Monday, August 18, 2008

Why does Starker do it?

Risk his life time after time, hunting down criminals? He doesn't have to-- what drives him?

Starker appeared in five issues of "Showcase," most written and drawn in 1970 by Mike Sekowsky. "Big Mike" had drawn the Martian Manhunter for the first five years of his "Justice League of America" membership. Sekowsky was working on Wonder Woman while producing try-out series for Showcase in its last days. Starker was one such effort-- a bounty hunter of the future, clearly modelled on then-popular movie toughs like Lee Marvin and James Coburn. The tales were rough and tumble, with a potent origin story sandwiched right in the middle of the run. Starker starred in three issues, plus a short preview and an out-of-continuity appearance in Showcase #100.

"Manhunter 2070" ran during a time when Martian Manhunter had just lost his solo series, and then left the Justice League of America in search of other Martian survivors in outer space. Had the book taken off, who knows what would have become of the Martian Manhunter? However, Starker took his shot while J'onn J'onzz was stuck in limbo, failed, and then joined him there. It seems appropriate then that he should reappear at a time when the Idol-Head of Diabolu is in a sort of limbo.

We just ran post #350 the other day, and are a couple weeks away from our first anniversary. I had planned to switch out the "Memorial" banner for something more festive, but haven't even considered a new theme. Several of our features are winding down, specifically the "House of Mystery" and "Detroit" era coverage, but they'll continue for a bit past the anniversary. Seeing as I have a gap in the schedule, why not give Starker one more chance to make a first impression?

Two more, actually. "Manhunter 2070" will run at least once a week for the next three in the "1970's" slot. Meanwhile, we'll also be filling the "1990's" slot with "Twilight," a mini-series featuring a revision of Starker so divergent as to constitute a totally different character. This was a "mature readers" take on science-fiction also-rans that appeared in books edited by guys like Julie Schwartz and Jack Schiff, who combined guided the Martian Manhunter's team and solo adventures throughout the Silver Age. It's something like playing Six Degrees of John Jones, but hopefully folks will enjoy the digression...

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