Saturday, October 24, 2009

2009 Martian Manhunter Archives Vol. 2 Create-Your-Own Back Cover by Tom Hartley

When Tom Hartley made up a back cover for his take on a fictional The Martian Manhunter Archives Volume 1, there was a little debate over how to fill the four cover spots typically showcased there. Only as I type this does it occur to me I could have helped by at least checking on the backs of the actual published Aquaman, Black Canary, Robin, or Supergirl volumes, assuming Tom hadn't already. You see, like those other heroes, Martian Manhunter rarely (or in his case, never) appeared on the cover of the book whose issues were being reprinted in a given volume. 1960s British Batman Annual Covers at least made mention (or offered a small image) related to the John Jones Manhunter from Mars feature, but looking from the outside, there's no indication such a thing existed in the U.S. Detective Comics. I don't know if they used interior splash pages in those volumes or allowed the likes of Batwoman and Bat-Mite to usurp the hero a volume is meant to concentrate on.

One solution to the debate offered by Tom is to allow you, the book's "readers," to decide for your own selves which covers to spotlight. If you visit the the MM Vol.2 back cover web page, you'll find Tom has built a little design game that offers all the covers as you wish to present them. "This uses some complicated javascript that may not work with all browsers. Let me know if you have any problems with it... The javascript for the back cover page was provided by a guy who posts as "Urban" at the Marvel Masterworks message board. I don't know if he wrote it himself or if he got it from the web somewhere... Attached is a screenshot of the back cover page that you can post to your blog... I'd like to know which covers everybody picked. Please post your choices to this comments thread."

It's pretty darned cool, and browser willing, do check it out.


Tom said...

I have both volumes of the Supergirl Archives. She had more than enough Action Comics covers to fill Vol. 1's "back four", and only enough for a "back three" for Vol. 2. Apparently Aquaman Vol. 1 had a "back two" featuring his only cover appearances from that book. Robin became the cover feature when his stories began appearing in Star Spangled Comics, so the "back four" for his two volumes hasn't been a problem. The Black Canary Archives would have at least two covers, from her two Brave & Bold team-ups with Starman. So far as I know, the only precedent for Martian Manhunter's "back four" problem is Golden Age Starman Archives Vol. 2, which has no Starman covers, so the back cover has four Jack Kirby Sandman covers.

For Vol. 1, I could at least choose four covers that mentioned the "Manhunter from Mars" back-up feature, but since these were the ONLY four covers that did so from J'Onn's 102 issues in Detective Comics, I have no such luck with Vols. 2 or 3. Rather than try to pick four Batman covers that have nothing to do with the Martian Manhunter, I'll let you folks do it, courtesy of Urban's javascript.

I'd like to know which covers everybody picked. Please post your choices to this comments thread.

Diabolu Frank said...

Detective Comics #264 ("The Menace of the Martian Weapons!") #273 ("The Unmasking of J'onn J'onzz,") 274 ("The Human Flame,") and 287 ("J'onn J'onzz's Kid Brother.") Two of these are self-explanatory. #264 tied directly into Justice League of America #144, the forgotten but fantastic retcon "The Origin of the Justice League-- Minus One!" #273 introduced B'rett, publicly outed the existence of the Martian Manhunter, and forced him to use his powers while visible.

Daniel said...

I deliberately picked the covers that featured, in my opinion, the goofiest-looking aliens. That would be:
#270, "The Creature from Planet X!"
#277, "The Jigsaw Creature from Space!"
#279, "The Creatures That Stalked Batman!"
#293, "Prisoners of the Dark World!"

Tom said...

Just like my imaginary Vol. 1, Vol. 2 will also have a Table of Contents and Foreword. But first, I have to re-read the stories. I've just finished "The Amazing One Man Crew" from Detective Comics #283. How about that splash panel? Our hero is mopping a floor! What kid wouldn't want to read about that?

LissBirds said...

"Will he wring the mop? Will the bucket tip over?! WILL HE MISS A SPOT?!?!"

Yep, I'm riveted, Tom.