Saturday, May 21, 2011

IGN's Top 43rd Comic Book Hero of All Time: Martian Manhunter

In 2009 or so, the comics department of the popular video game website put together a list of their Top 100 Comic Book Villains of All Time, from which I culled their Top 7 Martian Manhunter Villains with the help of liberal standards. Idol-Head regular mathematicscore alerted me to the fact the site finally compiled IGN's Top 100 Comic Book Heroes of All Time. I love deconstructing these types of lists, and did so line by line on a sister blog, DC Bloodlines. You can see those posts here:


A brief summary of those posts: These guys are twits. I watched all their videos, which totaled over an hour in length, and it was just two guys saying nothing substantial to explain poorly reasoned groupthink. Really, it was only one guy with a good stage voice and a crumby attitude with a slacking sidekick who only spoke up once or twice for favored characters amidst batches of twenty. The other editors involved in the list were presumably hiding in shame out on their ranch, or are writing memoirs that doggedly hold to indefensible positions and refuted intelligence. The list sucks, and the Martian Manhunter entry actually used the dated as frig art above from the short-lived (no pun intended) Coneheadhunter period. How'd our boy rank?

43) Martian Manhunter

I referenced J'Onn J'Onzz at various points on the list response posts in a somewhat disparaging light. I love the character enough to have devoted 3 1/2 years of my life to something approximating daily blogging about the guy. My words of praise and promotion will appear early in most web searches related to the character (besides Microsoft's Bing, which is about as relevant as AltaVista.) My credentials clear, I must confess, the Manhunter from Mars is B-list on his best day. Compared to Marvel's Hawkeye, he's like a Neil Diamond level star, but one summer blockbuster will overturn that applecart/mix that metaphor. There is no feature film in development. His ensemble cartoon has been off the air for years. His longest headling gig was three years. His action figures keep store pegs warm. I'm sure I will find fault with many of the characters that precede him, but the first is Storm, and she's the more important, successful figure. Silver Surfer? Fills one with envy.

You guys like this blog, and I'm happy about that, but let's run some numbers. I've got about 64 followers and less than 300K page views. Supergirl ranked 94, but her Comic Box Commentary Blog has twice as many views and thirty more followers. Aquaman rank 52, but his Shrine has 245 followers and millions of page views. Those are just two examples of fan initiatives for just those two characters. Each has multiple fan sites between them, as well. J'Onn J'Onzz? I pretty much cornered the market. It wasn't a difficult thing to do.

I hope someday the Martian Manhunter does something cool enough that people would reference the character after an Olympic athlete broke a world record, or in top 40 radio hits, or pie shaped air fresheners for your car with matching floorboards. These things are not near. The general public has only had the opportunity to be aware J'Onn J'Onzz even exists for about a decade. He's never held down a series longer than three years, took most of the Bronze Age off and cannot make or break a title. The Alien Atlas is defined by his appeal as a supporting character with great potential, but he isn't quite there yet as an upfront hero. I look forward to the day, but lets not kid ourselves, especially with a poorly rigged list like this that is so laughable J'Onzz's placement gives cause for ridicule. Who could blame him for eying the rafters for a bucket of pig's blood?


SallyP said...

Those lists that groups are so happy to concoct with the "best" characters really are a lot of hooey.

It is far too subjective. Yes, there are popular characters, but that is a whole different kettle of fish from favorite characters. And I would venture to assume that most peoples favorite ISN'T the average popular character, but that oddball one that is much closer to your heart. Like J'onn J'onnz.

I like J'onn. I've ALWAYS liked J'onn. He's not my absolute favorite...a certain red-haired green and black-clad lunatic occupies that position in my heart...but dang it, he's cool.

He's been around for a VERY long time, his powers rival Superman's, except that he can do stuff that even Superman can't do, and he's the backbone of the Justice League. In fact one of the reasons that the current JLA just isn't really working out for me, is that J'onn isn't on it. But if they actually do bring back the JLI, he had BETTER be on it!

So...J'onn may not have all the hoopla, but he DOES have a lot of love.

James said...

The fact the not many people like Martian Manhunter makes me like him even more. I agree a movie would be awesome of him, but only if done correctly (same goes for all movies but you know what i mean). I would want his real history like working as a detective in the beggining. It also would need one of his comic enemies not a new one made up for the movie.

Anj said...

I always look at lists like this as nonsense. My top 100 list would only have a handful of Marvel characters, for example.

And this blog is great, a site that is one my routine of morning reads as I sip coffee. You certainly have taught me a lot about J'Onn's character and history. And you clearly have passion for the guy.

I'm here and reading ... and hoping you are in it for the long haul!

Diabolu Frank said...

I am, but I love to play devil's advocate, and I adore getting to sit back and just read such great comments about m'Manhunter. Besides, I always prefers the alternative choice.