Sunday, October 19, 2008
As I've mentioned many times, I first became interested in Martian Manhunter sometime between 1985-86, became a fan in 1987, and embraced the character as a favorite in 1996. When I first got on the internet, there were no sites devoted to the character, and when I decided to build one, there were just a few. Of those, including my own "Martian Manhunter: The Rock of the JLA," only one still exists: the Angelfire J'ONN J'ONZZ, The Martian Manhunter FAN PAGE, which hasn't been updated in at least eight years.
My goal with the first site was to give an overview of all Martian Manhunter comic book history, plus lots of extras, some sillier than others. Seeing as how I hadn't read any Martian Manhunter solo stories published prior to the 80's, that required a lot of hustling on my part. I leaned on the knowledge of older fans, bought back issues, and did oodles of research. However, I never felt like I'd come close to my goal. This was partly due to my having failed to fully encapsulate any one era. The greatest thorn though was the VULTURE period. I've owned that last appearance of Mr. V/Faceless, and the destruction of his organization, for nearly a decade. I scanned pages from it, prepared a rough outline, and even had images hidden on my WebTV site. Then, I canceled my service, never finished the writing, and left all my material to collect dust for something like five years.
A few weeks ago, I not only posted that final VULTURE story, but made sure I'd posted every one ever, outside of a mention in an issue of Justice League of America. I have posted an encapsulation of every House of Mystery story I've ever owned. I was finally "finished."
I really wish I'd started the blog a year earlier. I felt so much pressure to generate reams of material once it was announced that DC was killing off the Martian Manhunter. My highest daily hit count was 568, and I felt responsible for educating every single person about as much solo history as I knew while the audience was there. In that respect I failed, since there a dozens and dozens of great stories from the '50s-'00s I never got to, including favorite unappreciated runs like Christopher Priest's "Justice League Task Force." So much time, effort, and personal sacrifice went into reaching obsessive goals, this was often less a hobby than a self-inflicted cross to bear.
I finally feel like I'm done now. John Jones' earliest appearances have been covered, and anyone interested in more can now buy the Showcase edition that reprints almost all of the Detective Comics run. My own synopsis cover nearly every appearance in "House of Mystery," pretty much rounding out the '60s. I've finally used the end of that feature to springboard into the Manhunter from Mars' '70s appearances, and most any I have missed to date will be handled shortly. That will run into Martian Manhunter's early '80s appearances, which will end where my "Justice League Detroit" coverage began, itself now also ended (though the "Detroit" sister blog will continue with weekly updates.) The vast majority of the history I felt was a priority will soon be settled. The foundation I always imagined is now in place, and rendered in greater detail than I ever would have thought remotely sane.
Further, the days of averaging just under 300 hits a day are gone. I barely get comments anymore. Everyone who suddenly cared about J'Onn J'Onzz because of the spectacle of his murder has moved on. The daily averages are back down to where you, the true fans, had them before the hullabaloo. Finally, I think we can all breathe a sigh of relief, take a break from all these heavy posts, and have some fun.
The '50s and '80s story synopsis are being placed on hiatus. I will fill in the gaps in the HoM run sporadically over the next few months, and probably rewrite several of the earlier, slipshod entries. The '70s are winding down. I'm in no rush to deal in depth with the '90s and '00s. The history lessons will now be more like once or twice a week for the foreseeable future. The extremely long fan fiction "anniversary" posts are now either done or nearly so. I'm going to try to keep those closer to annual from now on. They're stressful for me, and I don't think many care for them, either.
In place of all that back breaking material, I'm going to try to offer more digestible nuggets. You may have noticed the "Martian Detectionary" posts of late, spotlighting characters and concepts of varying degrees of importance. You'll be seeing a great deal more of these, especially since there's lots of VULTURE-related minutia I want to touch on. There will be more Vile Menagerie entries, a feature that has been popular since the very beginning, with a MAJOR and longstanding exclusion finally remedied this week. "Comrades of Mars," one of the earliest and longest stalled series at the Idol-Head, will be coming back in a big way to compliment the Menagerie. Through features like these, I want to begin exploring more modern additions to the Martian Manhunter cannon, as I never intended the blog to skew so Silver Age.
Also, I want greater variety here. So much emphasis has been placed on story synopsis, where folks have asked for more specific data, as well as fun stuff like toys, original art, and so on. I'm really looking forward to all of this, as well as having more free time to hit the gym, go out, read, and just plain do something besides writing all those damned encapsulations. I hope everyone enjoys the new direction, and I welcome your suggestions. I also sincerely thank everyone here for visiting, and for returning regularly. Reaching this point is a real weight off my shoulders. Still, when the blog is working, its a joy for me, and I'm glad for the chance to share it with you.