Saturday, October 29, 2011
Martian Manhunter #1 in 2012?
Back in June, DC New 52 news was coming fast and furious, and so were reactions. First, Martian Manhunter was left out of the JLA, but it was assumed he'd have his own book and join the JLI, but then he didn't, which made me reconsider his history with the Justice Leagues. As the titles announced increased, I tried to come up with a solo series creative betting pool based on DC's reusing their typical talent on different properties, only to learn J'Onn J'Onzz ultimately turned up as only a member of the new Stormwatch team.
Well, it's a few months later, and we're looking at numbers. Even with the heat of opening month, Captain Atom, All-Star Western, Hawk and Dove, Resurrection Man, Demon Knights, Frankenstein, Mister Terrific, Grifter, Voodoo, Blackhawks, I Vampire, Static Shock, Men of War, and O.M.A.C. all sold less than 40,000 copies. Most titles have gone to a second printing, but I'm not sure there's all that much demand, especially since these are titles that can still be found in first printings on shop shelves. While reports of O.M.A.C.'s demise may have been premature, the only reason some of these books would hit a twelfth issue would be for show. DC didn't lock it in at 52 titles either, launching The Huntress, T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents, The Shade, The Ray and other books of various lengths. You going to read a Ray series? Me, neither. Anyone got a link to the Ray's spotlight blog so that I may be convinced otherwise?
Point being, we've got to have a new Martian Manhunter #1 coming out in 2012, right? I mean, I'm not trying to work within the logic of DC Comics. Just look at this Newsarama poll. Brightest Day was their biggest book of 2010, with Deadman second only to Aquaman as the most popular feature. So, give Deadman a slot in an anthology title and super team, then promote supporting players Hawk and Dove to their own ongoing title. Hawkman, the worst received feature by a large margin, also gets his own solo series, while J'Onn gets dumped into Stormwatch. Even that position isn't secure, since current solicitations state that in the January issue, "Stormwatch loses two members." I'd like to think the Manhunter from Mars helped the book outsell the other Wildstorm titles by about a quarter, and I'd really rather that he not just turn up for a DC Universe Presents story arc. Unpredictability aside, I'd like to make some suggestions for creators on a prospective Martian Manhunter #1, based on creators available to and likely to work under the current regime at DC.
Grant Morrison: A longshot. Between Action Comics and his long in gestation Multiversity and Wonder Woman projects, I doubt he'd take on an ongoing series for a B/C-lister. Still, I always liked Morrison's handling of the character, and he'd be the surest bet of anybody I'd recommend to launch the series with strong numbers.
John Rozum: Here's a guy who writes quirky, dark stories with a history on properties like The X-Files, while also having established all-ages cred as part of the Johnny DC line. If anybody was going to bring back Zook or the Diabolu Idol-Head and do it justice, it's him.
Jamie Delano: British writers are a pretty safe bet for a John Jones series, especially if they've got Hellblazer on their resume. Since Paul Jenkins and Peter Milligan are already doing DC books, why not Delano? His stuff isn't as "out there" as many Vertigo creators, but that grounding influence could serve Jones well, and it isn't like Delano can't bring the weird as needed.
Keith Giffen: This is a hesitant addition, since Giffen's writing is just as likely to frustrate as to engage, and he hasn't had much commercial success on his own. Still, he knows the character, and I think he could do interesting things.
James Robinson: Noir sci-fi/fantasy? Seems very much in Robinson's wheelhouse, and he could easily repurpose discarded ideas from his Superman and Justice League work for the Manhunter from Mars.
John Arcudi: Although he never had much success at DC, I really enjoyed his run on Aquaman, and he's been a fixture on Mike Mignola's Hellboy line of titles. Another guy who can do both askew and moody well.
Mike S. Miller: That DC Universe Online thing has got to be ending soon, and while I don't share his politics, I've liked Miller's art for years. He had a great take on J'Onn J'Onzz and the White Martians while filling in for Bryan Hitch on the JLA arc "Terror Incognita," and ever since that brief taste, I've wanted more.
Howard Porter: Also soon to be late of DCU Online, but with a much longer history. Porter was an essential element in raising the Martian Manhunter's prominence to the point that he finally received a solo series in the late '90s. Porter has been struggling to make a comeback since at least The Trials of Shazam, and I think he handles solo books a lot better than teams, especially some of the grand scale ones that cause the quality of his art to slip. Porter doesn't have to worry as much about being on model with the Alien Atlas, so I think he'd have fun and feel free on the character.
Ron Garney: M.I.A. since Wolverine: Weapon X ended last year, Garney had a good feel for the Sleuth from Outer Space, able to do grim n' gritty as well as bright n' shiny.
Claude St. Aubin: After two years of reliable, quality work on R.E.B.E.L.S., it seems a shame that the guy doesn't seem to have anything in the pipeline right now.
Also (most on temporary assignments currently):
Phil Hester: Since pulling back on his Image and Dynamite work, I'm not sure what Hester is up to lately. I've liked both his writing and art, which he rarely combines. Should he choose to script, I'd be cool with frequent collaborators like Andy Kuhn and Don Kramer