruce Timm & Stan Berkowitz
  • 01:02:35 Bold New Directions with A. J. Lieberman, Paul Cornell, & Matt Kindt
  • 01:14:39 Commercial Interruption featuring rolled spine podcast & The Fire and Water Podcast Network
  • 01:18:13 The Friends & Enemies of Martian Manhunter featuring Peter David, Phil Morris, Jim Starlin, David Harewood, Geoff Johns & Mike Carlin
  • 01:55:17 Stay Tuned following messages from LanternCast, The Quarter Bin Podcast, Warlord Worlds, Pulp 2 Pixel Podcasts, Comic Reflections, King-Size Comics Giant-Size Fun
  • 02:01:10 60th Birthday Party with Rob Williams, Geoff Johns & Mike Carlin
  • 02:14:27 Supergirl with David Harewood, Chyler Leigh, Melissa Benoist, Kevin Smith & Andrew Kreisberg
  • 02:30:50 Blue Planet for a Green Man from a Red World with Mike McKone, Peter David, J. M. DeMatteis, Howard Porter, David Harewood, Andrew Kreisberg, & Lance Reddick
Audio Source Credits
We enjoy dialogue on the red planet, so here are our non-telepathic contact options:

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

2015 J'Onzz Family Portrait Artist Jam featuring H'ronmeer by Adrian Nelson

Click To Enlarge

While the Manhunter from Mars is often treated as a derivative and minor character in the pantheon of notable comic book heroes, one aspect of his backstory is fairly unique amidst the legions of super-heroes who are orphaned or have no family to speak of. While I had a number of art jams going to showcase for the 60th anniversary of the Sleuth from Outer Space featuring fellow heroes, villains, and supporting players, the most obvious way to honor J'Onn J'Onzz was to devote the most effort and resources to a family picture. In the earliest stories about the character, his whole and living parents were introduced, with a younger (relatively) teenage brother showing up a few years after. All three turned up occasionally throughout the Silver Age in a peaceful domestic setting. Until 1969, Mars was a vibrant, healthy environment, in sharp relief to the usual trauma and loss surrounding other long underwear types. Even after the destruction of Mars, J'onn J'onzz spent nearly two decades shepherding the survivors and foregoing the adventurer's life. Just a few years after returning to the Justice League, a new retroactive history was given to the Martian that made him a widower and father to a deceased daughter. This new status quo came to define J'Onn for the rest of his career, and more than virtually any other character excepting Mr. Fantastic, J'Onn J'Onzz is the consummate "family man" of comics... even in the absence of blood relatives, through his memories and human surrogates for those he's lost.

Younger brother T'omm was introduced in 1961, and was the character who initiated the jam in pencil form. An initially unnamed spouse eventually dubbed M'yri'ah came out of the 1988 Martian Manhunter mini-series, and was the first inked & colored figure in the piece. Our hero J'Onn was third and closest to the center, tasking the artist to heavily incorporate him into the previous two drawings (note the hand on his wife's shoulder & cape flowing behind bro.) Daughter K'hym shared publication history with her mother, is the only character in the jam who was fully colored, and the artist successfully integrates her into what had appeared to be a closed loop between the initial trio. This was the core of the family to me, so there was greater flexibility with the rest of the piece.

J'Onn's parents debuted in 1956, but had to wait until 2001 to get names in one of the last issues of the only pre-New 52 Martian Manhunter ongoing series. I wanted a large, strong figure to anchor the far right side of the piece, which the artist of father M'yrnn excellently provided. Unfortunately, I couldn't fit the entire 11" x 17" image space onto a Xerox, so I had to cut two copies together, and the far side of that figure took a quality hit in the scan above. I cleaned it up as best as I could. To my knowledge, J'Onn's grandmother wasn't referenced before 1986, and not since, so her artist did a great job mingling a minor character into the increasingly busy and cramped piece. With mother Sha'sheen, I preferred the Silver Age model of the character to the modern version that was basically just J'Onn in drag. I like that the parents are facing each other while appearing to be looking over their family. Finally, part of what made me so happy about how M'yri'ah was rendered is that she appeared to be looking at the upper left portion of the page, where her assailant Ma'alefa'ak was added, stealing her full attention away from her husband and this monster's twin brother (though a familal resemblance isn't a given among shapeshifters with polar opposite moral alignments.)

The J'Onzzes Besides blood relatives, I also wanted to add a religious aspect to the family portrait through the most famous Martian deity and the one with the greatest impact, H'ronmeer. This deity became associated by name with the plague that retroactively wiped out the Martian race from 1988 until relatively recently, though generally being treated as benevolent overall. I thought this being might show up around Malefic or J'Onn's grandmother, since they had closest ties. I also thought a painter might contrast well against the firmer lines of the other figures, but that angle didn't pan out. Instead, I went with Adrian Nelson, who I knew I could rely on to deliver quality work after his previous efforts on Bloodwynd, Malefic, and a third piece I haven't posted yet. He added graytones to fill in background areas and specifically to flesh out Sha'sheen so that she'd feel more of a piece with the rest of the figures. More importantly, his ominous and intricately crosshatched H'ronmeer(s) not only tie the entire jam together, but also allude to the duality of perception about the character (creative & destructive fire from the heart of the Red Planet.) Nelson did a fantastic job making this work feel complete!

The only member of the family I intentionally left out was J'ahrl J'onzz, an ancient ancestor who was never rendered in a definitive way who only played into one issue of one minor year 2000 story arc. The Justice League cartoon added a second child of J'Onn & M'yri'ah in the early 2000s, who was only just confirmed as another daughter named "Tanya" (spelling per closed captioning) this year on a recent episode of Supergirl, and for the first time his children's names were pronounced as "Kim" and "Tahn-yah." Unfortunately, in an exceptionally tone deaf move a few months prior in the comics, J'Onn J'Onzz's entire family and Martian life was retconned away as he was presented as a created weapon employed by White Martians with false memories. I find that angle hateful, but am confident it will ultimately be ignored, since J'Onn's family has already appeared in two cartoon series, two direct to video original animated movies, and now have been repeatedly referenced in a live action network television show (and rendered in CGI!)

More from Adrian Nelson

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Podcast: Martian Manhunter #5 & All-Star Section Eight #3 (2015)

Episode #19

Look for us on iTunes, ShoutEngine or directly download an art-tagged MP3 from the Internet Archive

Frank summarizes and critiques two comedic comics: the fifth issue of the New 52/DC You Martian Manhunter series by Rob Williams and Eddy Barrows, plus the Alien Atlas' cover-spotlighted appearance in All-Star Section Eight by Garth Ennis & John McCrea!

We enjoy dialogue on the red planet, so here are our non-telepathic contact options:

Thursday, January 14, 2016

2015 Ma'alefa'ak J'onzz Amazing Houston Comic Con Jam Sketch Detail by Rob Liefeld

Click To Enlarge

I've been a fan of Rob Liefeld since my brother passed me his copy of New Mutants #98 to read. I bought his X-Force run new, and worked after school to make money to buy back issues of New Mutants that cost then royal sums of $6-20 (obviously the debut of Cable was out of my price range, but I had the reprint with the gold ink at least.) Of all the Image artists, Liefeld's was the only style I could halfway achieve, so there's a bunch of yellowed typing paper in a box somewhere of my Robified versions of beloved action figures and original characters of mine.

Liefeld was at the first Houston comic convention I'd attended since the EXTREME!!! '90s, and the first time I sought commissions. Unfortunately, I was poor back in 2010, and my friends told me his quote was roughly the same as my entire budget for that first show. Still, it planted the desire to get a Martian Manhunter piece, but then Liefeld proceeded to blow off Houston shows for the next three years, and then I was out of the country when he did roll through in 2014.

I wasn't 100% on attending Amazing Con, and my friends who had attended previously did not have kind things to say. I'd started and mostly completed the J'Onzz Family jam piece at Space City Comic Con, but I saved Ma'alefa'ak just for Liefeld, and really only attended this show to get that done. I don't recall if I went Friday, but if I did, catching Rob was a bust. You know those enormous serpentine lines that "Zombie King" guy photoshopped into his con promotional pictures? That's what Liefeld's actually look like.

I didn't want to spend my entire time looking at some other fanboy's back and stealing glances at passing cosplayers, so I toured the con like I normally would, running through a number of single commissions and new jams. That said, I kept eyeing the line, looking for an opportunity. Saturday was Liefeld's last day, and after missing him during panels and other promotional efforts, I finally saw an opening that morning. After waiting on the sidelines while he took pictures with some kids, I made my approach.

Liefeld is famously upbeat and unflappable at these appearances, so I was surprised to hear him say to a handler "I'm salty today! I've never been so salty!" Something had clearly set him off, and he was in a sour mood. I had intended to gush a bit about my '90s fandom, but it seemed best to cut to the chase and hope he would be game to join the jam. He immediately stated that he was only doing head shots for a set price, and if I was fine with that, he'd do his part. I agreed, figuring maybe I could get another artist to ape him somewhere down the line to fill out the piece. I gave him my reference, which featured a variety of takes on the character, and he asked me which was the closest to what I wanted, Ed Barreto's. I paid the man and split, only for a new wave of fans to show up right behind me to keep Rob busy for hours.

While I still wanted a J'Onn J'Onzz someday, if a full figure wasn't in the cards, his evil twin brother Malefic was a close second. I'd already gotten Brett Booth to do J'Onn's Silver Age younger brother T'Omm J'Onzz, and part of my head canon was that instead of merely being consigned to the dust bin of history, T'Omm had become Ma'alefa'ak at some point. That way, I could chalk up the elements of the Ostrander/Mandrake series that berthed Malefic that I didn't like to the unreliable narration of a mad Martian. Also, Booth was one of the early Image studio artists who trained under its founders, so I liked the implied progression from his innocent T'Omm to Liefled's Sith-level Ma'alefa'ak.

I checked in on the piece for the rest of the afternoon, but Liefeld was constantly swamped, and didn't seem to make much headway there. Finally, he began to pack up, and asked me to wait in the lobby of his hotel while he took the piece to his room to finish. I waited patiently, anxious that I might be in the wrong part of the lobby, or even the wrong hotel! Finally, Rob showed, and he'd gone well beyond what he'd agreed to in drawing Malefic's full body incorporated into the jam! I was giddy over finally having the equivalent of a Liefeld Martian Manhunter, and gushed over it. Rob was noticeably happier than he was that salty morning, and the jam was nigh-complete without stress or incident! I only needed one more artist for the finishing touches...

More from Rob Liefeld

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

2015 K'hym J'onzz Space City Comic Con Jam Sketch Detail by Dietrich Smith

Click To Enlarge

I first heard of Dietrich Smith on mid-'90s EXTREME!!! books like The Night Man/Gambit and Chapel before he disappeared and reappeared on more eccentric, experimental fare like Tad Williams' The Next. Most recently, he's been working at Dynamite on licensed projects like Battlestar Galactica, Army of Darkness, and the upcoming Shaft: Imitation of Life with David F. Walker. His style has changed a lot over the years, but in researching him for commissions, I found that I really enjoyed his current output. He often foregoes solid blacks in favor of rendering figures in pure color via pencil, marker, or watercolor. It softens the focus and gives a greater impression of a moment of life rather than a crystallized image.

I wanted that kind of delicacy in the approach to K'hym, J'Onn J'Onzz's deceased daughter, whose spirit hangs over the series of superhuman teenage surrogates the Martian Manhunter has mentored since shortly before K'hym's existence was revealed in 1988 (Gypsy, Jenny Quantum, Stargirl, The Pearl... and in outside media, Miss Martian and Supergirl.) As much as I'm sure J'Onn mourns and misses his wife, J'Onn's role as the father of an older child (usually depicted as pre/early adolescent) who has passed not only twists the knife of tragedy that much more than is commonly seen in super-hero comics, but has had a stronger reflection in his ongoing narrative than his little seen and short-lived romantic interludes. The specter of K'hym cast a pall over J'Onn's continued existence to a greater degree than any other long and forever lost member of his family.

Like most of the other artists, Smith had to not only capture the nature of his subject, but do so within the confines of a collaborative project where numerous figures would be interacting with one another, all drawn by different artists in a sequence without direct communication with one another or an overarching layout. K'hym had one of the hardest "green screen" roles, since she's fourth in line after her father was looking at her mother was looking at her uncle who was himself looking at the audience, all in a diagonal line of sight that terminated with T'omm J'onzz, and with J'Onn slightly left of center.

Smith had K'hym believably interact with a presently distracted but not neglectful father while having her relate to a flame that was used to set up other artists and their characters. It was Smith's idea to add the fire, which ultimately reflected Grandmother J'onzz's comfort with/connection to her god H'ronmeer and his embers of destruction/creation. I love how accurately Smith was able to depict this young woman's body through the color-only anatomical/costume details, while also making feminine her bald alien head, sewn together by dark lines to better tie her into the overall piece. The look on her face and the trepidation in her body language while she steps away from a modest danger toward her protector, both figures connected but neither actually looking at the other. Even though she's an otherworldly green-skinned being, she's also your friend or your sister or your daughter.

For the record, the contrasts on the scan make it appear like K'hym has a harsh light source to her left, but that area is actually just more lightly colored than the copy was able to pick up. K'hym is the only character in the piece fully colored by their artist, with lovely shading besides, so she really stands out in the finished piece (though I hope to have the whole thing hand or digitally colored in the future.)

More from Dietrich Smith

Saturday, December 26, 2015

The Vile Menagerie: BETTE NOIR

Alter Ego: Bette Noir
Occupation: Psychic parasite
Marital Status: Single
Known Relatives: None
Group Affiliation: D. N. Aliens
Base of Operations: Cadmus
First Appearance: Martian Manhunter #1,000,000 (November, 1998)
Height: Variable
Eyes: Violet
Hair: Black

An unidentified party was known to have created D. N. Aliens outside the aegis of Project Cadmus, the genetic engineering outfit most associated with these types of scientifically manufactured beings. As these rogue, mostly inhuman looking D. N. Aliens would appear in public, often discovered during some form of "rampage," they would be captured and placed in Cadmus' high tech holding facility dubbed "Monster Alley." A subset of these beings were in a vegetative state, and held is a segment reserved for "the sleeping monsters." One of these beings was a large mass of Caucasian flesh covered with various protrusions, some identifiably human extremities and others more foreign, such as tentacles. This being was not truly in a coma, but was instead active on the psychic plane, and in fact contributed to the unconscious states of other "monsters" by sapping their psychic energy to further empower the subject's non-corporeal form.

Self-identifying as "Bette Noir" and composing the form of a seductive pale-skinned woman from pure psionic energy, the "vampire" went undiscovered until she victimized one of Cadmus' most prominent figures, the telepathic D. N. Alien Dubbilex. At this time, the clone Superboy had been working closely with Cadmus, but was unavailable to help due to his commitment to the teen metahumans Young Justice. Further, the crime seemed to require investigation involving a different set of skills and powers, so Superman recommended the Martian Manhunter to assist.

J'Onn J'Onzz attempted a mind meld with Dubbilex, and was nearly sucked into a "psionic black hole within him" where all of his considerable mental power had been drained by an unknown nearby source. J'Onzz oversaw the construction of a cage around Dubbilex's physical form that would disrupt his draining, while the Martian set down a telepathic net to detect the assailant when they investigated the disruption. Even still, Bette Noir arrived without setting off this web of psionic energy, then offered a demonstration of her powers that temporarily bested the Manhunter, the cloned Guardian, and other members of Project Cadmus. However, the Martian Manhunter recovered quickly, traced Bette back to her physical body, and telepathically crafted psionic restraints that trapped Bette within her own mind. J'Onzz expressed regret at this harsh but necessary sentence, and vowed to work toward improving the living conditions on Monster Alley.

Some time later, the serial killer of metahumans Dr. Trap learned of the existence of the highly developed D. N. Alien telepath, and used connections cultivated over the years to make contact. Trap offered to free Bette Noir from her body while allowing her a place within his own mind, but failed to elaborate that he would have her physical body killed while subjecting Bette to conditioning that allowed him to subjugate her. Bette was then used to mentally manipulate J'Onn J'Onzz into confronting the captive Dr. Trap, who unleashed the full force of Noir's power to cause J'Onzz to relive his every painful memory at the same time on a continuous loop. J'Onzz was only very briefly incapacitated, and his powers were temporarily muted, but he ultimately reached a mutually beneficial agreement with Bette Noir to reside within and torment Dr. Trap instead.

When last seen, Bette Noir was revisited by J'Onn J'Onzz as a suspect in crimes actually being committed by the disembodied spirit of Harley Quinn. However, he did find that Bette's continuous punishment of Dr. Trap had become sadistic, so the Martian Manhunter collaborated with Trap to press Bette Noir into becoming a more conscionable warden over his psyche.

Powers & Weapons:
Although the D. N. Alien's physical form was static, her psychometric manifestation as Bette Noir was largely unhindered by corporeal restrictions. She could fly and pass through solid objects. Her powers are telepathic, telekinetic, and pyrokinetic, which allowed her to interact with J'Onn J'Onzz's body even when he would otherwise have been intangible, lighting his molecules on fire and threatening to similarly burn out his mind. Bette Noir can enter a person's mind and alter their perceptions, at one point taking the form of J'Onzz's deceased wife M'yri'ah in a bid to seduce him, and monstrous forms to inspire fear. Since losing her physical body, Bette Noir has needed to be hosted in the minds of others.

Quote: "My physical body-- is just misshapen flesh. This is the only life-- the only freedom-- I'll ever know. And there's so much I could do for you, J'Onny. I sneaked a peek in your mind. I know what you need."

Created by John Ostrander and Tom Mandrake

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

2015 M'yrnn J'onzz Space City Comic Con Jam Sketch Detail by Scott Kolins

Click To Enlarge

J'onn J'onzz's unnamed parents appeared in one of the hero's earliest stories as carbon copies of the basic Martian with a color flipped costume and/or a barely noticeable gender swap. They appeared once or twice more during the Silver Age Detective Comics run, and then nothing for 3½-4 decades. If I recall correctly, they didn't turn up again until the last story arc of the 1998 Martian Manhunter series, where John Ostrander finally named the father "M'yrnn" and Eduardo Barreto redesigned the character... as still pretty much J'Onn J'Onzz in essentially the same costume, but with less red and a Jemm-y gem on his brow. I wasn't at all a fan of Ostrander's exploration of J'Onn J'Onzz's childhood through the dark lens of his then-newly invented evil twin brother, but I did like that he bucked a common comic book crutch by having his mother Sha'sheen being the dominant and defining parent while the father was a comparatively minor entity.

With this in mind, I looked at the brand name talents available to work on this jam piece and thought "who would I like to draw the Martian Manhunter besides Carlo Barberi?" Costume variations aside, M'yrnn was a second opportunity to get a proxy J'Onn into the piece, and you know which long time DC artist specializing in their iconic characters who rarely/never got around to the Alien Atlas was in Houston this year?

Scott Kolins is of course most famous for his three year run on The Flash with Geoff Johns, but he's been on my radar since he got his start on the Ultraverse line and my favorite of his runs was a brief stint on The Avengers (I especially dug his Captain America!) Saturday in Space City was tense due to the demands of getting so many parts of the jam completed before several of the intended artists left early, so I was in a bit of a rush when I raced to Kolins to ask him to join in. He was approachable and friendly, not to mention quoting a very amenable price for a full figure that would occupy one of the largest spaces available in the jam.

Look, this project is a collaborative effort, and virtually everybody involved brought their A-game, so it's not fair to call out favorites. It's just that M'yrnn J'onzz looks so much better than he has a right to, by far the best he's ever looked anywhere, that it's hard to love all these commission "children" 100% equally. I'm all about this guy's expression, the brawny curve of his arms, those wicked cut legs, and especially his adorable, lovingly rendered little footsies and toes! Plus, Kolins added those sick graytones that give so much depth and pop... and speaking of pop, it's hard not to assume J'Onn was conceived in an earthly, earthy fashion with the Alex Rossian attention to certain prominent details. Jeebus! Finally, M'yrnn J'onzz is not only appropriately in scale compared to his son and the other characters, but also delightfully larger than life!*

*Not talking about the package anymore. C'mon, guys!

More from Scott Kolins