Wednesday, March 10, 2010

2010 The Martian Manhunter Archives Volume 6 Fan Mock-Up Cover by Tom Hartley


Written by Denny O'Neil, Bob Haney, Steve Englehart, Gerry Conway, Len Wein and Jim Starlin; Art by Dick Dillin, Michael Netzer, Curt Swan, Jim Starlin, George Tuska, Alan Kupperberg and others; Cover by Michael Netzer and Terry Austin
Back by popular demand, MARTIAN MANHUNTER ARCHIVES VOL. 6 continues the exciting evolution of J'onn J'onzz as he leads the last survivors of Mars to a new home world. Utilizing powerfully graphic storytelling, these tales from the Bronze Age combine gripping adventures with thrilling team-ups. This intense hardcover includes the horrifying destruction of the planet Mars, the debut of Manhunter's nemesis Commander Blanx, entanglements with the femme fatale Bel Juz, the ominous return of Despero, the introduction of Mongul, a murder mystery with guest stars galore, and the thrilling arrival of the Alien Atlas to Earth, just ahead of a Martian invasion. Appearances by Superman, Batman, Hawkman, the Justice League of America, and many more! Reprints JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA #71, 144, 177, 178 and 228-230; WORLD's FINEST COMICS #212 and 245; ADVENTURE COMICS #449-451; and DC COMICS PRESENTS #27
  • Archive Editions
  • 288pg.
  • Color
  • Hardcover
  • $49.95 US
  • ISBN 1563897302901

It's been nearly six months since Tom Hartley began sending me scans of his copies of the Manhunter from Mars Archive Editions from an alternate dimension where the character rates a series of lovingly remastered hardcover reprints. Not content with giving the correct DC Comics cover font and layout a twirl, Tom filled in all the bonus content upon each edition's hypothetical pages. While the plan was originally to stop with the Silver Age material also covered in the el cheapo black & white Showcase Presents trade paperbacks, we couldn't let these novel 1970s tales go unrepresented. Tom even decided to go the extra mile by taking high resolution color scans from the original comics, "bleaching" them, and recoloring from scratch. Here's Tom on that process:

I have to carefully remove the coloring without removing any of the line art, then recolor it, so that it's nice and sharp looking, just like the colored black & white Showcase scans from the other mock-ups. The bigger the image, the easier it will be for me to play with it... All those skinny little lines... damn you, Terry Austin...

I'm not doing bios for this volume, not with nearly three dozen writers, pencillers, inkers and cover artists.

For my part, I figured now would be a good time to return to the first volume and edit-in the bogus "solicitation copy" I tacked onto Tom's covers for the rest of the volumes. This edition's text was lifted from LEGION OF SUPER-HEROES ARCHIVES VOL. 11, plus an Earth symbol for the ISBN to go with the Mars one from last time.


LissBirds said...

Tom, you recolored the originals? No wonder that cover looks so sharp. Bravo!

I see the ISBN now terminates with the astrological symbol for Earth...the Library of Congress will be nonplussed...

rob! said...

I'd buy this.

Michael Netzer said...

What talent! When I become DC Comics publisher, you guys are invited to a creative director job interview. Unless, of course, you become DC publishers before I do. Which is just as likely and in which case I expect to be invited for a job interview.

Wonderful work, Tom. And the blog is looking sharp!

Diabolu Frank said...

Liss, Tom did indeed recolor all the original art from the previous volumes using the black & white Showcase volumes and color scans for reference. On this last volume, there were no B&W materials available. He definitely recolored the Netzer "cover" art from a hi-res Adventure Comics interior page scan, but I don't know what all he did with the upcoming "Introduction" and "Table of Contents" illos.

As for the ISBN, I wanted something new while adding the Volume One solicitation copy, then reused it here to close off the circle.

Rob, as would I. Obviously I'd buy them all, but especially this one.

Michael, the blog will look sharper still once this "Black Lantern" business wraps and we get your banner back up. J'Onn will hopefully be back to life by then. Also, Tom okay'd my using his recolored Manhunter figure here as a sidebar icon, so I figure it'll serve as a link to a Michael Netzer index.

Tom said...

Thanks, everybody.

Liss, as Frank said, he sent me a hi-res, 500 dpi scan from his copy of Adventure Comics #450. I had to remove the coloring without removing any of the lines. Messrs. Netzer and Austin didn't make it easy for me. Michael put a lot of detail into his work and Terry Austin, bless his soul, faithfully rendered every itty bitty tiny little line. Fortunately, I was able to reduce it to a small enough size so that you can't see (most) of my mistakes.

Thanks, Michael, for not being mad at me for ruining your drawing.

Frank, for the TOC illo I found a hi-res scan of the cover of JLA 178 online. All I had to do was adjust the color a little. For the intro illo I enlarged a panel from the .cbr of JLA 144 you sent me, then removed the coloring and recolored it. It wasn't as detailed as the Netzer-Austin art, so I didn't need as big of a scan.

Rob, obviously, I would also buy fancy Martian Manhunter hardcovers that DC would publish.

Michael Netzer said...

You not only didn't ruin the drawing, but you made it better, Tom. I like the way it looks here more than in its original context. You've highlighted its design elements which were a little lost in the clutter of the splash.

Curious, have you heard any feedback from anything resembling a DC affiliate on these. Or have other blogs picked up on them?

Michael Netzer said...

Oh, Frank, about the site's look. I like that it keeps changing. This banner and color scheme is one of the nicer ones. Something about the black lending it class and the title text design clicks. It's a bold approach.

Diabolu Frank said...

Michael, the bad thing about someone like Tom using my blog as a platform is that I don't do much promotion. I've never heard from anyone at DC, and most likely only a few hundred people at best ever see anything here.

Anyway, thanks for the kind words. I figure a blog about a shapeshifter should do some of its own...

Tom said...

No one from DC or any other publisher has ever contacted me, and I'd be surprised if they did.

Michael Netzer said...

Good work will eventually get its due. BTW, Tom, I'm getting a lot of hits from the DC Archives message board. More than anywhere else recently. Big community and they followed your link.