Sunday, April 25, 2010

1980 Whizzard Fanzine Cover Art by Michael Nasser and Terry Austin

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You know what's really hard to find? Any creators talking at length about the Martian Manhunter, especially prior to the 1990s. So here's a 1980 fanzine interview with an artist probably best known for his Manhunter from Mars work and providing an original J'onn J'onzz cover. I should be in heaven, right? Instead, our hero barely rated a mention.

Well, it's an interview, and biographical information on early Manhunter creators is pretty sparse. It's true I hit paydirt there, especially considering I've long intended to produce a series of bio pages, and this made Nasser/Netzer an easy first entry. Still, that was pretty well wrapped in the opening paragraphs of the interviewer's foreword.

So instead, we'll get lots of behind the scenes material on the industry? Not really, as actual production was more grazed upon than deeply discussed. Anecdotes about other creators? Hardly-- names are dropped, but nothing is elaborated upon.

Okay, well, that was a pretty exciting time in Nasser/Netzer's life, full of spiritual, emotional, political and even material upheaval? Well, yes, that's the gist of the interview. However, the events are mentioned obliquely, divorced of context and clear motivation. The artist mentions actions taken related to his religious and political convictions, but doesn't really elaborate much on exactly what they were. There are disagreements with other parties detailed, but none of the discourse that led to these conflicts. The best way I could think of to describe this interview is to take the Johnny Cash song "Folsom Prison Blues," and remove most of the internal/confessional monologue.

I hear the train a comin'
I'm stuck in Folsom Prison,
I shot a man in Reno,
Well, if they freed me from this prison,
I bet I'd move out over a little,

See, you can follow things in general, but the lack of specifics is deeply frustrating. That's my take anyway. Feel free to read for yourself at Michael Netzer's blog. If you continue through the site, you'll find relief from these questions, as Netzer has since expanded greatly upon his philosophies...


LissBirds said...

I'm finding this lack of primary source info from J'onn's creators to be very frustrating, especially considering my field of work. Someday I might ask my soon-to-be-archivist friend to aid me in a little research. I mean, there's got to be an interview or some kind of documentation out there SOMEWHERE. I'm wondering what kind of research credentials it would take to have access to DC's internal archives...

rob! said...

Nice find!