Tuesday, March 25, 2008

The Mancave? Cavehunter from Mars?

I haven't been a good blog buddy, so I wasn't aware Scipio at The Absorbascon had linked here, had not been linked to from here, and had a current poll involving the Martian Manhunter going. I corrected all three concerns, but was hung up on the poll. Scipio seems to like generating maps for that Heroclix toy/game thing I've steered well clear of. I'd expect the game to skew Superman/Batman, as those things always do, and Scipio was looking to expand the field of play with additional locations. The current top vote getter, as best as I can recall, was "wherever the heck Martian Manhunter lives." Let's see how many locations I can name off the top of my head for other Dynastic Centerpieces...

  • Superman: Fortess of Solitude, Metropolis, Daily Planet, Krypton
  • Batman: Batcave, Gotham City Police Department
  • Wonder Woman: Themyscira/Paradise Island, Gateway City, Boston
  • Flash: Keystone City, Central City, Flash Museum
  • Green Lantern: Coast City, Ferris Aircraft, Oa.
  • Aquaman: Poseidonis, Cerdia, Aquacave
  • Green Arrow & Black Canary: Star City, Seattle, Arrowcave
  • Hawkman & Hawkgirl/woman: Midway City, Chicago, St. Roch

All pretty easy and off the top of my head. I'm sure you all could do more. This brings us to the Martian Manhunter. Now, I'm trying with this blog to make this and other somewhat obscure questions available for answer with a few button clicks. Let's see how well I can do for J'Onn J'Onzz:

  • Middleton, CO: I don't believe the city Detective John Jones patrolled in Detective Comics was ever named, but by the 1988 mini-series, it was decided to be a suburb of Denver. Lots of strangeness passed through this burgh, though it was (as noted) fairly non-descript. Personally, I think Middleton is best left consigned to the history books.
  • Wherever The Heck: After John Jones was publically "outed" as a Martian, the Manhunter began travelling the United States with his pet/sidekick Zook in search of the Diabolu Idol Head. There towns were rarely named, and no more noteworthy than Middleton.
  • A Posh Meditteranean Villa: Where Marco Xavier hung his dapper duds, rarely outfitted with anything out of the ordinary.

Okay, even I must admit those are all pretty lame. Let's dig a bit deeper, shall we?

  • Secret Mountain Lair: Now we're talking! This hideaway's location was never revealed, and had no doors; just a "mail slot/doggie door" opening to allow Zook entry. This was information central, whether through its massive computer or the library of archaic lore like the Book of Diabolu. One assumes Zook got the house in the divorce, although my pet theory is that it eventually became the Secret Sanctuary.
  • VULTURE Base: These dotted Europe and North America, and were the sort of sub-Bond villain affairs one might expect Derek Flint or Matt Helm to crash.
  • Silver Age Mars: Your typical 50's comic book alien civilization, careful not to include extra-planetary craft.
  • Mars II: While desolate, still had its share of futuristic buildings and the odd giant robot tank.
  • Modern Age Mars: Mud huts. Meh.
  • Nearly any old Justice League base: The guy lives to work. Most specifically, there's the training island Professor Ivo donated to the Task Force lying fallow.
  • Z'Onn Z'Orr: The ancient White Martian settlement unearthed during the"New World Order" story intended by Grant Morrison to serve as part of the Manhunter's Dynastic Centerpiece trappings. Ruined when John Ostrander lobbed it and Malefic into the sun during the first year of his solo series. Replaced with nothing, a commentary on Ostrander's whole run.

So okay, we're still floundering here, but at least there's some locations to consider. More than you figured, right?


Adama said...

I vote for Mancave. Best name for a superhero lair EVER!

Scipio said...

You really need to way on the issue of John Jones Silver Age city, Frank.

Because you know what? I was unquestionably NOT in Colorado. Jones's town (Jonestown? urk!)was a seaside community.

Furthermore, there was sharks in the water, so it was not on a northern shore.

PLUS... the name of the baseball team was "The Flamingos".

As unlikely as it sounds, this really leaves only one logical conclusion:

J'onn's city was in FLORIDA.

Weird, huh?

Diabolu Frank said...

Adama, there's a Man-Cave in just about every major American city, explaining how easily J'Onn J'Onzz got around. There's also typically a Mullet-Hole within spitting distance...

Wait... there were cities in Florida in the 1950's? I thought civilization steered clear of Florida until 1978-- and that was just the foundation of Miami, erected for the sole purpose of allowing Don Johnson to wear pastels. I mean, we don't even count their votes, so they can't be a for real state, right? They're like Puerto Rico or Wisconsin.

My pet theory/No Prize fix? J'onn worked a beat in Limbo City during the 'Tec run, went mobile, then went back to Mars and/or Mars II. He returned years later, when Mark Erdel's son Saul went looking for him, and discovered he was now a widower. He then worked in Middleton until sometime into the Modern Heroic age.

Diabolu Frank said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Scipio said...

It had to be in Florida. Just one of the many ways in which the DCU outdoes us.

I've read the Manhunter Showcase, but it's never mentioned... is it? Are there other pre-Middleton stories that might have mentioned it?

Diabolu Frank said...

I'm more of a philosopher than a detective, so I'm going to assume your assertion about Det. Jones' Floridian adventures is correct. My first hand experience with Martian Manhunter adventures started with the "House of Mystery" run, as I never had any desire to pay ridiculous amounts of money for "Detective Comics" back issues. I'm so over Batman.

Anyway, J'onn J'onzz was mobile by that point, so HoM is no help. Considering the strip's writers had a hard time keeping the character's name and powers straight, I seriously doubt a bothersome detail like a consistent locale was ever a priority. However, since they did make a point of naming various towns during the HoM run, its possible they identified his base city in the later 'Tec stories.

Where's my old Silver Age MM guru, "Commander Steel" these days? He was my touchstone when it came to this sort of thing in my DC Message Board days...

Sinnycal said...

Ostrander did replace Z'Onn Z'Orr, though. The Spectre brought J'onn's home from Mars to Earth and placed it in one of the great pyramids. It had that well where he could commune with the spirits of his ancestors.

As hideouts go, a great pyramid isn't too shabby.