Friday, May 30, 2008

The J'Onn J'Onzz Memorial Service

Art by Sal Velluto

Who's your favorite JLA member?
"Martian Manhunter" -JLA inker John Dell
"Flash and Martian Manhunter" -JLA editor Ruben Diaz

Jenette Kahn (Speaking of JLI creator Keith Giffen)
"Keith's favorite is J'onn J'onzz.39"

Oliver Queen (Green Arrow)
"J'Onn J'Onzz. The Martian Manhunter. My old friend from the Justice League. We shared some serious times...I did wonder whether J'Onn and the others weren't humoring me sometimes... I never liked being called a hero. I just do what I think is right. Try to make a difference... J'Onn's a real hero.1"

"...Manhunter! It was great being teamed with you... Earth's lucky to have you on it's side!2"

Sal Velluto (Artist)
"To me, the Martian Manhunter is a man endowed with incredible powers and a lot of wisdom. Being from outer space, he can look at our Earthly problems from a universal perspective.8"

Orin/Arthur Curry (Aquaman)
"During the Earth-Mars War, the League fought at half strength... and it was only through the aid of J'Onn J'Onzz that the Martian attack was eventually turned back.3"

"He's the very heart and soul of the League!4"

Paul Kupperberg (Writer/Editor)
"I really don’t remember a time when I didn’t want to be a writer or didn’t read comics... I’ve got buried, way deep in the back of an old filing cabinet the comics I used to write and draw when I was seven, eight years old, with characters like Martian Manhunter, the Atom, Daredevil, the Justice League, and a TV show I really loved called Rescue 8... I was reading Wonder Woman when I was six years old because I liked the Andru and Esposito art, I devoured the Jack Schiff Batman stories, Martian Manhunter... This stuff was iconic and huge to me... MM was always my guilty pleasure DC character--28"

Bruce Wayne (Batman)
"J'Onn can handle it. J'Onn J'Onzz has been at this game longer than I have... He's the only member of this team I don't feel I have to nursemaid!6"

“He has a fine tactical mind. He’s been with the Justice League since the beginning and he understands group dynamics better than anyone I’ve ever met.7

"Sometimes I forget your talent for speaking in enigmas, John.5"

"Life is what it is, J'Onn... and what it is is hell. And sometimes it's far worse than that. You've handled more than most.10"

Ted Kord (Blue Beetle)
“God, he gets more like Batman every day.13

Phil Morris (Actor, on playing "John Jones")
"I honor it. This has been a dream come true for me. I love working as the Martian Manhunter. I love that I have superpowers and that I can fly. In the DC Universe, I'm second in power only to Superman... I was telling Whitney Ransick, our director, to keep me grounded. I know J'onn J'onzz, and he's not prone to hyperbole. He's just real. He speaks to you like I'm speaking to you.12"

"I'm a fan of all the DC Universe characters, and Martian Manhunter, to me - it's weird to say this - but he's one of the most humane of all the DC Universe characters. Odd that he's from Mars, but he has such a great sense of compassion, such a great sense of humanity. So yeah, I'm a big fan of Martian Manhunter.11"

Stuart Immonen (Artist, on his first professional work)
"The Martian Manhunter was a fun character over in JLA– I just tried to pick a character I thought I could do well.14"

Kyle Rayner (Green Lantern)
"Batman... gives me the creeps. He could probably wipe up the floor with [the JLA]... J'Onn J'Onzz... spooks me more than Batman... Aquaman's surly if he's in a good mood, and Batman's just plain frightening. But at least they're both human. At least I think Batman's human. J'Onn's... not. And the green skin and that brow aren't what's alien about him. He seems so detached... cold... Don't get me wrong, I respect J'Onn... He's really the next best thing to Superman, and he's been a hero forever. He just gives me the willies, that's all... What do you say to a Martian?15"

Darwyn Cooke (Writer/Artist)
"THE MARTIAN MANHUNTER surprised me and turned out to be one of my favorite characters to write.16"

Steve Vance (Writer)
"I have a particular fondness for Martian Manhunter. He's a character that has been around for so long but has had relatively little exposure. He's under-utilized and an intriguing guy, so I'm particularly looking forward to him."

Nathaniel Adam (Captain Atom/Monarch)
"Y'know, I can't figure him out. He seems so cold-- and yet, I can't help feeling that underneath it all he's enjoying some very private joke.17"

Darryl Banks (Artist)
"At one point I'd go, 'Oh, I get to draw the Justice League and this is so daunting. I've got to focus.' But really, it was more like, 'I can handle this.' ...But the one I had the most fun with hands down was Martian Manhunter. I just loved drawing that guy. Man, I'd consider doing a fill-in issue of that book. He's just a great character. I'd like to see him appear again (in Green Lanternm,) even if it's just him in the team-up. The Green Team, right?18"

Scott Free (Mister Miracle)
"The Manhunter's a complicated guy. I've given up trying to understand it. I just relax and enjoy him.17"

Alan Moore (Writer)
"When Dick Giordano had acquired the Charlton line, Dave Gibbons and I were talking about doing something together... One of the first ideas was that perhaps we should do a Challengers of the Unknown mini-series, and somewhere I've got a rough penciled cover for a Martian Manhunter mini-series, but I think it was the usual thing: Other people were developing projects regarding those characters, so DC didn't want us to use them.20"

Robert Greenberger (Writer/Historian)
"Finally, in the 1980's, J'onn J'onzz's role in the DC Universe was at last clearly defined. The 1987 launch of JUSTICE LEAGUE, under writers J.M. DeMatteis and Keith Giffen, saw him become the heart and soul of the team. It's a role he's continued to play, both in JLA and in the pages of the monthly MARTIAN MANHUNTER. Even today, there are few heroes with more complex histories or personalities than the Manhunter from Mars.19"

Wally West (The Flash)
"Sometimes dead is dead and J'Onn is dead! And he was a hero...21"

"He's the Jolly Green Buddha, for crying out loud!23"

“Sometimes he spooks me, too... All those years living among us... and no matter how much he blends, he’s still an alien.”41

“I mean, how can you trust a shape-changer?22

Eel O'Brien (Plastic Man)
“I beg your pardon! You wouldn’t have the guts to say that if the Martian Manhunter was here!22

"We need at least one grownup to look after the newbies, huh?25"

Christopher Priest (Writer)
"Like my take on THE BLACK PANTHER, I see The Martian Manhunter as an enigmatic stranger among us. A man of many faces and many lives, there is no reason why J'Onn should be generic or bland or just The Green Guy Standing In Back of the JLA Eating Oreo Cookies.26"

Orion (New God)
“Martian! …I have come to respect you…27"

Howard Porter (Artist, with Matthew Senreich and Andrew Kardon)
Porter's favorite character to draw is the Martian Manhunter. "I feel I have more freedom with the Martian Manhunter than the others." "And he's just plain fun to draw because he is something different.29"

Porter describes the Martian Manhunter as a low-key character who is always around and willing to sacrifice himself for the sake of the team. "He's strong. He's almost the soul of the team.29"

"I like the visuals of [the Martian Manhunter,] and I like his character the most. He's real mysterious, not overexposed. The big brow is cool. Real classic costume.30"

Kara Zor-El (Supergirl)
"He's always been a friend!31"

Clark Kent/Kal-El (Superman)
“J’Onn’s very astute, don’t you think?7

"...One very special friend.32"

"The man's a hero in the truest sense of the word--33"

"As always... it's my honor to fight with you, J'Onn.42"

"I can count on one hand the number of beings in the known universe I would be afraid to face in open combat. J'Onn J'Onzz is at the top of that list. He is the most powerful being on the face of the Earth.23"

"I've known J'Onn J'Onzz for more years than I'd care to count. And there are few men--on any world--I respect...and trust...more than him."

"He's a kind soul, J'Onn. Generous. Sensitive in ways we won't ever be able to imagine.24"

"J'Onn... Just remember-- you aren't alone. There isn't a member of the League, past or present, who wouldn't be willing to lend you a hand at any time. Because... you are the League-- perhaps more than any of us. Come back safely-- and soon.34"

John Ostrander (Writer)
"First and foremost, the concept of J'onn J'onzz is that of duality. J'onn is a manhunter, but he is also a philosopher. In Martian society that was expected... So duality is in J'onn's culture and upbringing, so it comes as no surprise that there is a duality about him. He presents himself as a warrior, but he's also one of the gentler souls on the planet. He occasionally presents himself as human, but he's alien. He's this alien being and at the very core he will always be alien.

The Manhunter is odd because he's one of the oldest DC characters in terms of being around, yet he's one of the least defined of the DC characters... What I keep on hearing from the letters coming in is, 'I'm so glad you're doing Martian Manhunter - he's always been my favorite.' So there's been a lot of goodwill connected to J'onn with this series so far. For a long time, J'onn was treated as a green Superman and therefore not very compelling.

J'onn seems to be the heart and soul of the League in many ways. He has been important to holding the League together on more than one occasion and at the same time, we've learned just how the League has been important to him. As the last of his race, the JLA is J'onn's family, the people who he feels the most similarity to. He shares many similarities with Superman, being the last of his race, but at the same time, shares much in common with Wonder Woman and Aquaman who have the same 'stranger in a strange land feel' as J'onn. Those that have known him the longest have a vast respect for him, while some of the younger heroes have to learn that there's hardly anyone more trustworthy in the League than J'onn.35"

"Two facts are tied to the essence of the character for me. One, he's an alien. Far more than Superman is an alien, J'onn J'onzz is an alien. He comes with a different mind set but he is also an observer of Earth customs. Through his eyes, the world can seem new to us. Watch a kid, such as a 6-year-old. Watch how they discover things that we take for granted. In the wonder in a child, we see things afresh. I'd like that be true of J'onn.

Two, he's a manhunter. A policeman. He's pro-active rather than reactive. He goes after the bad guys rather than wait for them to come to him. It's inherent in the name.18"

Mari McCabe (The Vixen)
"Thank you, J'Onn.37"

Valerie D'Orazio (Assistant Editor/Columnist)
"Martian Manhunter was known around the offices as a character that was sort of boring, but was a JLA "staple," if you will (though we did try to jazz him up with that storyline where he was Scorch's love-slave).36"

Gail Simone (Writer, also speaking for Devin Grayson)
"This is going to sound pathetic, but I never 'got' J'onn until I wrote him. The same thing to a lesser degree with Superman, the Mad Hatter, even Wonder Woman to a smaller degree still. I never really ADORED them until I had to write their dialog and then it was just BAM, instant love.

Devin Grayson told me the same thing about J'onn.

It's not that I think I'm so brilliant, all the great stuff was already there, it's just that I'd never taken the time to look inside his head. Now I adore him.9"

Cindy Reynolds (Gypsy)
"As long as I have you-- I'll always have a family.10"

"--Don't-- don't leave me-- again-- J'Onn--38"

Grant Morrison (Writer)
"When I talk with other writers about the JLA, a lot of them tell me they don't like the Martian Manhunter, and think that if there was going to be a story where someone betrays the JLA, then he's the guy who would do it. I see him much differently. If someone was to betray the JLA, he's the last person who would do it. He's the keeper of the flame for everything the JLA represents.

He's remote from the others, but at the same time, completely dedicated to what they represent, like honor, truth, and justice. He's the last of his tribe, a noble warrior who has seen everything he loved taken from him, but he's dealt with it. Now his life has meaning via the JLA, which is the closest thing he has to a family. He's in with the League for the long haul.29"

Barry Allen (The Flash)
“J’Onn. You are unchanged. You are unchanging. You give life where there is death, ever true to yourself. Goodbye, my friend.41

J.M. DeMatteis (Writer)
"As I sat writing...putting words, for the last time, into the mouths of Oberon and Max and Fire and Ice and Guy and --my two personal favorites-- J'onn and Beetle, I felt a genuine sadness... No regrets. But I'm going to miss those guys.40"

1 Green Arrow #88; 2 The Brave & The Bold #50; 3 JLofA #239; 4 Martian Manhunter #6; 5 Detective Comics #715, 6 JLI #6, 7 JLA #2; 8 Wizard Magazine #22; 9 CBR Message Board; 10 JLI #42; 11 KryptonSite Interview; 12 TV; 13 JLQ #1; 14 Sequential; 15 Green Lantern #87; 16 Absolute DC: The New Frontier; 17 JLI #8; 18 -Comics; 19 Millennium Edition: Detective Comics #225 ; 20 Comic Book Artist #9; 21 Martian Manhunter #8 ; 22 JLA #92, 23 JLA #86; 24 JLA #85; 25 DC One Million #1; 26 Digital; 27 JLI #50; 28 Aquaman; 29 Wizard's JLA Special 1997 ; 30 Wizard's JLA Special 1998; 31 Adventure Comics #450; 32 Action Comics #595; 33 DC Comics Presents #27 ; 34 Martian Manhunter #0 ; 35; 36 Occasional; 37 Suicide Squad #13; 38 JLTF #20; 39 1988 Publishorial; 40 1992 letter column JLA: Incarnations #5; 41 Scary Monsters #3 (July 2003); 42 JLA Classified #18


Anonymous said...

Everyone involved in the senseless MURDER of Martian Manhunter should hang their heads in shame. DC's books are now radioactive to me. Who ill die next? Who will rape who next? Is this DC or some pornographic snuff film? Nice going DC, you just lost a reader. And I am far from alone. Your "Final Crisis" "big event" is a grotesque train wreck that fans are rejecting big time.

Diabolu Frank said...

Mostly agreed. I think a lot of folks are waiting to see what the DCU looks like after "Final Crisis," and I have doubts it will retain their interest. I'm not as broken up over J'Onn's murder though, as they've already written an out, as if you needed one in the first place. You cannot kill the Manhunter from Mars and expect it to stick. It's nonsense. Better he play dead a while than suffer indignity and abuse.

Sinnycal said...

I have a sort of pet theory, mostly of the conspiratorial nature I would normally laugh at, but I'm feeling more and more confident in it. Is it possible that Grant Morrison is purposely destroying the modern DCU so that his desire to bring back the comics of his childhood will become a more palpable goal?

Diabolu Frank said...

Taking into account the quantity and quality of drugs in his system, I'm not sure there's enough focus left to amount to a conspiracy. More of a fancy, which might explain the bounce between Silver Age adoration and Alan Moore clinical deconstruction.

Sinnycal said...

I've always said that Morrison is a writer who uses half of his writings to lament the other half. He'll do a post-modern, adult oriented story and then a month later release something that reeks of sour grapes over that very shift in the comic book landscape.

Diabolu Frank said...

In a nutshell, Morrison loved the money "Arkham Asylum" brought, but hated that everyone focused on Joker gooseing Batman. He assumes he's far too smart for his audience, instead of his just being obtuse and/or demanding. I think there's a bit of the Soderberg "one for them, one for me" going on as well.

rob! said...

nice tribute, frank.

a waste of a great character.

Diabolu Frank said...

Good to hear from you, Rob, and glad you liked the tribute. Honestly, so long as the alternative was ill-conceived revision and dull cameo appearances, keeping J'Onzz alive seemed the greater waste. When the time and creators are right, the Manhunter from Mars shall return.