Monday, June 30, 2014

The Saturnian Lawmen



History:
When a Saturnian Criminal escaped custody and fled to Earth, peace officers from his planet gave chase. Two Saturnian Lawmen tracked their prey to Middletown, U.S.A., where they contacted local authorities for assistance. As it happened, the criminal had attempted to murder Detective John Jones, then stole his identification and shape-shifted into his form. The false John Jones was located by Patrolwoman Diane Meade and taken to headquarters, where Captain Harding "introduced" him to the lawmen, who were unaware of the charade. The false Detective Jones was asked to take the lead on the manhunt for the Saturnian criminal, but instead set a trap for the lawmen in the Pascack area. The Lawmen, believing they were being guided to a hideout, instead fell into a concealed pit filled with oil from a ruptured underground pipeline. Incapacitated and facing gradual death, the Saturnian Lawmen lay trapped in the pit, waiting for Middletown police and the heroic Manhunter from Mars to subdue the criminal and rescue them. The Lawmen thanked the Manhunter profusely, then blasted off in their alien ship with prisoner in tow.

Powers & Weapons:
It is unknown if the Saturnian Lawmen possessed any superhuman powers of the sort displayed by the criminal they pursued or other representatives of Saturn, though the criminal alluded to their having some. They appeared to carry some form of handgun, but they never left their holster. The Lawmen carried bracelets impregnated with oil to wrap around the wrists of Saturnian prisoners to keep them docile.

Weaknesses:
A singular weakness "of all Saturnians" is oil, which causes them to lose their powers if exposed to even a tiny amount, and will cause them to perish under extended contact.

First Appearance: Detective Comics #314 (April, 1963)

Quote: "The Earth Detective is beckoning to us to follow-- that must be where the hideout is!"

Created by Jack Miller & Joe Certa

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Defense Drones


Sentinels used by the White Martians to guard their bases.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

The Vile Menagerie: A-MORTAL



Alter Ego: Unknown
Occupation: Alien Invader
Known Relatives: None
Group Affiliation: The Hyperclan, White Martians
Base of Operations: Still Zone, formerly Z'Onn Z'Orr
First Appearance: JLA #1 (January, 1997)
Height: Variable; appeared approx. 6'2"
Build: Variable; appeared lean but athletic
Eyes: Variable; appeared red
Hair: Variable; appeared bald

History:
A-Mortal was a member of the Hyperclan, a team of aliens who arrived on Earth vowing to improve and protect it. To this end, A-Mortal and his teammate Zenturion "ferried in thousands of tons of fertile topsoil, gathered from the ocean bed and from under polar ice fields" to turn the Sahara Desert green, at least for a time. A-Mortal took part in the execution without lawful trial of captured terrestrial super-villains, which lowered crime rates, but brought the Hyperclan's motivations under suspicion by the JLA. As Earth embraced her new heroes and turned on the old, the Hyperclan split into three units, two in newly built "watchtowers," and one in a massive base that had been buried for millions of years under the ice of the Antarctic. When the Batman came around to investigate, A-Mortal downed his specialized jet.

The Hyperclan's true goal was to act as an advance invasion force for White Martian troops who had escaped long captivity in an otherdimensional realm called the Still Zone. They had previously conducted unethical experiments on Earth from their headquarters Z'Onn Z'Orr, leading them to be exiled by the Green Martians.

Under direction from Protex, A-Mortal had not checked the flaming wreckage to ensure Batman had perished, and soon signs sprang up that the Dark Knight had breached Z'Onn Z'Orr. A-Mortal investigated, but despite his advantages in power, he was felled by the Caped Crusader and left dangling from a line attached to a ceiling. A note left on A-Mortal's chest read "I know your secret," but three additional members of the Hyperclan failed to heed the warning, and became trapped in a ring of fire. The four Hyperclan members were last seen bound up by Batman, awaiting sentencing for their crimes by the Martian Manhunter.



Powers:
While presumably possessed of the innate abilities seen in most Martians of all colors, the White Martians held for millenia in the otherdimensional "Still Zone" displayed a tendency toward heavily favoring only certain of these abilities. A-Mortal is enormously strong, and unleashed laser beams from his eyes that could kill a metahuman. A-Mortal is swift enough in flight to catch incoming missiles to throw back at the jet that launched them. He laid claim to x-ray vision, and could "taste" pheromones.

Weaknesses:
A-Mortal has a catastrophic vulnerability to fire, causing immediate loss of his abilities, swift loss of consciousness, and eventual death under prolonged exposure.

Quote:"Shouldn't I check for the Batman's body?"

Created by: Grant Morrison & Howard Porter

Friday, June 27, 2014

2014 “10 Directors Warner Should Hire For Their DC Properties” article by Gabe Toro



Cinema Blend offered a list of notable directors for DC properties, some of which are pipe dreams (Phil Lord And Chris Miller are too hot for most anything DC would have to offer them) or terrible ideas (a lack of a y-chromosome is not a good enough reason to give the director of the horrendous Punisher War Zone another shot,) but most reasonable. I'm unfamiliar with their selection for the Sleuth from Outer Space...

William Eubank's Manhunter


Lost in the idiocy of David Goyer's recent She-Hulk comments was his dissing of Martian Manhunter, while adding that they should probably change his name to just Manhunter. That last suggestion actually works, however: the hero known as J'onn J'onzz is the only original Justice League member not listed in the original plans. But he's a great character deserving of a contemporary reboot, and he needs someone with a great visual imagination. Enter Eubank, fresh off the recent sci-fi indie The Signal. Eubank has a sleek, commercial style and an interest in sci-fi ideas that would be appropriate for this more cerebral character.
Who would I pick? Right now, without a ton of forethought, Neill Blomkamp or the Ford Brothers. I'd like my Martian Manhunter movie to be about something besides alien invasions and super-powers.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

The Flower of Wrath


"The Flower of Wrath" was a torture and execution device employed by White Martians. Though it has not been shown in use to date, the Martians believed it powerful enough to affect the JLA. "When the petals close, the agonies are indescribable."

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

The Genie of Gensu vs. Blackbriar Thorn


The Giant Genie
Debut: 1965
Nemesis: Martian Manhunter
Other Major Foes: None.
Appearances: One comic story
Powers: Giant-sized, super-strength, invulnerability, flight and destructive eye beams.

Bio:
Was commanded by mobsters to commit robberies and fight Martian Manhunter to a standstill. Hoods were eventually tricked into dismissing their genie.

Vile Menagerie Stats
Win: 0
Lose: Aroo (1-3)
Draw: 0


Vs.

Blackbriar Thorn
Debut: 1984
Nemesis: Superman
Other Major Foes: The Demon Etrigan, the JSA
Appearances: 25+ comics.
Powers: Plant Control, illusions, weather manipulation and immortality.

Bio: Ancient druid high priest who became trapped inside a tree and lost for centuries. Uncovered, Thorn used his giant wooden form and magic to plague modern heroes.

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


Idol Speculation:
Blackbriar Thorn rapidly loses his powers when uprooted out of the earth. The Genie of Gensu essentially cannot be harmed physically, and constantly picks up heavy things to fly off with. Genie trumps wizard.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

The Vile Menagerie: FLUXUS



Alter Ego: None known
Occupation: Alien Invader
Group Affiliation: The Hyperclan, White Martians
Base of Operations: Still Zone, formerly Pacific Ocean
First Appearance: JLA #1 (January, 1997)
Height: Variable, appeared approx. 7'0"
Build: Variable, appeared extremely muscular
Weight: Variable, appeared very heavy
Eyes: Variable, appeared red
Hair: None
Skin: Variable, appeared gray and rock-like

History:
Fluxus arrived with the Hyperclan on the lawn of the White House, their leader claiming them to be a group of wandering alien heroes. Fluxus seemed benevolent, helping seed one of the world's most famous wastelands by tilling the soil with his enlarged hands. In truth though, the Hyperclan were the advance force of a White Martian army freed after millenia from exile in "The Still Zone" and set on conquering Earth. The team systematically negated any resistance, including the JLA, while controlling the minds of humanity through subliminal signals.

The Hyperclan divided into three sub-groups, with one residing in the unearthed Martian base Z'Onn Z'Orr, and the other two constructing massive new bases from scratch. Fluxus and Tronix operated from a "watchtower" in the Pacific Ocean near Midway Island, and attracted the attention of Wonder Woman. Fluxus attacked the Amazing Amazon while using his shapeshifting abilities to disguise himself in a geyser of water. Wonder Woman retaliated with a blow so fierce that it sent Fluxus tumbling hundreds of feet into the water and knocked his headpiece clear off.

The new structure was also due for inspection from Aquaman, who arrived via whale and launched into a verbal row with Princess Diana. She was soon distracted by the aggression of Tronix, while the Sea King attempted to destabilize the watchtower underwater with the help of porpoise. He was struck by Tronix in the form of a whale and sent flying unconscious back aboard the watchtower. Tronix then blasted Wonder Woman with laser beams, and both heroes were captured.

The Hyperclan regrouped at Z'Onn Z'Orr's where other captive JLA members were to be tortured to death. However, the Batman breached security, defeated A-Mortal, and lured a Hyperclan search detail into a flaming trap. Fluxus was bound up with three teammates by the Dark Knight and none participated in the final battle between the JLA and White Martians. The invasion were routed, and Fluxus was punished under the supervision of the Martian Manhunter.

Powers:
While presumably possessed of the innate abilities seen in most Martians of all colors, the individual White Martians held for millenia in the otherdimensional "Still Zone" displayed a tendency toward heavily favoring only certain of these abilities. It was not clear whether this was a developmental or evolutionary consideration; a matter of aptitude or discipline; perhaps merely an aspect of the Hyperclan charade. In the case of Fluxus, only the power of shape changing was displayed, mostly elongation and animal mimicry. There were elements of superhuman strength and durability in the mix, as well as possible but by no means definite self-contained transmutation.

Weaknesses:
Fluxus has a catastrophic vulnerability to fire, causing immediate loss of his powers, consciousness, and eventual death under prolonged exposure.

Quote:Explain? What's to explain? We're going to kill you, all of you, and then we're going to enslave this lush little world of yours. What do you think of that? Hmmmm--"

Created by: Grant Morrison & Howard Porter

Monday, June 23, 2014

2014 Martian Manhunter and Nibbler sketch cover by Jason Quinones

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"Martian Manhunter running and trying to protect a sleepy Nibbler, Leela's pet from Futurama. The Back Cover will feature a bunch of aliens that Manhunter will be running away from."

Sunday, June 22, 2014

2008 Martian Manhunter custom figure by Baliscon

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"Wanted to try something different. Not too sure about this guy"
I had to resist the urge to reference Adam Jones in some way for the title. If J'Onn J'Onzz were to appear in a Tool video, I expect he'd look like this.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

2013 Silver Age Martian Manhunter commission by Ben Towle

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"Here’re some commissioned drawings I recently wrapped up: the Silver Age JLA. I read mainly Marvel stuff growing up and admittedly don’t know a whole ton about Silver Age DC stuff, but I really enjoyed doing these and I really gained an appreciation for these great costumes. I’m also pretty happy with the way these turned out."
Ben Towle is the creator of the graphic novels Midnight Sun and Farewell, Georgia. J'onn J'onzz is part of a set of eight pieces, and ordering information for work of your own can be found by clicking the picture above.

Friday, June 20, 2014

2011 Martian Manhunter custom figure by Baliscon

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"I really don't like any costume that this guy has had. So, I went with my own interpretation and added as many as the original elements as I could. I tried to get more of a detective feel out of him. The body is some generic wrestler and the head is from Bullseye."

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

The Cobra-Beast vs. Byth


The Cobra-Beast
Debut: 1966
Nemesis: Martian Manhunter
Other Major Foes: Zook
Appearances: One comic story
Powers: Giant-sized, super-strength & durability, regeneration, and explosive forked tongue.

Bio:
The Cobra-Beast was released from the Diabolu Idol-Head to wreck great destruction.

Vile Menagerie Stats
Win: 0
Lose: The Horn Firing Creature of Gilgana (1-3)
Draw: 0



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Byth
Debut: 1961
Nemesis: Hawkman
Other Major Foes: Hawkgirl
Appearances: 50+ comics.
Powers: Heightened senses, super-strength, and exceptional shape-shifting to gigantic proportions.

Bio: A Thanagarian criminal who fled to Earth, prompting the pursuit of Hawkman & Hawkgirl, who settled on the planet.

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


Idol Speculation:
Byth is very clever and dangerous, plus he has the advantage of flight. However, barring the use of Thanagarian weaponry, Byth doesn't typically have the firepower required to kill the Cobra-Beast, and might very well end up absorbed by it through physical contact. Most importantly, the Cobra-Beast's tongue is devastating to such a degree as to do grievous bodily harm to even a giant Byth, should it strike him.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Martian Sightings for September, 2014

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Martian Manhunter
JUSTICE LEAGUE: FUTURES END #1 Lenticular Cover
Writer: Jeff Lemire
Penciller: Jedd Dougherty
Inker: Jedd Dougherty
Cover: Mike McKone
On sale SEPTEMBER 10
32 pg, FC • RATED T
3-D Motion Edition: $3.99 US
2-D Standard Edition: $2.99 US
Orders due May 29 • Not offered on FOC

The mystery of the Martian Manhunter is revealed at last as his decades-long plan for world domination comes to fruition! Continues in this month’s JUSTICE LEAGUE UNITED: FUTURES END #1!
Lots of Legion Losers on the JLeh. I already preordered this, but this lot makes me regret that a little.

JUSTICE LEAGUE UNITED: FUTURES END #1 Lenticular Cover
Writer: Jeff Lemire
Penciller: Jedd Dougherty
Inker: Jedd Dougherty
Cover: Mike McKone
On sale SEPTEMBER 17
32 pg, FC • RATED T
3-D Motion Edition: $3.99 US
2-D Standard Edition: $2.99 US
Orders due May 29 • Not offered on FOC

In the concluding chapter of the epic story that began in this month’s JUSTICE LEAGUE: FUTURES END #1, the armies of Mars rise against the unsuspecting population of Earth – and only the combined might of the Justice League and the Legion of Super-Heroes can stand against them!
Lots of Legion Losers on the JLeh. I already preordered this, but this lot makes me regret that a little.



Miss Martian
TINY TITANS: RETURN TO THE TREEHOUSE #3
Written by ART BALTAZAR and FRANCO
Art and cover by ART BALTAZAR
SEPTEMBER 3 • 32 pg, FC, 4 of 6, $2.99 US • RATED E

Welcome to Atlantis! With the help of Aqualad and Lagoon Boy, the Tiny Titans seek another location for their long lost treehouse. Sounds like a good idea…until your air runs out!

Monday, June 16, 2014

Paul Bettany cast as Martian Manhu-- wait, what?



So... yeah... Martian Manhunter cinema "news." Noose? Feels more like a noose. But it's Monday, it's easy, let's chat about ephemera.

Notorious Tinseltown journalist Nikki Finke celebrated the end of her non-compete from Deadline Hollywood with her new website and a report that Warner Brothers will (finally) be aggressively exploiting their DC properties for movies. Her list claims the following release dates:

May 2016 – Batman v Superman
July 2016 – Shazam
Xmas 2016 – Sandman
May 2017 – Justice League
July 2017 – Wonder Woman
Xmas 2017 – Flash and Green Lantern team-up
May 2018 – Man Of Steel 2

Finke also claimed that movies for the Metal Men and Suicide Squad (Supermax?) had gone to production hell, and that the true reason for the delay on (snicker) Dawn o' Justice was to lock down all their actors into extensive multi-picture contracts for Marvel-style cameos to fully construct a shared cinematic universe of their own. A lot of that makes sense, because the casting list on that first flick was already stuffed to the gills, and we've now received news of Aquaman being cast. What I expect to see is WB/DC tweaking the formula a tad to be diff'rent, so instead of stingers, maybe we get a scene of Dick Grayson leaving the Batcave to do his own thing in a later movie as Nightwing, motivating Batman to vent by getting all judgy on Superman. Do a scene at S.T.A.R. Labs where Vic Stone visits his parents, then his origin can be the Justice League movie's equivalent to the boring first twenty minutes of Marvel's The Avengers with all the S.H.I.E.L.D. crap.

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Another thing worth noting is that if you have a Wonder Woman movie, that's where her origin gets told, not in B v. S or JL. Ditto the Flash/GL flick, which will hopefully be wise enough to skip a lengthy origin element ala The Incredible Hulk and take some advantage of the Ryan Reynolds Green Lantern and the new TV show Flash. Batman v Superman can reintroduce the tweaked Batman, and offer an initially adversarial relationship with the Man of Steel, which will help distract from this being another dang Lex Luthor as ultimate villain film. Maybe we'll get a Lexcorp brewed Bizarro or something to spice up that old standard. Liberally sprinkle cameos and lead into first JLA film, which could be heavy on character interaction and light on exposition. Allow the other movies to stand alone. The current Superman has already been kind of ruined for kids, so maybe offer them Captain Marvel, a character who's been in some stage of preproduction since, like, the '90s. Got to be enough material lying around to push something out. The Rock is supposed to be attached to a DC movie, his busy schedule means he'd work best as a stunt villain, and he's been associated with Black Adam for the better part of a decade. Maybe Shazam stands alone, or maybe an awareness of his movie being far along in the pipeline was why he was used in the animated film War to prime him for League movie membership?

Then another rumor, this time from for Variety and current TheWrap writer Jeff Sneider, claiming J'Onn J'Onzz was up for casting in Justice League. Like virtually every other character confirmed as appearing in the movie, J'Onzz was introduced in live action to a wide audience via Smallville, and was used extensively there, because it makes friggin' sense. Man of Steel turned Superman into a hot mess of poor decision making skills, and Batman is so not the right choice to play mentor to a Kryptonian. The Manhunter is also a space guy and extremely stealthy, a more obviously useful combination to offer information about Max Lord or Darkseid than, say Cyborg. There was also an interesting follow-up tweet from Umberto Gonzalez, reporter from occasional scoopers/often B.S.ers Latino-Review...

Hopefully, if this is remotely accurate, Cumberbatch would be playing Darkseid or Maxwell Lord, since I think he'd be a terrible choice to play Martian Manhunter. This reopens the door to discuss the movies' casting issues. To date, Gal Gadot has never carried a movie or impressed anyone as Wonder Woman, but she's expected to play the Amazing Amazon in her own feature. Most recently, we are near confirmation on Jason Momoa playing Namor, the tall dark and handsome half-breed avenging son of the seven seas, with his arched eyebrows, barbaric intensity, and hot temper. No wait, he's playing the most famous ripoff of the Sub-Mariner, Aquaman, who spent his first thirty years in comics as the more mild-mannered, helpful, distinctly Aryan DC answer to one of proto-Marvel's most popular anti-heroes. Momoa has done fine work playing variations on Namor, but he's no Aquaman. Throwing Cumberbatch at the Manhunter would be another huge misstep, because a not dissimilar actor will be playing a not dissimilar character in 2015's Avengers: Age of Ultron.

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Throughout the Silver & Bronze Ages, Martian Manhunter was an amiable alien detective who was super-strong, could fly, created string winds with his powerful lungs, and could spin up a mean drill. The Vision was always a grim robot who fired an energy beam from his brow and "flew" by becoming immaterial, and his control of personal density also allowed him to pass through objects or become diamond hard, often in conjunction as a vicious offensive attack. A lot of J'Onn J'Onzz's personality and m.o. in the modern era can be traced directly back to "Victor Shade," who will be played by Paul Bettany next summer. This would inspire some rather unfavorable comparison for a johnny-come-lately Benedict Cumberbatch. No wonder David Goyer wanted to turn the Manhunter into Sil.

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Speaking of Goyer, BatFleck's writer/director buddy Kevin Smith had some words to say about the contempt expressed by the man providing the story to Batman v Superman. On the Hollywood Babble-On podcast, Smith said, "...You’re going to make comments like that, and you’re the person who is responsible for introducing Wonder Woman. That’s why there’s a lot of cats upset online. And then beyond just the icky girl stuff or whatever, the like ‘oh nerd stuff,’ the thing that I found really troubling too was the Martian Manhunter thing as well... that idea could never work, because it’s only existed for what like forty or fifty years, tried and true. These things are all make pretend anyway. It’s a comic book. Why couldn’t there be a Martian Manhunter? ...I don’t think David Goyer reads comic books whatsoever man."

Here's one of the things that gives me hope. The story to Batman v Superman is credited to David S. Goyer and Zack Snyder, but the screenplay is being written by Argo's Chris Terrio, and I don't think we know who's writing Justice League. Further, Kevin Tsujihara took over Warner Brothers in early 2013, too late to "save" Man of Steel, but not the successive films. Tsujihara used to work with Paul Levitz, and has a noted consideration for the DC super-heroes. I'm not excited about this line-up of films yet, but at least there's some potential for quality there. If noting else though, the Vision is one of my favorite Avengers, and might end up being enough of a parallel to the Martian Manhunter I know that I can take solace there if he's mishandled by Warners.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Striking While The Martian Iron Is Cold

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The Martian Manhunter debuted in the November 1955 cover-dated Detective Comics #225, replacing the nautical sleuth strip of Captain Compass with something more popular in the period, science fiction. The comic book industry as a whole was in a deep slump, and the only super-hero that was still selling significant numbers was Superman. The start of the Silver Age of Comics is usually considered to be the publication of Showcase #4, the debut of the revamped Barry Allen Flash, arriving just under a year after J'onn J'onzz. Other super-hero books cover-dated September 1956 included Action Comics, Adventure Comics, Batman, Detective Comics, Superboy, Superman, and Superman's Pal Jimmy Olsen, which also featured strips for Congo Bill, Tommy Tomorrow, Aquaman, Green Arrow, and Roy Raymond. Wonder Woman & World's Finest ran on a different month. Although the Flash was a modest success, a year later, nothing much had changed in this publication schedule. Even two years later, the Flash had barely graduated to his own title, as had Superman's Girl Friend, Lois Lane, while Green Lantern Hal Jordan had only just debuted in 1959's Showcase #22.

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The true game changer came in February 1960, with The Brave and the Bold #28, and the arrival of the Justice League of America. Three and a half years after the Scarlet Speedster had made the scene, the Flash was seven issues into his eponymous title, while the Challengers of the Unknown had a dozen under their belts. The Emerald Gladiator was still a freshman paying his dues on the anthology circuit, while back-up strip veteran Aquaman made his U.S. cover debut with the team, as did the Manhunter from Mars. Four months after their bi-monthly anthology bow, the JLofA were given their own series. A year out from the JLA premiere, Green Lantern had his own eponymous title, a volume that would run eighty-nine issues without a break. Aquaman was given a Showcase try-out, which would spin-off into a solo ongoing that would outlive the decade. Progressing further into 1961, the Thanagarian Hawkman arrived for anthology appearances before moving into a solo book, as would the Ray Palmer Atom. While not super-heroes, Adam Strange and Rip Hunter were active headliners. Mark Merlin was added as a regular feature to House of Secrets, and other anthologies added Star Hawkins and Space Ranger. Elongated Man and Kid Flash were turning up irregularly, while Supergirl took a regular spot in Action Comics.

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The August 1961 cover-dated Secret Origins #1 reprinted key tales of the Superman/Batman team, Adam Strange, Green Lantern, Challengers of the Unknown, Green Arrow & Speedy, Wonder Woman, the Flash, and finally, the Manhunter from Mars. Editor Jack Schiff had overseen the creation and/or promotions of Aquaman, the Challengers, and other anthology features, but did not seem to value J'onn J'onzz. As Julie Schwartz and Mort Weisinger were growing their stables and sales with super-heroes, Schiff was content with his adventure/mystery strips and handing over his super-heroes to his former assistant, George Kashdan. By November dated releases, Archie Comics were offering the Fly and the Jaguar in their own books, while "Marvel Comics" launched with Fantastic Four #1.

Another year passed. The Legion of Super-Heroes were in Adventure Comics, Thor starred in Journey into Mystery, and the Hulk had his first short-lived run. Another year brings Spider-Man, Doctor Solar, Magnus Robot Fighter, The X-Men, and the Doom Patrol in My Greatest Adventure. Iron Man was in Tales of Suspense, Ant-Man then Giant-Man & Wasp were in Tales to Astonish, and all three appeared in The Avengers. Most of the super-heroes introduced in the Silver Age survived up to this point, and many thrived.

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An exception was the Batman titles, while had floundered throughout the 1950s, and were thoroughly uncool for the 1960s. That's why Jack Schiff was finally forced off them and replaced as editor by Julie Schwartz. Ahead of their eviction, Schiff finally gave Green Arrow and Martian Manhunter a dual try-out in October/November 1963's The Brave and the Bold #50. Now, the JLA had left that bi-monthly title twenty issues prior. The Fly had been going since 1959, would continue until 1966, and lived longer still as the anthology Mighty Comics. Adventures of the Jaguar was pretty much done by this point. The Atom was nine issues in, the Challengers thirty-four, Fantastic Four nineteen, Green Lantern twenty-four, Metal Men four, Lois Lane forty-four, Aquaman eleven, and the big one, Justice League of America, well into its twenties.

Martian Manhunter & Zook didn't move into The House of Mystery cover spot until June 1964, where they would remain less than a year before surrendering to also-ran status for the new lead, "Dial H For Hero." Editor Schiff also offered Eclipso and Prince Ra-Man to House of Secrets. Green Arrow was even less lucky, losing his back-up strip in World's Finest Comics in 1964 and making do with JLA and guest appearances until Schwartz teamed him up with Green Lantern, Dennis O'Neil, and Neal Adams in 1970.

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Superman is an American icon, as is Wonder Woman, but the latter more as a survivor than victor. The first volume of the Flash lasted until the mid-80s, and DC has never gone for longer than a few months between series featuring Barry Allen or Wally West. Green Lantern has had less consistency, but he and Green Arrow shared a title for much of the 70s, and each has managed to support their individual books since the '80s. Aquaman has had worse luck, but turned up in one title or another for adventures until the '80s, and has mostly had eponymous series ongoing since the '90s.

Jack Schiff managed to push Batman to nearly the point of cancellation, but the Dark Knight was salvaged by Julie Schwartz, and then Batmania happened. The Caped Crusader is routinely treated as the greatest of super-heroes across all media today. Schiff gave away Aquaman, who then received his own cartoon, and remains one of the most recognizable heroes DC owns. Thanks to Schwartz's later development of Green Arrow, that character is the star of his own current TV show, while Green Lantern got a feature film.



Schiff kept Martian Manhunter, held that card until it was of little use in 1964, and half-heartedly played it until folding in 1968. Julie Schwartz was long past bothering with J'onn J'onzz. While Denny O'Neil revitalized Hal Jordan and Oliver Queen, he only trotted the Alien Atlas out every few years in the '70s, usually with no small amount of contempt and abuse. The character didn't rejoin the DC Universe proper and regular until 1984.

Jack Schiff commissioned thirteen years worth of Manhunter from Mars strips across 13 years and two titles. Unlike the more cutthroat Julie Schwartz, Schiff was loyal to his creative team right up until the end. That's honorable, and Martian Manhunter fans should be grateful for that. At the same time, Schwartz believed in telling sci-fi stories for precocious kids, and kept his stable fresh. Schiff was slow to respond to changing times, failed to capitalize on the opportunities of the Silver Age, and maintained the Manhunter strip as simple juvenile fantasy until at least 1966, with the introduction of VULTURE. We are indebted to Schiff, but his Manhunter is unrecognizable to modern audiences, who seem to have embraced the character in spite of his beginnings. Sometimes it's happier to think about what could have been under more dedicated, forward thinking hands. Perhaps then the Alien Atlas could truly have been a contender, instead of the Pete Best of the JLA.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

2014 “Heart of Justice: The Manhunter from Mars” article by Jerry Whitworth

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I've never done a comprehensive history of J'onn J'onzz for this blog. As a specialist, I tend to get bogged down in details and minutia, so the prospect of briefly summarizing fifty-nine years of publishing history fills me with dread. Thankfully, I don't have to, as Comic Art Community columnist Jerry Whitworth has laid it down across four pages and over 8,000 words of reading (with a lovely attribution link to the blog right at the top.) You've got the weekend folks, so dig in.

Friday, June 13, 2014

2013 Superman Unchained #3 variant cover by Jim Starlin

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Jim Starlin co-created Mongul in 1980 with Len Wein for a story teaming-up Superman and the Manhunter from Mars. That story was wiped out Post-Crisis, and creators totally lost the plot with Mongul, throwing out his basic personality, backstory and method of operations to offer a jaundiced thug in their place. That Mongul was executed by Neron and replaced by two children who were even less agreeable than their dad. In 2013, Starlin wrote Mongul's "Villains Month" special issue, and had the opportunity of the New 52 to restore the unique elements lost to Mongul since the Bronze Age. Instead, Starlin towed the party line, regurgitating bullet points from Mongul's Pre-Flashpoint career, and tramping the dirt down on ever seeing the original Mongul again. Just to salt that earth, Starlin produced this cover as part of the 75th Anniversary celebration of Superman, which features Mongul's initial design, but no sign of J'onn J'onzz. “Bronze Age Superman” is credited to Starlin, Rob Hunter, and Richard & Tanya Horie.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

2014 The Marshal Comicpalooza convention jam art by Pat Broderick

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I decided to take the plunge with jam pieces this year, and it was a learning experience. This was the first page that I started with, which featured a few characters roughly the size of a sketch card. Then the third guy went bigger, a fourth bigger still, and the fifth blew up a quarter of the page. I'm not complaining, because the pieces were all great, but I wanted something to help pull it all together as a whole. Thankfully, the relative power scale and physical presence of the villains featured had expanded with the drawing space.

I felt that there was too much room left at the top to quit, but I was also concerned about pushing to the limit and "ruining" a good thing. I'd already gotten two pieces from Pat Broderick over the long weekend, so I could reliably predict that his contributing would only be a plus. Broderick asked, "you want me to finish this off," and sure enough, he did.

The Marshal of the Soldiers of the Red Brotherhood was a genetically engineered military leader who staged a coup by tricking the Martian people into a war with Earth based on spurious evidence. Why yes, Iraq did come up in our conversation before initiating the piece. The Marshal created the circumstances that relocated Martian Manhunter to Earth after having vacated in 1969, and the story arc was contemporaneous to Broderick's heyday as a top DC Comics artist on books like The Fury of Firestorm and Captain Atom. While I had initially wanted Broderick to contribute a character to the friends of Martian Manhunter page, the Marshal was a good fit for him, and I needed someone I could trust to bring this particular jam home. I'd also gotten full figures previously, so it was swell to see Broderick push in for a close-up look at this hulking menace. Click on the pic above to give that fine work a proper look.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Tell Me Your Iconic Martian Manhunter Images!


Above is a cover detail from the 1961 giant-sized reprint special Secret Origins. The Martian Manhunter's first story was represented here, and this image was taken from that 1955 tale. While not the character's first cover appearance, it was among his earliest, and this was a rare moment of individual spotlight. Personally, I consider this an iconic image of the character, but you mileage may vary.

Despite appearing in over 2,000 comic books, less than sixty have had Martian Manhunter in their title, and all of those were released after the character was already over thirty years old. Depending on when you started reading the character, the most indelible images of the Alien Atlas in your memory may be from interior splash pages of his solo strip, guest appearances, key moments in team books, a frame from a cartoon or maybe a piece of merchandising. Carrying a lot of these types of images in your head comes with writing a themed blog for nearly seven years, but I'd like to hear from a broader sampling than me, myself and I. Offer a reference, a link, a jpeg, a description-- whatever works! I can't read your mind, but I'd like to hear your thoughts...

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

The Giant-Maker vs. Madame Rouge


The Giant-Maker
Debut: 1964
Nemesis: Martian Manhunter
Other Major Foes: Zook
Appearances: One comic story
Powers: Tentacle that turns target into mindless rampaging giant.

Bio:
Wrecked havoc, turned Zook against J'onn J'onzz and released the sorcerer Malador.

Vile Menagerie Stats
Win: The Man-Thing That Unearthed Secrets (4-0)
Lose: The Evil Mystic Brushes (0-2)*, The Venomee (0-3)*
Draw: 0

Vs.




Laura de Mille
Debut: 1964
Nemesis: The Doom Patrol
Other Major Foes: The Titans
Appearances: 60+ comics and recurring appearances on Teen Titans cartoon show.
Powers: Highly elastic shape-shifter.

Bio: A schizophrenic French actress whose dark side was amplified through conditioning by the Brotherhood of Evil.

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



Idol Speculation:
Laura de Mille was a good person whose emotional instability was exploited. Can she evade and subdue the Giant-Maker before his slinging tentacle turns her fully mad? Does Madame Rouge otherwise have enough bodily control to counter its effects?

Friday, June 6, 2014

2014 Truly Gone and Forgotten: The Lost Junior Partners by Jonathan Morris



Cartoonist "Calamity" Jon Morris has run the satirical comic book blog Gone & Forgotten since 1997, digging up and mocking old funny book ephemera. In his most recent piece, he discusses the forever absent Teen Titans, never members of the team or even acknowledged since their first (likely only) appearance. It never occurred to me to include T'omm J'onzz in any teen team, even The Boy All-Stars, where I tapped Zook. Even the guy who runs the Martian Manhunter blog can't be bothered to keep T'omm in his thoughts. Anyway, follow the link as Jon spares a moment for the least loved J'onzz brother, Tornado Tot, and Superman, Junior...

Thursday, June 5, 2014

2011 Toon Labs Ink DC Comics Originals Fleece Throw 45" x 60"

Brought to you by Toon Labs Ink,
a division of Classic Imports, Inc.
2018 Great Trails Drive, Wooster, OH 44691


This is the blanket I mentioned using to protect my art portfolio from heavy rain as I made my escape from Comicpalooza 2014. My best buddy bought it for me from Half Price Books on Sunday, but I didn't want to carry it along with everything else. He came back on Monday to buy one for another friend, and I fortuitously took that one off his hands. The photo below was taken on a chair at George R. Brown Convention Center ahead of my pulling the cover out of its packaging for a whole other type of covering than the manufacturer intended. It hung on a little black hanger.



Here's the reverse side of the blanket with the tag showing. The throw laid around my living room for a few days before I straightened it out on the floor, went upstairs, and took these pictures. Mine cost $14.99, but they're on Amazon for a little less than that, while other online outlets charge over $35.



This 100% polyester throw features Aquaman, Batgirl (Barbara Gordon,) Batman, Doctor Fate, Firestorm, Flash, Green Arrow, Green Lantern Hal Jordan, Hawkgirl, Hawkman, Martian Manhunter, Plastic Man, Red Tornado, Robin, Supergirl, Superman, Wonder Girl (Donna Troy,) & Wonder Woman. It all looks to be early 1980s José Luis García-López stock art. J'onn J'onzz may seem small in the picture, but he's about 4" x 6" in reality. The throw is thin, but seems fairly well made and quite soft to the touch.



I figure they call it a throw because it's too small for an adult to sleep under, but it's fine for lying on the couch or draping over your shoulders while seated at a chair typing a blog. I guess it might work for younger children, but they are just going to have to make do with Spongebob Squarepants, because you do not get to spill sticky crap all over the DC pantheon, you little brats.

Click To Enlarge




Wednesday, June 4, 2014

That Glowing Menace vs. Chemo


That Glowing Menace
Debut: 1964
Nemesis: Martian Manhunter
Other Major Foes: None.
Appearances: One comic story
Powers: Devouring touch.

Bio:
First emission of the Diabolu Idol-Head. "Eats" everything in its path until full, including whole fleets of commercial jets. "Killed" Detective John Jones. Only destroyed by specific undefined form of energy blast.

Vile Menagerie Stats
Win: 0
Lose: The Chulko (0-4)
Draw: 0



Vs.

Chemo
Debut: 1962
Nemesis: Metal Men
Other Major Foes: Superman
Appearances: 100+ comics and a cartoon..
Powers: Can absorb and expel toxic chemicals. Emits radiation, is strong and gigantic.

Bio: A dumping container for chemicals gained mild sentience and epic malevolence. Killed Tula and destroyed the city of Blüdhaven.

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


Idol Speculation:
Chemo has appeared an awful lot for a giant Silver Age goofus, and has a serious body count besides. However, he's also one of those threats whose defeat usually revolves around some form of deconstruction, and he's appeared enough times to have been torn up plentifully. The Glowing Menace took everything Martian Manhunter threw at him, literally, and only vanished after being exposed to eyebeams from a possessed individual seemingly created specifically to counter the menace. There's no clear reason why the Glowing Menace couldn't eat Chemo in one gulp and maybe offer an acid belch afterward.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Comicpalooza 2014



2013 was a crumby year, which extended to the Comicpalooza Texas International Comic Convention. The con itself was improved in organization and presentation, but I was so stressed out and harried that year that I didn't enjoy myself very much. I got some excellent commissions between that show and Space City Con, not to mention meeting an idol like George Pérez, but crowds and outside pressures meant I couldn't appreciate it as much as I would have liked. As it turned out, the job I took in the latter half of the year made the worst ones in recent memory seem like cakewalks. I fell completely out of touch with my family, barely saw my friends, and was swimming through a morass like molasses professionally. I was finally free of it about a week before Comicpalooza 2014, which had extended the show from three to four days, so that I even gained breathing room in my recreation.

I realized a few weeks back that 2015 would mark the 60th anniversary of the Martian Manhunter, the biggest cause for celebration I've had for the blog since its inception. I'm also quite frankly burnt out on blogging and my lifestyle in general, so this anniversary gives me something to work towards and look forward to in the coming months. I'm not sure the current semi-daily posting format will survive 2015, but it gives me cause to make the best of the next year & a half in that department, should I decide to make a drastic change thereafter. Also, while I've spent much of the past four years pursuing Handbook of the Marvel Universe style static reference shots of obscure Martian Manhunter related characters, the anniversary also gives me not just license, but a sort of imperative to shake things up in the commission department.



To that end, I decided to try my hand at "jam" pieces, where whole groups of characters are drawn on the same page by a variety of artists. I've been afraid to try such a thing, due to the challenging logistics and potential expense, but I realized that even a disaster would be more interesting than just staying the course. I also wanted to try one of those jams where the page is laid out like comic book panels, so each artist can do their own isolated images within a confined space. These are usually head shots, and I thought that might be a good way to involve big name, very expensive artists where figures would be more prohibitive. I tried ruling out those pages with wooden blocks of various sizes I'd bought and a Sharpie, but the results were dreadful. My girlfriend tried her hand at same, and it proved steadier, with much more useful results. I bought a new art portfolio backpack, which made carrying commission gear massively more comfortable, and arrived at George R. Brown Convention Center sometime after noon.

Comicpalooza 2014 Wonder Woman Lego Life-Sized Statue

There was no line as I picked up my pass, but there was also no program book, so I was encouraged to download Comicpalooza's "app." My smart phone isn't very, I don't install apps at the drop of a hat, and what the hell kind of con doesn't offer a program? The same kind that never lists their Artist Alley anywhere and were rearranging their set-up right up until the last night. Well, to be fair, they did add a downloadable list two days before the con, so they were just too late for me to get any use out of it. Anyway, I did my usual canvassing of the grounds, figuring out who was where and mentally prioritizing. A number of artists hadn't arrived yet, and I did some mingling before diving into commissions. Lane Montoya was the first artist I talked to about my jam idea and trepidation about same, but we started off with a full color commission all her own. Mark Nasso completed a commission for me last year, but I hadn't had time to collect it from him before the con. He got the same earful about the jam as Montoya, and offered some ideas of his own. I'd have started the jam with him, but he didn't have his art supplies on hand yet. As it turned out, despite patiently listening to me blather on, neither Montoya nor Nasso took part in the jam, at least so far.

Comicpalooza 2014 Resident Evil: Apocalypse Alice Cosplay

I met Pat Broderick and talked to him at length about stuff I couldn't have foreseen, like counterfeit currency and Doom 2099. For Friday, he worked on a solo commission. I approached Kevin Maguire, who was only doing head shots. I set up a commission with Paul Gulacy. I looked at Neal Adams' table and commission rates, then put any notions I might have had on the backburner under low heat. I lingered around Don Rosa's table until he was free, and then as he insisted of all his visitors, I sat down on a chair in front of him to talk. Rosa was very friendly, and open to drawing a duck head shot for me, but rebuffed my suggestion of doing Zook. I also spoke with David Petersen, who does beautiful little fully rendered pieces for $200 if you preorder them in advance from his site via a system he sets up a week before con appearances. I hadn't, so that was that.

I of course spent some time at Jim Steranko's table, which wasn't fully set up yet. An old acquaintance was talking to Steranko at the front of a line, while I leafed through a small book of available pre-made commissions at the back. When my friend was done, I flagged him down. He had bought the cheapest original art available, a few inch square drawing of Nick Fury's face, for $150. We caught up for a long while, as I had left the line, intent on trying again later. Finally taking the plunge, I gave art boards to two different artists to initiate the first installments of the jam. They both turned out great, so then I gave both boards to Chris Beaver, so he could make his additions overnight.

Comicpalooza 2013 Superman Lego Life-Sized Statue

A few years ago, I was given scans of a Professor Erdel story by one of the blog's readers. I never got around to writing it up here, and wanted to check it for art reference. I don't think the file survived my switch to a newer operating system, so that was the one comic I was looking for at the con. On Friday, there was a vendor with several longboxes of dollar comics, the sort of which people would be crawling over the rest of the weekend. I decided to check this one stand for comics, and he happened to have a single box of $5 bronze age books with that one comic I was looking for. Serendipity.

My girlfriend was off on Friday, and I had promised one of my best friends that I would buy him a ticket for Saturday. I thought I might just get another four day pass, which would be cheaper than two day passes. Unfortunately, my girlfriend stayed home, and I waited too long to get the Saturday pass. A line would surely await the next day. When I got home that night, I found out that the majority of the programming that I would have been interested in for the entire weekend had already been missed on Friday, including panels spotlighting Steranko and actress Erin Gray. Another sign of con brilliance was scheduling a look at Golden and Silver Age Comics with Roy Thomas and another investigating "Dark Secrets of the Silver Age" with Neal Adams on the exact same day and time, because there's no audience overlap there, twits. The GF and I are behind on TV watching, so we caught a single episode of Fargo where a man found a briefcase full of money in the middle of nowhere and announced "God is real." Debatable, but again, it feels like cosmic authorship when events turn in such a manner.

Comicpalooza 2013 Taskmaster Cosplay

My two best friends were going to attend the con, together, despite a number of obstacles. One had managed to wrangle a four day pass, while the other wanted to meet me for breakfast before standing in line together. We ate at IHOP, which was lousy, so I grabbed a much preferable steak Crunch Wrap from Taco Bell on the way over. The line was indeed ridiculous, and entirely through my fault, it took an hour and a half for him to gain entry. I had to hit the can, and I checked on a few commissions, but I still suffered about an hour at his side. I don't know how many people were at the show that day, but Pat Broderick made mention of 30,000. All I knew was that it was crowded, most of the artists were occupied, and I was sick of carrying all that weight on my back. Beyond picking up already initiated commissions, I blew off any more art patronage activity for that day.

Comicpalooza 2014 Wonder Woman & Gender Bent Captain America Cosplay

There were a number of bands playing over the weekend, but nothing that offered the spectacle of an Arc Attack. The con had taken over the entire convention center this year, so the stage was isolated to the farthest left section. I ate most of my meals there, because there were no lines across a variety of food venders, plenty of tables, and live music far enough away to still be able to use a phone. Next door was the geek engineering section, where robots tried to shoot hoops, 3D printing was ongoing, and so forth. This was the only area where I felt my girlfriend missed out by not attending this year. There were a lot of tables for fan groups, local TV/radio stations and such that were sparsely populated and seemed like a waste of space. I'm not saying they should turn down that endorsement money from Allstate, but I certainly steered well clear of their big red tent and glad-handing. I didn't see as many t-shirt stands or as much small press presence, so if there was a trade off from the increased presence of mundane advertisers, it wasn't in the nerds' favor.

Comicpalooza 2014 Jubilee & Gambit Cosplay

Comics continue to be well represented, with even Barnes & Noble coming out to play along. Most booths were selling trade paperbacks for half price, and they were moving. One dealer had two sets of the second Nick Spencer T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents for $8 & $9, so I felt safe in holding off until Monday, by which point they and numerous whole longboxes were long gone. There were dollar bins by the dozens peppered over the con, with two large scale dealers offering libraries of them. By contrast, some creep had a bunch of lovingly presented sets for disturbingly inflated prices, and they were still attractively stacked on Monday. Enjoy hauling that back home, schmuck.

Comicpalooza 2013 Zatanna Cosplay

The con was much more clearly segregated this year, as the dealers gave way to Artist Alley, and that was halted by a large square area of black drapes for the celebrity signing region. I didn't put much effort into looking for stars, so I didn't see many. The buddy who was talking to Steranko tried to engage Peter Davison about a festival and charity he's running, but sensed no interest, and just paid for Doctor Who's signature. I guess I probably saw him and some of the other Doctors present (Sylvester McCoy, Paul McGann, & Colin Baker) but I'm not enough of a Whovian to recognize any of them at twenty paces. One of my best friends' mom probably could, but it was John Barrowman who he scored an autographed photo from as a gift to her. Captain Jack must be an entertaining guy, because his audience was constantly cheering or otherwise excited. The same friend introduced his fiancé's son to Lou Ferrigno, and the original Hulk like to have crushed my not-small buddy's hand with a shake. My other best friend was into Bret Hart and Kevin Nash, but did nothing about it. However, both besties decided they wanted to try and see what kind of free contact they could get from Stan Lee, which turned out to be a few kind words and a fist bump. Ladies get handshakes, by the way. I like Stan, but I hate lines, so I passed on that.

Truth to tell, I vastly prefer going lone wolf at conventions, and while I couldn't continue my mission objectives with the buddy baggage and crowds, I was still irritable as all hell with just bopping around listening to my bros being wise asses. I needed a break. Most of the cast of Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. were available for signings at various points, but the only one I laid eyes on was J. August Richards. I made a small effort to find Agent Coulson and Ming-Na Wen, to no avail. The only other celeb I cared about, Rose McGowan, never crossed my path.

Comicpalooza 2013 Penguin & Gender Bent Two-Face Cosplay

Saturday programming wasn't as enticing as Friday's, and we'd already missed the "Roy Thomas Introspective" while stuck in line. The whole weekend, stuff I was interested in seemed to be scheduled for right at or very near opening, instead of after the dealer's room closed, when I was most interested in sitting down for a show. My friend with the festival had been running lectures at the con for a few years, which I'd consistently missed, so I was set to catch one finally. It was a solid presentation, but I hadn't been sleeping well, so I did doze off here and there. By the end of that, we were all about done for the day, and left for Dimassi's Mediterranean Buffet and a hearty meal. We blew off Days of Future Past, and the two of us who are Kids in the Hall fans finally watched Dave Foley's The Wrong Guy and enjoyed it. The third thought it was terrible and passed out snoring. I was home before midnight.

Sunday, I could begin the jams in earnest. One piece saw three additions that rapidly increased in scale. I felt bad about that, since the later pieces made the first two look like postage stamps, but the overall effect was outstanding. The other piece added a full figure at the artist's insistence, which skewed the proportions somewhat, but still worked together relatively in scale. Some artists were done in half an hour, and others half a day, so I started two additional pages to help keep up the pace in productivity. One unknown artist turned a board sideways, which I wasn't sure about at first, but then realized would probably help control the proportions in a way the first two boards hadn't. Then two name artists produced large head shots on that board instead of matching the figure, so to heck with that. On the fourth board, I was more explicit about keeping scale and so far, so good. A fifth board was added.

Comicpalooza 2013 Aquaman Lad Cosplay

Mike Mignola was available more often than not from Saturday onward, but wasn't doing any sketches, so traffic was light. Greg Capullo, who I think was only doing signatures, had long lines that restricted access to other tables. Aaron Lopresti would have been great to do a Diane Meade figure, either on her own or as part of a jam, but he was packed up and leaving early enough on Sunday that I couldn't get work from him. One of my all-time favorite artists, Mark Texeira, had canceled early in 2013 and was added to the con late this year. Not having seen him in two days, I assumed he was a no show, until my buddy texted me that he'd set up in the celebrity autograph section. That worked out nicely.

While I'm thinking about it, another peeve of mine this year was the rudeness of many volunteers. A few that I approached were helpful, but others weren't very well informed. Mostly though, there were guys constantly barking orders. You can't use that door! No photographs! No entry! You have to use the elevator! You can't use that escalator! We're closing in five minutes! Leave now! I understand the need to be authoritative at times, but so many of these guys were loud, discourteous, and outright bullying that even though they were rarely addressing me, it was hard not to take offense. They were like overly aggressive dogs yapping incessantly.

Comicpalooza 2013 Green Lantern John Stewart Cosplay

There were a few interesting bits of programming that juggling jams made me pass on, but I'd been wanting to try my hand at "Geeks Who Drink," and Sunday was the day. The description said it would involve a nerdy pub quiz, and I assumed there would be required shot taking or something. Color me disappointed, as not only weren't drinks required, but the bar that was a hundred feet outside the door of the ballroom we were in shut down within the first hour of the 90 minutes game. People were expected to form teams of no more than six, but I didn't know anybody, so I sat in this big hall alone writing down my solo answers. I did talk to another guy, who like myself had expected the trivia to reflect a comic/genre convention. Instead, an entire round was devoted to naming which African nations reached certain bodies of water, while another involved matching divorced celebrity couples. I managed to tie for seventh until getting blown out of the top ten in the last round of scoring, but it was overall lame. I had planned to stay for the burlesque show if I had needed to "dry out" before driving home, but I hadn't drank anything. I was also told that I would have to leave the ballroom, go to the end of a long line, and then reenter for the show in half an hour. One of my exes used to take me to burlesque shows, which were mostly quaint and a little dull. Unless these girls were the next Dita Von Teese, I could go to a strip club for a more appealing show with no waiting and a light cover. Instead, I went home and drank some Smirnoff while surfing the internet.

Comicpalooza 2013 Silver Sable Cosplay

Monday was last chance time. As long and hard as I had thought about getting a Neal Adams or Michael Golden, I couldn't float their prices, and never approached either. Maguire and Gulacy were going or gone. I'd spent $300 with Pat Broderick already, and while I had something else in mind for him, decided to draw the line there. Josef Rubinstein always seemed to be working on sketches, and what I really wanted was some inking done, which he wasn't doing. I didn't locate Doug Hazlewood, if he was at the show. I'd wanted to try to talk Carl Potts into the jam, but the timing wasn't right on Sunday, and I don't recall seeing him Monday. I haven't been able to do anything with writers at these conventions, but I'd hit upon the idea of getting quotes or other textual material from them related to the Manhunter's 60th. However, the only two writers I thought might have a background that would allow contributions were Scott McCloud (was he there?) and Roy Thomas. It seemed presumptuous and painfully dorky on reflection though, so I abandoned that notion.

Comicpalooza 2013 Scarlet Witch & Captain America Cosplay

My friend with the four day pass turned up again, and reciprocated my buying him a signed Steranko print with a DC heroes fleece throw I'd independently intended to buy, but was unwilling to carry, so I'd waited. He knows me too well. I still really wanted to get Steranko to do a head shot of either J'onn J'onzz or Patrolwoman Diane Meade for me, even going so far as to print reference of a 1950s actress who resembled the patrolwoman in her little cap, just in case. I hit up Steranko, but it was a no go. At the least though, I wanted to get a signature and tell him what his work meant to me. I had the remains of a copy of Strange Tales with an iconic Steranko story with me. The cover and many early pages were long gone, while those that were left were brown as a grocery sack. My uncle had given it to me in the early '80s, and I'd read it to death. My grandmother occasionally wrote my name on the splash of comics to identify their owner, and my mother had supported my comic reading habit. Steranko was pleasantly surprised by the acidic artifact and its journey, dedicating a splash page photo stat of a dystopian metropolis to all four of us. Trust me, it's appropriate.

Comicpalooza 2013 Punk Rock Storm Cosplay

Though he'd refused sketching in 2013, I noticed Shane Davis was doing them this year, and managed to score a surprisingly good head sketch quick and cheap. I saw a chance to add to the page with James O’Barr, who knocked out a nifty sketch within the last couple of hours of the show. I even managed to squeeze in Blue Beetle and Booster Gold full figures in that last hour. The final artist was running late and applying watercolors, which took until about a half hour after the dealer's room had closed to finish. The piece needed an hour in the open air to dry, and as I exited the hall, I saw that heavy rains were causing flooding throughout the city. I malingered on the third floor of the center for a while, then tried to find where live music was still playing. The exterior doors were locked, but I got into the hall when someone exited. Hungry, I bought a gross, fatty plate of brisket, and started eating just as it was announced that the last band was forced to cancel. The next hall over, a live low-rent wrestling program was recording for national broadcast. I watched that for a few matches before enacting my plan. I took out the fleece throw blanket, wrapped my portfolio in it, stuffed them into my backpack, and added the plastic wrapping for good measure. The rain had died down some, so I made a break for the car, leaving Comicpalooza behind until next year.

Comicpalooza 2014 El Chapulín Colorado Cosplay