Thursday, June 30, 2011

The Magnificent Seven Revised Again



For a lot of people, it was important for the Martian Manhunter to be acknowledged as one of the Magnificent Seven founders of the Justice League of America in the DCnÜ continuity. The first arc by a superstar creative team will be set five years in the past, before the term "superhero" had been coined, and will show how the "urban myth" Batman formed the team.

Never mind that Superman and Batman were only begrudgingly allowed "guest appearances" in the Julie Schwartz-edited earliest stories by their respective editors (Mort Weisinger and Jack Schiff.) The team was actually formed as a five piece, partially constituted out of two of Schwartz's new "legacy" heroes, Green Lantern and the Flash. The stingy Batman editor threw in two back-up characters, vintage also-ran Aquaman, and J'onn J'onzz, a newish alien detective recently turned super-hero to jump on Schwartz's bandwagon. Robert Kanigher was gracious enough to offer unfettered access to the biggest name on the reliable core team, Wonder Woman. Superman and Batman showed up consistently in the early adventures, so they deserve status, but they also started flaking out on missions within the first year of the solo series. It was the Founding Five JLA who were the cover-featured stars of the team's first six stories, before being joined by Green Arrow for another six. It took a couple of years before the World's Finest turned up on the cover of Justice League of America #10, mostly because that's the one where the heroes formed the digits on Felix Faust's hands, and still came up one short with Snapper Carr in tow. It would be another nine issues until Superman and Batman showed up there again, for the first in a long line of regular cover appearances, six issues after the Atom had already joined.



So yeah, Batman gets to form the JLA, even after many years of adjunct status with the team, while Superman was retroactively removed from membership for an age. This was a book their editors wanted nothing to do with in 1960, that proved itself without the World's Finest duo for four years, and they were only forcibly included by one of DC's owners after natural attrition began to erode the book's sales. Still, they help make the team "the world's greatest super-heroes," especially when you factor in that by the '70s, the line-up was almost nothing but a collection of cancelled series stars being carried by the duo. In 1972, the Flash was the only other member of the team to carry a solo title.



Anyway, back on target, not only isn't the Martian Manhunter in the "Magnificent Seven," but it appears he'll be retroactively removed from founding status, replaced by Cyborg of all people. I might be more concerned if this wasn't somewhat in keeping with the myth of the "Magnificent Seven," a construct of Grant Morrison's more than a reality in the old comics. Morrison's own team doesn't even fit the bill, as the seven consisted of two "bimbo" successors from the five and a version of Aquaman unrecognizable when compared to the '60s comics. The rest of the team were massively different as characters, as well. At least that team consisted of legitimately popular DC icons of their time. Cyborg was the hot young model of 1984, fresh off The New Teen Titans and headed into The Super Powers Team: Galactic Guardians, but today he only offers shrugs. Even the Teen Titans cartoon ended half a decade back, and he never struck me as a particularly popular member.



Martian Manhunter fans are also upset because it appears that the character will be entirely excluded from the new team, even in a vastly diminished capacity. Heck, when it was announced that there would be an extended line-up of fourteen or more members, most folks just assumed he would be part of it. Bad enough to be kicked out of the Magnificent Seven, but exclusion from a fifteen piece? Egad! Then again, that means he will not keep company with Cyborg, Green Arrow, The Atom, Hawkman, Firestorm, Mera, Deadman, Element Woman and a mystery heroine. I can't exactly cry in my beer over that, because not only does it sound terribly crowded, but many of the selections aren't exactly choice. In fact, it reminds me of the fifteen year stretch of the "Satellite Era" League that J'Onn J'Onzz was never a part of. This presumably was what led to the Martian Manhunter's initial ouster in 2006 by Bronze Age fan Brad Meltzer after twenty-two years of near continuous monthly service on some variation of a Justice League. As I mentioned, the original Satellite members were something of an Entitlement League, put up in the team's title because they couldn't support themselves.



Instead of the halfway home of former Silver Age prospects, the Martian Manhunter is more closely associated with, well, every other major incarnation of the team. Both the actual Founding Five and the post-Crisis revision that replaced Wonder Woman with Black Canary. The "Detroit" League. JLI. The JLTF. The Magnificent Seven. Some were hits, others notorious misses, but all were truly bold new directions instead of nostalgic throwbacks. The J'Onn J'Onzz exception has always involved a "Satellite" League of sorts, whether the Bronze Age original, the perpetually troubled previous volume that ended up brimming with D-listers like Congorilla, and now this overstuffed mess. You know, the versions that tend to get the book ignored and cancelled. Even the volume that was axed prior to JLA's 1996 launch was a satellite League in all but name, operating out of an actual satellite with a pool of three teams worth of potential (if deeply underwhelming) members. It reached that point after JLI had been run aground, and the creators tried to scurry back to the "good old days" when the book was safe, either trying to pumping the last bits of life out of the hangers-on from JLI or reopening the doors to the boring old "classic" members. That last stretch only got interesting at the very end, when the writer gave up and started focusing on homosexual romances and psychological disturbance.



The latest Justice League is touted as the gateway title to the entire DCnÜ, so I'm grateful the exclusion of the team's most emblematic member of the past quarter century means I needn't bother crossing that particular threshold. It was only a few years ago that DC cancelled the last "Magnificent Seven," and do you really think Barry Allen and Hal Jordan will make that formula less stale? As usual, hopes for entertainment value seem likely to rest with the satellites, who are also pretty much the same old same old, excepting bundles of joy like Deadman and Element Woman. If I thought anything interesting would come out of their inclusion, it might be worthwhile, but I suspect they'll just take part in a story or two before being cycled out. I don't know if Stormwatch is going to be any good, but at least it'll be different, where this just looks like a new box covering old cereal with the flavor we all know so well.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

JLA #95 (Late May, 2004)



In Baltimore, Green Lantern John Stewart had a run-in with the same young cultist, "Nudge," that had taken control of Superman. Stewart's will was built out of sterner stuff, so Nudge's blue-skinned ally Vortex offered a successful double team. Still reeling from the assault, Stewart found himself with two more "new" metahumans to deal with, the retroactively reintroduced Elasti-Girl and Negative Man (although pretty much none of the characters I've named were actually identified yet in-story.) The newcomers had already been working the Tenth Circle case, and would druther the JLA not muck up there investigation again. Green Lantern reported it all to Batman at the Watchtower. Meanwhile, elsewhere in the JLA's headquarters, the Martian Manhunter knelt down on a laboratory floor. The Sleuth from Outer Space was calling out mentally to the Atom, who had vanished into Manitou Raven's stones. Yes, still.

In a Gotham City alley, the Batman found a police detective trying to wipe away the Tenth Circle symbol from the murder scene. The detective drew on Batman, while two cultists approached from behind. A bullet flew through the Crusader's cape, and he went down...

"The Enemy Within," part two of "The Tenth Circle," was by John Byrne with Chris Claremont and Jerry Ordway. The backdoor pilot that is the second super-team (psst: an ill-fated Doom Patrol revamp) is becoming increasingly obvious in identity. This being the second of three issues wherein J'Onn J'Onzz is left on the floor, calling out for the Atom, might I suggest the Justice League make an investment in LifeCall?

The Tenth Circle

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

2011 B'rett Comicpalooza Commission by Nick Pitarra

Click To Enlarge


First, the last. Of all my commissions, this is the only one I'm aware of that made it to the internet before I got around to it, so I'm going to chase after as quickly as possible. Appropriately enough, this once again highlights my procrastination.

You see, as I'll discuss later in my (now revere chronological) series of posts for commissions acquired at this con, Nick Pitarra's was the next-to-last piece I set in motion, and the final one collected. Before hitting the con, I ran every artist announced at the Comicpalooza's official site through deviantART and Comic Art Fans to see what I could reasonably expect from those attending. This revealed that there were a number of well known artists to be there with a history of lackluster sketches, and some diamonds waiting to be unearthed among the unknowns. Pitarra was among the latter, so I made a mental note to follow up on him, and he ended up being the only one of that subgroup I managed to locate, anyway. However, as an unknown, I put off approaching him until late in the three o'clock hour. Also, I wasn't really sure who to have him draw, because his art style is really radical. Looking through his samples, I finally made the connection that this was the guy who was going to be doing The Red Wing with Johnathan Hickman at Image. It was cover featured on Diamond's Previews catalog, is much buzzed, and I already had a copy of #1 pre-ordered. Further, seeing pages from the book at full size, I could fully appreciate their grandeur. This guy is a madman, recalling insanely detailed artists like Geoff Darrow, Frank Quitely, Seth Fisher and Flint Henry. I figure he is going to be a big deal in the near future, and I was seized by a need to get something by him while I still could.

Not so fast. I was a little late on the bandwagon, as Pitarra already had a full dance card. To further the taunting, Pitarra was working on another guy's Martian Manhunter commission while we were talking. I was sincere about congratulating Pitarra on his future success and impending rise to stardom, and expressed my hopes that he could squeeze me in. Pitarra recognized that I was into his stuff, and although he couldn't promise me that he would have time, we were both hopeful that he would.



In the past year or so, I've really become enamored with B'rett, the gunslinging yellow-skinned Martian fugitive that tore through Middletown on a vandalism and robbery spree in just one Silver Age story. For my money, B'rett is the best of the many "evil Martian Manhunters," in part because he's not trying to be an arch-anything. The Martian Manhunter is the missionary, so another zealot doesn't contrast him in the way a self-serving sidewinder out for nothing but cheap thrills does. Further, it was B'rett who "outed" the Martian Manhunter's existence on Earth after years of operating in secret, leading directly to his becoming a public super-hero in the JLA. That's more impact than 99% of the Alien Atlas' other adversaries. I was hellbound and determined that somebody was going to draw me a B'rett before the day was through, and once Pitarra found that he could eek out one last commission, he became the guy. In fact, Pitarra was by that point legitimately excited about having the opportunity to go nuts on "evil J'Onn with a ray gun." I had been sticking exclusively full figures this time, but Pitarra said those hadn't been working out for him that day, so he wanted to do a bust. He pointed to a Jonah Hex piece as an example of his basic idea, and I happily agreed. He hoped charging me between $20-25 was okay, depending on how much effort went into it. Yeah, that would be juuuust fiiiine.

B'rett was the last piece begun, and the last done. I was invited to hang out at an adjacent table, where I managed to slit a finger open from a shard of metal under the chair I was sitting on. I do wonder if he thought I was nuts as I tried to stop the bleeding from several feet behind him. All told, I think Pitarra spent 30-45 minutes on the piece, and charged me the full whopping price of $25. If I wasn't literally down to my last dollars, I'd have tipped him up to the $40 minimum everyone else was demanding.

At the same time, I was sort of in a state of shock over the end result. My brain had been hardwired to expect a B'rett from a "realistic" artist all this time, as I'd originally planned. The one I got was totally far out. I just said, "Woe, that's insane" at first, because I had to process it. Of course, as it sunk in, I realized how fantastic the work was, and quickly fell in love. Pitarra was happy with it too, and we discussed my sending him a digital copy of the scan for him to color. It involved some complex process and Photoshop that I never worked out, so I just did my crappy little Windows Paint color fill seen above for now. This guy is going to be a wheel someday, sooner rather than later, but we'll hopefully get to see him do B'rett in color before it's too late. I made a point of getting his business card, and even that was groovy. His name is incorporated into a "Coca-Cola" logo on the front, and one of his hyper-dense pieces is on the back. Dude is awesome!

You can view all of his Comicpalooza sketches (including Ambush Bug!) here, or just check his entire blog here, but don't neglect his CAF offerings. That should whet your appetite for The Red Wing #1 by Pitarra, hot writer Jonathan Hickman, and colorist Rachelle Rosenberg; out July 13th from Image Comics!

Monday, June 27, 2011

Miss Martian and the New World Order



The DCnÜ has inspired a whole host of posts yet to be written here about the past, future, and overall conceptual framework of the Martian Manhunter. They tell us not to call it a reboot, that it isn't the start of a whole new universe, but we know too much about the changes to not recognize DC's history has been altered in fundamental ways. Further, we've heard little about the masses of lesser known characters, but the peeks we've been given indicate that many once familiar faces may turn up barely recognizable. I mean, have you seen Harley Quinn? What then will be the fate of M'gann M'orzz, blessedly spared inclusion amongst the hideous revision of the Teen Titans*, but far from a sacred cow as this thing progresses. For now, I think the way forward is back, by looking at what the character has meant up to now.



My initial reaction to the debut of Miss Martian in 2006 after the last, largely negligible DC history "shake-up" was of surprise and resentment. After the Martian invasion of Earth in 1984, the race was persona non grata at DC Comics. Four years later, J'Onn J'Onzz was retroactively made the last living Martian, and all prior appearances were deemed a fantasy planted in his mind by Dr. Saul Erdel. After John Byrne decreed that he took Superman's "Last Son of Krypton" nickname very seriously, we still had three alternate universe Phantom Zone criminals, a new Supergirl, and even a separate entity acting as Superboy within just the two years Byrne worked on the character. The singularity of J'Onn J'Onzz held true for nearly a decade, with any other Martian survivors introduced and killed with the same isolated story. Grant Morrison reopened the door with the debut of the White Martians in the first JLA story arc, but they were treated largely as separate entities, essentially DC's answer to the Skrulls. The Whites would appear in random titles like Son of Vulcan with only tangential ties to the Martian Manhunter at best (the JLA arc "Terror Incognito" being a notable exception.)



Suddenly, there was a new Green Martian super-heroine almost twenty years into the Martian Manhunter's revised continuity. From her dress and attitude, she was blatantly a swipe of the Silver Age Supergirl, because the Alien Atlas hasn't had enough reasons over the years to be compared unfavorably to the Man of Steel. As it turned out, Miss Martian was just one of a throng of newly created "legacies" to serve as red herrings surrounding the latest traitor found amongst the Teen Titans. These contrived and wholly unnecessary kid versions of DC heroes who barely support themselves (the world really needed an evil girl Captain Atom?) were the shark jumping point for the Titans' revitalization under Geoff Johns and Mike McKone. It almost felt like the fledgling franchise was intentionally derailed as revenge against the killing of yet another Superboy, since the title never recovered.



As it turned out, Miss Martian was in no way related to the Martian Manhunter, and was in fact a disguised White Martian. However, M'gann M'orzz's sweet, awkward personality was not a put-on, and she stayed with the Teen Titans as a member for the next several years. Since the primary line-up of the series had been thoroughly traumatized, and most of her fellow newbies were of questionable character, Miss Martian ended up being a pleasant throwback to old school heroics that in many ways outshone the rest. However, echoing the Supergirl of more recent decades, Miss Martian had a concealed dark side that predicted villainy in her future, and led M'gann to decapitated her future self. Pretty grim stuff.



Again, I personally took issue with the character, despite having read very little of her adventures. I found the Supergirl "homage" too overt, and the longer she served as a Titan, the more pronounced her distance from relevancy to the Martian Manhunter became. I tried to come up with ways to make her more distinct and purposeful. One idea I had was for her to reassert her White Martian heritage, becoming a transgressive tats-n-piercings Suicide Girl type to contrast against the stuffy old John Jones, in some ways proving herself the more human of the two. Something of a Lisbeth Salamander, I suppose.



A funny thing happened over time. Miss Martian, as she was, developed a solid fan base. Where Supergirl lives under the pressure of selling a monthly comic to at least twenty thousand people in an ever dwindling market, M'gann M'orzz could remain her sunny self. Rather than being chameleonic, M'gann became more like her original outward presentation, and discarded the darker affectations. Miss Martian could just be good and nice, a quality in short supply these days. In this sense, Miss Martian is very much like her predecessor. The Manhunter from Mars as we've known him for the past quarter century simply co-opted the pathos of 1950s Weisinger Superman shed since the 1980s revision by Byrne, so why can't Miss Martian be the sweetheart Maid of Might DC has tended to run screaming from for at least as long? It seems to me she even attracts a different type of fan, bridging the gap between a Supergirl and a Sailor Moon as a mainstream super-heroine for the shōjo set.



Perhaps most importantly, Miss Martian has made the transition to animation in Young Justice, offering her exposure on Cartoon Network to a generation of kids unlikely to ever read a physical, printed comic book. I've only seen clips of the show, but what I have seen has been solid characterization reminiscent of Matrix, and she seems to be the more prominent girl on the team. There's certainly no shortage of fan art available online, although as is common with super-heroines, you might need to search Google with a firm family filter on. My own standards indicate that this transition offers Miss Martian a certain prestige and immortality. After all, the Martian Manhunter himself was something of a secondary character on the Justice League cartoon, so what right do his fans have to dictate terms?



To my mind, Miss Martian's impact works in reverse, as something of a game changer for J'Onn J'Onzz. The Martian Manhunter has been a character without a strong sense of personal history or much fidelity to a supporting cast. M'gann M'orzz is the first other Martian who's not going to just fade away into obscurity. In fact, the need for her to establish some solo credentials has forced Miss Martian into J'Onn J'Onzz's world and led to her giving the Martian Manhunter a berth to make appearances on her cartoon show. The tail is to some degree now wagging the dog. By extension, I've come to appreciate Miss Martian greatly for being such a breath of fresh air in comics, and for allowing J'Onn J'Onzz to finally have a reason to tend his garden, instead of constantly walk toward greener pastures.



That said, I worry what place a retro character has in the extreme '90s DCnÜ to come. I make a point of adding the extraneous umlaut to reflect the company's emphasis on the stupidest, most crass and poorly thought out "bold new directions" possible for six to twelve months at a time (before changing direction again.) I've talked about where Miss Martian has been and the positive results, but for once I hope nobody at DC reads this blog. If M'gann M'orzz turns up in three months looking like someone processed a picture of Yolandi Visser through an inversion filter, I'm going to feel a pang of guilt.

*Hopefully, unless she one of those two new(?) heroines.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Martian Manhunter in DCU: Brave New World #1 (August, 2006)



"Two weeks ago. The Sonoran Desert, Arizona." Ferguson worked for S.T.A.R. Labs and was project director of the Near-Earth Celestial Observation Team. After discovering what he believed to be an alien artifact, he had contacted William Dyer, who was supposed to be an expert attached to the Department of Extranormal Operations. However, Ferguson didn't care for Dyer's mysterious posturing, and was going to bail on their warehouse rendezvous. Dyer didn't want that, so he began changing shape. "There are six people on this planet who know that William Dyer is a fiction, Mr. Ferguson. You're the seventh. Hopefully this answers any of your trust issues."

Ferguson handed the Martian Manhunter (whose cape was curiously made to look more like a coat) a medallion composed of material not found on any earthly periodic table. J'Onn J'Onzz recognized it as a Kuru Pendant from Mars, and was reminded of the day H'ronmeer's Plague took his people. "On that day-- my weakness to flames was born. And yet when I finally arrived home, I had no choice but to light two more. One for my wife. And one for my daughter." Each wore a pendant. Ferguson asked if J'Onzz had seen one before. "There is only one left in existence, and I guard it with my life. This isn't it."

In present day New York City, a man in a hoodie raced across rooftops with a briefcase. While murmuring a children's medley, he crouched to open the case, and assemble the sniper rifle within. After firing a shot at an unseen target, the man fled the scene. A shadowy flying figure in a cape caught up with him, and with a punch sent the man over a ledge. The man was in free fall toward the ground. A shadow loomed over him, and images of the Justice League of America stood waited for his landing. The man was caught before impact, but his savior was lost in revere before the cardboard standees staring at him through a shop window.



"It's hard to say exactly how I got to this point. It started so long ago. Over a year... All I know for certain is that in an instant, my entire life up to now-- became a lie." Every day since J'Onn J'Onzz's meeting with Ferguson "has led me deeper into an unimaginable darkness. A darkness filled with questions, isolation, and people I no longer felt a kinship with. Only the mystery of the second Kuru pendant has me focused."

Like a complete whack job, the new Manhunter from Mars began shouting at the cardboard representation of the old. His body was covered cheeks to toes in a skintight blue uniform with a red "x" on the chest. This Coneheadhunter had an elongated parietal region of the skull, more in line with his natural Martian form, and ridges on his chin like a Marvel Comics Skrull, for no good reason.

The Coneheadhunter told his past self about how he was now willing to "rip what I need" from the mind of the assailant he had captured without regard for the human. "I stand here as proof that their way, your way, doesn't work!" That's an ironic assertion, since the mini-series will repeatedly demonstrate that if anything, this new Manhunter was even more pitifully ineffectual. Coneheadhunter whined about how his decades of good deeds never relieved mankind's fear and distrust of him, and how his life on Earth had been a lie. "You're but an imposter who allows their fear to dictate your actions! The passing of decades means nothing to you, while they are a finite race-- and yet still you seek an approval you'll never get! No more!"

In other words, J'Onn J'Onzz had regressed back to a rebellious teenager dressing ridiculously and acting out while kvetching in his diary and listening to the Saturnian equivalent of Linkin Park through his kewl pointy ears. Pon farr must be right around the corner...



This untitled prelude to the 2006 Martian Manhunter mini-series was by the creative team of A.J. Lieberman and Al Barrionuevo with Bit. Two-thirds of this group had been working on Batman: Gotham Knights, notable for spending entirely too much time on the character of Hush, leading to that series' cancellation. Lieberman had already killed the Harley Quinn solo series.

I'm taking some pretty serious liberties in my presentation of this storyline, because the writer was clearly trying to dazzle by jumping around the timeline of events, while lacking the narrative clarity to actual convey necessary information to the audience. I remember the first time I read this, I didn't know what the hell was happening, and you really can't figure it out completely without multiple readings in conjunction with the first issue of the mini-series. I think the project was the creative team's "last chance" at DC. Lieberman hasn't worked since, and Al Barrionuevo's final gig was The War That Time Forgot in 2009.

A note about the flashback to Mars: As presented, the origin most closely reflects the one presented in the 1988 DeMatteis/Badger mini-series. The plague leaves behind bodies to be burned, rather than causing the spontaneous combustion seen in the 1998 Ostrander/Mandrake version. J'Onn's daughter is not seen being consigned to a pyre, which jibes with J'Onzz carrying her body to Earth in the '88 version.

Brave New World

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Creators of Mars: Gene Colan



I never really gave much thought to whether or not I was a Gene Colan fan. When I was a kid, I struggled with guys like Gil Kane, Steve Ditko and Jack Kirby, because their styles were so distinctive and uncommon that they kind of distracted me while reading their stories. I never had that problem with Colan, because for me his presence in comics was to be taken for granted, like the sun in the sky and the pull of gravity. Gene Colan drew the comics I read, as a matter of fact. Doctor Strange. Tomb of Dracula. Howard the Duck. Batman. Daredevil. Captain America. Wonder Woman. Nathaniel Dusk: Private Investigator. Black Panther. Night Force. It wasn't something to debate. Gene Colan was simply there, from the beginning of my reading experience, before I even knew how to read. Colan was comics, synonymous in my mind.



Colan tended to be the guy who drew the dark, moody, spooky books. It didn't really matter what the script called for, because if Gene Colan drew it, it was a Gene Colan book. It might seem a bit strange for Steve Rogers or Diana Prince to suddenly go noir, but never to the extent of disrupting the suspension of disbelief. It was like going from watching Fred MacMurray on My Three Sons to Fred MacMurray in Double Indemnity or The Apartment. Same guy, just demonstrating greater range.



Most importantly, nobody could sell reality like Colan. The guy understood that the human eye does not capture every strand of a cat's fur as it strolls past, like those CGI wizards try to do, rendering everything they excessively detail clearly fake. We see the world through impressions and generalities, sensing as much if not more than actually seeing. Nothing was static in Gene Colan's art. His panels were not moments frozen in pristine amber, but instead continued to flow as your eye scanned any text.



For all the "cinematic" techniques attempted in comics since Will Eisner, Colan was among the very few artists to truly pull the trick off. He could actually produce "paper movies" that would trick your mind into believing you were a passive viewer of a progressive narrative rather than an participating reader stopping to appreciate each panel at your leisure like exhibits in a museum. As dazzling as his art was, Colan would never grandstand, always working in service to the story. Quite simply, he was among the select few perfect comic artists capable of fully realizing the unique strengths of the medium.



Gene Colan began working in comics in 1944, managing to catch the tail end of the Golden Age. He drew for both DC (National) and Marvel (Timely, Atlas, etc.) in the 1950s, but he'll likely best be remembered as one of the great architects of the Silver Age of comics. When most of his contemporaries were running out of steam or falling hopelessly out of touch with the times, Colan had such a renaissance in the 1970s that he should justly be recognized as one of the Bronze Age masters. Even into the 1980s, Colan remained a pioneer, both technically (working in graphite and watercolors to be reproduced with state of the art production quality) and commercially (creator owned work geared for direct market sales.) Through it all, Colan remained one of the most mild mannered fellows you could ever meet.



While Gene Colan may have never had any significant association with the Martian Manhunter, his influence on series artist Tom Mandrake is readily apparent. With John Ostrander, Mandrake brought a Gene Colan co-creation, Jemm: Son of Saturn, into the Manhunter "family" almost fifteen years ago. Appropriate, since Jemm was conceived as a Martian, and it was about time he found his way home.



Gene Colan passed away this week at the age of eighty-four. He was one of a kind, and among the last of the generation of titans that started it all...

Friday, June 24, 2011

William Dyer



William Dyer was an alternate identity created by J'Onn J'Onzz, presumably after a list of his aliases was released to the public by DEO regional director Mister Bones as part of an extortion effort. Dyer was supposed to be an expert in meta-artifacts, and his business card listed his employment with the Department of Extranormal Operations, although his true status remains unconfirmed. He could be reached at 917-555-3145, which turned out to be empty office space with a telephone service. The office was destroyed by a rogue faction of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

First Appearance: DCU: Brave New World #1 (August, 2006)

Thursday, June 23, 2011

The Kuru Pendant



"Every Martian of age had one-- received after completion of the Journey of Souls. A spiritual conduit of sorts-- it connected the past to the present. A massive memory core, downloading our ancestral memories into the consciousness of all who came next. The medallion was the last vestigial trace of a people whose history was once preserved orally-- but who had developed an ability for telepathy that became our greatest achievement-- and our ultimate curse when a plague annihilated our race, one thought at a time."

-J'Onn J'Onzz


First Appearance: DCU: Brave New World #1 (August, 2006)

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

JLA #94 (Early May, 2004)



Batman investigated the murder of a teenager in a Gotham City alley. He had noted a pattern of missing cases in other cities that disturbed him. Before her death, the girl had drawn a circled "x" in chalk on a wall.

In Keystone City, Wally West pursued the trail of missing children at Batman's request.

At the JLA Watchtower on the moon, the Dark Knight gathered the team to consider accumulated clues involving the disappearance of their teammate Manitou Raven, the "x"s, and missing metahuman youths. The Martian Manhunter spoke with Raven's wife Dawn, and learned of his meditative journey to the Badlands. Traveling with Wonder Woman to investigate, the heroes found only mystical "telling stones" at his abandoned camp. While Diana continued her investigation of the x, J'Onzz returned to the Watchtower with the stones for analysis. This looked like a job for Ray Palmer, except the Mighty Mite himself vanished inside them, while J'Onn was unable to sense him psychically.

On the abandoned prison island Key Mordaz off the coast of Florida was hidden a high tech laboratory. A seated figure worked a computer bank and a headpiece that allowed him to track people with a metagene. His beautiful young assistant accused a third fellow concealed by a leather mask of allowing a particular person of interest to elude them while sneaking off to party in Miami. A fourth individual with a metal fist demanded to see some action. The seated figure announced he had found something...

"Suffer the Little Children," part one of "The Tenth Circle," was by the famous X-Men creative team of John Byrne and Chris Claremont, joined by the heavy inks of Jerry Ordway.

The Tenth Circle

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

2011 Martian Manhunter Comicpalooza Commission by Nick Pitarra

Click To Enlarge


I do not own this commission, but I saw it being drawn while at Comicpalooza 2011. My first reaction was to ask, "Who's getting that?!?" It made for a nice opening to explain that I ran a Martian Manhunter blog, and was interested in getting a related piece of my own. It was late in the day though, I think around 3:50, so Pitarra put me on his "tentative" list. I definitely wanted a piece of that action, but I do wonder how the recipient reacted to the piece. If I recall correctly, Pitarra said the guy had simply asked for J'Onn J'Onzz to shapeshift into "something," but I bet he never imagined a bowl of fruit. I love how gonzo this is!

Monday, June 20, 2011

2008 JLA "Happy 50th Birthday, Todd Wilson" Page by Phil Hester

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I don't know if Mr. Wilson celebrated Father's Day this weekend, but his 50th birthday looks to have been a blast. Not only were Superman, Wonder Woman, the Flash, Batman, Hawkman, Martian Manhunter, Aquaman, the Atom, and Green Lantern Hal Jordan in attendance, but that's a mighty big cake. I sure hope the Mighty Mite wiped his feet before tramping all over it. Cute, but unsanitary.

Update:
"This is the second sketch that has been drawn by Phil Hester from my comicartfans page and I must say that when a group of the guys from the local comic shop contacted Phil and asked him to do the sketch, I was deeply touched. It made my 50th birthday a memory never to be forgotten.

Todd Wilson
(profhaley)
P.S.
I did have a great Father's Day...got to spend it with two of my three children and both of my granddaughters."

That's awesome! But just between you and me and a few hundred Martian Manhunter fans, Batman got you a cheap gift, right? That's how billionaires stay that way.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Comicpalooza 2011



I'm a poor full time student, so going to Comicpalooza 2011 was a bad idea for my wallet. Still, there was an artist at the show that had owed me a piece for over a year who had agreed to finally deliver, and I was kind of OCD about getting some new commissions this year. I was still wavering on attending up to the last week, and had to juggle several social obligations and anemic finances, but finally got there on the last day of the con. It was way up on the third floor, and then past all the plush halls from last year to a large auditorium where several sporting mini-arenas had been laid out.

I pressed on through to a second auditorium, which had been laid out as an intentional maze of tables and draped backdrops to force attendees to go through the entirety of artists' alley before being offered multiple avenues to dealers and special events. There were some sort of flight simulators, an area for laser tag involving inflated obstacles, an awful lot of steampunk paraphernalia, and other assorted oddities. Here's a breakdown of my non-commission related observations, activities, and purchases...

Sports: There was MMA training, and practice with padded escrima sticks. It took less than ten minutes to be completely over roller derby. I managed to miss Doomsday Wrestling, and Muggle Quiddich looked lame. Would a radio-controlled Golden Snitch be that difficult to put together?

Authors: I had no intention of getting tied down talking to writers, but after spending eight hours on the floor, I would have been happy for any distraction. However, these guys must have all been wearing tarps of invisibility or been at panels, because I never saw/recognized a single one. I'm not saying I could pick Fred Van Lente out of a line-up though, so there's that. There was a Chris Sims there, but not the blogger, and how sad is it that the latter trumps some cat from Wizards of the Coast in my book?



Cosplay: There was a guy in zombie make-up running around telling puns while carrying a fake heart. I think he was promoting a booth that applied zombie make-up to con-goers. One couple went as mummies wielding axes while swathed head to toe in black with no visible eye holes. The floor must have been at least eighty degrees, so that was heroic. I hit a solid costume contest while I was waiting for a commission. A totally in character Captain America won best male cosplay, Black Widow took best femme, some whacked-out version of the Joker had best villain, and Noir Spider-Man & Kingpin took best group. Personally, I really liked the Dalek, who received some sort of bonus prize. Fella even had some kind of voice box and automated wheels. I tried to get pictures of a Supergirl for Anj, but they all had horrendous red eye, and I missed a Donna Troy. I asked a Green Lantern John Stewart to pose, and that turned out better. I ran into Wonder Woman and Superman later on the con floor, and asked them for a shot under better lighting.

There was a lot of group cosplay. I tend to like the steampunk stuff, but Star Wars is a total snooze, and why are people still hung up on the Ghostbusters? Is it just that you can be authentically overweight in those coveralls? There were also a bunch of cos-vehicles, including an ECHO-1 and the jeep from Jurassic Park.

Comics: I picked up a nice fat stack of 21 random Bronze Age Wonder Woman comics, including all three parts of the "Judgement in Infinity" arc I've wanted to read since it was first advertized in 1982. Scored the first 18 issues of Comico's "Justice Machine." I re-completed my set of "Wild Dog" after a few decades apart, plus 3 out of 4 "Power Comics" issues (reprints from an African publisher of work by Bolland & Gibbons.) Filled in some "Blue Devil" gaps, caught the '80s Goodwin/Simonson "Manhunter" reprint and "Countdown Special: The Atom." Bought the only three copies of "Amazing Heroes" I could find, a set of the "Roots of the Swamp Thing" mini-series and a few odds and ends. I paid no more than a quarter for each, and most were 5 for $1.00.



Artists: Arthur Suydam had an expansive booth full of poster sized prints. There were a good deal of zombies. I'm glad that's working out for him. Larry Elmore worked off a modest table with his own prints across the way. Dirk Strangely had a ridiculously tall booth that I avoided as best I could. I don't get the appeal, especially after twenty years of Tim Burton crap.

Publishers: In the eight years I ran my shops, I never had much luck selling stuff like Hate or A Distant Soil, despite some effort. I'm sure Bedrock City Comics Company manages to move some units, but I've never found Houston to me very responsive to books published outside Diamond's Premier section. There were a lot of bored people manning indie booths, and I passed them often collecting commissions, so I really had to keep my "homeless people" eye aversions rapid to avoid getting sucked in. Twee and Goth seemed to be a very popular theme. A guy named Jason Poland rocked the former, vaguely reminding me of the Matt Smith Doctor. He managed to wrangle me, so I had to look at his mini-comic and straight up own my lack of interest. In case you're less mean than I am, you can try Robbie and Bobby here. It's a comic strip about a boy and his robot, which is not a selling point to a grinch. I never spotted him at the con, but one small press publisher was an irregular at one of my shops. He used to work as a bouncer, and once shattered a '90s plastic glow-in-the-dark Green Lantern ring on some unruly guy's face.



Celebrities: I could care less about autographs, and I find the prospect of forced small talk with minor celebrities extremely off-putting. Still, it's kind of neat to breath the same air as famous people, so whenever I passed that way, I'd cast a glance toward the signing booths way in the back of the show floor. I don't know who Dan Braverman is, but I saw him wandering around the grounds once or twice. James Hampton is a con regular, so for the second year in a row, I gazed at him for a few seconds from 100+ feet away as he signed some dude's glossy photo. I think Peter Mayhew was the only Star Wars guy that showed, but I didn't actually lay eyes on him. I've seen him once or twice at other cons, and a guy that big is tough to miss. I heard someone say he had some kind of debilitating fall or something. I also never saw Sean Maher, but I got a good look at Sam Trammell. He's a smallish guy, but just as handsome in real life as on TV. A big deal was made over Edward James Olmos, but I missed him entirely. Some girls were giggling over their Devon Murray pictures, but my girlfriend's being a Harry Potter fanatic (damn you ABC Family weekend marathons) just made me want to run the other way. Marina Sirtis is holding up well, and seemed very affectionate with her fans, standing up and shaking hands. I overheard folks saying nice things about Tony Todd as well, but there was only so close I wanted to get to Candyman.

Film: There were a lot of no-budget horror filmmakers hocking their wares, with one in particular creating a micro haunted house on the con floor that provided enough shade to allow for a decent screening. They had a number of cosplayers around, including a blond girl in the Halle Berry Catwoman costume. For some reason I was constantly crossing that chick's path. I'm sorry, but I'm Team Pfeiffer, so that get-up bugged me.

By mid-my-day I was tired enough to eavesdrop on a group conversation involving an angry organizer in the blessedly air-conditioned lounge area. She was dealing with one director who kept stealing her personal audio equipment, which was preventing bands from playing, because the idiot filmmaker insisted it was better for screening his flick to twelve guys in attendance... Yes, even though there was better equipment available, optimized for clarity over projection, perfect for a film in a small room. Plus, he'd sent her a bunch of threatening text messages, so she was trying to track him down for a confrontation, but he kept hiding from her. Con drama is so much more fun when you're not remotely involved. Plus, no loading longboxes of unsold comics into a van. There were some anime people, but if it doesn't involve schoolgirl outfits and untoward tentacles, I really don't care.

Music: Passed on all of them, including Adam WarRock and some American J-Pop, which given the last sentence of the previous paragraph, was probably best for everyone. Plus, I heard they were having sound problems...

Saturday, June 18, 2011

2009 Justice League of America Mugshots by Evan “Doc” Shaner

Click To Enlarge


I'm a big fan of "Doc" Shaner's work, and have been meaning to do a weekend spotlight on him across my blogs for a while. Here, he offers headshots of the Magnificent Seven JLA founders at their Silver Age best. Since this is a Martian Manhunter blog, I opted to focus on him, rather than have a tiny set of heads. Click the pic above for the rest of the gang.

"Doc" Saturday

Friday, June 17, 2011

2009 "The Ruler" Mongul art by Art-bully

Click To Enlarge


Next week, I'll start showing off the con art I got. For today, we'll settle for some dude's Mongul...

Thursday, June 16, 2011

My Funny Martian



In The Comic Book Heroes, Gerard Jones put forth the theory that after the creative milestones and massive shake-ups of 1986, the industry needed a lighthearted romp like Justice League International. I don't think that explains the staying power of the series in the hearts of fans nearly a quarter-century down the line, which probably comes down to JLI's being the rare comic book that was actually funny. Not exactly a revelatory statement there, but I've found it interesting that of the three creators most associated with JLI; Keith Giffen, J.M. DeMatteis, and Kevin Maguire; only Giffen has had much success at comedic comics. Giffen of course ruined his reputation with the surrealist satire of Ambush Bug, and managed varying degrees of acceptance with Lobo, The Heckler, Trencher and other goofs. However, with the exception of Lobo's fan base missing the point, Giffen's comedy stylings only have a cult following. DeMatteis on his own is a pretty terrible comic, I think because he tries to turn in a madcap plot, rather than finding the humor in a relatively straight one. Maguire frustrates a lot of fans because we're always expecting something funny to be said by his expressive characters, and that just never happens without Giffen and DeMatteis.

My point is that it took at least three enormous talents to make Justice League International get funny and stay funny, because each brought something different to the table. Giffen is a pull-no-punches plotting madman, but his comedy tends to be cruel and observational. DeMatteis brings the heart and characterization, tempering Giffen's excesses, while being guided by Keith's inspiration. Maguire is the perfect medium for communicating the combination visually, really selling a line through his storytelling and expressions. Two of the three can still do well, but it takes all three to be great.

Another reason why Justice League International worked was that, through synergy, the book employed multiple types of comedy in any given issue. Everybody has their own unique sense of humor, so this was essential to hit every type of reader's funny bones to reach a consensus of comedy. Further, since a great deal of the impact of comedy comes from surprise, not knowing what type of joke would be coming from where offered the sweetness of the sucker punch.



The JLI members themselves facilitated this by embodying different techniques. Blue Beetle and Booster Gold were of the Abbott & Costello/Seinfeld & Costanza school, driven by opportunism and cluelessness, swapping out the role of straight and dunce as it suited them.

Mr. Miracle and Oberon were the schlubs, a more realistic but less calculated variation on Abbott & Costello that's popular in sitcoms. The henpecked husband and his n'er do well best pal get themselves into sticky situations for fun or profit while trying to escape the notice of the harridan wife, Big Barda.

Fire and Ice were the girlie variation, the Lucy and Ethel, with Fire the extrovert who loved boys and fashion, while Ice was the naive introvert with wisdom her street savvy girlfriend lacked. Fire specifically was like an attractive Phyllis Diller, which I guess would make her Chelsea Handler today.

Guy Gardner was the Mo Howard or the Andrew "Dice" Clay, the overconfident pig-headed jerk who provoked negative reactions from all around him, and often resorted to violence. In his younger days, Dennis Leary would have been perfect in this part. His extreme personality switches also recall Andy Kaufman.

Captain Marvel was the schlimazel who through little fault of his own winds up on the bad end of any situation, like Mr. Bean or Stan Laurel. G'nort was then the schlemiel, entirely responsible for screwing things up while coming out of it no better or worse than he came in, like early Jerry Lewis.

Batman was of course the cracker of the whip at first, occasionally launching into a Sam Kinison outburst, but usually more dry and dismissive, like George Carlin. Black Canary tended to stand off to the side and shake her head at the nonsense surrounding her, recalling Bea Arthur with a bit of Lily Tomlin thrown in.

Several characters never fell into the JLI "trap," usually exiting quickly, like Doctors Fate and Light. Justice League Europe found its niche by being the more series, straight super-team, in part because guys like Captain Atom just are not funny, and the rest of the team half-heartedly inserted generic humor. Power Girl managed a decent Sandra Bernhard, I suppose, while Elongated Man and Sue Dibny did their best Rob and Laura Petrie.

Most of the side characters, especially the ones created for the series, were vaudeville types. Manga Khan recalls Mel Brooks, and L-Ron early Woody Allen. Too many of the rest were goofy for goofiness' sake, and once the JLI roster stabilized, a lot of the surprise was gone. I think this explains why the book turned so bad so quickly towards the end of the Giffen/DeMatteis run.

J'Onn J'Onzz didn't have much to offer in the beginning, as he fell to the sober, somber side with Dr. Fate. As other characters left the book, the Martian Manhunter filled their vacancy, specifically in the cases of Batman and Black Canary. Hawkman took on the Kinison element, and J'Onzz was never quite acidic enough for Carlin. His sarcasm was a bit more mild-mannered, like Martin Mull. It also had more than a bit of the dry British bite, like John Cleese or Rowan Atkinson's Black Adder, but without the pretension. Ideally, J'Onn is hilariously droll, dropping stealth snickers that can be taken as straight or pointed, to the point where you're not sure if you were supposed to laugh. Grant Morrison got this, and left me grinning a number of times during JLA without the masses catching on that some funny was getting smuggled into their epic drama. I'm hoping we'll see more of this from Paul Cornell, because I'm frankly sick of the gloomy sourpuss Manhunter from Mars.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Alex Ferguson



Alex Ferguson claimed to have paid for a very expensive grad school with earnings from poker games. It earned him a PhD in Applied Mathematics and Aeronautical Engineering. This led to his work with NASA, followed by S.T.A.R. Labs, as project director of the Near-Earth Celestial Observation Team in the Sonoran Desert of Arizona. At some point, Ferguson came into contact with a "conspiracy freak" from the Department of Extranormal Operations named William Dyer.

One night, Ferguson found a Martian Kuru Pendant in the remains of a fallen meteorite. After studying the artifact for a couple of days, Ferguson's lab was visited by a woman named Rio Ferdinand with official looking NASA credentials he knew to be false. Immediately following her departure, Ferguson's research partner and best friend Sully was murdered, leaving Ferguson on the run. He decided to contact "William Dyer," an alternate identity of the Martian Manhunter, who agreed to help hide Ferguson for his own safety.Within weeks, Ferguson was set to board a plane bound for London from La Guardia Airport in Queens, New York. He decided to miss the flight, which was bombed by his pursuers, and go into hiding.

Ferguson suspected Dyer and Ferdinand were working together, and hoped to figure out a way to retrieve the pendent. Alex also feared for the safety of Sara Moore, a fellow scientist with whom he had been secretly carrying on a relationship. So long as no one made the connection, Ferguson felt Moore would be safe. Alex kept discreet contact with his girlfriend, keeping her out of the loop, and preventing any slips of the tongue. Observing Moore in her apartment from a seedy hotel room, Ferguson made a video tape with instructions for Moore in the event of his death. Although the Martian Manhunter found Ferguson before his pursuers, J'Onn J'Onzz was unable to protect him from a napalm attack directed at them both. However, Alex's videotape went out in the mail, apparently drawing his lover into the conspiracy.

Quote:It's just the feeling I got when I touched it. It belongs to someone, and it sure as hell ain't her.

First Appearance: DCU: Brave New World #1 (August, 2006)

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Martian Sightings for September, 2011



STORMWATCH #1
Written by PAUL CORNELL
Art and cover by MIGUEL SEPULVEDA
On sale SEPTEMBER 7 • 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US • RATED T+
They are Stormwatch, a dangerous super human police force whose existence is kept secret from the world. Directly following the ominous events of SUPERMAN #1, Adam One leads half the Stormwatch team to recover the [INFORMATION REDACTED] from deep in the Himalayas. Meanwhile, Jack Hawksmoor and the rest of the Stormwatch crew look to recruit two of the deadliest super humans on the planet: Midnighter and Apollo! And if they say no? Perhaps the Martian Manhunter can change their minds...
RATED T

I'm definitely ordering this, but I do still have questions, like who is Adam One, and why do we need another dude in this book? Anyway, the more I look at this new costume, the better I like it. I hated a cabochon on the BD suit, and it just seemed a tad too boring and safe. I really love that the SW suit gets rid of the red X-straps so common at DC in favor of a ribcage frame and a time-honored chest emblem. I also dig how they made the pie-symbol less generic by emphasizing the slices in red against a gray background. I prefer the black leather pants to the BD blues, especially since the new belt is integrated into them. Not so sure about the red inner thighs, since it gives the impression of chaps while fighting alongside two of the most prominent homosexual super-heroes in conics. My other concern is the pleathery purple cape with the only-works-in-drawings cut and the wimpy collar. A few tweaks would do it good, but I think it's pretty cool overall.

JUSTICE LEAGUE #1
Written by GEOFF JOHNS
Art and cover by JIM LEE and SCOTT WILLIAMS
1:25 Variant cover by DAVID FINCH
RETROSOLICITED • On sale AUGUST 31 • 40 pg, FC, $3.99 US RATED T • Combo pack edition: $4.99 US
Retailers: This issue will ship with two covers. Please see the order form for more information.

Comics superstars Geoff Johns and Jim Lee make history! In a universe where super heroes are strange and new, Batman has discovered a dark evil that requires him to unite the World Greatest Heroes!

This spectacular debut issue is also offered as a special combo pack edition, polybagged with a redemption code for a digital download of the issue.
Ugh! Batman, the controlling a-hole that always makes a big show of creating tension/quitting the JLA, of which he's only kinda-sorta a founder, is now the guy creating the team? Screw this-- I'll go read Stormwatch instead...

GRIFTER #1
Written by NATHAN EDMONDSON
Art by CAFU
Cover by CAFU and BIT
On sale SEPTEMBER 14 • 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US • RATED T
The DCU’s most wanted man stars in his own series!
Cole Cash is a charming grifter few can resist. And yet he’s about to be branded a serial killer when he begins hunting and exterminating inhuman creatures hidden in human form – creatures only he can see!
Can the biggest sweet talker of all time talk his way out of this one when even his brother thinks he’s gone over the edge?
Invisible flying Daemonites look an awful lot like White Martians, is all I'm saying.

SUICIDE SQUAD: THE NIGHTSHADE ODYSSEY TP
Written by JOHN OSTRANDER, KEITH GIFFEN and J.M. DEMATTEIS
Art by LUKE MCDONNELL, KEITH GIFFEN and others
Cover by JERRY BINGHAM
In these stories from issues #7-12, the Squad is trapped in Russia. And before they escape, they’ll have to fight The People’s Heroes. Then, Batman discovers the existence of the Suicide Squad – and he’s not happy. Plus: a crossover from JUSTICE LEAGUE INTERNATIONAL #13.
On sale OCTOBER 19 • 224 pg, FC, $19.99 US
Vixen & J'Onn J'Onzz reunited for the first time since the fall of the JLD. Good stuff.

Miss Martian
YOUNG JUSTICE #8
Written by GREG WEISMAN and KEVIN HOPPS
Art by CHRISTOPHER JONES and DAN DAVIS
Cover by CHRISTOPHER JONES
Can someone with Artemis’ pedigree really be a hero? A close encounter when the team takes action against the deadly android Amazo may give her the chance to prove herself – if she can survive the onslaught of Professor Ivo’s malevolent MONQIs!
On sale SEPTEMBER 21 • 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US • RATED E

TINY TITANS #44
Written by ART BALTAZAR and FRANCO
Art by ART BALTAZAR and FRANCO
Cover by ART BALTAZAR
It’s the issue of doom! Join the Tiny Titans as they – walk to school! Beast Boy takes a wrong turn when confronted by the crossing guards he calls The Doom Patrol. Plus, witness Beast Boy’s first encounter with the Crossing Patrol Boys of Doom! Crossing the street has never been so tough!
On sale SEPTEMBER 21 • 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US • RATED E

Monday, June 13, 2011

Paul Cornell on Stormwatch/DCnÜ Misconceptions



Big thanks to commentator Ryan for pointing me to an interview with Paul Cornell at Newsarama that goes a long way toward assuaging any fears among fans in the DC and WS camps that their characters wouldn't remain true to form. Of Stormwatch the book, Cornell said:
"It's at the crux of a lot of things for where DC is going to be in September. It's a bit of a kingpin book. It united a lot of things."

That tells me this isn't just some lark, but essentially ground zero of the integration of the Wildtorm properties into the DCU.

Newsarama: Paul, I think one of the most exciting things about the announcement is that people finally know where Martian Manhunter ended up. Can you tell us anything about what his function is on this team?

Paul Cornell: Well, he's a superhero, and Stormwatch are not. And there's a certain contradiction there. And he's a major player in the book.

Newsarama: It's true that they really don't seem to go together, because Martian Manhunter is like the odd man out.

Paul Cornell: Yeah. He's in there to kind of put a certain gravity to it, to mess things around. He does make sense in the book, though. Very much so. And you'll see why he makes sense when the idea behind the book gets talked about. But I think it's obvious that there's going to be some friction there. There are going to be some issues.

Newsarama: The information DC released said he'll try to "change their mind." That doesn't imply mind control or anything, does it?

Paul Cornell: Ah, no. He's trying to change their minds about being recruits. He's not controlling their minds. That would be bad!

Newsarama: OK, OK... just checking. But so many people know Martian Manhunter, even in the mainstream world, since he was such a huge part of cartoons like Justice League. Is the same character we know? Or has he changed?

Paul Cornell: Those things that you liked are still there.

Cornell was apparently a big fan of Warren Ellis' Planetary, but only recently read Stormwatch and The Authority in trades. That explains why the character selection is so heavily skewed toward the later material. Cornell confirmed Apollo and Midnighter would be out and proud, that the team's edgy swagger would remain, and that it's actually Jack Hawksmoor at the center of that first cover. I'm rather curious where the women are at, and how big this group will be at the end, but I'm mostly just relieved to hear Cornell will be writing a recognizable J'Onn J'Onzz in a dynamic new setting.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

2010 DC Originals Men's Sleep Pant RN# 82457



For months, I kept seeing boxer shorts and pajamas bottoms available at Wall*Mart during my irregular visits related to DC characters. One in particular had caught my eye, with a black base color, but swimming in DC character logos. I never bought them though, because the icons were all your typical "name brand" variety like Superman, Batman, the Flash and Green Lantern. Even the Satellite Era Justice League of America logo was too generic to validate my picking any up "for blogging purposes."



In March or April, I came upon a pair that had expanded its selection of logos to Super Powers, Green Arrow, Hawkman, the Red Tornado (amateurish though the Usurper's may be,) and... could it be, Martian Manhunter?!?



The pants are quite comfortable, being 100% cotton, but quite thin. I'm not complaining, because I can still wear them out in the heat of an East Texas summer, and am old/shameless enough to be seen in the atrociously loud garb. However, I'm just waiting for the tie to bust on me, and I don't trust a single button crotch when it comes to anything. The side pockets are great for playing polo, but they will lose you a wallet, and there's nothing in the back but ass.



Speaking of ass, here's my uncomfortably dumpy self staging an inter-company crossover through my ensemble. Above is of course a distressed Secret Wars #1 t-shirt, and to add to the levels, I got it at Target. Anyway, I get done with school, then I take my super-shabby self to the gym...



Folders & Fodder