Thursday, March 10, 2011

2010 The Martian Manhunter Costume Redesign by Kyle Starks

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As mentioned the other day, Kyle Starks is a fan...

I re-did probably my favorite superhero Martian Manhunter. I adore J'onn J'onnz if, for anything, for how criminally misused he is - for one thing he's the only really, really notable psychi/mind power character in the DCU and it's forgotten or overlooked, or simply ignored ALL the time. Telepathy is crazy useful in the superhero game. But on top of that, you know, he's the archetypical DC power template... Essentially, he can do anything he wants. But no one ever cares...

I blame a lot of the disinterest in the Manhunter because his costume is awful. It's 50s simple, and therefore sort of iconic and it really stands out, but frankly, it's sort of dorky... I also wanted his new costume to look alien...

Starks gives more details about his feelings on the character and the source he drew from to create this costume on his blog. Starks clearly went through a lot of drafts to reach this final design, which I like. It's incredibly difficult to balance the "alien barbarian" fans like M.C. dig against the noir detective readers like Liss prefer, but I think going simple worked both angles. J'Onn J'Onzz is one of the few classic characters that can go all black without it feeling like selling out, and it in fact suits the dark city stalking of a Martian Detective. On the other hand, the x, scarf and rings are still science-fantasylicious, just more Frank Herbert than Edgar Rice Burroughs. There are things I would do differently, but any JJ design is such an aesthetic wrestling, you've won if you end up with anything you're happy with. I had fun just watching his process through the doodles. I dig it, but how about you?

By the way, I butchered the living hell out of Kyle Starks' name, even though it's his blog's URL. I'd love to be able to say I called him Kenny Sparks 32 times in a previous spotlight post because I'm a sports fan, but I don't even bowl more than once a leap year. I think it's because going to school makes me really stupid in every additional pursuit, and that all that "maturity" with age crap is just to help cover for when we pause to drop a load in our Depends undergarments. We're "contemplating."

9 comments:

mathematicscore said...

I like it, but I still like the two most recent redesigns better, and of course the classic as iterated in the JLI. The near nudity is key to his shapeshifting and his barbarism. I like to think he is enlightened beyond pants.

Diabolu said...

It is so, so tough to work with a Martian Manhunter design. I think it's a fun challenge to balance the conflicting elements of the character in stories, but it is a nightmare when manifested in costume form. It's almost redesign-proof, because you cannot please more than a third or even fourth of his fans by shifting any particular way, and the classic look is terrible in a way that is at least accepted. It's like a KFC Famous Bowl in that it's disgusting and infantile, but how else can you mix so many separate dishes into one convenient medium?

K. Starks said...

I'd be interested to see what you might do for a redesign, Diabolu.

LissBirds said...

I agree that redesigning J'onn's look is a tricky, tricky thing. I do like the split cape, Kenny. Err...Kyle. Kind of reminds me of a priestly robe or something like that. I like how you kept the X-straps and the pie symbol.

The leg puffs have that nice 50's sci-fi touch like Frank said, but they seem more "Earthman" to me, not Martian. I'm just not a big fan of dressing him all in black, becuase all you see is a green head sitting on top. I shouldn't be complaining, becuase it is a nifty costume design, and I couldn't do nowhere near as good.

LissBirds said...

And what the...?

The Master Gardener is losing! Quick! Someone vote for him!!

Diabolu said...

Why did you let the Human Squirrel die, Liss? Why must you kill the things you love? Oh wait, the novelty just wore out. Never mind. Go Mr. Moth! You're a winning warlock!

Oh no you wouldn't, Not Kenny, and it will be on your immortal soul when I do get around to unleashing the eye-hate of my pathetic old designs (which are Legion.)

LissBirds said...

*sigh* I'm sorry I killed him. But now we get to see Black Lantern Human Squirrel, and how awesome is that? He's going to wear his ring on his big floofy tail.

Dovey said...

That was really fantastic blog for me. The near nudity is key to his shape shifting and his barbarism. I like to think he is enlightened beyond pants.

Diabolu Frank said...

This blog would have never been titled "The Idol-Head of Diabolu" had I known "Enlightened Beyond Pants" was an option.