Sunday, June 30, 2013

Captive-Ray Gun


The captive-ray gun was a powerful weapon developed by the scientists of the world-wide criminal syndicate Vulture. According to their leader Mr.V, "It is... capable of overcoming any force on Earth! It's basic component is a microscopic element so rare, it has taken 15 years to extract and refine it for use!" After thousands of tests, the weapon proved capable of projecting an imprisoning sphere around a target of such resilience that even the Martian Manhunter could not break out of it. Mr.V made the gun available to Vulture's members, and it was field tested against the Alien Atlas by Cluzot, but failed to win the day due to human error. J'onn J'onzz destroyed Cluzot's captive-ray gun, but it is uncertain whether it was the only working model.

First Appearance: House of Mystery #163 (December, 1966)

Created by Jack Miller and Joe Certa

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Suiting the Sleuth From Outer Space

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I've spent a lot of years doodling out crumby alternate Martian Manhunter costumes, and my lack of shame means I'm willing to share them with the public as filler material. Above is a sampling of suits, most heavily influenced by either Bloodwynd or Pulsar Stargrave. The latter meant uncomfortable means of male skin exposure not seen since the first Chippendales disco night in 1979. I don't think the J'Onn J'Onzz head sketch sucked, but the bonus Mongul is no prize.

Friday, June 28, 2013

The Saturnian Criminal vs. Prometheus


The Saturnian Criminal
Debut: 1963
Nemesis: Martian Manhunter
Other Major Foes: Zook
Appearances: One comic story.
Powers: Super-strength/speed/senses/durability, x-ray vision, spinning, energy projection and chameleonic shapeshifting. Vulnerable to oil.

Bio: The Saturnian Criminal sought refuge on Earth while pursued by lawmen from his world. He battered and stole the identity of Detective John Jones, which he used to set a trap for his pursuers. Jones was rescued by his pet Zook, and as J'onn J'onzz, used the Saturnian vulnerability to oil against the criminal.

Vile Menagerie Stats
Win: The Mercurian (?-1); Ryx (13-1); Scorch (5-4)
Lose: B'enn B'urnzz (?); S'vor (6-7)
Draw: 0




Prometheus
Debut: 1998
Nemesis: Batman
Other Major Foes: JLA, Birds of Prey, Arsenal
Appearances: 50+ comics, playable character in Justice League Heroes with cameos in two other games.
Powers: Genius with an arsenal of specialized weaponry and cybernetic implants.

Bio: Prometheus' parents were outlaws gunned down by police when he was a child. A sort of reverse-Batman, Prometheus swore revenge against authority figures, eventually targeting the JLA while under the borrowed identity of Retro. Prometheus fared well against heavy hitters by using devices designed specifically to target their known weaknesses, but was less adept when faced with unfamiliar heroes. Prometheus continued to struggle with setbacks against lesser heroes, but rebuilt his reputation through the murder and mutilation of same before appearing to be executed by Green Arrow.

Vile Menagerie Stats:
Win: 0
Lose: 0
Draw: 0




Idol Speculation:
How's this for an unlikely Greco-Roman themed throwdown? On paper, the Saturnian is vastly more powerful than Prometheus, and they're both conniving identity thieves with murderous intent. Prometheus has taken on hordes of angry heroes at once though, and did a real number on Star City, even if its destruction wasn't his primary intent. However, Prometheus is just as easily felled by the deux ex machina he employs against good guys. If Prometheus goes for the commonly known Saturnian weakness to fire instead of the obscure issue with oil the Saturnian Criminal suffers from, he isn't likely to survive the encounter.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

2013 Commander Blanx Comicpalooza Head Sketch by George Pérez

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As I've mentioned in past posts, I was psyched at the prospect of getting a George Perez commission, until I read up on the possibility online and learned that the likelihood of pulling a full figure at a convention was pretty close to nil. That's a shame, because I would love to get a complete drawing of Commander Blanx, the original killer of Mars, by an old school master. Blanx managed to rate a mention on the biography card for the 1985 Super Powers Collection Martian Manhunter Action Figure, as well as the Alien Atlas' 1986 Who's Who entry, but has never had a listing of his own anywhere (not even those big DK encyclopedias.) I have sad dreams of putting together a period style facsimile page for the ashen annihilator, and having it drawn by one of the Gods of Comics would be the cherry on top. Alas, it was not to be, but maybe Luke McDonnell will come to town someday for authenticity's sake?

Moving along, I had heard different things about how Perez allocated pieces, none of which panned out with my experience in Houston. The most likely option was a lottery system, but on Day One, I stood in a line running a couple dozen feet without any sign of tickets or even movement. Guys were bringing whole longboxes for the artist to sign (which I have no patience for,) and I had a long list of commission from other folks I needed to get started on, so I got off. I saw tickets passed around on Day Two, but I arrived late, and the line was more like 100 feet long. I figured I'd have better odds arriving early on the final day, instead. I'd arranged all the other commissions I could, and brought a run of the Nick Spencer T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents series I'd pulled from a dollar box, prepared to hunker down and read in line for as long as it took to get me some Pérez. I finally got a ticket after finding out the Comicpalooza system: Each ticket was sequentially numbered, and determined in which order a sketch could be acquired. You could step out of line and do your thing, then return at any time that day. If your number was the lowest present, you moved immediately to the front of the line. However, the ticket was only good for one day, so guys who tried to collect from a previous day's ticket were admonished and had to collect an entirely new ticket. Every person who followed the rules got a sketch for a reasonable price, about $40 with some variances.

The line was moving fast enough that day that I gave up on reading after 1¼ comics. Instead, I chatted with fellow fans, including a guy whose daughter was dressed as Robin, and had received a sketch on her cape from Perez. When it was my turn, I watched the maestro do a minimal pencil outline (contrasted out of the scan) on 9" x 12" sketch board, then produce this bust inside five minutes with a Sharpee. Typically, when I watch a piece done, the artists are closer to how I do things myself-- working and reworking until the drawing suits. Pérez is one of those geniuses you see in YouTube videos who confidently work from abstraction to perfection, his hand never hesitating from start to finish, a crystalline image in his mind transcribed to paper as if by rote. It's appalling how easy he makes it look, but what would you expect from a four color deity?

I made some small talk about how an issue of Pérez's Logan's Run was one of my first comics, and a New Teen Titans was one of the earliest books I ever bought for myself. I marveled as he cast aside the reference I provided with barely a gander before illustrating Commander Blanx with as true and accurate an expression of the villain as Dick Dillin ever drew, but done with the panache only Pérez could bring. As it turned out, Pérez did uncredited inks for a lot of Dillin Justice League of America backgrounds during the Bronze Age, though he had admittedly never drawn Commander Blanx before. God willing, he'll do so again though...

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Sunday, June 23, 2013

2009 Martian Manhunter color art by Garnabiel Kraken

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Love the Claudio Castellini vibe. Whatever happened to him? Anyway, check out the original black & white sketch here.

Garnabiel

Saturday, June 22, 2013

B'enn B'urnzz vs. Black Adam


B'enn B'urnzz
Debut: 1962
Nemesis: Martian Manhunter
Other Major Foes: None
Appearances: One comic story.
Powers: Super strength/speed/stamina, flight, sonic blast, conditional invisibility and other Martian abilities.

Bio: B'enn B'urnzz is a criminal from the future who fled justice in the year 2062 by traveling back in time to the present. He then wrecked havoc as part of a crime spree alongside a human gang until he was stopped by J'onn J'onzz and returned home.

Vile Menagerie Stats
Win: Cay'an (5-4,) The Lizard Men (?,) The Marshal (7-6,) R'es Eda (9-0,) The Saturninan Criminal (?)
Lose: B'rett (7-12,) Commander Blanx (7-1)
Draw: 0




Black Adam
Debut: 1945
Nemesis: Captain Marvel
Other Major Foes: Marvel Family, JSA, Superman
Appearances: Nearly 400 comics; animation and audiobooks.
Powers: Super strength/speed/stamina/senses, invulnerability, magical lightning bolts and flight.

Bio: Teth-Adam was a champion empowered by the wizard Shazam in ancient Egypt. Corrupted by his power, Black Adam was banished to a distant star, and spent thousands of years flying back to Earth. Once there, he battled the Marvel Family, and eventually, much of the rest of the DC Universe.

Vile Menagerie Stats:
Win: 0
Lose: 0
Draw: 0




Idol Speculation:
Both B'enn B'urnzz and Black Adam were one shot villains who served as dark mirror images of a hero, but from a different time, and each fought their foes to a standstill before being defeated through a weakness they shared with the hero. B'enn B'urnzz was subdued in a ring of fire, while Black Adam was tricked into saying the magic word that made him human, then rapidly aged to death. The difference is that Black Adam was resurrected a few decades later, kicked around for a few decades more as a Shazam antagonist, and then in the last decade became a bloodthirsty juggernaut in the upper echelons of the DC hierarchy. B'enn B'urnzz has yet to resurface over these past 51 years, and while he performs well in our annual March Madness contests, he's got an awful lot of catching up to do in competing against Black Adam.

Friday, June 21, 2013

2012 Martian Manhunter color art by Ryan Whitaker

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“Took a little while to finish this as I am overseas and unable to finish most art projects when I want to. Overall, I only put a few hours of work into this, it was mainly just an experiment in painting and blending. I just used the basic circular brush, nothing special. Any comments or critiques are more than welcome!”
Check out the original black & white sketch here.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Martian Sightings for September, 2013

Martian Manhunter
FOREVER EVIL #1
Written by GEOFF JOHNS
Art and cover by DAVID FINCH and RICHARD FRIEND
1:25 Villain A-C covers by TBD
3-D motion variant cover by IVAN REIS and JOE PRADO
1:200 B&W variant cover by IVAN REIS and JOE PRADO
On sale SEPTEMBER 4 • 48 pg, 1 of 7, FC, $3.99 US • RATED T
Combo pack edition: $4.99 US

The first universe-wide event of The New 52 begins as FOREVER EVIL launches! The Justice League is DEAD! And the villains shall INHERIT the Earth! An epic tale of the world’s greatest super-villains starts here! This issue is also offered as a combo pack edition with a redemption code for a digital download of this issue.

What are the odds of Vile Menagerie representation? Good? Bad? Indifferent?

JUSTICE LEAGUE #23.4: SECRET SOCIETY
Written by GEOFF JOHNS and STERLING GATES
Art by MANUEL GARCIA and ROB HUNTER
3-D motion cover by MIKEL JANIN
On sale SEPTEMBER 25 • 32 pg, FC, $3.99 US • RATED T

An army of super villains has been built throughout The New 52 during 2013—but for what purpose? Learn about the villains that have paved the way for the world of FOREVER EVIL.
I threw this in as a just-in-case, but I doubt there's anything here for the Alien Atlas aficionado.

JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA #7.1: DEADSHOT
Written by MATT KINDT
Art by PASQUAL FERRY
3-D motion cover by TONY S. DANIEL and MATT BANNING
On sale SEPTEMBER 4 • 32 pg, FC, $3.99 US • RATED T

Is it a death wish that makes Floyd Lawton put on the mask of Deadshot? Or is something more sinister pulling at Floyd when he becomes a relentless assassin who feels nothing for his victims? Discover the truth behind Deadshot’s secret history in this issue!

They threw J'onn on the cover and his back-up strip writer is aboard, plus the art should be nice.

JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA #7.2: KILLER FROST
Written by STERLING GATES
Art by DERLIS SANTACRUZ
3-D motion cover by TONY S. DANIEL and MATT BANNING
On sale SEPTEMBER 11 • 32 pg, FC, $3.99 US • RATED T

Not every villain is grateful to the Secret Society for ridding the world of the Justice League. For Killer Frost, only one thing matters: feeding off Firestorm’s energy! But with Firestorm gone, a desperate Frost is forced to decide whether she should search for the missing hero or find a new source for her power fixes.

The same background image on this one (though J'Onn is now obscured,) but Kindt is traded out for the writer of Vibe, and I never heard of the artist.
JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA #7.3: SHADOW THIEF
Written by TOM DeFALCO
Art by CHAD HARDIN
3-D motion cover by TONY S. DANIEL and MATT BANNING
On sale SEPTEMBER 18 • 32 pg, FC, $3.99 US • RATED T

Where is the line between duty and villainy? For the new Shadow Thief, there is no question: Her mission to eradicate all alien life on Earth is above questions of morality. Armed with technology that allows her to become a living shadow, the Shadow Thief wages a covert war across the globe, but how long can she stay in the shadows before they consume her soul?
Okay, at this point it's just leftover business from the canceled Savage Hawkman, so unless you're actively seeking to spend money on a book titled Justice League of America this month...
THE DC UNIVERSE VS. THE MASTERS OF THE UNIVERSE #2
Written by KEITH GIFFEN
Art by DEXTER SOY
Cover by ED BENES
On sale SEPTEMBER 25 • 32 pg, FC, 2 of 6, $2.99 US • RATED T

Skeletor is on the loose in the DC Universe! If He-Man and the Masters of the Universe can’t stop him, then how can the Justice League hope to?
DC is hiding the cover on this one, as if anybody cares. Giffen inflicted DC/Wildstorm: Dreamwar upon an unsuspecting world, and Soy's the reason I didn't even try Captain Marvel. Let me give you both some NO.
JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA VOL. 1: WORLD’S MOST DANGEROUS HC
Written by GEOFF JOHNS and MATT KINDT
Art by DAVID FINCH, SCOTT CLARK, BRETT BOOTH and others
Cover by DAVID FINCH
On sale NOVEMBER 6 • 224 pg, FC, $24.99 US

Green Lantern! Green Arrow! Catwoman! Katana! Vibe! Hawkman! Stargirl! They aren’t the world’s greatest Super Heroes—they’re the most dangerous! But why does a team like the JLA need to exist? What is their ultimate mission? And who is pulling the strings? Find out in this collection of the first five issues of the new series as the team takes on the Secret Society of Super-Villains!
Mongul
Green Lantern: Mongul #23.2
Written by JIM STARLIN
Art by HOWARD PORTER
3-D motion cover by BILLY TAN
On sale SEPTEMBER 11 • 32 pg, FC, $3.99 US • RATED T

Deep in space, an unstoppable force is committing genocide on a galaxy-wide scale, and only the strongest will survive! Be warned, because nothing can prepare you for an all-new Warworld under the absolute rule of the tyrant called Mongul!
Every time I start to think I could quit DC, they do something like this. Jim Starlin is one of my all time favorite writer/artists, and while I haven't truly enjoyed his scripts in a long while, there will always be love there. Starlin co-created Mongul for DC Comics Presents #27 (November, 1980), a team-up between Superman and the long dormant Martian Manhunter. Starlin continued contributing to Mongul's adventures as the Man of Steel was joined by Supergirl, The Spectre and Starman in dealing with Mongul's machinations. Other creators took to Mongul, most memorably Alan Moore, but the character drifted far from his original conception after the Crisis on Infinite Earths. In recent years, creators seemed to take all their cues from the unimaginative Post-Crisis incarnation of the character, or just mine Moore's one story over and over again.

Jim Starlin made Mongul a villainous player with a great deal of potential, which was likely why Alan Moore used the character in the first place, only to see Mongul devolve into a brutal thug. Starlin hasn't written the character in any significant way since 1981, though I obviously and some thoughts about how that could have gone down. J'Onn J'Onzz was the first super-hero to ever face Mongul, and it would be really sweet if he could get himself snuck into this special. Regardless, even with the Green Lantern connection, the inclusion of Warworld and visual cues in his revised costume strongly point to a return to Mongul's early days. Maybe we'll finally get the full story on The Arkymandryte? I don't even mind that the artist who killed Mongul in Underworld Unleashed is on board, since he drew the guy quite well before Neron snapped his neck. This book seems all about second chances to get things right, and until Justice League of America #7.2: Commander Blanx gets announced, this is my #1 pick of the event!

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

2013 TOR, the Robot Criminal of Mars Comicpalooza Commission by Sam Lotfi

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First things first, it's "Lot Fee." Based on my internet searches, I am not alone in mistaking it for "Lofty" in spelling and pronunciation, but you get much better search results with the correct name. He's also completely unaffiliated with Britney Spears, so you know.

Sam Lotfi parlayed his slacking in school doing doodles into a career in cartoons with Powerhouse Animation, as well as comic book work. I familiarized myself with his efforts when he was announced to attend Comicpalooza 2012, but I blew through so much money so fast that year, by the time I reached his table I couldn't afford to pay for a commission. I spent the following year kicking myself, because Lotfi has an excellent mid-century illustrative style that I'm smitten with, and he's very mindful of cinematic compositions. I especially like how he does hulking, foreboding figures, so he was an obvious choice for TOR, the Robot Criminal of Mars.



TOR was one of the Manhunter from Mars' earliest superhuman opponents, and had a history with J'onn J'onzz revealed in flashback. He's exceptionally powerful for an old school rogue, and just all around nifty, which is why folks around here seem to like the guy. Unfortunately, he was never drawn full figure in his one comic book appearance, and only appeared in his true form for 1⅓ pages before sending his mind into a human surrogate for the rest of the tale. Getting a compete look at the character for the first time in fifty-six years was practically a public service!

Clarity was the name of the game, which kind of tied Lotfi's hands with regard to his posing of the figure, but I think he pulled it off beautifully! While still very boxy and utilitarian in that Frigidaire way, TOR is also robust and solemn like a golem from folklore. It strikes just the right balance between quaintly retro and intimidating, conveying a lot of personality with its precise posture. The character is state of an outdated scientific art, simultaneously polished and coarse, which the blue pencil shading captures well. I dig the little "TOR" at the corner, the attention to period detail-- just everything. What a swell commission!



The piece was produced on 11" x 14" bristol board within a few hours for $75, marking it as one of only three commissions I got to take home on the first day of Comicpalooza and a favorite of the convention as a whole. I believe Lotfi is still taking commissions per his deviantART page, or maybe hit him up on Facebook. I recommend taking up the offer, but scope his blog if you need more fantastic work to sway you. I'm very pleased Lofti came back this year to provide this awesome illustration (which I'm totally turning into a sidebar icon as well,) and I hope to make collecting his work an annual occasion.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

2012 “Martian Manhunter 4” color sketch card by Brendon Fraim & Brian Fraim

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"Drawn on 2.5x3.5 bristol board with fade resistant markers. If you like what you see here, and are interested in getting an illustration done by us, be sure to check out our commissions and rates at http://comicartcommissions.com/Fraim.html"

Monday, June 17, 2013

2012 “Ravager IV, Miss Martian and Bombshell” color commission by Bobby Timony

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"Ravager, Miss Martian and Bombshell sketch by Bobby Timony from the Albany Comic Convention, November 2012"
Bobby Timony

Sunday, June 16, 2013

2012 “Martian Manhunter #1” fan art by Andy Kapellusch

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"Oh No! Here's a mock MM cover for my redesigns at Comicbooked.com !!! Colured by Lil' Luke Fairhead , Penciled and Inked by me, with a shout out to Diabolu Idol-Head !!!"
Dig that rare hopeful image at the dawn of a series! Andy and I are both regular listeners and occasional contributors to the Fire & Water Podcast. He was going to do a whole fanfic reboot for the Alien Atlas, and I even have some work he sent me in progress. The project slipped out of my field of vision, and apparently Kapellusch already published and then lost an internet home for it without my catching on. Obviously, all of those images would be welcome here, but in the meantime here's some pics from "Justice League Underground, which I know nothing about.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

TOR vs. Lord Havok


TOR, the Robot Criminal of Mars
Debut: 1957
Nemesis: Martian Manhunter
Other Major Foes: None
Appearances: One comic story.
Powers: Indestructible body, immortality, telepathy, telepathic immunity, superhuman strength/intellect, and ability to possess a host which bestowing its powers onto them. Vulnerable to fire and solar dust.

Bio: TOR was created by Martian scientists to be an eternal servant of extraordinary ability, but a programming error instead turned it into an unstoppable force for evil. Unable to effectively destroy the massive robot, Martians led by J'onn J'onzz instead lured TOR into a trap and stranded it on a dead world. TOR continued to plague the Martian Manhunter through its long range powers until it appeared to perish from environmental factors on its prison planet.

Vile Menagerie Stats
Win: The Headmaster (7-6); S'vor (8-4)
Lose: Despero (6-12); Mongul (5-9)
Draw: 0




Lord Havok
Debut: 1990
Nemesis: Champions of Angor
Other Major Foes: Justice League International
Appearances: 25+ comics, live action television, and animation.
Powers: Highly weaponized power suit with the usual ill-defined techno-enhancements.

Bio: The first Lord Havok was an other-dimensional super-villain whose team managed to kill themselves along with the world they were trying to conquer. He was reproduced through a robot duplicate, along with his fellow Extremists, and fought the JLI on several occasions. A third Lord Havok was formed when the Kilg%re merged with Maxwell Lord. The fourth and most recent version was from yet another dimension, a human born as Alexi Nikolai with severe birth defects. Nikolai's father sought his death as an embarrassment, but his mother loved and protected him until his scientific prowess gave him the means to become Lord Havok and conquer Earth-8.

Vile Menagerie Stats:
Win: 0
Lose: 0
Draw: 0




Idol Speculation:
Usually, this would be the other way around. Lord Havok is the Chromium Age villain modeled after Marvel's Doctor Doom but clearly less formidable who is mostly known through appearances in Justice League comics, but somehow isn't the one representing the Vile Menagerie today. Instead, TOR is the early Silver Age creation whose remarkable powers should easily triumph in this match. As a unit, the Extremists earned a rep for being severely dangerous thanks to slapping around Justice League Europe during its heavily muscled Bart Sears heyday in a story running parallel to Despero's high water mark against Adam Hughes' JLI. Unfortunately, the Extremists were hurt by their initial twist ending and some seriously half-assed revivals until they spent all the credibility a bunch of blatant analogues could muster. Lord Havok was sort of the face of the team, which led to him being repurposed as part of Max Lord's '90s heel turn, but nothing much ever came of that. The pre-Flashpoint version is probably the best and most dangerous of the bunch, in part because Liam Sharpe basically turned him into Death's Head II, but I still don't see him being enough to topple TOR.

Friday, June 14, 2013

2011 “Z'Onn Z'Orr: Roh' Kar” animation-style fan fiction by N:TAS

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N:TAS DCU: Z'Onn Z'Orr: Roh' Kar 7-14-11


At the Super Buddies message board, there's a user under the handle "NightwingTAS" who builds digital figure models off the Bruce Timm DC Animated Series template for further fan fiction adventures of his own devising. Number 9 in the "Z'Onn "Z'Orr" series, here's his take on Roh Kar, First Lawman of Mars...

Roh' Kar was a Martian Lawman, who came to Earth 10 years before J'Onn, the Martian Manhunter had. Roh' Kar was sent to Earth to capture an escape criminal. During his mission Roh' Kar discovered that he liked Earth, so once he returned the criminal to Mars Roh' Kar returned to Earth and led a life of globetrotting, along his travels he met a young Bruce Wayne, who was still training to become Batman. Roh' Kar came out of hiding when he heard the mental cry from the Martians being held.
The name variation and "mental cry" would be related to the events in Martian Manhunter #1 (October, 2006). It's funny seeing the guy so beefy.

Also today: Captain Atom's Family @ Power of the Atom

Thursday, June 13, 2013

2013 Martian Manhunter color commission by Craig Rousseau

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"Another fine canson paper piece by good friend Craig Rousseau"
Craig Rousseau Canson Color!

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

2013 The Human Squirrel Comicpalooza Color Bust Commission by Kiriska



It's finally time to start the 2013 commissions! Yay! And we'll start with 余依笛! What, you don't read Chinese? Okay, we'll start with Yidi Yu! Yeah, I don't know who that is, either. Oh wait, it's the artist known more commonly as Kiriska? Of 2012's Human Squirrel figural sketch and Human Falcon bust? Say, we like her!

I still want to get a full color full figure from her someday, but until I get my crap together and set up a commission by mail, it doesn't seem likely to happen. Kiriska read the posts linked above, and I pitched her on the idea again, but yeah, we ended up with another 4" x 6" head shot instead. Maybe I'll just have her do individual body parts until I build the commission into a figure. It would help if I'd gotten three of Kiriska's classy and inexpensive pieces like I'd intended, but Comicpalooza 2013 was frankly a hassle for me, and I didn't have the oomph to pursue it like I should have. It's a shame, since Kiriska turned in a fine piece on the very first day.

Ben Stoves is pretty smug looking for a guy in a Squirrel costume, huh? I wonder how he'd fare against that guy I saw cosplaying as Frank from Donnie Darko? I like the exposed eyebrow, recalling how Jim Lee and Rik Levins used to do Captain America in the '90s. The suit may be cute, but mind that claw, kid. The colors work great here, and Kiriska even started putting her pieces in a little resealable bag with a custom cut backing board. Nifty!

For more, visit Kiriska.com, the tumblr A Question of Intent, &/or her deviantART gallery!

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Forever Evil, Forever DC?



The first regular issue of The Uncanny X-Men I bought was #168 in 1983. I read it sporadically for several years, then started collecting it monthly with #209 in 1986. This decision caused me to begin buying more and more "mutant" titles, which defined my reading habits for years. Longtime writer Chris Claremont was the constant in terms of quality throughout that time, and when he was driven off the books in 1991, I started having doubts. I stuck around until Uncanny X-Men #304 in 1993, using the crossover "Fatal Attractions" as my jumping off point from the entire line. Some of the X-Books were better than others, but I found that I no longer had a passion for that "family" of titles, which had successfully segregated themselves from the greater Marvel Universe for the duration of my following. I've read individual Marvel Comics since then, but in terms of supporting their universe as a whole, well, I've been a fan of their movies, at least.



Meanwhile, I bought The New Titans #78 in 1991, and fell hard for the revitalization of the title longtime writer Marv Wolfman had found with Tom Grummett, Al Vey and Jonathan Peterson. My interest flagged with the drop in quality that came when all but one of those talents left what became a whole other family of titles. One was canceled following the Zero Hour crossover event, and I dropped the other two a few months later. Luckily for DC, events like Reign of the Supermen and Knightfall had begun to draw me into the greater DC Universe. One of the reasons I dropped those Titans titles was because I bought every DC Comic published in October 1994 as part of the first "Zero Month" promotion, and kept up with several as a direct result. Hell, finally finding a welcoming entry point to Legion of Super-Heroes continuity kept me on the hook for two titles across nearly six years. That alone should have made the effort worthwhile for DC, who haven't managed to keep any single volume of Legion going for six consecutive years since then, with six attempted ongoing series in thirteen years.



Here's the thing-- I've been in pretty much the same place with DC as I was with Marvel in 1993, but I've stayed there for the entirety of the new millennium. I got down to just buying R.E.B.E.L.S. at one point, thanks in part to Martian Manhunter getting himself dead, but I've found that it's a lot harder to decouple from an entire universe than it was from a single branch. I wasn't a Titans fan or a Legion fan, but instead I was invested in the entire universe. However, decisions made by DC over time have helped me to kick the habit. My appreciation for the greater DC universe caused me to dislike Superman and Batman even before 1999 because of my resentment at their constant elevation above all other heroes, even (especially?) Wonder Woman. I can't count how many Leaguers have been murdered, raped, or suffered other indignities that render them unusable. The arrival of a new generation of Teen Titans from out of Young Justice members I wasn't into displaced the former members from my heart, and DC's attempts to resettle the old membership in books like Outsiders and Justice League of America failed to win me over. I had hopes for the post-Final Crisis de-boot of Legion continuity back to their '80s glory days, but that was almost immediately polluted, and the property is now as toxic as it ever was. The Green Lantern titles are headlined by a mass murdering idiot I can't stand. I like Supergirl, but I was a fan of Linda Danvers, not Kara Zor-El. Same goes for Connor Hawke. I miss all those characters I embraced as the new deal in the '80s and '90s but have since been discarded for their "classic," retrograde, whitebread predecessors.



Let me tell you, my love for Wonder Woman rivals anyone else in comics, including the Martian Manhunter. I have a blog dedicated to her, but I prioritize J'Onn J'Onzz because the Amazing Amazon has tons of other fans supporting her and overseeing the production of glorious tomes like The Essential Wonder Woman Encyclopedia. I sometimes feel like I've taken the black to guard the Wall between the Alien Atlas and a vast, hostile wilderness awaiting heroes DC deems no longer worthy of maintaining anymore. Alas, poor Zook. Anyhow, my point is that I bought virtually any comic book that featured Wonder Woman for over a dozen years, but the current regime finally managed to shake me loose in 2007, just a few months before I started this blog. I've read much of what's come since, but as trade paperbacks that I often borrowed free from the library. I never thought anything could stop me reading about her entirely, and then Brian Azzarello happened.



The New 52 would have been my perfect jumping off point from the DC Universe, but Brightest Day had gotten me excited about Aquaman again, and the Martian Manhunter was back. I was even optimistic about Stormwatch, since I had been a fan of Wildstorm before DC bought and gutted the company. There was a lot of promise in the linewide reboot, which was almost entirely squandered. Aquaman was already coming back in a big way, but the lose of the wrenching turns of life he'd lived, died and been resurrected from hardened my heart against his further adventures. I was alienated from characters like Captain Atom, O.M.A.C., and Hera help her even Wonder Woman by unholy revisions. Stuff I was following just a few months prior was completely undone, and I snickered at every instance DC tried to sell me a pre-Flashpoint collection like they were touting Michele Bachmann for president. All of DC's Wildstorm revivals dropped dookie on the efforts that made that line great, and then they burned it in a bucket of crap with all their decades of real time continuity related to World War II and points of chronal interest thereafter. Seriously, nothing I cared about in the DC Universe is there anymore...



...except J'Onn J'Onzz. Despite how lousy Stormwatch ended up being, it didn't euthanize the Alien Atlas right out of the gate, and teases in books like Justice League let readers know the Manhunter from Mars still mattered in the greater scheme of the New 52. While I haven't been bowled over by his role in the relaunched Justice League of America, it hasn't been bad either, and his rising profile in the coming months will surely draw my continued attention. Since I was already doing the one title, and I still thought the Secret Society of Super-Villains was a nifty idea, I even picked up satellite issues of titles like Savage Hawkman and Catwoman. If the early issues of JLofA hadn't at least sustained that interest, I wouldn't have decided to preorder all the core "Trinity War" titles, and some of its satellites. Geoff Johns and Matt Kindt have teased a familiarity with Martian Manhunter lore none of his solo series have had since-- jeez, potentially ever. The one thing keeping me around is this last hope that someone will finally get the Sleuth from Outer Space "right."



However, had I not dropped all of my non-Sleuth from Outer Space related comics already, "Villains Month" would have likely done the trick. The 3D cover gimmick is stupid, and I'd be ticked to be forced to pay extra price for it. If it turns out $3.99 is the new norm, count me out of even tasting any non-Manhunter titles in the future. The excess of villains has wiped out my SSoSV interest, which extends to the Forever Evil mini-series. I'm rather disgusted with DC as a company, between the creepy pandering reworking of their characters and the endless stream of disgruntled creators most recently represented by Paul Jenkins. When I think back to "Zero Month" in 1994, despite regretting my decision to continue following Xenobrood to the bitter end, I still see the wealth of opportunities DC provided me as a reader to try new properties in a variety of flavors. When I look at "Villains Month," I see a gimmicky cash grab that no prospective reader would be likely to invest in as a whole featuring mostly quite familiar (often thoroughly played out) properties, few of which will see their stories expanded beyond ongoing Batman/Superman/JLA narratives. It really is up to the independent publishers to save the industry from self-cannibalism, and it's very much up to guys like Matt Kindt to talk me out of giving up on even the small corner of the DCU my favorite Martian lives in...

Monday, June 10, 2013

2009 Miss Martian headshot commission by George Pérez

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"This 2009 Miss Martian headshot was drawn by George Perez. I purchased it from the original owner."
I got a George Perez head sketch and a Miss Martian commission at Comicpalooza this year. I can't compete with this though. Cue envy. No green jokes in the comments, please.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

2011 Marvel Two-in-One: The Lost Issues: The Thing and The Martian Manhunter

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It's been a long while since I covered Ross' many make believe team-ups between J'Onn J'Onzz and other super-heroes, so you might want to take a gander at The Brave and the Bold: Batman and The Martian Manhunter or "Super-Team Family: Martian Manhunter and Beta Ray Bill". That last one was my favorite of the three, since the two Walt Simonson images laid rather seamlessly together, but I do love how well Art Adams' Ben Grimm mingled into one of my favorite Jim Starlin Alien Atlas covers. In case you missed it, the Sleuth from Outer Space actually did tangle with the Ever-Lovin' Blue-Eyed Thing in DC versus Marvel for all of one panel back in the '90s. I tend to think the Martian Marvel would be the one to ultimately come out on top, regardless of what this "cover" depicts.

...More Lost Team-Up Issues...

Saturday, June 8, 2013

The Vile Menagerie vs. The Terrible Trio


The Human Falcon,
The Human Squirrel,
& Mister Moth

Debut: 1959, 1961, 1960
Nemesis: Martian Manhunter
Other Major Foes: None
Appearances: One comic story each.
Powers: Both the Human Falcon and Mr. Moth flew armed specialty aircraft equipped with grappling cranes. Mr. Moth carried a ray-gun pistol, while the Human Falcon had a wand that could project concealing feathers. The Human Squirrel was an excellent acrobat.

Bio: The Human Falcon committed bird-themed heists that often intentionally imperiled innocents as a distraction ploy. Mister Moth used similar high tech gadgets for his light-themed thefts, and while less prone to directly hurting people, was more obviously mentally tweaked. The Human Squirrel was ironically a cat burglar until he decided to go straight and join Detective John Jones' Ex-Convicts Club.

Vile Menagerie Stats
The Human Falcon
Win: Porto (10-2)
Lose: Mr. Moth (?) Mr. Bones (4-9)
Draw: 0

The Human Squirrel
Win: Human Flame (7-6); N'orr Cott (6-4);
Bel Juz (?); Professor Ivo (?)
Lose: Mr. Moth (4-10); The Devil Men of Pluto (?)
Draw: 0

Mister Moth
Win: Dr. Trap (6-5); Human Squirrel (10-4);
Nemesus (12-1) Human Falcon (?); Firefly (7-2)
Lose: Mr. V (8-9); Devil Men of Pluto (?)
Draw: King Zeus (8-8)



The Fox, the Shark and the Vulture
Debut: 1958
Nemesis: Batman
Other Major Foes: Robin, Dr. Mid-Nite
Appearances: More than a dozen comics and numerous animated series.
Powers: The Terrible Trio's devices included burrowing, missile, “eel,” “pilot fish” and “swordfish” machines.

Bio: The Terrible Trio were genius inventors who each specialized in crimes related to land, sea or air. They decided to pool their intellectual resources to strike on all fronts with elaborate machines while wearing animal masks that represented their individual specialties. They were typically thwarted by Batman and Robin, though they were also instrumental in the origin of the last Pre-Flashpoint Doctor Mid-Nite, who once threw a wrench in their works.

Vile Menagerie Stats:
Win: 0
Lose: 0
Draw: 0




Idol Speculation:
Given how often the Terrible Trio are brought up in conversations about Batman's extended rogues gallery, I was surprised to find that they've had relatively few comic book appearances. They're obviously better loved by animators, who've put them in The Batman cartoon, Batman: The Animated Series, and unsurprisingly Batman: The Brave and the Bold. That said, it took all three of these guys to stymie the Dynamic Duo. The Human Falcon, Human Squirrel and Mister Moth have never worked as a team, and only have one appearance a piece. However, each of their stories involved their holding off the Martian Manhunter on their own (henchmen exempted, especially since the Trio had some, too.) I recognize that fan polls should have limited sway, but when I've pitted Moth & Squirrel against other members of the Alien Atlas rogues gallery, they've done exceptionally well in the voting. I doubt Fox, Shark and Vulture would fare as well against Maxie Zeus, Rat Catcher, or Anarky in solo combat, and those guys are C-list at best. This is a matter of levels, and despite their lack of mainstream recognition, the "Human League" of the Vile Menagerie are simply operating on a higher (and weirder) plane.

Friday, June 7, 2013

Green Lantern: Mongul #23.2 Solicitation Copy

Green Lantern: Mongul #23.2
Written by JIM STARLIN
Art by HOWARD PORTER
3-D motion cover by BILLY TAN
On sale SEPTEMBER 11 • 32 pg, FC, $3.99 US • RATED T

Deep in space, an unstoppable force is committing genocide on a galaxy-wide scale, and only the strongest will survive! Be warned, because nothing can prepare you for an all-new Warworld under the absolute rule of the tyrant called Mongul!
Every time I start to think I could quit DC, they do something like this. Jim Starlin is one of my all time favorite writer/artists, and while I haven't truly enjoyed his scripts in a long while, there will always be love there. Starlin co-created Mongul for DC Comics Presents #27 (November, 1980), a team-up between Superman and the long dormant Martian Manhunter. Starlin continued contributing to Mongul's adventures as the Man of Steel was joined by Supergirl, The Spectre and Starman in dealing with Mongul's machinations. Other creators took to Mongul, most memorably Alan Moore, but the character drifted far from his original conception after the Crisis on Infinite Earths. In recent years, creators seemed to take all their cues from the unimaginative Post-Crisis incarnation of the character, or just mine Moore's one story over and over again.

Jim Starlin made Mongul a villainous player with a great deal of potential, which was likely why Alan Moore used the character in the first place, only to see Mongul devolve into a brutal thug. Starlin hasn't written the character in any significant way since 1981, though I obviously and some thoughts about how that could have gone down. J'Onn J'Onzz was the first super-hero to ever face Mongul, and it would be really sweet if he could get himself snuck into this special. Regardless, even with the Green Lantern connection, the inclusion of Warworld and visual cues in his revised costume strongly point to a return to Mongul's early days. Maybe we'll finally get the full story on The Arkymandryte? I don't even mind that the artist who killed Mongul in Underworld Unleashed is on board, since he drew the guy quite well before Neron snapped his neck. This book seems all about second chances to get things right, and until Justice League of America #7.2: Commander Blanx gets announced, this is my #1 pick of the event!

Thursday, June 6, 2013

2013 Martian Manhunter versus Green Lantern Guy Gardner Commission by Brent David McKee

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“I am still speechless over this commission by Brent McKee.”
I'm not. You know I love a grumpy J'Onn J'Onzz complaining about the headaches the JLI gave him, but it's also nice every now and again to be reminded about what a scary E.T. S.O.B. he can be if you tug his trigger. For some more nasty McKee art on this somewhat ominous date, check out “Wonder Woman vs Clayface”

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

The Secret Society of Martian Manhunter Underwriters



Okay, here's the deal, in case you don't keep up with comic book news. For the second anniversary of DC Comics' New 52 relaunch, all of the titles in that category of the line will halt whole numbering for the month of September. Some titles will skip publishing that month entirely, and the rest will put out comics with decimal points added to the previous numbering as “Villain’s Month” sees those books hijacked by bad guys. For instance, most of the Batman titles will be getting several decimal point issues, like Detective Comics publishing four weekly books numbered 23.1-23.4, each with a different spotlight villain. DC axed a bunch of books in August, but if you read remaining low selling books like Katana, don't expect them to get a .1 issue. Instead, popular guys like Aquaman (I seriously just typed that?) will get two, and really popular guys like Batman will get 16+ (seriously.) Also, all the books will jump to $3.99 because they'll each have a 3D lenticular motion cover.


What does all this mean for the Sleuth from Outer Space? For starters, the theme month will spin out of the "Trinity War" event, which appears to significantly involve the Secret Society of Super-Villains that has been built up in Justice League of America. The primary creative team for that book, Geoff Johns and David Finch, will move over to a new SSoSV related mini-series, Forever Evil. Meanwhile, Matt Kindt and Doug Mahnke will take over JLofA for a five issue stint. Kindt has been writing the Martian Manhunter back-up stories in the book, while Doug Mahnke has long been associated with J'Onn J'Onzz, dating back to a fan favorite issue of the solo series. Hopefully Christian Alamy, who inked Mahnke on the Final Crisis: Requiem Martian Manhunter funeral special, will be joining them. Finch's Alien Atlas was alright with some queer, grating flourishes. Mahnke has always drawn J'Onn like a boss, and he's even better with Alamy, so that would totally be trading up.


USA Today reports "Kindt will also take over Justice League of America for five issues emphasizing Martian Manhunter, the subject of the writer's recent JLA backups who will be picking up what's left of the Justice League." He'll also write a Forever Evil: A.R.G.U.S. mini-series that spotlights Steve Trevor and their mutual organization. Having caught up on those back-ups and recent Justice League guest appearances, I have to wonder if we're looking at a backdoor pilot for that Alien Atlas ongoing series we've been waiting a couple of years for. Despero and Martian Manhunters as partners in the extraterrestrial investigation business? The introduction of the New 52 Commander Blanx and/or Ma'alefa'ak? Any of those guys could still get Villain's Month comics, as only Deadshot has a Justice League of America decimal issue, and that's more a stand-in for Suicide Squad. Exploring any of them sets up a need for continuation.



Stormwatch mentioned that there's (an)other surviving Martian(s,) and there are some possible references in the most recent back-up that indicate Kindt and/or Johns may have gone to the trouble of actually researching key Martian Manhunter stories. Who's ever done that in the entire history of the character? Even if the events of "Trinity War" are related to the big bad whatever J'Onn's been worrying about since Justice League #7, he's still getting five issues of focus to deal with the repercussions of the event. Hell, the Martian Marvel may be the only good guy left standing to deal with the Secret Society. Are we excited yet? I'll admit, despite ample previous history to suggest that this will only end up as ashes in my mouth, I kinda am. Well, there is a glass half empty side, but let's save that for another, less optimistic day...

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

2012 Martian Manhunter in “Pixar Invades The Marvel & DC Comics Universe!” by Phil Postma

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"This project started after the announcement of Disney buying Marvel comics and all the the fans started making Pixar / Avengers images. Well I was not terribly happy with the images that they were doing, so I tried to do better. ( Most of what I saw was recoloured images from "The Incredibles" movie screen grabs )

Mainly, this was just another way to better know Photoshop and I used the same rules as when I did those "Star Wars" posters. Just collected a lot of images using Google, cut and pasted them together, and this is what you get. I put them in a format that makes them look like those movie & comic trading cards I use to collect as a kid.

Hope you enjoy."
See all 50(!!!) related images here!

Monday, June 3, 2013

2010 Miss Martian New York Comic Con color art by Joe Haley & T.J. Dort

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"A adorable Miss Martian piece by the creators of the Underburbs. Bought at NYCC 2010."
In 2008, M'gann M'orzz asked "Stop calling me Martian Girlhunter!" Now she's back for more with the same art team!

Sunday, June 2, 2013

2013 “New 52 Thantos” revised profile by “Illegal Machine”

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The Ill Mac can't stop fiddling with his third eye drillbit. After last week's post, he decided to take one more pass at the 3-in-1 Man's side view. I made a lot of penis jokes over his previous try, but now... I think it looks even more like a circumcised pecker than ever before. Mark 1 was more like one of those Pyrex wands. Why yes, I do give these sorts of matters considerable thought...

Saturday, June 1, 2013

N'or Cott vs. Deathstroke the Terminator


N'or Cott
Debut: 1977
Nemesis: Martian Manhunter
Other Major Foes: Batman
Appearances: 4 comics.
Powers: Presumably possesses all the abilities and weaknesses inherent in the Martian race, but displayed none in print. He instead relied upon his sword, ray pistol, and the use of an armed space shuttle.

Bio: N'or Cott was the commander of the Martian Army in exile after the destruction of their home world. He plotted with R'es Eda to frame J'onn J'onzz for murder to prevent the hero's opposition to a massacre that would allow the surviving Martians to take over an alien city. N'or Cott made numerous attempts on the lives of the Martian Manhunter and his fellow heroes before succumbing to exposure from the city's poisonous atmosphere.

Vile Menagerie Stats
Win: R'es Eda (6-4)
Lose: Human Squirrel (4-6); Martian Criminal (?)
Draw: 0




Deathstroke the Terminator
Debut: 1980
Nemesis: So many choices. His entire family, for starters.
Other Major Foes: The Justice League, The Titans (all divisions,) the Outsiders
Appearances: 600+ comics, live action television, animation, and video games.
Powers: Superhuman expert combatant with increased strength, speed, reflexes, agility, stamina, and senses. Wilson has a healing factor that increases his lifespan and makes him virtually impossible to kill short of decapitation. He's also very rich and well armed.

Bio: Slade Wilson, by his own reckoning, is "a goddam killing machine!" Volunteering for a U.S. Army experiment, Wilson's already exceptional combat prowess was enhanced to an extraordinary level, making him essentially an evil Captain America with greater powers. Wilson used these gifts to amass a considerable fortune as a mercenary. This took a toll on his family, rendering one son mute and another deceased. The Terminator vowed to follow through on his dead son's last assignment, capturing the New Teen Titans for a criminal organization. Thus began a path that saw Deathstroke in constant conflict with heroes and villains alike, including seeing his ex-wife, daughter, and surviving son (though Slade did kill the boy once, it didn't take) become enemies sworn to his destruction. If Wilson wasn't so accomplished an adversary, the sheer number of his foes would have overwhelmed him by now.

Vile Menagerie Stats:
Win: 0
Lose: 0
Draw: 0




Idol Speculation:
Fun fact- "Norcott" is an Old English habitational surname derived from "North" and "cottage," or "shelter." N'or Cott's goal was to take over Baltaz so his people could find a home on a harsh new world. N'or Cott himself is likely going to need shelter from the Terminator. Cott brought a sword to a fistfight with J'onn J'onzz and still managed to lose while being assisted by several of his men. In fact, Cott repeatedly tried to kill an unarmed Martian Manhunter with high explosives and consistently failed. While weakened by toxic exposure, N'or Cott also sucker punched Batman, but failed to actually knock him out. Meanwhile, Deathstroke once took out Aquaman, the Flash and Green Lantern by turns in a single comic and had the spare time to demolish a team of X-Force analogues before getting captured by Superman. Slade Wilson has beaten the hell out of the Batman and his protégé Nightwing on numerous occasions, and he's a single combatant created to take on whole super-teams like the New Teen Titans. Martian or not, N'or Cott's going to die again...