Thursday, March 12, 2009

The Idol-Polls of Diabolu: Love Interests

Comic book blogs, especially Google DC Universe comic book blogs, are pretty incestuous. It should come as no surprise when you look at a sidebar, see little character icons, and ask yourself, "Hey, doesn't Rob do that?" Or maybe you'll see a familiar button scheme, and go "that's Frank's design!" Not when it's too good an idea not to swipe, it isn't! So if you look at this poll results post with accompanying pie chart and think of Dixon's Flash blog Crimson Lightning, and its Quick Quiz, remember that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. Also, I don't recall whose poll started first, but I actually didn't rip off his Love Interest topic. Oh, and if you happen to agree that Dixon's charts look way better, remember mine came free from the National Center for Education Statistics, along with this tangy government cheese...

As part of the Idol-Head's Valentine's celebration, I posted Mars Needs Women! There I covered a bunch of J'Onn J'Onzz's past *potential* lady loves, or in the case of Her-Who-Must-Be-Served, "potential" "lady" "loves." This was followed by the poll, where I exempted lightweights like Vixen and Claire Jeffers, as well as what seemed the obvious landslide victor if included, J'Onn's deceased wife M'yri'ah.

Which of the following Martian Manhunter love interests do you feel had the most story potential?

Apparently not Bel Juz, one of the nastier schemers in the Vile Menagerie. Then again, maybe the problem isn't the character, but the contestable application of the term "love interest?" I'll have to run a femme fateles poll sometime to see if she performs any better.

No one thought Kishana Lewis did either, even after I temporarily reposted, partially rewrote, and generally expanded synopsis for her six appearances in JLA: Scary Monsters. I even offered posts about her ancestor Abel Carmody, his house, and a profile of Kishana Lewis herself I'd put off writing for a half decade. Jeez, but her creator Chris Claremont was long-winded. I like the character okay, but as a love interest, not so much.

Most folks preferred Scorch, even though her relationship to J'Onn was very similar to Kishana's. Then again, a lot of folks read the JLA arc "Trial By Fire," and comparatively few "Scary Monsters." Like Mongul, Scorch spent most of her career as a Superman villain, but her ties to Martian Manhunter are actually much stronger. Truth to tell, I don't care much for Scorch, as fire-based foes are a bit too on-the-nose for my taste. Still, she's got that classic Coop-type devil girl design, and she's one of the few characters with an extended association with J'Onn in recent years.

Speaking of which, the strong second place showing of Princess Cha'rissa makes me wonder if a lot of youse guys favor post-1997 stories. I've mostly avoided Morrison/Waid/Kelly JLA and Ostrander Martian Manhunter series coverage, as they're well represented online, and I dislike a lot of it. Am I at odds with many/most of you, and if so, should I give this latter-day material more nods, or is the whole point in coming here to get exposure to stuff you haven't seen? Anyway, aside from the sordid nature of the relationship, Cha'rissa was among the least objectionable bits of the Manhunter solo ongoing for myself.

Patrolwoman Diane Meade and Hunter Commander J'en tied for third, which pleases me, as they represent the old school. Well, if you extend it to 1984, anyway. I dig both of these characters, but personally voted for J'en, as I long for more stories from J'Onn's time on Mars II. Obviously.

Rounding out the poll were single votes for Marie Fouchere (fan of international playboy days/natural blonds?) and Her-Who-Must-Be-Served (Futanari fan?) I hope folks had fun with the poll, and will explain their own feelings on the matter in the comments section...


Bookgal said...

I voted for Diane, but having thought about what you said earlier, I also think a Mulder/Scully (Early in the x-files) kind of thing would work well for them. You made a really good point about not having to go the stereotypical route.

Truth be told, I haven't really seen a love interest for J'onn so far that I think worked really really well (Well except for his dead wife, but how do you compete with memory?)

I liked Scortch ok, and I admit I found Trail by fire an interesting "Elseworlds" idea (as in, I think it would have been better as one of those.) but she never really did it for me either.

The most interesting match I ever read for J'onn was a few years ago in a very well written fanfiction story that I cannot seem to find now. There was an overlying story arc, but the romantic end was that he had become involved with Leslie Thompkins (of Batman Fame) in her younger years (as John Jones)and then faked his own death before getting to tell her the truth of his own nature. They ended up hooking back up when she was an older woman, (and discovered who he really was.) It was such a left-field idea, and I loved the fact that she was an older woman, but still seen as desirable and beautiful. Wish I remembered the title, it was one of the better fan-fics I have read.

Diabolu Frank said...

Sarah, my problem with the X-Files premise is only with the dynamic as relates to Meade. I like the character as she was in the Silver Age, who took Martians, "gaining" super-powers and a giant animatronic menagerie in stride. She's more Mulder than Mulder, forcing J'Onn into the skeptic role, which would only work situationally. The more caustic Meade from JLA:Year One and the Ostrander series grates on my nerves, because it's that typical "tough chick" characterization handed out to underdeveloped females in traditional male roles.

Taking that into consideration, I'd prefer to see J'Onn work professionally with DEO agent Cameron Chase, acting as a foil with legitimate motivation. Rather than be a dunder-headed skeptic in an obviously fantastic world, Chase could instead be the perpetual critic. Meanwhile, Meade would be like a Lone Gunman, supporting J'Onn as Meade rolls her eyes and lights another cigarette as an act of open aggression. Plus, we now have two women in believable roles that serve important storytelling functions.

I agree that there hasn't been a "one" for J'Onn besides his wife's memory, and maintaining that isolation is a big part of the character's appeal, I think. J'Onn could actually "settle down" and become "super-daddy" with his personality, so it's essential to keep obstacles to his happiness as close to insurmountable as possible.

The Leslie Thompkins match-up is inspired, if a bit random. I had issues with Ch'arissa because she's clearly so much younger than J'Onn, where I feel he'd be more inclined toward maturity. I like that rare instance when May-December romances work in opposition of expectations, as well. I still weep for the missed opportunity of a 20-something Alan Scott faced with the temptations of youth, but remaining true to his first love Molly, with all the inherent complications. That's both noble and grist for the mill!