Sunday, August 24, 2008
Martian Manhunter International
Like Superman, the Martian Manhunter is an immigrant American, though he certainly carries more of the homeland in his heart than the Kryptonian possibly could. Sure J'Onn J'Onzz has spent decades with us Yankees, but there aren't many super-heroes I can think of who have turned expatriate as often. Marco Xavier did spend years in the 60's safeguarding the Mediterranean against VULTURE, then spent 1969-1984 off-world. Even when he resides in the U.S., J'Onn's either living in unusual places like New England, Colorado, and Michigan, or frequently travelling abroad. Since 1997, it seems like the Manhunter from Mars has spent the majority of his time anywhere but stateside, with homes in Africa, the Antarctic, and the moon. According to one story, "As an alien with no family and few social ties in the United States, I decided I should do what I could to redress the balance. Now my recognition factor in Africa, Asia and Australia outstrips even Superman himself."
One wonders if these tendencies have endeared the Alien Atlas to readers outside the United States. I've certainly run into a good many foreign fans of our favorite Martian, not the least of which the one running the Martian Manhunter Fotolog. I spent entirely too much time this weekend looking for foreign comics featuring the Martian Marvel, and I figured while I was at it, I might as well start recording the various translations of the Manhunter's name around the world for posterity as a sidebar. I didn't call any attention to this, but our Fotolog man (under yet another alias, "John,") caught it while touring Europe, and decided to help me out. Our pooled information follows. Also worth noting is that most countries retain the English names of characters related to Martian Manhunter (Dr. Erdel, John Jones, Martian names, etc.) I guess all those apostrophes pay off the world over.
"Ajax, o Marciano " is the original name assigned to the Manhunter from Mars in Portuguese-speaking Brazil. The publisher, Ebal, couldn't fit a more faithful translation into the re-lettered dialogue balloons.
"Caçador de Marte" is a more proper translation into Portuguese, roughly "Hunter of Mars." This is the name that has been used by Panini since it began publishing the character's adventures in Brazil. In Portugal, it's just plain "Martian Manhunter." It's nobody's business but the Turks that they do the same, as well as the Dutch.
"Marsianischer Kopfgeldjäger" was the "Martian Headhunter" or "Bounty Hunter of Mars" in Germany. He's simply "Manhunter Vons Mars" and "Martian Manhunter" these days. There's also "Fräulein Marsmensch" in the Teen Titans.
The informal "J'onn J'onzz, Segugio di Marte" (Bloodhound/Sleuth of Mars) has defended Italy in the past, though these days he's just "Martian Manhunter." I wonder if "Gli Altri Tra Noi" or especially my favorite, "Segreti Americani" did any better over there?
The Finnish "Metsästäjä Marsista" is a "Mars Hunter," and a founding member of Oikeuden Puolustajien. If the same hero flew over Norway, excited citizens would shout, "Menneskejegeren fra Mars!"
It doesn't take a "Detective Marciano" to deduce what the Spanish speaking world calls Marco Xavier's alter ego. "Vientosangre" and "Fantasma de Bronce" might take some work, though. I really like "Martian Detective," and wonder if "Bloodwynd" sounds as stupidly disgusting in translation. It just occurred to me that "Bronze Wraith" would have probably been a better name for Dan Jurgens' creation, which is funny, since D. Curtis Johnson never intended his character to have any connection to the Martian Manhunter.
And you know what they call a... a... a Manhunter from Mars in Paris? A Martian Manhunter's a Martian Manhunter, but they call him "le Martian Manhunter." The French also like to call him just J'onn J'onzz, and sometimes "le Limier Martien," another "Bloodhound/Sleuth of Mars."