Saturday, August 30, 2008

The Making of "John Jones: Manhunter From Mars #100"

John Jones: Manhunter From Mars #100 (Sept.-Oct. 1968)

Since this is the first birthday week of the Idol-Head of Diabolu, I feel like indulging in a bit of navel-gazing. I always wanted to give more info on the creations of these anniversary editions, but the text pieces always ramble on so long, there isn't room.

In the early going, and at times today, this blog was more of a seat-of-my-pants affair, taking most posts day by day. I hadn't noticed I'd gotten up into the 90s until it dawned on me I should offer something special for the 100th post. Almost immediately after, I realized it would be great to do a mock 100th issue cover-- something that would have picked up as a victory where the strip truly met defeat at the end of its "House of Mystery" run.

Had I more time or given it more thought, I'd have started the 100 after the Detective run's 100th appearance. The thing was though, I didn't feel especially committed to a plausible cover or back story, seeing as I didn't get started until a few days before the job was due. Since I had no intention of announcing the image as a fraud, I figured I'd just throw plentiful "tells" out there, so folks would sooner or later catch the gag.

  • The undersized DC Bullet and over-sized CCA seal were taken directly off the cover of Superman #100.
  • I also tried to replicate the font of the exact date and price of that issue... even though it was published in 1955 at ten cents. The extra-length "John Jones: Manhunter From Mars #100" was supposed to be published in 1968, when it would have been at least 1 1/2 times that.
  • The layout of the anniversary "cover" more closely resembles a 60s annual.
  • Just look at that font! It screams "Microsoft!"
  • You can still see the edges where I painted into the lettering in the logo. The background color was chosen because it matched that of the center image as closely as possible, since my cut & paste skills weren't up to snuff.
  • The "Brand New Starro Adventure" was a panel stolen from the back of the Starro entry from the loose leaf "Who's Who in the DC Universe" #13 (October 1991)

Perhaps to make up for all the gaffs, both intentional and induced by my lack of skill with crude editing equipment, I went full bore on researching the "background" material. The variety of misfortunes that befell the "Manhunter from Mars" editorial and creative staff were all true. While Denny O'Neil and Jim Aparo never worked on Manhunter together, O'Neil did moonlight under an alias, and it would not have been uncommon for stories by the same creator seeing print out of sequence. Dick Giordano did leave DC, though obviously since he never edited Martian Manhunter, there's no connection between him and Mike Nasser's run that I know of.

Mike Sekowsky did end up working on the "Manhunter feature" in 1970, but the one from the year 2070, not the one from Mars. My biggest fib regarded the central cover image. While it's true that Wally Wood kept an extensive "reference" file, that art is actually by Joe Certa. It was straight out of John Jones' first appearance in Detective Comics #225, but reused on the 1961 "Secret Origins #1" special. When a Replica Edition was produced in 1998, the cover was re-inked by Jerry Ordway, who I figured looked enough like Wood to pass. Man, I wish more of those Tower Comics greats had actually been connected to J'onn J'onzz...

No comments: