Saturday, April 30, 2011

J'Onn J'Onnz, Martian Manhunter by David Michael Beck

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David Michael Beck made a big splash with his work on the Devil's Due G.I. Joe comics about a decade back, but he seems to have moved on to more lucrative commercial art outside our field. Surprisingly, out of the relatively sparse output available from the guy online, this fine looking Martian Manhunter piece was amongst them. Check out his website here.

More Beck
DC Powerhouses (Trinity + GL)
Wonder Woman

Friday, April 29, 2011

Chase Chase

Regular readers may have noticed that I've tended to treat Fridays as a dead dump day, often paired off with Saturdays in dropping pin-ups or other low effort prospects. This week is no exception. Chris Sims at Comic Alliance wrote a lengthy article advocating "Why Everyone Should (Legally) Download DC's 'Chase' Drawn by J.H. Williams III." Not only does it give great background on the series and the climate within which it was released, but it also covers characters like DEO Agent Cameron Chase, Director Bones and Dr. Trap I've neglected here. I frankly did not realize that Dr. Trap has had major appearances untouched by my character bio here, which I'll have to amend a.s.a.p. The article also has a string of strong scans. Hop over there and check it out! Then come back here tomorrow for another themed pin-up post to link all my character blogs for a day. I just checked my schedule, and without my realizing it, the whole thing is already set to go while I study. I love me from a week or two ago for looking out for our shared future...

Thursday, April 28, 2011


From DC's The Source Blog:

Wednesday, April 27th, 2011

By David Hyde

Two weeks ago, we announced all the artists who will be illustrating all the ‘70s books in this summer’s RETROACTIVE series. Today, we’re going to fast forward one decade and reveal what artists will be joining the creative teams of the previously announced writers behind the ‘80s books. We’ll also be giving you quick first looks at what these titles will be about. As we mentioned before, each of these new 26-page stories will be followed by a classic story from its era by the same writer.

Previously, J.M. DeMatteis wrote of the project, "The older I get the more I realize that the most important thing any of us can do in life is strive to live compassionately, keeping our hearts open, treating others with understanding and, most important, simple human kindness. “That which is most needed,” as Buddha said, in words that have echoed through my life for decades, “is a loving heart.” I truly believe that the microcosm is the macrocosm. That our smallest acts of compassion resonate across the planet. That one heart can quite literally change the world."

"Of course it’s one thing to make compassion an intention in our lives and quite another to live it. J'Onn J'Onzz tries to be as good and decent a being as he can, but as a super hero and detective, he is constantly faced with the worst of our world. During my run with Keith Giffen on Justice League International, I tried to play with the conflict between J'Onn's consciously working on himself, on his connection to the Divine, and the realities of our world. No matter how hard we try to live our highest ideals, we are, at some point—and, I suspect, with some regularity—going to screw up. That happens without the need to routinely sock bad guys in the jaw. It was a complication and duality that I always wanted to explore further, but I never had the chance to work with the Martian Manhunter in detail after leaving DC in the early '90s. I also wanted to return to my character of Saul Erdel, and explain why he revealed the truth about J'Onn's past after so many years. This project struck me as the perfect opportunity to finally touch on those points."

Keep checking back to THE SOURCE today as we reveal details for all of the 1980’s books.

The ‘80s were a decade that forever changed the Alien Atlas. Now to tell an exciting “lost tale” from that era will be the creative team of artist Luke McDonnell and acclaimed writer J.M. DeMatteis.
ONE-SHOT • On sale AUGUST 3 • 56 pg, FC, $4.99 US • RATED T

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Flashpoint #3 (February, 2000)

Allen Industries, Central City. The Wally West clone was long gone, leaving quite a mess in his wake. Ralph Dibny was lost in expository thought. Barry and Iris Allen looked on. The Martian was elsewhere, at Immortality, Inc...

"The Earth Manhunter Dibny has been useful, but he has served his purpose. Now I must act alone... I go hunting for Savage. I make myself invisible to the minds of men and drift into his lair. It's an unnecessary exercise. The people are gone. Employees. Scientists. Security staff. There is some finality afoot here. I sense no one. Except... him. So I make myself known."

The Martian passed intangibly into Van Savage's office. "Whoa. Talk about close encounters. Have a seat, friend. I've been expecting you. We're two sides of the same coin, aren't we? We know the name of the game, right? We're not going to fret about some unloosed speed demon..." Meanwhile, the Wally West clone crashed into the home of a young Asian woman named Linda.

Ralph Dibny explained to the Allens that the Martian had "pushed into my mind" a vision of the destruction of Mars, "played out like an IMAX film on the back of my eyeballs. There was this priest, see? Except he was a scientist, too. On Mars, science and religion were the same. No difference. Get my drift? And this nut thought he'd cut the key to heaven. The holy lunatic wasn't satisfied with life on that glorious, thriving world. He yearned for a higher state of being. For himself and the planet." The priest tapped into what the writer avoided referencing explicitly as the Speed Force, which accelerated all terrestrial life into vapor in an instant. "There was one survivor. My green friend... the priest's acolyte. He tried to prevent his master from activating the device. No such luck. A small subspace wormhole... an unexpected anomaly triggered by the... the flashpoint event... opened its cosmic maw and sucked him right in. He found himself dumped on our miserable rockpile. And he's been here ever since. Walking our filthy streets. Living in the shadows. Dreading the day... Well my friends, the day has come. The artifact's come to Earth. Savage has it. The Martian's gone after him. May heaven have mercy on us all."

Barry asked if the Martian was naked, and Ralph confirmed that he was "practically," but couldn't figure what that had to do with anything. My compliments of the design of his costume kind of went out the window as the Martian fell through the wormhole. Kicking his bare feet and with ass jutted, he looked like he was trying to catch tubular waves in his wetsuit like a Silver Surfer, dude!

"From what you've told me..." assured Barry, "... I'm sure your Martian has everything under control." Indeed, Van handed the artifact right over, claiming James Jesse had gone rogue, and "I dealt with him the only way I could." The Martian learned that through his operatives, Savage had been aware of his existence "for decades now... I've formed a pretty good picture of you. Your strengths. Your weaknesses." The Martian felt he had revealed too much over the years, and the immortal Savage agreed that will happen over enough of an expanse of time. The Martian planned to destroy the artifact, "To keep it out of the hands of zealots." Van was as wary of the government as the Martian, and invited him into a secure meeting room. The Martian was well secured within, as Savage watched him immolated from behind a translucent partition. "Not fast enough... Careless careless... No more obstacles now. Just one more soul to talk to..." Van extracted the artifact from the Martian's skeletal remains.

Linda tried to talk Wally out of falling into a trap set by Barry, but the clone raced headlong, and had his powers absorbed. Barry could now tremulously move an atrophied hand. He soon arranged a meeting with Van outside Immortality, Incorporated, a swarm of government agents in tow. It seemed the immortal had lived long enough, but couldn't extinguish his life in so small a manner as suicide. Instead, he would take the human race out with him, through the artifact. Van revealed that it was his experimental bullet that had paralyzed Barry in Dallas as he activated the artifact. Barry had regained his speed through the Wally clone, but wasn't fast enough to stop a sniper's bullet from penetrating Savage's skull, nor the first energy emissions from the artifact. Instead, Allen raced to absorb the lightning with his body, increasing his own speed. Allen took it all in, saving the Earth. In a final vision, he was greeted by fellow Silver Age heroes he had never known in this Elseworld, but all to familiar to the reader. The half-naked Martian Manhunter, Jay Garrick, Superman, a young Iris & Wally West, Green Arrow, Wonder Woman, Batman, Aquaman, Green Lantern, and even the Atom.

Ralph thought he saw Barry leave his wheelchair for an instant, but he must have been consumed by the energy released after Savage's death. He and Iris still held a funeral service. The Wally clone was slowly gaining West's original memories while making time with Linda.

The third of three Flashpoint chapters was by Pat McGreal and Norm Breyfogle. Not a bad set-up, but it seemed like the writer and artist got worked up over a mutual interest in texts on existentialism, metaphysics and so forth. An awful lot got squeezed into this final chapter, and it seemed like the characters and the organic flow of the story got shirt shrift. Still, it was better than average, a whole lot less predictable, and featured uncommon characters (meaning, of course, not Batman or Superman ad nauseum.)

ElseWednesday featuring Wildstorm!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Brightest Day's Done

One Year Later... and we find ourselves on the eve of the conclusion of one of the best selling and most important series of the decade... BRIGHTEST DAY! Twelve characters resurrected at the end of Blackest Night, including our own Martian Manhunter, sent on missions by a benevolent force that would evoke shock waves throughout the DC Universe! Professor Zoom, Jade, Osiris, Maxwell Lord, Captain Boomerang, Hawk and Deadman each used to launch new series, relaunch old ones, or elevated to a level of prominence never before seen in their history! Four more heroes were broken down and remade into elementals by the White Lantern to combat the greatest evil of all time, and their individual fan blogs have chosen today to celebrate!

The Aquaman Shrine has been there every other week, chronicling the glorious resurgence of the Sea King! After literally decades of abuse and neglect, Aquaman and Mera are the power couple of the DCU, with an upcoming spin-off series by the white hot creative team of Geoff Johns and Ivan Reis! There's also a new Aqualad who expands the racial diversity of comics and co-stars in the Young Justice cartoon series!

Being Carter Hall has also regularly championed the Winged Wonders' adventures in the title! The version of Hawkgirl made popular in the Justice League Unlimited animated series is finally back, and married to the classic interpretation of Hawkman! The curse that has haunted the characters since their first appearance in 1940 has finally been lifted, their oldest foe served his ultimate defeat, and revelations about Hawkgirl's mother will surely echo for years to come!

Firestorm Fan may well have the most to be excited about of us all! The Nuclear Man of both the '80s Super Powers Team: Galactic Guardians and the '00s Batman: The Brave and the Bold cartoons have combined to form the perfect matrix! Ronnie Raymond has moved beyond being an alcoholic hero, and out of the shadow of his partnership with Martin Stein! Jason Rusch, who has already proven himself as a solo act, is now the brains behind Ronnie's experienced brawn, and the pair have made Firestorm strong enough to face the Black Lanterns and the Anti-Monitor!

Finally, there's the Manhunter from Mars, who now has pants! That's right, we all know who wears the pants now, and it's J'Onn J'Onzz! Pants... and a cabochon! This is the most radical reworking of the character since 2006! Not as radical, but the most since!

Back in November, Newsarama ran a poll asking BRIGHTEST DAY Halfway Point - What's the Best Story? The top spot went to "Aquaman, Mera, Aqualad, and friends" with 1,789 votes taking 44.94%. They were followed by Deadman, Firestorm, then Martian Manhunter with less than 8% and 314 votes. I guess we're lucky they didn't run Hawk & Dove as an option to pull a Ralph Nader on the Alien Atlas. I can't really argue with the results, because I pretty much agree that the Manhunter story was the single most pointless of the lot.

What really came out of J'Onn J'Onzz's appearances in this book? A new villain, once hyped as his greatest ever? Aren't they all? At least once a decade another "unique" survivor of Mars shows up to try their hand as an arch-nemesis. Commander Blanx in the '60s, Re's Eda in the '70s, the Marshal in the '80s, the Master Gardener and Malefic in the '90s, Cay'an in the '00s and now D'Kay D'Razz? Hell, even of that dubious lot, D'Kay is the least. Malefic and Blanx took on the JLA. The Master Gardener defeated the Justice Society and briefly conquered the world. Even Cay'an managed to ace some White Martians. What did D'Kay D'Razz do? Kill a bunch of random humans who existed solely to be killed? Beat up Miss Martian?

Actually, how sad is it that the first meaningful interaction between M'gann M'orzz and J'Onn J'Onzz in the five years since her creation was the result of D'Kay banging the woman's head into the refrigerator a few times? That was good for a handful of dialogue balloons and a splash page between a couple of issues. How about the way D'Kay cast an illusion over J'Onn's mind for an issue or two? When you work it out by page count, how much longer did D'Kay have a grip as compared to, say, Bette Noir? Plus, she was pretty unambiguously and unnecessarily graphically endeadened, so the time wasted in her build-up to nothing would only be topped by the grating stupidity of explaining a return appearance. Why bother, when General B'add A'zz is coming in 2021?

Oh wait, how about that daring new wrinkle in the origin of the Alien Atlas? Like how we found out that J'Onn was actually an exiled political leader during a civil war? Or that Professor Erdel didn't have a heart attack from shock, but was actually murdered by the robot brain? Or how Erdel was actually alive, and that every solo Manhunter story before 1985 was a false mental implant? Or that Erdel really was dead, but he was killed by an explosion after using Martian technology he'd excavated rather than invented to teleport J'Onzz? So now Erdel accidentally brought a different Martian to Earth first, then intentionally brought J'Onzz to stop the first one, and Erdel did die, but he secretly had a daughter who didn't, but she had a brain injury keep her under wraps all these years until she could serve as an expository device? That's the ticket! That's gold, Jerry! Gold! True daring would be to leave the damned origin alone instead of complicating and contradicting it at every turn. True daring would be to tell an actual new story, unburdened by baggage!

Remember the episode of That 70s Show when Donna gave Eric a huge ring as a present, and then there was the dream sequence where the gang appeared as quasi-Super Friends? From a monitor screen, Batman learns Lex Luthor is deploying an army of cyborg were-zombies on Washington D.C., and the Justice League has gathered to stop them, but first he has to talk to the Martian Manhunter about that enormous cabochon! "If it gets knocked off your chest in battle, the weight could throw the Earth off its axis!" Then Superman grabs J'Onn by the collar and demands "Bloodwynd, give up this game!" Then the lawyers for the owners of Speed Racer serve a cease and desist notice on the unauthorized use of the Mach 5's stylized "M" in the latest attempt to come up with a marketable Martian icon. I guess after co-starring in House of Mystery with Robby Reed, somebody subconsciously drew a parallel between the H-Dial and the Mach Five's steering wheel hub. It's like playing "Six Degrees of Derivation."

I guess three out of four major features coming out of Brightest Day improved is a pretty good ratio, and I'm happy for my fellow bloggers. Geoff Johns became a fan darling by looking at the whole of iconic characters and their history, taking a holistic approach to each property. He balanced the science fiction of Katar Hol and the immortal warrior of Carter Hall. His Aquaman favors the Silver and Bronze ages, but the modern is clearly acknowledged. He's the guy who got all the Firestorms and Flashes and Green Lanterns to work together. It just bums be out that his Martian Manhunter might as well have been created in 1996 by Grant Morrison and Howard Porter, and forget all the rest of it...

Monday, April 25, 2011

2009 "It's Miss Martian" by Chou-Roninx

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Again, Miss Martian triumphs through versatility. Most conventional super-heroines, including her obvious inspiration Supergirl, make problematic translations into cutesy Japanese styling. M'gann M'orzz is a total natural...

"I told myself that I shouldn't overdo the DC art and take a break from it for a while (wanna balance out my gallery with other interests of mine) but I just had to do another Miss Martian pic! I've got 2 more DC related pics queued up but don't know when they'll get done. The theme from The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya's first season comes to mind when I think of her character."

Just in the few weeks since I drafted this post, the artist decided to change the background from solid pink to white sans shadow with pale twin "M"s. I like it when my borrowing of art inadvertently preserves a now unavailable variation.

Sunday, April 24, 2011


K'Don-Fete, "The Little Feast," was one of the most important holidays in Martian civilization. It was "a time to celebrate peace, friendship... but most importantly... family."

First Appearance: JLA/Cyberforce (2005)

Saturday, April 23, 2011

2006 Justice League Unlimited Warm-Up Sketches by Eric Canete

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"Unlike the 90 minute images I'd do in the morning to 'warm up' (which, in all honesty was just a not-so-subtle excuse for me to burn an hour and a half before lunch rolled around), these images are dedicated specifically to the 'JLU' show I did storyboards for in its latest and last season.

Before I'd get to the task of drawing whatever the script dictated, I wanted to see - based on the model sheets - what I could do with different poses for the characters (even if it was in character to do those poses, if you know what I mean). They're all episode specific, but I only ended up using some of the poses for the actual show."

Included are the animated incarnations of Vixen, Aquaman, Martian Manhunter, Batman, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern John Stewart, Big Barda, Deadman and Heatwave. The gallery is here.

Easter Canete Weekend

Friday, April 22, 2011

2010 Justice League Unlimited Martian Manhunter by Gary Anderson

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I passed out around nine, and woke up an hour ago. It's the start of a holiday weekend, I don't have a burning desire to talk about anything, and I don't feel like booting up my scanning computer for one art post. Let's play DeviantART roulette with the first appropriate result under the search term "John Jones..."

Thursday, April 21, 2011

2010 The Martian Manhunter by Ryan Jenkyns

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Can I just say, damn? Like, hot damn. Photorealistic CGI J'Onn J'Onzz plus standard suit = success.

Following on from my last deviation, I've been playing with more Photoshop. I've been working on a lifecast of myself and thinking what masks I could sculpt in future, and I've always noticed that of all the Justice League characters, the one member who is less commonly portrayed is always the Martian Manhunter. So this is a little test to see what I would look like as the big green fella.

Of course, I tried to stay true to the comics and animated series, while grounding it in reality. And I happened to have a halfway decent photo of myself in a suit, so thought I'd go with that. I also liked the dramatic lighting of the original photo, so tried to replicate that when putting this together.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Flashpoint #2 (January, 2000)

Allen Industries, Central City. Unable to move, Barry Allen struggled with his self worth.

Above the three story house they shared, Ralph and Sue Dibny slept. The first floor was devoted to the husband's Confidential Investigation Service (Divorce, Missing Persons, Criminal Cases, Court Record Access.) Lord knows how that won the heart of a debutante. Ralph received a late night call from a source about the James Jesse heist. In the mirror, Ralph spotted a figure hovering at his window, and lunged for the revolver in his bedside table. No one was there when he turned.

John F. Kennedy had managed to get elected ten times thanks to the peace and prosperity that came with the collapse of the U.S.S.R. in 1968 and the routing of other detrimental forces by Barry Allen and Van Savage since. Even through scandals and excesses, the people had stood by Kennedy, but the theft of the artifact endangered that trust. Jack hoped they could fix everything once again.

Wally West died, and was buried. Barry didn't believe he had gone to a better place. "Heaven's a dream, Iris. You know the score. Particles and chaos. Entropy and inertia. The universe doesn't give a damn. Iris had been a rock for Barry all those years, but Allen needed solitude to go over all the information gathered during West's final days. Barry teleported aboard the deep space probe Odyssesus for that time.

Ralph Dibny beat the stuffing out of tailor Paul Gambi for information. Gambi was known for making super-villain costumes and other arrangements, including a passport to help James Jesse get out of the country. A tape measure helped Ralph choke the last details out of Gambi, including a package with the jumpsuit Jesse had worn while performing his heist. "Hmm. If I were you, Gambi, I'd pack a quick bag and beat it. Don't even bother folding the shirts."

In a back alley, Dibny again ran into his mysterious client in the trench coat and fedora. Ralph drew on him, but the figure knew he wouldn't fire. "I want more information. I want to know what was recovered from Mars... Perhaps if I reveal something to you, you will reveal something to me. The coat came off, and an Elseworlds version of the Martian Manhunter stood revealed.

On the probe, Barry Allen dreamed of a life as the Flash not his own. Villains unmet in this reality, friends from the Justice League of America familiar only to the reader. "A league of incredibly powered heroes... all of them decked out in gaudy costumes... all of them... except the big green Martian who wears practically nothing. The dream is false and yet feels so real..."

In the alley, a touch over the face left Ralph Didny heaving from the psychic information dump of an alien life. "You've convinced me... you're a Martian... you're real... it's... so horrible." As he looked over Jesse's uniform, the Martian explained, "'Horrible' doesn't begin to describe it. We have to find the rod." The suit was thought useless, "to an Earth Manhunter. But for me... there are skin cells sloughed off in this material. They still produce a vibration, a frequency... like a neon fingerprint to my eyes. All we have to do is follow the trail." It ended in the harbor, where the Martian retrieved James Jesse's body from underwater. "Death is not necessarily an absolute. His mind may still contain retrievable information. Perhaps I will find something. Perhaps nothing."

At Immortality Incorporated's restricted R&D lab, Len Snart showed off his Wally West clones. Most vibrated uncontrollably, and died trying to pass through the atoms of six feet of solid steel. One was different-- smarter-- somewhat in control of itself. It insisted it was the Flash. Van Savage wanted that one destroyed. While Savage was grateful Snart's cloning process had allowed him to continue surviving without the need to harvest organs from his descendants, he could not risk a super-speed clone of West getting loose. Besides, Savage was far more interested in the source of the speed powers than the individuals possessing them.

The Wally West clone made it through the steel and out the door. It battled police. It stole a Flash costume from the museum. At Allen Industries, it confronted Iris and the returned Barry Allen before running away screaming "No!" Ralph Dibny approached through the rubble left in the Flash's wake, and Iris revealed it was she who had been working with this private eye. Barry didn't know this guy from Adam, but was interested to learn James Jesse was dead, and that it was Vandal Savage who had hired and murdered the rogue. Allen wanted to know how Dibny knew all this. "A big green Martian told me," he answered with a smirk to Allen's shock.

The second of three Flashpoint chapters was by Pat McGreal and Norm Breyfogle. Ralph is a lot more fun as a dick, and the Manhunter redesign wasn't half bad.

ElseWednesday featuring Wildstorm!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

2006 Legion of Superheroes Academy : Martian Manhunter by Kid Marvel J

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Here's another costume redesign from out of Melbourne, Victoria and on through to the 30th Century (1996 version.) There's an awfully familiar flavor of requested asymmetry here, as well as the always popular Liefeldian "Look at my crotch" mid-line stripe. I like the belly diamond because a) there's not enough dudes with exposed midriffs to balance the entrenched sexism in comics, b) it downplays the highly played out chest straps sported by every fifth DC hero, c) that conehead would totally fit into the navel gap like an autoerotic glove or an immature gunt and d) it reminds me of that nifty Alan Davis design, but without the entirely unnecessary segmented armored codpiece (save that for under Magnus' skirt!)

This isn't the kind of thing I'd want to see regular, because real Manhunters don't wear bracelets, but it's pretty spiffy for its stated employment qualification at a fictional Legion Academy. Plus, you always win points with me through a folded collar and a "pie" symbol. I'm easier than Lindsay Lohan at a film/record producer convention with Columbian Snow hors d'œuvres.

Jeez, can you tell I was reading Tucker Stone before writing this post? What a mouth I have!

Monday, April 18, 2011

2011 Cosplay: Aigue-Marine as Miss Martian [M'gann Morzz]

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Aigue-Marine is French for aquamarine, and the name of a lovely German cosplayer who has really nailed the look of Miss Martian. For me, it's all in the smile and the reserve, but good make-up (especially careful choice of lipstick) never hurts...

After a long cosplay winter break I'm finally back and able to present something new! This picture shows me wearing my latest costume - Miss Martian from the cartoon series Young Justice. ♥

I decided to cosplay this character rather spontaneously when I had to stop working on my Luna Lovegood costume due to ordered material still missing.
Besides a few things the outfit is completely made out of left-over fabrics. It was easy to sew and quickly finished.

The most difficult part about Miss Martian was the green make-up/body paint. To make my legs look green I put on green tights. For both my arms and my face I used professional stage make-up. (Eulenspiegel Schminkfarben)
It took about 45 minutes to apply the body paint. Surprisingly it didn't rub off on my clothes or something.

Wow! The leggings matched the skin tone so well, I totally missed that!

Click To Enlarge "YJ: Let Me Read Your Mind."

I'm trying to get M'gann M'orzz's Miss Martian Monday back on the schedule, especially since the cartoon has generated plenty of material online to draw from, and I think this starts it off very nicely...

Sunday, April 17, 2011

2011 The Incredible League of America Martian Manhunter by Karl Savage

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In an effort to catch up on my schedule, I wanted to spend a bit of time this week looking at the routinely "off" attempts at redesigning J'Onn J'Onzz. He's a uniquely challenging character, because his green skin really interferes with other colors, and the expectation of showing a lot of it contradicts his whole reserved, cerebral detective shtick.That having been said, it strikes me as funny how slapping him into a variation on the Pixar Incredibles family get-up actually kind of works. I often point to the use of black as cheap, and doubly so when paired with red, but the balance here is such that it comes off as vibrant with subtle contrast. Obviously the yellow adds to its pop, as evidenced by Tim Drake's (really terrible) last costume as Robin, but it works better on a more fantastical sci-fi character. It's gaudy enough to recall the Alien Atlas' pulpy origins, but refined enough that you can still buy him as a more refined figure. Finally, all three colors work for the sparse green, bringing it to the fore by minimizing its expanse. It reminds me of the Vision, in that the thing you remember most about a hero 95% covered in yellow and green is the splash of red on his little exposed face. I don't like the gauntlets, but otherwise this is strangely effective.

Savage created a whole JLA of Incredibles, and while this turned out the best of the lot, you should take a gander at the rest at Project : Rooftop.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

2009 Martian Manhunter 001 by Rob Duenas

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I was over at Comics Make Me Happy! earlier today, where LissBirds took a look at a Martian Manhunter redesign by Joel Ojeda. I went off on it, as I'm wont to do, because it had tribal tats and claws and was pretty much a laundry list of cliche in trying way too hard to be "bad." About the only thing more indicative of a complete absence on imagination is to just throw a trench coat or a hoodie over an almost all black outfit...

Here's my take on an updated Manhunter design. I switched out the Old school style cape for a more hooded approach, I covered him in black again to pop out the red symbols as well as figuring he can be hurt by fire so the material is Fireproof. Again I feel trying to move away from a ton of muscles showing to emphasizing the symbols or primary colors of the character.

I'm kind of amazed how much thought went into rationalizing turning the Martian Manhunter into the Crow.

Friday, April 15, 2011

"1967 Manhunter from Mars Movie Mister V Promotional Still"

Detective John Jones (Woody Strode) saw a flash of memory from the mind of Monty Moran (Jeff Corey) in its last flickering, depicting a faceless figure of menace. Jones then wandered through the Getaway King's abandoned hideout, thumbing through loose bits of paperwork. Finding a telephone, Jones requested the operator connect him to Captain Harding (Simon Oakland) of Middletown Police Precinct 225. Reaching his commander, Jones notified Harding of the mastermind's demise, and parts invoices found on the premises from Apex Manufacturing corporation. The Captain explained that Patrolwoman Meade (Jill Ireland) had managed to trace serial numbers off the discarded drill used in the bank robbery back to Apex. However, Lieutenant Saunders had pursued the lead "like a bull in a china shop! Barging into the offices of the heart pumping the lifeblood of Middletown without a search warrant! Commissioner Meade will have all our heads for this."

Detective Jones heard sirens in the distance, and assumed Saunders (Lawrence "Larry" Dobkin) had pursued a lead from Apex Manufacturing to his location. Jones told Captain Harding he had his own clues to follow, and wanted to set out before Saunders arrived...

Diane Meade was furious that Lt. Saunders had run with her lead without regard for procedure. She was standing in the offices of Apex Manufacturing, and instead of pursuing an investigation, Meade was struggling to smooth all the feathers Saunders had ruffled. There was no guarantee Saunders had found anything of value in the Apex files, and the likelihood of getting further cooperation, from Apex or a judge, was razor thin...

Night had settled over the outskirts of Middletown by the time Detective Jones had followed the tracks of the getaway wagon from its first safe house to its second. Jones' eyes gleamed in the dark, no less effective for lack of sunlight. Peering through the window of a garage, Jones could see shadows moving under the door of a dimly lit office, but no one on the floor itself. Closing his eyes, Jones peered into the mind of one of the men inside the room, who was interacting with a large television monitor. On the screen was the foreboding faceless man from Moran's last vision, referred to as "Mister V." The group was discussing strategies for consolidating their power over the Middletown underworld, and whether to try stealing Moran's discarded drill from police lock-up, or pay Apex Manufacturing for a replacement. Mr. V was more concerned about another criminal genius still at large that was fighting the thumb of Vulture.

Just as Mr. V planned to shut off communications to pursue that concern, the gang heard a metallic wrenching sound come from the garage. As several men rushed to the office door to check it out, an automobile engine flew through a nearby window. Light flooded the room, and the shattered glass framed a strange alien figure better than a hundred feet away, atop the ravaged getaway wagon. The towering creature had green skin, while wearing a blue cape, red chest straps, and black pants. One would think such a figure would be easy to track, but as the men drew on it, the creature appeared to vanish from sight. The men divided up to seek it out, and one hood missed the intruder reaching for his gun hand from out of the shadows. A second jade hand covered his mouth, and whisked him away into the black unknown. Another hood turned in time to fire on an unseen specter which emerged from nothingness to charge him, ramming the thug with such force as to cast him several yards into a wall. A goon told his fellow to stick close, right before being lifted off his feet and brutally flung into his compatriot. From a distance, the final gunman drew a bead on the green giant, and began firing rounds at the unblinking, ever nearer invader. On impact, the trigger man tumbled violently through the office door, before laying like a rag doll in the middle of the floor.

J'onn J'onzz strode proudly into the office, to look into the televised image of Mr. V. "What kind of man are you," queried the crimelord. "I am not a man at all, at least as you know them on this planet. I am a Martian, and I hunt evil men like you, Faceless!" After a pause, Mr. V bellowed, "We'll see who hunts whom, Manhunter from Mars," and cut off his transmission...

Thursday, April 14, 2011

2009 Manhunter Paul Kirk by Chris Stevens

Click To Enlarge

Chris Stevens is one of the artists behind the surprisingly fun Skullkickers comic, and after looking through his deviantART gallery, I think he's going to be huge someday. When you can connect Ed McGuinness to Carlos Pacheco to Jim Steranko to Terry Dodson, you're like the Amazo of comic art talent. I haven't spoken much about the Paul Kirk Manhunter around here, and one of my only faults in Stevens' taste is his absence of love for J'Onn J'Onzz, but I'll play out the tenuous connection as part of my bid to raise Stevens awareness among the fan community. Anyone with multiple Dr. Strange pieces in their portfolio is alright with me, and I'd kill to have this guy work on any of several perfect vehicles for his style.

Chris Stevens Commissions

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Martian Sightings for July, 2011

How screwed up is is that Ed Barreto and Tom Mandrake each have a Retro-Active book out this month, and neither involve the Martian Manhunter? I'm glad I chose not to use either in my Pseudo-Retro-Active series of posts here on the blog. I thought Barreto had lost too much of his eyesight to draw a comic, and I assumed Mandrake had better things to do than not be a '70s artist drawing a '70s comic. Color me surprised.

Oh, in case you were wondering, I was looking forward to running another "Imaginary Wednesday." However, one of my Photobucket accounts is down for repairs, leaving my Wonder Woman and (Captain) Atom blogs a mess. Therefore, you get solicits! Yay?

Written by GEOFF JOHNS
1:25 Black and white variant cover A by ANDY KUBERT
Variant cover B by IVAN REIS and GEORGE PEREZ
FLASH QUESTION: Will The Flash and his new allies be able to fix the world?
Retailers please note: This issue will ship with three covers. Please see the Previews Order Form for more information
On sale JULY 6
3 of 5, 40 pg, FC, $3.99 US

FLASH QUESTION: Who is The Joker? And what is his dark connection to the Wayne family?
On sale JULY 6
2 of 3, 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US

Cover #11 by ED BENES
Cover #12 by HOWARD PORTER
Luthor unveils his next move in the elaborate game he’s playing against Superman and Brainiac – but how will it change the DC Universe? And Lois Lane is holding back a shocking secret from her husband – when revealed, it’ll rock the Man of Steel to his very core!
In issue #12, Batman begins connecting Luthor, Brainiac, the Exobytes and the survivors from The Daily Planet. But will he be in time to help Superman’s worsening condition?
Issue #11 on sale JULY 6
Issue #12 on sale JULY 20
32 pg, FC, $2.99 US
Hopefully this will be an economic trade. For DC's sake.

In this final BRIGHTEST DAY volume, collecting issues #17-24 of the spectacular series, the mystery of the twelve heroes’ and villains’ return is resolved, the secret of the white forest is revealed. Plus: The Aquawar rages to its bitter end, Firestorm battles Deadman – and who is the new champion of Earth?
200 pg, FC, $29.99 US

Written by MARK WAID
Art and cover by ALEX ROSS
Now back in print! The unforgettable, best-selling miniseries by acclaimed writer Mark Waid and superstar painter Alex Ross returns, with a sketchbook section, annotations on the series, rare art and more!
Advance solicited
On sale JANUARY 25
8.25” x 12.5”, 340 pg, FC, $99.99 US
This was the one with a tiny Martian Manhunter cameo involving his being a broken and largely useless former hero. Why yes, it is yet another Superman imaginary story...

Miss Martian
Written by ART BALTAZAR and FRANC0
Campfire bonding continues as the members of the team share their background stories as well as their hopes and fears. But when do these team-building exchanges cross over into TMI territory? How about when Superboy tells everyone how he’s thinking of taking out Superman?
On sale JULY 20
32 pg, FC, $2.99 US

Art and cover by ART BALTAZAR
They said it couldn’t happen, but why did you believe them? It’s…young Bizarros in love! Who is the strange girl from a square planet floating in space? Join us as the Tiny Titans discover Bizarro World! Aww yeah!
On sale JULY 20
32 pg, FC, $2.99 US

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

O’Neil & Netzer Announced for RETRO-ACTIVE 1970s Martian Manhunter!

From the DC Universe: The Source blog...

RETROACTIVE: MARTIAN MANHUNTER – THE ‘70s #1 Writer and Artist Announced
By David Hyde

Last week, we announced RETROACTIVE. Today, we’ll take a trip back to the 70’s and tell you a little more about each title.

This past weekend at London's Kapow! Comic Con, DC Comics VP of Sales Bob Wayne announced the latest creative team for the RETRO-ACTIVE event, legendary writer Dennis O’Neil and veteran artist Michael Netzer on The 70s MARTIAN MANHUNTER. Published throughout July and August 2011, these are exactly the kinds of one-shots people often associate with summer. RETRO-ACTIVE reunites classic writers and artists with classic characters Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern, The Flash, Justice League of America, and of course the Manhunter from Mars, returning to the interpretations they are best known for. Each of these series will have 3 one-shots that pay homage respectively to the ‘70s, ‘80s, and ‘90s.

Dennis O’Neil was also on the panel, and joked, "I don't really remember writing all those J'onn J'onzz stories, so for me, it'll be like my first time!" He continued, "You have to understand that back then, the Martian Manhunter wasn't as significant a character as he is today. When I took over JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA, Gardner Fox had already written him out of the book. My editor was Julie Schwartz, and he asked me to give the character a better send-off, since his feature had been dropped from whatever series it ran in, and readers were writing in to Julie to find out what had become of him. I thought stories set on Mars after we knew there was nothing there were silly, so I burned everybody out and sent J'onzz packing to find whoever was left. I figured that would be the end of it, but Julie had me do another one a few years later, and then I got roped in again a few years after that!"

O’Neil was complimentary of the writers who followed him. "I think the stuff they did later on was great! I didn't know what to do with the guy, and at the time, nobody else did, either. It was hard to treat him seriously. I think it was Steve Englehart who first grounded John Jones in the 1950s, in all that McCarthy paranoia, and other writers really ran with that. They brought a detective novel sensibility to the superhero, and made it work. I'd like to try that with this special, but instead of doing the same thing people have seen before, I think I've come up with a nice little twist to it. I want to take John Jones and write a script where he's a 1970s style detective. Something like Serpico or the French Connection, where you keep the grit and suspense without the trench coats and fedoras."

Joining O'Neil will be one of the great Martian Manhunter artists of the era, Michael Netzer. The artist previously wrote of his credentials on the Manhunter from Mars serial in ADVENTURE COMICS, "Over the years, and especially on comics related web sites and forums, there has been a notable fondness expressed for this series, which included that memorable logo I designed, and was later used repeatedly in various Martian Manhunter appearances. It was often said that it was this depiction of J'Onn J'Onzz which revived him in the DC Universe, and brought back his pronounced brow that became, and remains, his visual trademark to date. Almost whenever the Martian Manhunter is cited by comics fans and aficionados, that series is remembered by J'Onn J'Onzz' lovers from all eras, and spanning the spectrum of comics fandom."

All the 70’s titles will hit stands in late July. Each title in the series will feature 26 new story pages with 20 pages of classic stories, running at $4.99 a piece. Keep checking back to THE SOURCE as we reveal full creative teams, artwork, and more details about RETRO-ACTIVE in the coming weeks and months.

Artist Michael Netzer and writer Dennis O’Neil return to the character of J'onn J'onzz in the heart of the ‘70s, a decade that transitioned him from a campy Sleuth from Outer Space into today’s Manhunter from Mars.
ONE-SHOT • On sale JULY 27 • 56 pg, FC, $4.99 US • RATED T

Please note that this art is style guide art and is not artwork from the actual issue.

Remember folks, April holidays can last longer than you might think...

Monday, April 11, 2011

2011 Custom Life Size Martian Manhunter Statue

When I first read $1,400.00 - 1,800.00 for a J'Onn J'Onzz statue, I laughed at the hubris, until I realized this thing is seriously life sized. This thing comes from the Philippines, with a native used for scale, and even if the dude is 5'2" the statues are an easy six feet. The ad states 6'6" specifically. It's actually kind of amazing. See for yourself on the eBay auctioneer's profile, and also be sure to check out the Wonder Woman version.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Martian Manhunter Menagerie Madness Mitigated

Back in February, blog reader jimmypulv offered the suggestion of running "March Madness" with Martian Manhunter villains. After a flurry of initial qualifying rounds, we saw the following breakdowns of bad-on-bad action:

The plan was to finish on the last day of March, to not have a whole bunch of ties, to not have eBay style "strategic voting" in the last moments of polls, and for Google to not create instabilities that affected scheduled posts, reset polls, and basically make something fun a bit of a headache. It was also a bit of a bummer that March saw a readership slump, increasingly low vote turn-outs, and a general drop in comments posted. I don't blame the poll for this, because I figure its been a trend since the blog's peak during the "death and resurrection" phase, but it reminded me that I'm playing to a smaller though dedicated crowd. C'est la vie. I'm glad to have folks around who care about the character, and if I wanted a large audience, I'd have created a Wolverine blog. Speaking of which, I would stack the Vile Menagerie against the pantywaists Logan scratches at vigorously any damned day of the week. Now that is a pathetic lot.

Round Five

Commander Blanx vs. Mr. V: I don't think anyone was particularly excited about this match. Faceless has his fans, but at the end of the day he's the dorkiest looking international crime boss around, with some reasonably competent goons and a few gadgets that haven't really stood the test of time. Meanwhile Blanx only appeared in two comics from over forty and thirty years ago, only one of which has ever been reprinted. However, folks know he's a Pale Martian that overwhelms Mr.V in raw power, accomplishments and intellect, plus his reputation precedes him thanks to folks like me clucking over him. This came close, but I expect that was mostly due to any contest involving only seven respondents likely not to end in landslide. (4-3)

Despero vs. Ma’alefa’ak: After Google's reset on March 31st, I went through my referral queue, and got reasonable, familiar numbers on those old polls... except on Despero vs. Malefic, which showed 4-3 in Despero's favor. My original poll number favored Malefic, so he was the one to progress to...

Round Six
Malefic/Ma'alefa'ak vs. Commander Blanx: There are three major competitors for the role of the Martian Manhunter's nemesis. In the sixties, the Diabolu Idol-Head, Professor Hugo, nor Mr. V had the ability truly challenge the Martian Manhunter in the way a "big bad" should. Blanx was the only villain from that era to reappear in continuity, and had a massive impact on all J'onn J'onzz stories written since. However, Blanx has been treated as deceased since 1968, and has ceased to exist in the hero's canonical history since the late '80s. Malefic had far more opportunity to show off his powers, made an impression on modern fans, and since his creation in the late '90s has served the same role Blanx had been created for. The people who like Malefic generally do so with a real passion, and those who dislike him are rather dismissive. Those who like Blanx tend to do so based on his potential and a desire for more, rather than his scant presence in published works, and I don't think they're as likely to rally to his defense in a scene like this. Malefic has simply been embraced in a way Blanx hasn't, and he's dealt more intimate damage to J'onn J'onzz of the two. Taking on the JLA alone and faring well where Blanx and his men were bowled over in a few pages doesn't hurt Ma'alefa'ak, either. (5-2)

Once I lost my poll numbers, the ones I had became contradictory, and things went pear-shaped, I decided to let a final rematch play out over a long duration...

Malefic/Ma'alefa'ak vs. Despero: The final of those three potential nemeses got to take on the reining champion. In the twenty-some-odd years between the final Commander Blanx appearance and the first Malefic one, Despero was the closest thing J'Onn J'Onzz had to an archrival. Despero has most of the same powers, often bigger and better, and he's managed not to die in a way that had any permanence over the past fifty years, unlike Blanx ("dead" in debut) or Malefic ("killed" within the first year of his appearances.) I have no doubt Despero could kill the hell out of Malefic, or at least batter him the way he does J'Onzz. In fact, Despero held the lead for most of the contest, until two votes in the final hours placed Malefic first. Had Despero won, I'd have declared a tie, an entirely appropriate end to the boondoggle. Instead, I award Malefic the crown, with a bit of a cocked eye. (9-7)

I'd like to thank everyone for participating, especially those who contributed comments. We'll likely do this again next year, but a lot differently. I'd like to be able to fill out that scorecard, for starters...

Saturday, April 9, 2011

2011 Batman vs the Martian Manhunter by Pete Woods

Click To Enlarge

Define Random:

"Something terrible has transpired in outer space! But how can Batman stop the rampage of J'Onn J'Onzz all by himself?!?!? Pete Woods drew this for my brother at the ECCC 2011. My brother loves the giant Martian battle-fist and the Martian vision on display here. Thanks, Pete!"

So of course Martian Vision manages to go around Batman's head at point blank range. 'Cuz he's da Batman! Or in my mental version, choosy astronauts choose Jell-O Batman Chocolate Pudding.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Wonder Woman Annual #5 (1996)

After Crisis on Infinite Earths, DC got really wound up in their newly Marvelized tight ass continuity. It was a major selling point for their entire super-hero line. At the same time, two of their biggest mainstream commercial and critical hits were the tarted up "Imaginary Stories" The Dark Knight Returns and Watchmen. Eventually, DC compromised with the "Elseworlds" banner, where advertising the fact that the stories were way out of continuity was part of the appeal. Considering most of the "Elseworlds" read like overpriced issues of What If...? with far lower body counts and a propensity for milieu adjustments (What if... Batman were a train conductor in the Old West? What if... Batman was a woman in the future? What if... Batman was really Superman, but totally dressed like Batman, who sells way better?) the books were generally well received. Of course, DC couldn't get enough of a good thing, so one year every single annual was an Elseworld, thoroughly diluting the brand and exhausting their audience.

A couple of years later, they tried to pizazz up the old premise with "Legends of the Dead Earth." Instead of doing a steampunk variation of a hero here and a medieval one there, every single annual would be set in a different far future dystopia. That's a really narrow focus to carry twenty-five separate extra length books, and frankly kind of stupid, since about 75% of them involved some sort of legacy bearer taking up the mantle of a super-hero. I realize that no other time period was as important as the 20th century, that no nation matters but the U.S.A., and that every alien world wants to invade the center of all existence, Earth, but please? In a 40th century where things have gotten so bad people are living off their own recycled vomit and feces, some jerk is going to remember temporary '90s hot property Azrael and model their messiah complex after him?

The Martian Manhunter didn't have his own series or the heat of JLA in 1996, but he did get his "Dead Earth" spotlight in Justice League America Annual #10. There were some cameos though, and I've managed to squeeze a lot of words out of one lousy panel. If this were a Superman annual, J'Onn J'Onzz would have died violently, quite possibly at the hands of the Man of Steel himself. Since it's a Wonder Woman one, the Martian Manhunter got a respectful nod. There may have been a backhanded comment involved, but I might just be racially paranoid about green-skinned prejudice.

In this story, some alien chick learned about gender equality and the legend of Wonder Woman through some telepathic projector thingy. One shot featured Superman, the Amazing Amazon, and the Alien Atlas. A funny line pointed out that the chick was, "amazed to find herself accepted as an equal by the men whose power she rivals and exceeds!" To the left was Superman, and Martian Manhunter was on the right, with Princess Diana in the middle.

Obviously there's a lot more to the scenario, which I'll cover next week on my Diana Prince blog, and link from here for ElseWednesday. Martian Manhunter fans don't necessarily need all those details here, right?

Thursday, April 7, 2011

2011 Custom Ma'alefa'ak Lego

I'd started work on a completely different post for today, things went awry, and I decided random filler was best. Technically, this is a "Lego Spiderman Batman Martian Manhunter Minifig Custom," or more specifically, "1 Lego Custom Martian Manhunter with custom torso," selling on eBay for $10. C'mon, look at this thing. It's got an Evil Ernie head! Totally a Malefic as evil J'Onn J'Onzz custom. Now we just need a tortured Jemm Lego...

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Flashpoint #1 (December, 1999)

In Elseworlds, heroes are taken from their usual settings and put into strange times and places -- some that have existed or might have existed, and others that can't or shouldn't exist. The result is stories that make characters that are as familiar as yesterday seem as fresh as tomorrow.

Doctor Wally West was part of an astronautical exploratory team investigating a pyramid on Mars in 1999. West uncovered a vibrating artifact which looked an awful lot like an Emmy award, was struck by lightning, and began vibrating uncontrollably. The paraplegic Professor Barry Allen and his wife Iris were on an orbiting space station, and began trying to figure out how to save their nephew.

In 1956, the Flash emerged as the first ever super-hero, battling colorful foes like Captain Boomerang, Nikita Khrushchev, Fidel Castro, and the Vietnam People's Army. As a result, the United States dominated as the one world power, even after the Flash took a "magic bullet" to the neck while saving the life of then-and-current President John F. Kennedy. Allen's identity was revealed to the world, and while his body was crippled, his mind remained faster than light. He married Iris, and his science advanced the whole of civilization.

In a darkened theater recounting these events at the Flash-Space Museum, private detective Ralph Dibny met with a mysterious figure in a trench and fedora. Ralph flicked a lighter to show off some notes, but his client blew it out. There wasn't much to go on, besides what occurred with West. "I don't know who your source is, but I suspect it's near the top. I need more... Was there lightning?" There was, and the figure vanished from Ralph's presence.

Van Savage was a friend and trusted partner to the Allens, so Immortality Incorporated would do everything it could to save Wally West. Van gave Iris a hug, and put one of his top men, Len Snart, on the case. Perhaps cryogenics could help slow West to give them more time? What of the artifact, though? Safely in the orbiter's vault. "We don't dare bring it to Earth."

Meanwhile, an Allen aid with a criminal record from his teens turned recidivist. James Jesse murdered several guards, took the artifact, and teleported to Earth using Savage's technology...

The first of three Flashpoint chapters was by Pat McGreal and Norm Breyfogle. The writer previously showed his interest in both the tumultuous 1960s and John Jones in the short story "Heat Wave". Editor Paul Kupperberg first proposed to him the prospect of writing a Flash Elseworlds, while McGreal suggested Breyfogle for the project. It was the first, and one of the only, Elseworlds published in a standard mini-series format.

ElseWednesday featuring Wildstorm!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

2011 Martian Manhunter Convention Sketch by Patrick Gleason

Click To Enlarge

For a while now, I've been wanting to do "ElseWednesday," or "Imaginary Wednesday," and start offloading my backlog of non-canonical stories that aren't contingent on any other publishing and can be written up fairly quickly. Of course, today is Tuesday, and as much as I'd like to just pull the trigger on the offerings I have in store, I'd rather save the date until tomorrow. That said, I needed filler for today, and since I was already doing some scanning, decided to reach out to my go-to for such things, Comic Art Fans.

I haven't covered Brightest Day much here, but I've been less than thrilled with it in reviews elsewhere. Still, artist Pat Gleason has drawn more Martian Manhunter solo pages through that book than any artist since Tom Mandrake, and I'm sure this fan was thrilled to get a two page sketch for his JLA art book. I'd highly recommend fans check out the one he did of Aquaman for Rob Kellly, as well.

Monday, April 4, 2011

The Michael Netzer/Nasser Index

Mike Nasser was the single most influential Martian Manhunter artist of the 1970s, and one of the most important in the character's history. Nasser brought back J'onn J'onzz's original alien look, designed the "Manhunter from Mars" logo, and helped popularize the obscure hero through a late decade serial in Adventure Comics. The rechristened Michael Netzer has also been a friend and benefactor to this Martian Manhunter blog, gifting it with free artwork (including our distinctive banner.) In his honor, we present a comprehensive link list of the blog's output related to his work, accompanied by art remastered by Tom Hartley.


Original Art Showcase

Comics Coverage

Martian Manhunter related Co-Creations

Fan Fiction

2010 The Martian Manhunter Archives Volume 6 Fan Mock-Ups by Tom Hartley

"What Would Michael Netzer Do?"
(How things might have played out if Netzer's campaign to save J'Onn had ended with his drawing scripts for then-current DC writers.)


Sunday, April 3, 2011

1992 Venev Alien Parasite Model Sheet by Arthur Adams

Click To Enlarge & Expand

Thanks to the six arms, Venev was one of the easiest Bloodlines parasites to identify while in alien form. I confess, I can't really tell most of the winged ones apart, especially Lissik and Pritor (at least without color.) I'd probably have trouble with Slodd too, if he had survived past one appearance. At least Gemir had batwings to clue me in. I can kind of tell Angon because of her larger size, but if the others' wings were down, I wouldn't bet on it. Venev was a bit more wiry and monochromatic green, so she really stood out from Glonth, who was the other quick tell. Fat and hairy was also distinctive, but being orange and purple of all combinations never hurt. One more confession: I thought those were lights firing out of the parasites' space vessel, until I realized it was actually a back view of Venev without her arms in the way.

Venev uses Martian Manhunter to establish scale, which pleases me immensely. I love Art Adams' take on the character, and J'Onn was sidelined from the event until the closing bookend Bloodbath because of the Bloodwynd fiasco, so at least her got this nice nod. If I recall correctly, that last book was the only instance where the Manhunter and his own identity parasite teamed-up after the "divorce". Every other co-appearance, they were ships passing in the night.

There's a fresh batch of Bloodlines Parasite scans taken from reference material sent out to creators on the annual event, and they're courtesy of "The Online Home of Chuck Dixon," THE DIXONVERSE!. Check out all of his offerings in this gallery! I've also been known to cover characters related to Bloodlines pretty extensively.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

April Fool's Day Blogging

I've been kind of peeved at Google lately. A recent update screwed up my March Madness polls, my scheduled posts keep resetting to unpublished drafts, and even the words I type right now are the result of some coding snafu destroying my first draft of this paragraph. I'm going to go study this weekend, and offer this post recapping holiday shenanigans that never came up on my own Google Reader.

The Irredeemable Shag is usually the ringleader of these April Fool's goofs, and first suggested a 2011 edition in January. His mailing list then promptly forgot all about it, Shag included, or bowed out early. Out of the blue on March 19th, Boosterrific announced that he was going ahead with the plan, and several of us ostriches pulled our heads out of the sand and went, "Oh? Well, okay, I think I'll join you."

The premise this year was to convert your entire blog into something different, devoting it to some obscure property that you have an affection for. Shag of course went the most gloriously nuts by converting Firestorm Fan into B'wana Beast's Blog, dedicated to the curious prevalence of a virtual nonentity for forty years into an enduring cartoon guest star (Justice League Unlimited, Batman: The Brave and the Bold.) Shag created ten entirely new posts, including Why a B’wana Beast Blog?, B’wana Beast in Who’s Who 1985, B’wana Beast gets animated!, Best B’wana Beast Covers of All Time, B’wana Beast Action Figures, POLL: B’wana Beast or Freedom Beast?, B’wana Beast Cosplay at DragonCon 2010*, B’wana Beast Temporary Tattoo, Napoleon Dynamite’s Liger – B’wana Beast’s Greatest Achievement? and my personal favorite, the fan fictional B’wana Beast and Beta Ray Bill – Marvel vs DC Amalgam.
*Caution: May require Kleenex after viewing, regardless of gender

Boosterrific was the one bringing this back, so he sure as heck brought it, with Red Star Fire, the most famous Communist at DC Comics replacing the capitalist running dog Booster Gold. I adore old Soviet bloc propaganda imagery, so the design of the blog alone had me drooling. I don't know how long it will be up at 100%, but it should be accessible through the weekend. If not, the direct link to the permanent content is here.I very much approved of his offering the people a weekly poll to explain what their correct opinion should be, as it was pre-rigged.

Kelson's Speed Force briefly turned Cobalt Blue over: Cobalt Blue, Classic Rogue?, The Flash vs…Barry Allen? The Bronze-Age Origin of Cobalt Blue, “Seeing” Blue: TV’s Cobalt Blue Prototype, Flash Facts: Cobalt Blue, Cobalt Blue T-Shirt Available Exclusively At VA Comicon, Who Is Hot Pursuit, REALLY?

Liquidcross briefly lost the reins to the Indigo Tribe blog to Flash rogue Roscoe Dillon, who tried to prove Nobody Tops the Top. That is, until he found himself Dead and loving it.

Always handy as a bulking agent, I converted five of my own blogs, like Diana Prince as the New Wonder Woman into Wundercar Valkyrie!, dedicated to the Nazi aviation from '40s Hillman, '80s Eclipse, and '00s Moonstone comics. That one was mostly pin-ups and pieces from aborted coverage of one of her mini-series.

DC Bloodlines became Marshal Law's San Futuro Police Blog, revolving around synopsizes of the very mature and anti-superhero first six issue mini-series, plus a few extras. It's actually relevant, since DC (of all places) will be reissuing the series.

Power of the Atom was given over to Dreadstar & Company, a childhood favorite creator owned science fantasy series by Jim Starlin. That one was stocked with remembrances, pin-ups, and crudely glued together custom Overpower cards from when I was younger and even more poor.

I had already planned a fan fiction 1995 Manhunter from Mars Annual #12 and some new icons for the sidebar, but The Aviary of the Osprey kind of laid an egg in terms of raw material in replacing The Idol-Head of Diabolu.

I was running on fumes by the time Vibe's Beat Street Blog spun off from Justice League Detroit. That one was cobbled together, like many of the other blogs, from old crap on my ...nurgh... blog from when I did more there than comic book and movie review. Since I already cover Vibe's stories there, that one descended into music videos, pop-lock educationals, and a look back at 1983's D.C. Cab. Apologies for scrapping the bottle of the barrel on that.

Friday, April 1, 2011

The Osprey's Time Is Now!

After three and a half years of daily Martian Manhunter blogging, I'm completely burned out, and feel I've explored the furthest reaches of the character. I don't want to let my fine readers down though, so yesterday's post was designed to help them transition to this blog's new focal point. For at least the next year, I would like to examine the full unrealized potential of one of the most enigmatic, intriguing, and exciting characters in the history of narrative storytelling: THE OSPREY!

Who is he? What is he? Is he a he? Where does he/she come from? What are their powers? With only a single page of continuity in print to date, the only limits on the character is our imaginations!

I've read the Martian Manhunter interacting with Superman hundreds of times, and am very aware of what to expect out of the mouths of J'Onn J'Onzz and Kal-El. On the other hand, there are countless possibilities for dialogue between the Osprey and the Man of Steel. Would the Osprey cuss? Would the Osprey pretend to be a super-hero? Would the Osprey spit out a half eaten sea bass in Superman's smug face? Would the Osprey flirt openly with Superman, even if he knew Clark Kent was married? I don't know! Nobody does! Can't you see how fantastic it would be to consider this mystery in daily long form slash fiction? With illustrations sent in by you, the readers? I fully expect material from each and every one of you to fill my inbox from now on, and those submissions can go to!

There's something in the air today, because there's a whole host of other blogs changing their formats! I highly recommend you check out the all-new attractions at the following tired old, been there, done that blogs:

Finally, if you voted in the site's poll yesterday, a Google update erased all record of it, and you'll note that the previous polls defaulted to 3-3 ties. If you're not sure your vote counted, try again. I extended it by a day to count chads.

Posted by Diabolu at 12:00 AM

Sunday, March 20, 2011
Manhunter from Mars Annual #12 (1995)

Patrick Starling's mother was the heiress groomed to take over one of the most profitable corporations known to man, with its fingers in as many pies as there are nations. This was how she met Starling's father, who had been a diplomat, but quit to help bulldoze over obstacles in the corporation's various unscrupulous enterprises across the globe. Patrick's brother grew up to become an engineer, and his sister a world-renowned heart surgeon. Both sides of Patrick's family were stocked with exceptional individuals.

Patrick Starling flunked out of the finest schools in the world, and never expressed any interest in becoming anything. His parents tried to teach him the family business, but Patrick simply, passively, refused to take to it. As his siblings became progressively more accomplished, Patrick remained doggedly disappointing. His one abiding passion was birds, as Patrick longed to finally soar free above all the expectations that hovered over him while earthbound. He did become a very capable amateur pilot, but couldn't be bothered to seek professional certification.

Despite all of this, Patrick Starling was used to the finer things and unlimited access, so when he proved unable to earn means of his own, he was at least clever enough to swindle largely and routinely from his family's corporation. Of course, his family was filled with brilliant minds able to untangle his web of deceit and betrayal. While they were putting the finishing pieces of his plot together, they missed the one where he invited his immediate family for a private plane ride, then intentionally crashed. Patrick Starling escaped relatively unharmed, and made sure that the icy, inhospitable crash site would stall search and rescue efforts long enough to see to his family's demise. Part of Patrick's escape from his clan over the years was routine trips to the great outdoors, and he was physically quite sturdy, so it was understandable that he would be the only one found alive. Still, it was a national tragedy.

Starling manipulated evidence to implicate his parents in all wrongdoing against the corporation, and wanting no further obligations, the board was only too happy to help Patrick divest himself of all company holdings. His family's estate was liquidated and divided amongst extended surviving kin. No one was surprised that Starling dropped completely out of sight once everything was resolved, given the terrible circumstances he'd lived through.

Starling enjoyed his freedom and liquid assets for a number of years, but fortunes dwindle and indulgences grow tiresome with repetition. Starling held fast to his fantasy of being as carefree and self-determined as a bird, simply diving out of the sky to scoop up anything they desired from the lowly things below. Patrick developed a second passion-- studying the old time "super villains" of the 1940s. With his remaining funds, Patrick Starling modified an airplane, scouted and stocked several "secret headquarter" caves to work out of, and briefly partook of a crime spree as "The Falcon." For the first time in his life, Patrick Starling was an overwhelming force, able to take whatever he wanted, without regard for the welfare or machinations of others. Unfortunately for him, the same unseen, suffocating force that had hung over Starling like a Sword of Damocles throughout his life brought his adventure to a swift, seemingly inexplicable end.

Patrick Starling was imprisoned, not just for his crimes as the Falcon, but through the renewed investigation into his past embezzlement and implications of fratricide. During his many years at Grayton Prison, droves of brilliant criminals came and went. Starling's innate intelligence made him a natural in conversations with the likes of Alex Dunster, Professor Proxon, Mr. Moth, Mike Miller, Monty Moran, Mr. Mastermind, and Professor Arnold Hugo. It was deduced that based on the strange occurrences during his apprehension and his targeting of Middletown, the Falcon must have been brought low by J'onn J'onzz, the Manhunter from Mars, during the days when he still operated in secret as a crime buster. Trapped in a situation from which there was no escape, Patrick Starling finally put his mind to use in an exceptional pursuit: devising a means by which he could destroy the Martian Manhunter and take flight as the unstoppable bird of prey he wished himself to become. With the idle minds of mad science at his disposal, a suit of armor was designed which could, conceivably, go talon to tentacle with an Alien Atlas.

Acting as his own attorney, Patrick Starling pursued "discovery" that would shed new light on his case. Evidence planted by escaped "friends" from prison incriminated several members of the corporate board in "framing" his family, "engineering" their deaths, and "strong-arming" the mentally unstable Starling out of the company. The media picked up on his riches-to-rags-to-redemption story, and before long, Starling was out of prison with several settled civil suits netting him hundreds of millions of dollars. Starling had a book of his version of events ghost written, including the persecution of the mentally ill by self-appointed "super-heroes," that made the best-seller lists. Finally, Starling had the means and mobility to complete his revenge.

The super armor was put together by various companies based on those prison plans, without any one having knowledge of the whole. Starling decided on the new villainous identity of "The Osprey," as a nod to his past without tipping his hand publicly. In his super suit, Starling trailed J'Onn J'Onzz at various sightings, usually alongside his new team of heroes, the Justice League Task Force. Not happy with those odds, the Osprey lay in wait for the perfect moment to strike at J'Onzz when he was isolated and vulnerable.

The opportunity arrived when the JLTF's headquarters was destroyed by Vandal Savage in retaliation for their involvement in one of his schemes. While J'Onzz left the unit to pursue the immortal villain, his young charges began an investigation of J'Onzz himself, leading them into a distracting conflict with a mysterious figure named Baron Von Mauler. Thus preoccupied, the Osprey shadowed the Martian Manhunter to Greece, far from any other heroes who could lend aid. While the Sleuth from Outer Space operated in his identity as American private investigator John Jones, attracting the attention of counter agents, the Osprey stalked. Finally, with great force and grace but little strategy, the Osprey simply plucked Jones off the ground.

What followed was a fierce battle. Thanks to psychic shielding in his helmet, J'Onzz could not penetrate the mind of his foe. The Osprey's energy wings depolarized the Martian's cells, making it an act of incredible will just to move as a humanoid, much less shape-shift. The warbird's armor afforded him great strength and durability, in the event the Alien Atlas did make contact. Laser Vision reflected right off of it, endangering civilians on the ground, a distraction J'Onzz could ill afford. Trapped in one form, J'Onzz took great bodily punishment from the Osprey's talons. The Martian Marvel thought a change of venue was in order, and forced his foe into the Mediterranean, but the seahawk was fully equipped with an aquatic mode. In a last ditch effort, the Manhunter from Mars went to the other extreme, pushing himself and the Osprey up through the outer reaches of Earth orbit. Starling hadn't bothered to equip flame throwers in his armor, figuring he had the means to create fire and exploit a known Martian weakness if he needed to do so. He had never imagined J'Onzz could tolerate the heat of ripping through the atmosphere at impossible speed, toward the vacuum of space and devastating radiation exposure that would surely kill them both. The Osprey managed to break free from J'Onzz's grip, and the pair plummeted limply back to Earth.

When J'Onn J'Onzz awoke, he was floating off the African coast. It would take a day or so just to return to the United States in his current condition. Using his vision and telepathic powers, the Martian Manhunter was unable to detect a trace of the Osprey.

Patrick Starling sat motionless, blessed to have sunk only to an ocean depth within his armor's tolerance. He wasn't sure how long he could survive trapped in this place, so it was a lucky turn that an automated crane latched onto the armor and hoisted Starling back to the surface. As he dangled in the air, his sensors barely operational, Starling learned that his motion had been tracked from a satellite with great interest since leaving the JLTF's headquarters. Vandal Savage was very curious to know why the Osprey was after the Martian Manhunter, and what he could do to help...

Mark Waid may have left Justice League Task Force abruptly in the hands of Christopher Priest after a brief stint in 1994, but he made sure to return to a dangling plot thread with this annual in the summer of '95. Artist Sal Velluto had been with the JLTF since their beginning, but also used the "Year One" tale of his co-creation the Osprey as a swan song. It's a shame Priest never brought the villain back into his series, but as with his Vandal Savage subplots there and on The Ray, I suppose unheralded cancellation wrecks the best laid plans.
Posted by Diabolu at 12:00 AM

Sunday, March 20, 2011
Which Super-Villains Should The Osprey Fight?

The Osprey vs. Weapons Master: One of these guys literally appeared in a few panels of foreshadowing in one comic book that was never followed up on, which goes to show nothing is more open to fan projection than a blank canvas. Just ask Neil Gaiman's Morpheus, or the Phantom Stranger. Then again, Weapons Master was only the 198th high-tech mercenary who could afford full body armor but couldn't scrape the stubble off his own chin in 1994. It never helps to be a Bloodwynd villain, either. (8-4)

Doctor Samedi vs. The Osprey: I hope you'll forgive a bit of arrogance on my part, especially over such a piddling matter, but I feel like I "made" the Osprey. He was one of the earliest entries in the original incarnation of the Vile Menagerie from my late '90s site, which got him referenced elsewhere on the net, and he was also one of the first villains back in after the launch of this blog. Whoever created the Osprey page for Comicvine swiped my scan from here, and I figure my adoption and disproportionate coverage of the character has lent him greater credibility than he actual earned in his sole cameo appearance foreshadowing a confrontation that never arrived. At least Doctor Samedi has the goodwill of Ostrander fans from his two page confrontation with the Martian Manhunter and Fire. The Osprey has literally done nothing but talk a bit of smack and take flight. Each of these characters has survived initial qualifications and 1-2 additional rounds of combat, but they also fall into the category of dudes with exceptionally weak opponents and bogus tie matches. The Osprey didn't fall until the final hours of voting, by a single ballot, or else I'd be stuck finding opponents for both of these losers in Round 3 (says the guy who has an Osprey fanfic brewing...)

The Osprey vs. Mr. Moth: Our boy is probably a better equipped and more effective villain than Moth, but when silly meets stupid, may the most ridiculous one "win."

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Posted by Diabolu at 12:00 AM

Sunday, March 20, 2011
Hawk's Eye On: The Osprey

Click to Expand

You want to know about this character? So do I! I read through back issues and the web, and only came up with a one line biography for my trouble. Darn it, I'll at least quadruple that effort!

For some reason, Mark Waid wrote several team books around the time of Zero Hour, going so far as to create dramatic new line-ups and status quos, only to abandon the titles to other hands within a few issues. Such was the case with Justice League Task Force, for which he wrote only two scripts featuring the book's final group constitution on his own before co-writing another pair with Christopher Priest, who then finished out the series' run. Waid introduced a new villain in his last solo issue with Sal Velluto and inkers Jeff Albrecht and Romeo Tanghal. The Osprey seemed to be intended as a nemesis for the Manhunter from Mars, but the accompanied image notwithstanding, never got off the ground. The character looked very cool, and even rated his own logo. Personally, I've always wondered if maybe Glenn Gammeron became what The Osprey was intended to be, but I expect somebody would have to ask Priest about that. Below are his only lines ever.

First Appearance: Justice League Task Force #17 (November, 1994)
Quote: "'Green Guy'? J' and gone. Seems I'm forever a step behind you, J'Onzz. That will change. Soon, you and your Task Force will be the first to know the fury of--The Osprey."

Beyond that, the only background lies with the word itself. The osprey is a bird of prey with colors that run toward black and white (with blue & brown in the mix.) It is medium-sized, a fish monger, and is found on all continents except Antarctica. The raptor is highly adaptable to different environments, so long as they are near enough to water to provide food. Said bird also inspired the V-22 Osprey, a troubled U.S. military project dating back to the mid-80's. This osprey is the first helicopter with both VTOL (Vertical Take-Off and Landing) and STOL (Short Take-Off...) capabilities. Basically, it can work as either a long-range turbo propeller aircraft or a standard chopper.

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Posted by Diabolu at 12:00 AM

Sunday, March 20, 2011
Hawk's Eye On: The Human Falcon

Alter Ego: Unknown
Also Known As: The Human Falcon
Occupation: Thief
Known Relatives: None
Group Affiliation: None
Base of Operations: A cave atop Hawk Mountain near Middletown, U.S.A.
First Appearance: DETECTIVE COMICS #265 (March, 1959)
Height: Approx. 6'0"
Build: Average
Eyes: Dark
Hair: Black with gray streaks

Described as "a twisted genius with a penchant for birds," the Falcon was a winged thief who engaged in a one-man crime wave in the city of Middletown. Among his many heists were priceless Bird of Paradise plumes, the first Giant Golden Eagle ever held in captivity, and a large bronze casting of "The Griffin" owned by J.P. Harvey. The Falcon managed to thwart conventional security and police officers at every turn with his well planed jobs, which often imperiled innocents as a distraction ploy, and were executed with the aid of high tech equipment. However, an invisible Martian Manhunter was eventually carried to the Falcon's secret mountain lair "nest" as part of a looting, and easily apprehended the Falcon with his super powers.

Powers & Weapons:
The Falcon possessed no super human powers, but was athletic enough to swing from grappling lines and easily outrun security personnel. The Falcon was in possession of a vast array of specialized equipment presumed to be of his own devising. The most impressive of these was his Falcon Plane, which could deploy several sturdy grappling hooks shaped like a bird's talons with stunning precision. Falcon carried a wand which could project feathers as a concealing screen for many yards in his general area. Finally, the Falcon had a pet parrot named Peter who was quite fluent in English.

Quote: "You can say that again, Peter, my boy! For years I have prepared for my career as The Falcon! Now-- I'm ready for the big payoff!"

Created by Jack Miller and Joe Certa

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Posted by Diabolu at 12:00 AM

Sunday, March 20, 2011
Which Martian Manhunter Villains Do You Least Want To Read About: The Osprey

Theme Song: "Ospreys And Chaos" by Stephen Osprey

Another near exact carry over from the Rock, with a complete history limited to a few panels, it's no wonder he was this blog's first VM entry. My only concern with his ranking is that I really would like to read more about him. Imagine how blindsided Mark Waid or Christopher Priest would be if questioned about this guy! I bet they couldn't immediately recall his very existence, and they were associated with his creation!

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Posted by Diabolu at 12:00 AM