Monday, November 30, 2009

2009 The Martian Manhunter Archives Volume 4 Fan Mock-Up Cover by Tom Hartley

  1. Create-Your-Own Back Cover
  2. Table of Contents
  3. Introduction
  4. Biographies

Better late than never, here's Tom Hartley's cover to the fourth Manhunter Archive Edition. Based on Tom's specifications, I pulled together solicitation copy based on the fourth Archive Editions for Batman, Batman: The Dark Knight, The Flash, and Green Lantern.


Written by Jack Miller; Art by Joe Certa and others; Cover by Joe Certa
THE MARTIAN MANHUNTER ARCHIVES VOL. 4 reprints the John Jones back-up strips from DETECTIVE COMICS issues #317-326 (1963-1964) as well as the J'onn J'onzz lead strips from HOUSE OF MYSTERY #143-150 (1964-1965), faithfully recolored and restored to their original glory. This volume follows the Sleuth From Outer Space as he abandons his role as a police detective to pursue the deadly Diabolu Idol-Head around the world. The Alien Atlas and his trusty otherdimensional pet Zook fight side by side against organized crime, alien invaders, world conquerors, mad scientists, super-powered villains and maniacs, including their first encounter with classic foe Professor Arnold Hugo!
  • Archive Editions
  • 224pg.
  • Color
  • Hardcover
  • $49.95 US
  • ISBN 1563π9811X

Sunday, November 29, 2009

2009 Martian Manhunter Archives Vol. 4 Create-Your-Own Back Cover by Tom Hartley

For a brief period, J'onn J'onzz was the cover featured star of House of Mystery. Six of those covers garnered stories in this volume, and we only need four for the back of the dust jacket. Why don't you take your picks?

The Martian Manhunter Archives Vol.4 back cover web page, as explained by its creator:

This uses some complicated javascript that may not work with all browsers... 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.

For me, #143 is a lock, as it's the first Manhunter cover, and a swell Zook spotlight. Next, #145, my personal favorite of these issues. #146 just because it's a nice cover to an almost decent story, and close with #147, for the gonzo factor.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

2009 The Martian Manhunter Archives Volume 4 Table of Contents by Tom Hartley

Click To Load Document

The penultimate fanciful fan Archive Edition opens with our hero battling fire-spewing robots, a far cry from the mobsters of the old days. Detective John Jones faces his last case, J'onn J'onzz meets Professor Arnold Hugo, the dread Diabolu Idol-Head is opened for the first time in recorded history, and Zook is along for the entire ride! Some of the better and a whole lot of the worst Alien Atlas adventures are here. You can see the TOC in its full glory as a PDF here.

Friday, November 27, 2009

2009 The Martian Manhunter Archives Volume 1 Biographies Page by Tom Hartley

Click to Download as a PDF

Tom Hartley wasn't about to rest on his laurels when his Archives Biographies Page, good for four out of five imaginary volumes, didn't take into account all the talents who would appear in a Volume One. No longer, as they're all here! You can download the PDF here.


Artist Joe Certa began his comics career in the mid-1940s. He worked for DC throughout the 1950s and 1960s, drawing the Robotman and Captain Compass back-up features in DETECTIVE COMICS, and every one of the John Jones, Manhunter from Mars stories, which ran in issues #225-326 and continued in HOUSE OF MYSTERY #143-173. Much of his later work was for Gold Key on various horror and mystery titles, including the comics adaptation of the TV show, Dark Shadows. Certa died in 1986.

A popular author of science fiction stories and novels, Hamilton began his career in the 1920s, writing for all of the major SF pulp magazines. In the 1940s he was the primary force behind the Captain Future franchise, an SF pulp designed for juvenile readers. Beginning in 1946 Hamilton wrote Superman and Batman stories for DC Comics. He retired from comics in 1966, and died in 1977.

Born Robert Kahn in 1916, Bob Kane is best known as the creator of Batman, who debuted in 1939 in DETECTIVE COMICS #27. Kane’s began working for DC Comics in 1938 on features such as Clip Carson and Rusty and His Pals, but Batman was his first big success. Kane drew the early Batman stories himself, but to meet the increased demand for Batman material, he later hired assistants, including Jerry Robinson, Sheldon Moldoff, Dick Sprang, Lew Sayre Schwartz and others. In 1965 he was asked to help with the development of the Batman TV show, and worked as a creative consultant on director Tim Burton’s 1989 Batman movie. In the late 1960s he began exhibiting paintings in galleries. Kane died in 1998.

Jack Miller was a DC editor from 1964-1969, handling such titles as STRANGE ADVENTURES, INFERIOR FIVE, MANIAKS, WONDER WOMAN and various romance titles. From the 1940s through much of the 1960s he also wrote comics, especially for DC, including such features as Deadman, Blackhawk, Aquaman, Batman, Jimmy Olsen, Congo Bill, and John Jones, Manhunter from Mars. He also wrote novels and nonfiction works, and some TV animation. Miller died in 1970.

Paris began his comics career in 1941, inking and lettering the Crimson Avenger feature in DETECTIVE COMICS. From 1943-1964 he was part of Batman creator Bob Kane’s studio, inking Batman stories pencilled by Bob Kane, Dick Sprang, Sheldon Moldoff, Lew Sayre Schwartz and others. Retired from comics, he currently lives in Arizona.

A biochemist, teacher and writer, Joe Samachson earned his Ph.D. in biochemistry from Yale. He was an Assistant Professor at the College of Medicine, University of Illinois. At the Veterans Administration Hospital in Hines, Illinois, he headed a research unit dealing with diseases that affect the skeleton. He also worked as a Research Chemist for the American Molasses Company until 1938, leaving to become a freelance technical writer. As a writer, he translated a number of scientific papers (he taught himself Russian). He also wrote books for young people and science fiction under the pseudonym William Morrison. In the 1940s and 1950s he worked for DC Comics on scripts for Batman, Sandman, Green Arrow, Airwave, Robotman, Tomahawk and other characters. In 1955 he and artist Joe Certa created the Martian Manhunter in the pages of DETECTIVE COMICS #225. With his wife Dorothy Samachson, he wrote about theater, music, ballet, archeology and a number of other subjects. Samachson died in 1980.

Lew Sayre Schwartz drew over a hundred Batman stories in the mid-1950s, all uncredited (until recently) as one of Bob Kane’s ghost artists. But Schwartz’s art style stood out for fans. He also worked on syndicated comic strips such as Brick Bradford and Secret Agent X-9. He left comics in 1953 and helped form a company that produced many short films for Sesame Street. In 2002, he wrote an adaptation of Moby Dick, illustrated by Dick Giordano.

This prolific writer crafted a diverse spectrum of tales for DC Comics. His writing credits included features in ALL-AMERICAN WESTERN, THE ADVENTURES OF REX THE WONDER DOG, HOUSE OF MYSTERY, OUR ARMY AT WAR, WORLD’S FINEST (Tomahawk), STAR-SPANGLED WAR STORIES, as well as BATMAN and DETECTIVE COMICS. Wood is perhaps best remembered for his collaborations with Jack Kirby on GREEN ARROW, CHALLENGERS OF THE UNKNOWN, and the short-lived Sky Masters syndicated strip, which was co-written by his brother Dick Wood.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

JSA #54 (January 2004)

The Manhattan headquarters of the Justice Society of America: The Batman expressed concern about his JLA joining Mr. Terrific (Michael Holt)'s JSA for Thanksgiving dinner, in the event someone like Despero made the scene. The Dark Knight would continue to fret, despite Terrific's dismissal of his concerns.

The teams mingled in a large hall, including the Martian Manhunter chatting with the Flash (Jay Garrick). This continued as the Golden Age Flash admonished Impulse and Jakeem Thunder for coarse language. J'Onn J'Onzz next moved on to Firestorm (Ronnie Raymond). At dinner, the Manhunter was seated between Hawkman and Wonder Woman with The Atom (Ray Palmer), but a brief battle with Kulak the Sorcerer and the Warlock of Ys spoiled the meal. 33 minutes later, pizzas were delivered.

"Virtue, Vice & Pumpkin Pie" was by Geoff Johns, Don Kramer and Keith Champagne. A terrible story with painfully broad, off characterization failing miserably to recreate the feel of Giffen/DeMatteis Justice League International issues under inferior hands.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

JLA/JSA Secret Files & Origins #1 (Lead Story, January, 2003)

Fawcett City: The Wizard Shazam called young Billy Batson to his abode to discuss something sinister afoot with his champion, Captain Marvel. Shazam reminisced about his having captured the The Seven Deadly Enemies of Man with the aid of the gods.

The Batcave: The Batman and
Mr. Terrific (Michael Holt) had a cape-to-cape talk, mostly about their awe before one another's team. Terrific admired a photograph from an early JLA/JSA gathering (Aquaman and Martian Manhunter standing together on one side, though J'Onn was nearer to Dr. Fate.)

Keystone City, Kansas: Plastic Man, Hourman (Rick Tyler) and the local Flash (Wally West) attended a hockey game.

JSA Headquarters, New York City: The Atom (Ray Palmer), Doctor Mid-Nite (Pieter Cross) and Green Lantern Kyle Rayner gave Sentinel a meta-check-up.

Metropolis: The Star-Spangled Kid, Power Girl and Wonder Woman discussed Superman's sex appeal.

Doctor Fate's Tower in Salem, Massachusetts: Hector Hall lent Zatanna a copy of her father Zatara's biography. "One of the only copies in existence. Thanks for letting me 'check it out.' Koob Pmuj Ni Tah!" The pair discussed Zatara and a chill they both suddenly felt.

Captain Marvel left the wizard Shazam's company. The stone statues of Seven Deadly Enemies of Man in his abode turned toward Shazam. "It's too late, wizard. Your champion will be ours. As will the world."

"The Day Before" was by David S. Goyer, Geoff Johns, Stephen Sadowski, and Andrew Pepoy.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

2006 JLA Charity Commission by Jae Lee

Click To Enlarge

Here's a rather morose piece by Jae Lee, even for Jae Lee, which is saying something. I can't say much for his Flash or Manhunter, but the cruelly aloof World's Finest are awesome. Lee really gets across their disdain for humanity and irritation at having to pretend they want anything more from us than our humble tithe at their alter. That Fleisheresque Hal Jordan is so out of place, but I dig it. Note the absence of Aquaman and Wonder Woman, because we don't like them long-haired noblesse oblige types 'round these parts. Blow this bad boy up here!

Monday, November 23, 2009

2008 Ms. Martian Manhunter vs. Her Adam Warlock by Leno Carvalho

Click To Enlarge

Leno Carvalho has been working here and there in comics for a few years now, most notably on the BOOM! Studios mini-series Station. From what I can tell on his personal blog, his specialty is teh hotties. As seems to be popular with them crazy androgynous kids these days, Carvalho turns the One Year Later Martian Conehead into a lady, and my favorite Marvel messianic paranoid schizophrenic Adam Warlock into an Eve, then has them catfight in midair. Or is that dogfight? I'm so darned confused by this sort of thing. Thanks to the Martian Manhunter Fotolog for exposing me to more unnerving transsexual Manhunter art, I guess.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

2009 The Martian Manhunter Archives Biographies Page by Tom Hartley

Click to Download Document File

Tom Hartley has been laboring on his hypothetical DC Archives series for much of this year, designing new front & back covers, tables of content, and even writing introductions under the pseudonym "Wade Greenberg." It must be nice for him that he only needed one biographies page for nearly the entire project, seeing as Jack Miller and Joe Certa were the only clearly documented creators for most of the Manhunter from Mars strip. Obviously Joe Samachson gets credit for co-creating the character and crafting his first few installments, while it's been argued that Dave Wood and perhaps others pitched in for Miller on later scripts. Though his art style varied broadly, there's little doubt Joe Certa drew every installment of John Johns' thirteen year run. You can download the PDF here.



Artist Joe Certa began his comics career in the mid-1940s. He worked for DC throughout the 1950s and 1960s, drawing the Robotman and Captain Compass back-up features in DETECTIVE COMICS, and every one of the John Jones, Manhunter from Mars stories, which ran in issues #225-326 and continued in HOUSE OF MYSTERY #143-173. Much of his later work was for Gold Key on various horror and mystery titles, including the comics adaptation of the TV show, Dark Shadows. Certa died in 1986.

Jack Miller was a DC editor from 1964-1969, handling such titles as STRANGE ADVENTURES, INFERIOR FIVE, MANIAKS, WONDER WOMAN and various romance titles. From the 1940s through much of the 1960s he also wrote comics, especially for DC, including such features as Deadman, Blackhawk, Aquaman, Batman, Jimmy Olsen, Congo Bill, and John Jones, Manhunter from Mars. He also wrote novels and nonfiction works, and some TV animation. Miller died in 1970.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Zook: Baby Talk or Pidgin English?

I've been a bad host again, and not posted for a couple of days. I'm backdating this to Friday, as it's been sitting in my "to do" box for a month. Out of fifteen votes over the month of October, 6 respondents (40%) believed Zook's dialogue indicated he spoke in "Baby Talk." To further elaborate, "with his underdeveloped toddler body, modest powers and unkempt hair, Zook was clearly meant to be yet another 'kid sidekick.'" That's how most comic book historians I've encountered have taken Zook, by the way.

On the other hand, struck by further reading, I'm not entirely sure Zook wasn't intended as a replacement for the subservient foreigners that were common to super-heroes until the 1960s. That would indicate Zook spoke "Pidgin English: The off-color, sub-human "otherdimensional pet" was the squat "helper" of our hero, another in the long line of disposable racist stereotypes in comics." 9 voters (60%) suspected such, myself included. The only men who knew for sure are long dead, and perhaps it's best that we never know. However, writer Jack Miller was a socially progressive sort, as I understand it, so I'd prefer to give him the benefit of the doubt.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Martian Sightings for February, 2010

A couple days later than I would have preferred, but something near a month earlier than usual come advanced solicitations related to our favorite...

Advance-solicited • On sale April 28 • 192 pg, FC, $39.99 US
Written by Gerry Conway
Art by George Pérez, Gil Kane, Brian Bolland, Joe Kubert & others
Cover by George Pérez
The second half of the 1980s JLA stories illustrated by George Pérez is collected from JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA #193-197 and 200. Also includes select covers by Pérez!

I envy those experiencing these issues for the first time and/or those prepared to shell out forty bucks for this sucker. JLofA #200 is an art lovers dream, and features Martian Manhunter vs. Firestorm by Pat Broderick, plus Pérez on flashbacks and an all-inclusive team-up! Hopefully his two page JLA/JSA spread will also be reprinted.

Advance-solicited • On sale April 28 • 256 pg, FC, 7.0625" x 10.875”, $29.99 US
Written by Grant Morrison
Art by Howard Porter, Mark Pajarillo, John Dell & Walden Wong
Cover by Howard Porter & John Dell
The JLA’s very first foe, Starro the Conqueror, returns in this new Deluxe hardcover collecting JLA #22-26, 28-31 and 1,000,000.

A pretty weak collection, but only compared to the grand work Morrison/Porter had already done. Also, Pajarillo's fill-in art was consistently terrible.

Advance-solicited • On sale March 3 • 192 pg, FC, $17.99 US
Written by Keith Giffen and J.M. DeMatteis
Art by Kevin Maguire, Mike McKone, Bill Willingham & others
Cover by Kevin Maguire & Joe Rubinstein
This new volume collects JUSTICE LEAGUE INTERNATIONAL #23-25 and JUSTICE LEAGUE AMERICA #26-30 as the team deals with a captured Thanagarian spacecraft and more.

On the other hand, this trade collects some of the funniest and best drawn issues of this book's run. A must read for the uninitiated, including a great heart-to-heart between J'Onn and Wonder Woman, and Manhunter's worst team-related headache yet! Sadly, the second half, after Maguire's run, skimps on the Alien Atlas and compelling material.

On sale February 24 • 7 of 8 • 40 pg, FC, $3.99 US
Written by Geoff Johns
Art and cover by Ivan Reis & Oclair Albert
Variant cover by Rodolfo Migliari
Sketch variant cover by Ivan Reis
As Nekron continues to wage war on life throughout the universe, Hal Jordan discovers the grim, true mission behind the villain’s return. But the truth is so cosmically abysmal that it threatens to expose a secret that could tear the very universe asunder. You can’t miss this stunning, penultimate issue to the year’s biggest event!
Retailers please note: This issue will ship with three covers. For every 25 copies of the Standard Edition (with a cover by Ivan Reis & Oclair Albert), retailers may order one copy of the Variant Edition (with a cover by Rodolfo Migliari). For every 100 copies of the Standard Edition, retailers may order one copy of the Sketch Variant Edition (with a cover by Ivan Reis). Please see the Previews Order Form for more information.

I don't know the where/if of Black Lantern Martian Manhunter's appearances this month, especially in light of a bunch of blank cover solicitations, so we'll treat the primary book as a catch-all.

The Vile Menagerie

Professor Arnold Hugo
On sale February 10 • 32 pg, FC, $2.50 US
Written by Sholly Fisch
Art and cover by J. Bone
It’s a super-science conference like none other when all the Mad Scientists gather together on Oolong Island to share their latest inventions -- and to plot against the Super Friends!

I dropped 52 at 25, but tossed through those Oolong Island issues looking for the only super-scientist that could have kept me buying, Professor Arnold Hugo. I never found him there, but... could that be... Hugo's own bad melon-headed self on this here cover? His first non-reprint appearance in forty freakin' years? I'll but it just to be sure!

R.E.B.E.L.S. #13
On sale February 10 • 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US
Written by Tony Bedard
Art by Claude St. Aubin & Scott Hanna
Cover by Kalman Andrasofszky
It’s the penultimate chapter of the rebellion against the new Starro the Conqueror! With Despero’s head in hand, super-genius Vril Dox harnesses the alien cranium as the key weapon in Starro’s defeat. But with the conqueror’s horde closing in, Dox calculates a 4.3% chance of success. Uh-oh.

I really thought I was going to drop this book, but between improved pacing, cast and increased relevance, I'm glad I kept it up. Also, Despero's severed head is more powerful and dangerous than most other super-villains' whole bodies. Hah!

The Human Flame
Nope! Hah! Eat it, loser!

Comrades of Mars

Miss Martian
On sale February 24 • 40 pg, FC, $3.99 US
Written by Felicia D. Henderson • Co-feature written by Sean McKeever
Art and cover by Joe Bennett & Jack Jadson
Co-feature art by Yildiray Cinar & Júlio Ferreira
The Teen Titans rush to rescue Static from the clutches of the sadistic thug Holocaust. Plus: Slave-girl Ravager — unleashed!

Anyone still following this? The Titans franchise seems to have withered considerably.

Advance-solicited • On sale MAY 26 • 200 pg, 11"x17.5", $49.99 US
This is it! The oversized, hardcover collection of DC’s 2009 weekly comics sensation that USA Today called "cool, classic-looking." Featuring composite cover art, the WEDNESDAY COMICS HC includes:
• ADAM STRANGE written and illustrated by Paul Pope
• BATMAN written by Brian Azzarello with art by Eduardo Risso including additional panel art on each page!
• METAMORPHO written by Neil Gaiman with art by Michael Allred
• DEADMAN written by Dave Bullock and Vinton Heuck with art by Dave Bullock
• THE DEMON AND CATWOMAN written by Walter Simonson with art by Brian Stelfreeze
• THE FLASH written by Karl Kerschl and Brenden Fletcher with art by Karl Kerschl
• GREEN LANTERN written by Kurt Busiek with art by Joe Quinones
• HAWKMAN written and illustrated by Kyle Baker
• KAMANDI written by Dave Gibbons with art by Ryan Sook
• THE METAL MEN written by Dan DiDio with art by Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez & Kevin Nowlan
• SGT. ROCK written by Adam Kubert with art by Joe Kubert
• SUPERGIRL written by Jimmy Palmiotti with art by Amanda Conner
• SUPERMAN written by John Arcudi with art by Lee Bermejo
• TEEN TITANS written by Eddie Berganza with art by Sean Galloway
• WONDER WOMAN written and illustrated by Ben Caldwell
Plus: Don’t miss previously unpublished pages — one starring The Creeper (written by Keith Giffen with art by Eric Canete) and one starring Plastic Man (written by Evan Dorkin with art by Stephen DeStefano)! And, as if that weren’t enough, this can’t-miss collection also includes a bonus sketchbook section and intro by series editor Mark Chiarello!

I'm pretty sure nobody's buying this just for Megan, but just in case...

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

2007 "ICE COLD MILK and AN OREO COOKIE" sketch by Tom Valente

Click To Enlarge

Tom Valente is a commercial artist whose done work for places like Cracked, and more recently contributed to the Justice League of America Rittenhouse Archives sketch card series. Thanks to the Martian Manhunter Fotolog, I was directed to his blog, which offered up two illustrations of the Manhunter from Mars.

More Martian Manhunter goodness. Here's a sketch of him enjoying his favorite snack, Oreos, not those imitations, "Chocos", he has to eat in the comics. And look how happy he is to have the real thing.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Batman and the Outsiders #3-4 (February-April 2008)

In Gotham City, Batman, Metamorpho and Katana met with Dr. Francine Langstrom in a lab set up for her to study a captured modified OMAC. The Outsiders were soon confronted by Justice League of America members Hawkgirl, Geo-Force and Black Lightning. "J'Onn shared the data he collected for you. There's no way you can guarantee this won't get away from you!"

In the midst of Hawkgirl's antagonistic demands, the OMAC broke free and engaged both teams. The Batman manhandled Hawkgirl, while Langstrom disabled the OMAC, whose body was turned over to the League. Former Outsider Geo-Force protested the League's ham-fisted intervention, only to learn Batman and Black Canary had already arranged his transfer back to his original team.

Unbeknownst to the League, Batman had arranged the creation of a false OMAC to battle the teams, and kept the original he'd captured, redubbed "Remac."

Later, Batman asked Langstrom "And these are the files J'Onn scanned from Jardine's data reserves?" They were, and included 3-D models of new lifeforms that could not exist nor survive on planet Earth. This led to an investigation of Jardine's connection to the European Space Agency...

For more on this story, visit Justice League Detroit: The Blog, and read its coverage of Batman and the Outsiders: The Chrysalis, first published as issues #1-5 (December 2007-May 2008)

"Throwdown" and "Mission: Creep" were by Chuck Dixon, Julian Lopez and Bit.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Batman and the Outsiders #2 (January 2008)

In Central City, within Jardine Tower, Metamorpho shielded Catwoman and Katana from a rampaging OMAC. Through a remote feed, Through remote feed, Batman and Thunder viewed the chaos. The Dark Knight Detective determined that the OMAC had been modified for a "dedicated purpose." He then contacted another on-site agent.

"J'Onn, what resistance are you facing?" Through a hail of gunfire, the Martian Manhunter replied "Minimal. I am nearing what is labeled the Concepts Laboratory. If there is any background on this project, it will be here." Invisibly, the Manhunter burst through the lab doors, then accessed his Martian Vision. The Batman informed, "There's an OMAC presence here, J'Onn."
"How many, Batman?"
"One for now. A variety we haven't seen before."
"Then the information in this room is more vital than we surmised."
"The rest of the team may need your brand of assistance."
"Intelligence first. Force after. It will only take a few moments to scan the raw data. I will recall it from my subconscious at the conclusion of the mission. Scanning."

In Brussels, Mr. Jardin was alerted about the super-heroes invading his tower. It was revealed his lover was an OMAC.

Within Jardine Tower, Grace arrived to help her fellow Outsiders. Catwoman gave notice that her one-time favor to Batman in getting his team inside was paid off, and fled the scene. Metamorpho managed to electrocute the OMAC out of commission just before the OYL Martian Manhunter arrived.
"I say we keep it. Like a pet."
"A dangerous proposition."
"J'Onzz... we could have used a hand here. You still on Martian time?"
"Is it still active?"
"The OMAC is stunned at best."

Later, in Gotham City, the Martian Manhunter floated in midair as the Batman sat upon a gargoyle.
"I must question the wisdom of this. Are you certain that it would not be better to destroy the OMAC?
"A captive unit is worth more to me than a dead one, J'Onn."
"You speak as though it were alive."
"How else are we supposed to react to it? Brother Eye has given his creations something close to independent thought."
"You created Brother Eye and yet it continues to exceed your expectations."
"I have secured the creature as you wished. The data I collected at Jardin is available to you. I want you to be aware that I have made all of this known to the Justice League."
"As I would expect. But let them know that Brother I is my problem to solve."
"I cannot guarantee how they will react to that. You will have to do without my aid as well as my counsel, Bruce."

At their penthouse, the Outsiders considered their options, with Grace pointing out "Batman's canned Anissa. Fraidy-cat's not coming back, and J'Onzz looks to be adios as well. Our bench is getting weak." Within moments, Thunder was tossed through a window by the team's newest recruit, Batgirl

"Infestation" was by Chuck Dixon, Carlos Rodriguez and Bit.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Batman and the Outsiders #1 (December 2007)

Above Central City, Catwoman and Katana parachuted toward Jardine Tower, attacking guards upon landing.

On the street below, a portly young man spray-painted "END PSIONIC EXPER" on the side of the building before being tasered and beaten by guards. The unconscious vandal was dragged inside.

An odorous gas passed through the ventilation system within Jardine Tower, solidifying into the form of Metamorpho.

In the sewers below the tower stalked Grace.

Through remote feed, Batman observed and directed his temporary strike force of outsiders. "Two highly radioactive substances with no practical industrial applications" in the possession of Jardin LTD. had raised his suspicions. Thunder, benched by the Dark Knight, looked on and groused.

In Brussels, Jardine himself was contacted by security in Central City, concerned about the vandal's use of the word "psionics." The police hadn't been contacted, and the protester was not to be released until after a thorough interrogation.

"Just another crime perpetrated on the world and the environment by your soulless global monopoly! Illegal experiments into mind manipulation through a new, corrupt media outlet!" When the protester would not reveal his sources, hot coffee was thrown in his face, and he was placed in a choke hold.

Catwoman, Katana, and Metamorpho met up inside Jardin Tower, and discovered a "big, stainless steel burrito" inside a sealed lab. The breach set off interior alarms, signaling the protester that he need not continue his ruse. Green hands passed immaterially through his handcuffs, until they were themselves covered in the blue costume worn one year after Infinite Crisis by the Martian Manhunter. "Do you have any more questions for me? Or can I go now?" The brutal interrogators were shortly thereafter tossed through a door into a hallway wall.

From out of the ruptured "burrito" came an OMAC...

"The Chrysalis" was by Chuck Dixon, Julian Lopez and Bit.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

2009 The Martian Manhunter Archives Volume 3 Introduction by Tom Hartley

Click To Load Document

"Wade Greenberg" is at it again, offering pointed observations about Patrolwoman Diane Meade's treatment in the Silver Age. Once again, I've neglected a character Greenberg does right by, a great service to the blog and you all. To witness the page in it's full glory, download it as a PDF...

Batman has Robin, Aquaman has Aqualad, Hawkman has Hawkwoman (or Hawkgirl, as she was called in the less-politically-correct Silver Age), and our hero, J’Onn J’Onzz, the Manhunter from Mars, had, for a time, Diane Meade (or “pretty patrolwoman, Diane Meade”; welcome to the Silver Age, girls).

Diane Meade, the police chief’s daughter, herself joined the police force, and in her first case, as part of a probationary period, was paired with Detective John Jones (secretly our hero, the Martian Manhunter). Despite some initial awkardness——she smoked, which did not please our hero, who shared with all Martians a vulnerability to fire which robbed him of his super-human powers——Diane proved to be as smart and capable as any policeman (or should we say brawny boy in blue?), and our hero found himself as much attracted to her inner qualities as her outer beauty. (But, he mused, would she find him attractive if she knew he was really a Martian?) A couple of years later she returned as a full-time (pulchritudinous) policewoman and she and Det. Jones would have many adventures together, including the ones you’ll read in this volume.

As already stated, these stories are from a less politically correct, or, to be blunt, more sexist, age, so despite Patrolwoman Meade’s bravery, loyalty, intellect and all the other fine qualties she possesses, the writers (Jack Miller and possibly some anonymous others) often insist on reminding us that she needs a man’s help. The best, or worst, example is this volume’s first story, which ends with Diane fuming at Det. Jones because she finds out he’s been secretly helping her all along. “You again! My one chance to solve a really big case——and you have to interfere!” And our hero winks at us readers and thinks, “Lucky for you I spent the whole day interfering with you, Diane.” Take that, ya’ dizzy dame!

When DETECTIVE COMICS’ “John Jones Manhunter from Mars” back-up feature expands to 12 pages, beginning with issue #300, the threats have to become more powerful, so that it takes twice as many pages for our hero to beat them. Diane is along for the ride in most of these stories, but what can a mere Earthling, male or female, do when faced with a would-be dictator with a magic ring, giant robot animals, or an entire army of invading Martians, all with the same super-powers as our hero? Other than getting captured by the bad guys so that J’Onn can rescue her, not much. In these more perilous times, the hero’s sidekick also needed super-powers.

One solution is to make Diane super, and this is tried out in this volume’s final story, “The Bandits with Super-Powers” from DETECTIVE COMICS #316. A recurring plot device was for a passing comet or fallen meteorite to rob J’Onn of his powers (as if having something as common as fire for a weakness wasn’t bad enough). In a couple of early stories rerprinted in our first volume, it was a comet. In this volume we have two meteorite stories. The first is “The Last Days of J’Onn J’Onzz” from DETECTIVE COMICS #306. As J’Onn explains, “It’s giving off rare solar rays, which contain the same basic elements as fire!” Ten issues later, another meteorite renders J’Onn powerless——this time without even a vague, pseudoscientific reason——but now there’s a twist: ordinary humans gain super-powers! But remember, this is the early sixties, so our male writer cannot allow even a super-Diane to defeat the bad guys on her own. But what can J’Onn J’Onzz do without his Martian powers? Simple: he assumes his Earthling guise, as John Jones. Now that he’s an ordinary human, he also gains super-powers. Step aside, pretty patrolwoman, super-heroing is a man’s work. This is the only time Diane would have super-powers.* There was no intention of ever making a Diane a super-heroine who could fight side-by-side with J’Onn. In fact, the sidekick problem had already been solved in a previous story.

Five issues earlier, in DETECTIVE COMICS #311, J’Onn J’Onzz battles “The Invaders from the Space Warp”. The other-dimensional invaders can cause minor earthquakes by vibrating their bodies, and if that’s not menacing enough, they’re also armed with ray guns. Upon arriving on Earth, their first act hold up a grocery store. It’s moments like this that make me think the Martian Manhunter would have been more at home in a comic called TALES TO UNDERWHELM.* An other-dimensional lawman is able to follow the criminals to Earth through the space warp before it closes, and following the lawman is a Zook, a diminutive demon with powers of his own: he can change shape and project heat and cold. You can read the story to find out how the invaders are defeated, and how J’Onn is able to return both the criminals and the lawman to their home dimension. But am I really spoiling anything when I reveal that Zook is accidentally left behind on Earth, and that J’Onn adopts him as a pet?

Editor Jack Schiff and his writers now have what they consider a worthy crimefighting companion for our hero. But don’t worry, Diane Meade fans, your favorite curvaceous cop still has a role to play, even if it is, in most stories, as damsel in distress.
—— Wade Greenberg

Friday, November 13, 2009

2009 The Martian Manhunter Archives Volume 3 Table of Contents by Tom Hartley

Click To Load Document

The latest non-collection serves as a high quality, hardcover, full color bridge between the cheap b&w newsprint Showcase Presents: Martian Manhunter volumes 1 & 2. The transition from the Martian Marvel battling gangsters in suits to more alien menaces is also in effect. There are a bunch of other Martians this time, as well as a major return trip to Mars. Most of the stories featuring Patrolwoman Diane Meade, all a cut above, are reprinted here. Zook's origin and earliest appearances close out the collection with a Meade team-up, which is like adding chocolate to peanut butter. You can see the TOC in its full glory as a PDF here.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

2009 Sketch by Steve Wands

Click To Enlarge

I passed out with my girlfriend after watching the penultimate episode of V: The Final Battle, and only woke up within the last half hour. I don't want to step on the "screen time" of either yesterday's nor what will now be tomorrow's post, so here's a sketch by artist/letterer Steve Wands, from his blog Brain Damage.

I was fiddlin' round wit this here sketch of Martian Manhunter, he hunts men.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Chest Straps and Leather Gloves, Oh My!

Back in my message board days, that dark and lonely time when flame wars were a kick, there were a slew of learned commentators trying to piece together all of DC Comics' history into a single, logical timeline. That way lies madness, I assure you, but it can be fun to investigate. For years, I heard about this elusive "Golden Age Martian Manhunter" called Roh Kar, as well as this or that random, never reprinted story involving Martians. I gave up on trying to work out all those details in that bygone time, so when a discussion broke out about Joe Certa possibly swiping the look of J'onn J'onzz, I kept my trap shut.

According to Wikipedia,
In Action Comics #16 (September 1939), the Zatara story is called "Terror from Saturn". A teleportation beam plucks Zatara from Earth to Saturn where he meets Porra who is the spitting image of the Martian Manhunter.
Honestly, it isn't as though the Martian Manhunter's costume is particularly strong or original, and we've had green men from the red planet since the pulps that inspired adventure comic strips. When you get down to the conceptual core, J'onn J'onzz is just John Carter traveling in the opposite direction, heavily influenced by his pal Tars Tarkas.

However, Idol-Head regular LissBirds chimed in with a pair of nice scans from the Zatanna story, and by gosh, that really does look like J'onn J'onzz! His colors are reversed, so that the straps across his chest are blue, while his cape and trunks are orange/red. Rather than a circular belt buckle, its a neck clasp. Like Michael Netzer and Mike Sekowsky before him, there are blue gloves over his green hands, with boots to match. Curiously, like the primordial Batman, this alien action star has a holstered pistol, plus a knife and whip! What a find!

LissBirds' images sent me scurrying for more reference on the internet. The Martian Manhunter Fotolog had a side-by-side comparison of the two aliens. Even accounting for paper stock, J'onn J'onzz is much more brightly colored, with solid black trunks, and cavalier boots. Aside from the differences noted, the costumes are strikingly similar. However, you'll notice J'onzz's oversized head, somewhat flat nose, overbite, and pronounced brow. The Golden Age character is much more classically handsome than the bizarre Martian in his earliest appearances. Facially especially, but also in general build, the resemblance doesn't really come into play until the 1960s. By that point, Joe Certa had reach his third reworking of the Martian Manhunter, beginning with the skinny, Simpson-headed initial model, through a bulkier, thuggish look, and ending with the svelte, handsome leading Manhunter that most resembles the Zatara villain.

The Fotolog also provided scans of "Terror from Saturn" in its entirety, if rather small, so I hope copyright laws are a bit looser in Spain. The first thing revealed is that Zatara was a pimp who put Superman's powers to shame, and Fletcher Hanks' Stardust the Super Wizard wasn't created in a vacuum. The next thing is that, like J'onn J'onzz, this story is centered around stealing from Edgar Rice Burroughs (more directly, in fact.) The Saturnian Porra greets Zatara with his whip, but is easily trounced, and revealed to be the Prince of Saturn, like Jemm: Son of Saturn. Porra's father Ool even looks like Jemm's uncle Jogarr, and has a similar warlike disposition. Zatara punks them both, convincing them that invading Earth isn't in Saturn's best interest.

Considering the links made between Mars and Saturn in the John Ostrander Martian Manhunter series, these green-skinned Saturnians could go a long way toward explaining the disparities between Silver Age Martians and the "Natural Form" version introduced in the 1980s. The story is definitely an intriguing artifact I'd love to see explored further by competent hands. Still, the Saturnians exhibit no superhuman powers, and are only superficially comparable to the Manhunter from Mars. Unlike Roh Kar, I think it's safe to say the two projects were created independently from one another, and connected only by coincidence and common inspiration.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Task Force Diabolu

Before I had a blog, one of my pet peeves was posting a comment to others, and being forced to enter a word verification. This was like having to constantly renew your password, and because the text was intentionally distorted, it often took multiple tries to post what I wanted to say every single time I tried to say something (or lose it entirely to gremlins.) To me, it's a disincentive to dialogue, and I refuse to use it on any of my blogs. However, after dealing with my first bit of spam, I decided I need a filter, and chose comment moderation. This meant I would get to read ever single comment offered on any of my blogs before it was posted for my approval or refusal. I love this, but suspect that, given The Idol-Head of Diabolu's generally low post count, that others feel differently. I suspect it suppresses "open speech," and given I'm only around for a while each day, it forces people to sit and wait until I come to release their words. Alternately, the Manhunter from Mars isn't that popular a character, and I can be quite a bore in my posting.

Anyway, I've been very pleased with the elevated amounts of discourse in recent months, and have always been impressed with the quality. In fact, as my offline life has kept me from regular timely posting in the last year, many of you have stepped in to help out with material. Lord knows, Tom Hartley has routinely saved you all from another blasted sketch post by crafting actual, thoughtful content! While I have neither the time nor inclination to try to create a virtual clubhouse or "street team" or whatever, I did want to take a moment to sincerely and from the bottom of my heart thank all of you readers... especially those who've helped keep the blog running with their suggestions and submissions. Please keep the love coming, and if you want to start referring to yourselves as the "J'Onn J'Onzz Justice Leaguers" or somesuch and fill in your Justice League Task Force Official Membership Card, that's all on you. I'm just glad you're here, and anyway, it's all about doing right for our favorite Martian, aye?

As for myself, I'm really going to put forth an effort to get the blog balanced again. I've made a lot of unfulfilled promises here in the past that I'll dedicate the next nine months to tackling. Hopefully, by the start of year four, the Vile Menagerie will have thirty-six proper entries, and I'll have synopsized every Arnold Hugo appearance, and the "Summer of Saturn" will finally end, and all those buttons to the right will be back up to date. Also, I'm dedicating this year to the "worst of" stories that led to Black Lantern J'Onn J'Onzz. Expect more zombies, more coneheads, more satellite JLA junk, and God help me, more Malefic.

As for tomorrow, I'll hopefully have a really intriguing topic contributed by LissBirds concerning the Golden Age, and there's more Martian Manhunter Archives in the works, so I hope you folks enjoy and contribute!

Monday, November 9, 2009

2007 Fantasy Design Sketch by Diego Giribaldi

Click To Enlarge

Thanks to the Martian Manhunter Fotolog, I was directed to the blog of Diego Giribaldi, a fine amateur artist from Argentina. As part of his (Not Safe For Work) Justice League Redesign Sketches was the neat Martian Manhunter above. Click the link to view his takes on Fire (Green Flame,) Green Lantern Kyle Rayner, harpooned Aquaman, Hawkgirl and Hawkman.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

2009 Martian Manhunter Archives Vol. 3 Create-Your-Own Back Cover by Tom Hartley

As mentioned previously, Martian Manhunter was almost never referenced in any way on the covers to the issues of Detective Comics in which the John Jones, Manhunter from Mars strip appeared. That makes the four image cover showcase on the backs of Archive Editions rather lame for fans hoping for a glimpse of this volume's titular star. Tom Hartley solved this problem with his second fan-conceived volume, a Java application that would allow fans to choose their own cover line-up based on individual criteria. I don't expect you'll get a third chance at playing this game, at least until after Martian Manhunter's appearances on House of Mystery covers comes to a bitter end around Volume 5.

The Martian Manhunter Archives Vol.3 back cover web page, as explained by its creator:

This uses some complicated javascript that may not work with all browsers... 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.

Well, I'll darned sure have the cover of the first appearance of Professor Hugo amongst my four entries, even if Tom decided the lead story didn't rate. "I'm inclined not to include the Arnold Hugo story from Detective #306... Poor Arnold Hugo. Bad enough he has two nerd names in one, but he's defeated by his own vanity. "I always said that when I finally met my greatest foe, I would write a tribute to his genius." Would Lex Luthor fall for a line like that?

Since the origin flashback in Detective #322, J'Onn's first battle with Hugo, contains everything Martian Manhunter fans need to know about the villain, I don't think this story needs to be included in the Archives. Instead, my intro to Vol. 4 (which will reprint #322) will contain a synopsis of Hugo's battle with Batman. (To answer your question, I've read all the stories in both Showcase volumes, including the Hugo ones. For the Archive intros, I'm re-reading them.)

Tom's read the story, and saw what came of the Hugo family's exclusion from some fancy-shmancy Gotham City founders event. If I were him, I'd keep one eye on his Archives work, and the other out for genetically engineered tigers the size of houses...

Friday, November 6, 2009

Martian Sightings for January, 2010

When I started Martian Sightings early in the life of this blog, the plan was to read the entire Previews catalog and report on all Martian Manhunter-related items each month. That notion was never quite realized, as J'Onn J'Onzz lacks enough commercial heft to rate explicit mentions in a given solicitation. I often missed appearances, or assumed his presence where he was absent. On items like DVDs, Previews is often soliciting stuff available in stores before you could even turn an order in to them. Finally, I began taking until very near the deadline to finish reading the book, and especially on light months, I sometimes wouldn't post at all.

This is to say that you're reading the last Martian Sighting as originally conceived.
Once again, there were no Martian Manhunter items outside the DC Comics solicitations, which have been viewable to the public for three weeks. In fact,the previous Sighting was posted right around the same time, and folks were more interested in commenting on the brand new items than the dated stuff I was covering... the "new" stuff featured here was what we discussed nearly a month ago. There will be another Sighting in a couple weeks, focused solely on the freshest advance solicitations on the 'net. If additional items turn up in the actual Previews, I'll just tack it onto the Sighting after that, and so on.

Out with 2009 and these final perfunctory solicits-- In with 2010 and a forum to talk about the now merchandise...


DC Direct presents the fourth series of HISTORY OF THE DC UNIVERSE action figures, featuring four more fan-favorite characters!

All based on art from George Pérez’s seminal HISTORY OF THE DC UNIVERSE comic book, the figures included here are Silver Age Martian Manhunter; Captain Atom in his original blue and red costume; Kobra in his original costume; and Superman as Nightwing, from Superman’s time in the Bottle City of Kandor, when he took on the alias of Nightwing.

Captain Atom • 6.75” h
Superman as Nightwing • 6.75” h
Martian Manhunter • 6.75” h
Kobra • 6.75” h
4-color blister card packaging.
Advance-solicited; on sale June 16, 2010 * Action Figures * PI ($14-20)

A Martian Manhunter action figure based on the History art of Pérez would be fantastic! It's one of my favorite interpretations of the character! This figure looks nothing like Pérez ever did ever! This looks like Tim Bruckner taking a stab at Joe Certa's Silver Age Manhunter from Mars, right down to the simple collarless cape. On the other hand, that teensy-weensy bikini he's wearing was more typical of the '90s, and J'Onn was never drawn that muscular before the late '80s. It's actually less faithful to Pérez than the Kevin Maguire JLI figure (which looks better in your hands than online, as I recently learned.)

Written by Mark Waid, Scott Beatty and Len Wein
Art by various
Cover by Alex Ross
Collecting the origins of over fifty characters from Animal Man to Zatanna, including Batman, Wonder Woman, The Joker and many more, from DC’s hit weekly series 52 and COUNTDOWN TO FINAL CRISIS as well as several first seen online, featuring the work of some of comics’ top talents!
Advance-solicited; on sale February 17 • 144 pg, FC, $14.99 US

This one should have Martian Manhunter's two page spotlight with art by Tom Mandrake (on the conehead, to boot!) Also, lots of cameo appearances in other character's origins (like Brian Bolland's Zatanna!)

Written by Brad Meltzer, Mark Waid and Brian Azzarello
Art by Ed Benes, Ivan Reis, Andy Kubert, Adam Hughes, Jim Lee and others
Cover by Ed Benes
Previously offered as part of DC Direct’s JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA ACTION FIGURE BOX SET, this special collects JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA #1 and origin stories from 52 #12, 22, 46 and 51 and ABSOLUTE SUPERMAN: FOR TOMORROW.
On sale January 20 • 48 pg, FC, $4.99 US

Reprints of cameos-- not especially well written ones. Nice art, though... at times.

Written by Geoff Johns
Art and cover by Doug Mahnke & Christian Alamy
Variant cover by Jim Lee
Sketch Variant cover by Doug Mahnke
BLACKEST NIGHT spreads with an oversized anniversary issue! Surrounded by friends and enemies, Hal Jordan goes into battle with a being he will never defeat – the Black Lantern Spectre! Can Saint Walker, Sinestro and the others put a stop to this bizarre Spectre rebirth?
Plus, Atrocitus reveals a tie to a power that may make him the most unbeatable of all the Lanterns!
Retailers please note: This issue will ship with three covers. For every 25 copies of the Standard Edition (with a cover by Doug Mahnke & Christian Alamy), retailers may order one copy of the Variant Edition (with a cover by Jim Lee). For every 100 copies of the Standard Edition, retailers may order one copy of the Sketch Variant Edition (with a cover by Doug Mahnke). Please see the Previews Order Form for more information.
On sale January 27 • 40 pg, FC, $3.99 US

Will Black Lantern J'Onn J'Onzz appear here? Probably not, but I'll give his corps a nod to be safe.

Written by Geoff Johns
Art and cover by Ryan Sook
The Atom has been in the center of the BLACKEST NIGHT storm since day one. But now that storm becomes more personal than he could ever have imagined when he is hunted by not only the Black Lanterns Hawkman and Hawkgirl, but Black Lanterns Khufu and Chay-Ara! Don’t miss the meltdown in another of this month’s one-issue revivals of classic DC Universe titles!
ONE SHOT • on sale January 27 • 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US

Another "don't count on it" Black Lantern J'Onn J'Onzz appearance, but this also smells like an essential mini-series tie-in you might otherwise miss. Besides, it's the real Atom in a solo story by Johns and Sook! If only the Tiny Titan blog were around to see this...

R.E.B.E.L.S. #12
Written by Tony Bedard
Art by Claude St. Aubin & Scott Hanna
Cover by Kalman Andrasofszky
In the aftermath of their BLACKEST NIGHT encounter, Vril Dox and his team realize they must kill Starro the Conqueror. It's a job that requires three dangerous missions led by Dox, Captain Comet and Adam Strange, who will face loss, treachery and the overwhelming might of Starro's conquering horde.
On sale January 13 • 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US

I haven't read the annual yet, but it looks like they threw Despero under the bus to build up Starro/Star Conqueror. Eh, Despero's survived infantilism, disembodiment, pychic displacement, discorporation and Trinity, so what's decapitation really?

The Human Flame
Written by Matthew Sturges
Art by Freddie E. Williams II
Cover by KAKO
The Human Flame is a dead man. The heroes of the DC Universe have targeted him as the lowlife who caught the murder of the Martian Manhunter on his cell phone. On top of that, the villains want to kill him for selling them out to Libra. His only chance is to run! Collecting the 6-issue miniseries.
Advance-solicited; on sale February 24 • 144 pg, FC, $17.99 US

I asked a few months ago if anyone was willing to recommend this trade paperback collection to me, and got a positive response. As I recall, it jerks a bunch of forgettable d-listers around pretty hard, so if you can roll with that, it might be worth trying.

Miss Martian
Written by Felicia D. Henderson; co-feature written by Sean McKeever
Art by Joe Bennett & Jack Jadson; co-feature art by Yildiray Cinar & Júlio Ferreira
Cover by Joe Bennett and Jack Jadson
Now that he’s had time to acclimate to normal life since the TERROR TITANS miniseries, Static makes the choice to go home and tell his family that he’s alive. And he’s bringing his Teen Titans teammates with him. Let’s hope they can survive the rough streets of Dakota!
Plus: Ravager…slave girl!
On sale January 27 • 40 pg, FC, $3.99 US

Okay, I tossed through #75, and she was still on the team. I don't think the creative team is entirely intact though, so nobody knows nothin' til it streets.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Blackest Night #3 (November, 2009)

New York City: Jason Rusch and Gehenna argued about the prospect of marriage.

Gotham City: The Black Lantern Justice League engaged the Flash and Green Lantern Hal Jordan. Black Lantern Ronnie Raymond had called dibs on Flash, but Black Lantern Ralph Dibny said "The Scarlet Speedster and the Stretchable Sleuth have been pals since the world-famous Elongated Man cracked his first case, Matchstick! If anyone's tugging on Barry's heartstrings it's gonna be me." Dibny's fingers became blades, but neither his nor Black Lantern J'Onn J'Onzz's stretching arms could catch the Flash. Allen even had time to experiment, learning roots held the Black Lantern power rings on its corpsman's fingers. A battered Atom emerged from hiding to join the fight against the BL Hawks.

Washington D.C.: Firestorm answered a call from Justice League of America headquarters. There he learned the arrival of the Black Lantern Corps was a global concern. The Nuclear Man was attacked by Mera, until she realized he wasn't one of the undead.

Gotham City: Black Lantern Ralph Dibny ensnared Green Lantern in his trunk. "We were never really tight, were we, Hal? Don't think I didn't catch you scoping out Sue when she was wearing a skirt." Ralph also caught the Atom, and nearly ripped out his heart, before both were saved by Indigo-1 of the Indigo Tribe, a lantern corps who wield the light power of compassion. Through their energy the two Indigo Tribe members on scene dispatched Black Lanterns Ralph and Sue Dibny. The Indigo Tribe duo then teleported the present heroes to JLofA headquarters.

Washington, D.C.: Indigo-1 explained to the collected heroes about the eight known corps wielding different emotionally-attuned colors in the spectrum of power, and the wars they were waging with one another. In the distance were memorial statues for Aquaman, Steel II, and Vibe. The group determined that these were not truly their fallen friends, and that their controller sought to illicit strong emotional responses in victims before devouring them. Flash and Green Lantern found time for a heart-to-heart, before the Black Lantern Justice League crashed the scene with an appetite for both. Black Lantern Ronnie Raymond forced the Firestorm matrix to split, then absorbed Jason Rusch into himself while he murdered Gehenna. Black Lantern power rings sought out more flesh, and found it in a morgue safeguarding the remains of deceased super-villains within League HQ (including Dr. Light, Maxwell Lord, and more.)

"Blackest Night" was by Geoff Johns, Ivan Reis and Oclair Albert with Joe Prado.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

2009 The Martian Manhunter Archives Volume 3 Fan Mock-Up Cover by Tom Hartley

  1. Create-Your-Own Back Cover
  2. Table of Contents
  3. Introduction
  4. Biographies

Tom Hartley continues with his unpublished-in-our-universe Martian Manhunter Archives series, picking up from Volume 1 and Volume 2.

Tom decided the fictitious Volume 3 archive would reprint issue numbers 296-316 of the 'Tec back-ups. Based on that, I altered the solicitation copy from the third Flash Archive to create the material below.


Written by Jack Miller; Art and Cover by Joe Certa

THE MARTIAN MANHUNTER ARCHIVES VOL. 3 features the Alien Atlas in his early 1960s adventures as he patrols and protects the streets of Middletown against a menagerie of colorful and deadly enemies. In this book of classic tales, the Manhunter from Mars' other-dimensional pet sidekick Zook is introduced. They are joined by Detective John Jones' lovely partner Patrolwoman Diane Meade, his boss Captain Harding, as well as the Futureman in taking on the villainy of Argus Weede, B'enn B'urnzz, King Zeus and more.
  • Archive Editions
  • 240pg.
  • Color
  • Hardcover
  • $49.95 US
  • ISBN 15638π97997

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Blackest Night #2 (October, 2009)

Ivy Town: Ray "The Atom" Palmer tried to call Hawkman back about going with him to visit his deceased ex-wife Jean Loring's grave. The now undead Winged Wonder invited him over.

Gotham City: Commissioner Gordon and his daughter
Barbara were surprised by Green Lantern Hal Jordan being thrown into the Bat-Signal.

Amnesty Bay: Mera decided that if it was for the best, Tempest could exhume Aquaman's body and entomb it under the sea. A group of Atlanteans were along for the task, but the grave was already dug out.

Black Lantern Arthur Curry: "Yes. Your king. Your king who would rather be buried in the mud next to his human father than his own people. Your king, who was hunted as a child because of his ties to the surface world. Your king, who returned when you begged him to rebuild Atlantis. And who, after giving his blood to do it-- was hunted again. Now it's your king's turn to hunt."

Gotham City: Deadman's spirit was disturbed by the Black Lantern Corps, as his body joined it.

Washington, D.C.: Hank and Don Hall called by the Black Lantern power rings, but Dove remained at peace, so only Hawk answered.

Amnesty Bay: The undead Aquaman tormented Mera with the memory of their deceased son, and couldn't be killed by a trident through his chest. Tempest was attacked by Black Lantern Tula and Black Lantern Dolphin. The Atlanteans were eaten by sharks at Aquaman's command.

Gotham City: Zatanna, Blue Devil, Phantom Stranger and the Spectre investigated Boston "Deadman" Brand's open grave. They were met by the former Pariah turned Black Lantern Kell Mossa. "Worlds have died. Worlds will rise." Black Hand saw to turning the Spectre's living dead human host into Black Lantern Crispus Allen.

Gotham City: Black Lantern J'Onn J'Onzz pursued the Flash, Laser Vision ablaze.

Amnesty Bay: Black Lantern Tula regenerated her head after a less-than-devastating attack, then took Tempest's heart for good.

Garth of Earth. Rise

Mera fled.

Black Lantern J'Onn J'Onzz: "Your thoughts are moving faster, Barry. You're trying to prevent me from manipulating them again... You can't run from me." The Flash had been mixing flammable chemicals for Green Lantern to ignite. Barry contained the inferno. "Sorry, J'Onn." Hal observed, "Fire. It was J'Onn's kryptonite."

Was being the operative word.

"When the fire dies down, I want to recover J'Onn's remains and take them back to Mars. He deserves better than being desecrated like this. The Martian Manhunter was the heart of the League."

"Heart, Barry? I have no heart.I gave my heart to the League."

Black Lantern J'Onn J'Onzz emerged from the smoke unscathed, and no longer alone.
Black Lantern Ralph Dibny: "We all did, J'Onn. And I'd say it's your turn to return the favor, fellas."

Black Lantern Sue Dibny: We'll help them, won't we, Ralph?"

Black Lantern Ronnie Raymond: "Radical! I call dibs on the Flash!"

Black Lanterns Carter Hall and Kendra Saunders brought up the rear...

"Blackest Night" was by Geoff Johns and Ivan Reis with Oclair Albert & Julio Ferreira.

Monday, November 2, 2009

2007 Alex Ross Shazam Proposal: Martian Manhunter Redesign

Prior to the weekend, Rich Johnston of Bleeding Cool directed fans' attention to Alex Ross Art, where the popular creator had begun selling original work from an unpublished Shazam revamp. Presumably, Dan DiDio passed on this in favor of Judd Winnick and Howard Porter's The Trials of Shazam mini-series, which proves what a brain trust is running DC these days. Collected here, you can see the most dynamic approach to Captain Marvel since, well, ever. Personally, I think Billy Batson should be delicately retconned into an African-American, ala Roy Thomas' 1980s Captain Thunder proposal, to make him viable and contemporary in a universe shared with Superman. Instead, there's a new Vulcan, Black or Son of... unknown, but looking pretty cool. Most curiously, Batgirl, Nightwing and Martian Manhunter are reworked to such a degree, this must have been intended as an Elseworlds or a massive new direction for the One Year Later initiative. I can't believe I'm saying this, but I very much prefer the José Ladrönn Conehead from Mars approach to this rather short on imagination take. Better a Skrull mixed with the Vision than regular Manhunter with Doug Mahnke tentacles and a Spectre cowl covering his trademark brow. Looks like Ross got some mileage out on the rejected Nightwing on his Black Terror for Dynamite Publishing, so not a totakl loss.

Martian Manhunter
Part of an Unused Shazam Proposal by Alex Ross – 2007
9” x 12” pencil on art paper
Price: $1,000

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Green Lantern #44 (Late September, 2009)

Space Sector 2814. Mars. The tomb of the Martian Manhunter.

An electrical storm rocked the red soil outside J'Onn J'Onzz's pyramid. Inside, the Choco sandwich cookie set on J'Onn's coffin after his funeral was knocked to the floor, the impact crumbling it. A Black Lantern power ring burst into the structure, penetrated the Manhunter's coffin, and set itself on his right middle finger.

J'Onn J'Onzz of Mars.

An oily black substance covered the Martian Manhunter's body, becoming a costume. Black Lantern J'Onn J'Onzz then smashed his way out of his glass coffin.

In Gotham City, Alfred Pennyworth had called Green Lantern Hal Jordan and the Flash (Barry Allen) to investigate the robbing of Batman's skull from Bruce Wayne's grave. Flash found "Some kind of black residue. And it's coagulating. Like blood."

A voice could be heard within the heroes' minds. "Hal. Barry." A disturbed Flash uttered "Ma'aleca'andra." The voice came again, verbally and from behind, "You shouldn't be back. You should both be dead."
"J'Onn? You're... here."
"Ring. Identify."

While Green Lantern's ring checked out the former Manhunter from Mars, Black Lantern J'Onn J'Onzz's own power ring determined Jordan was emotionally dominated by will and Flash by hope.

Scanning complete. J'Onn J'Onzz A.K.A. Martian Manhunter. Founding member of the Justice League of America. Last survivor of the Green Martian race. Vital Signs: Negative.

"I realize my appearance may be disturbing-- but if this form, the form I met humanity halfway with, is less discomforting--"

Before J'Onzz could fully shapeshift into the visage of his old self, Green Lantern fired on his swiftly immaterial and invisible form. Jordan defended his action before a startled Flash. " heard J'Onn. He's not asking for milk and cookies."

The Black Lantern from Mars knocked Flash off his feet and began choking Jordan. "Don't worry Hal. You were my friends. I've come back to help you." Lifting Green Lantern into the air by his neck, J'Onn J'Onzz fired laser vision at the ground covered by the Scarlet Speedster. "Barry. You had your chance to embrace the Speed Force. To become part of Nirvana. But you ran away from it. How would it make you feel to leave Iris and Wally behind again?" Images filled the Flash's mind, instilling fear, another emotion to be savored. "And you Hal. After everything you did-- if you died at the right time you would've gone straight to Hell." Despite J'Onzz's taunts, Jordan's emotional spectrum would not expand beyond will. "But you no longer subject yourself to guilt or anger over Parallax, do you? Your heart is full of willpower again. Let me see."

The Flash ran up a ramp and snatched Green Lantern from J'Onzz's grasp, but Jordan was still shaken from the mental intrusion, and barely reacted in time to save them from free fall. Recognizing J'Onn J'Onzz as the bearer of a previously unidentified power ring type, Green Lantern tried to contact some of his fellow corpsmen, to no avail. Sheltered in a fire station, the heroes considered the probably that J'Onzz wasn't the only new black ring bearer, and how to exploit his greatest weakness.The building then began to quake. "J'Onn knocking at the front door." Black Lantern J'Onn J'Onzz razed the structure. "I'm as powerful as Superman. Why does everyone forget that?"

On planet Oa, inside the citadel of the Guardians of the Universe, their adulterated sister Scar had taken control. Scar felt that all previous Guardian initiatives had failed to bring order to the universe, and so had thrown her loyalty behind the new Black Lantern Corps. Scar had begun hearing a commanding voice as her body "died from the poisonous burn of the Anti-Monitor," making her realize only the absence of emotion could bring ultimate peace. "The Black Lanterns are collecting hearts full of splintered light-- and soon it will be His turn to rise. Now. You will need to rest for what's come. Back to sleep-- fellow Guardian."

Back on Earth, a Green Lantern ring construct had saved everyone so far, but an invisible Manhunter was to be feared. Flash had a plan, but also considered, "Maybe we can reach J'Onn. We can trigger something in him so he can fight back. He's the strongest telepath on the planet. What was his state of mind when he died? Was he still using his human guise out of Denver?"
"Detective John Jones? I think so... Truth is, I didn't see much of J'Onn in the end. He left the League. He distanced himself. He felt more alien."
"Alien? J'Onn wasn't alien. He was alienated."

The Flash was pained by another telepathic invasion. "Hal was the one who never flinched at the sight of a Martian, but you understood me, Barry. And I want you to understand me now. You can't outrun death. Not when it's me." The Flash launched into a two-pronged attack, physical and verbal. "I know it's you in there, J'Onn. Somewhere deep down. Remember. We used to talk shop. Cases. You were fascinated by what you never had on Mars-- law. Justice."

Weakly, Green Lantern fended off the Flash's battery, after the Scarlet Speedster had been made to see Jordan as the Black Lantern. The real evil J'Onn J'Onzz then wrapped a tentacle around Jordan's neck and flung him through the Gotham night sky toward an unanswered Bat-Signal. "Justice? For who? My wife and daughter? Myself? The man who orchestrated my murder still walks the streets. Half the League you knew is gone. Justice is dead, Barry." Black Lantern J'Onn J'Onzz then batted the Flash into a pool of chemical sludge.

Meanwhile, in Space Sector 1313, Green Lantern John Stewart was faced with the rise of the Black Lantern planet Xanshi...

"Only the Good Die Young" was by Geoff Johns and Doug Mahnke with Christian Alamy, Tom Nguyen & Rodney Ramos