Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Koma Designs Martian Manhunter Resin Model Kit

So I'm over at the Aquaman Shrine the other day, where Rob posted a gnarly Custom Aquaman Statue. I says to myself, "Diabolu Frank," which is strange because that's a total alias, but I says, "didn't you find a boss custom Alien Atlas statue during your eBay troll a week or so back?" Why yes I did, and I put it in my blessedly expanding posting queue of timely scheduling. With tomorrow being the start of the 50th Anniversary December of Despero, plus a side project you'll be seeing pop up on a host of other blogs soon thereafter, might synergy be the order of this final day of November? It 'tis!

From Koma Designs comes The 1/6th scale Martian Manhunter Resin Kit Statue measures almost 14" tall. It has been built and painted and ready for display.

Monday, November 29, 2010

2010 The Martian Manhunter Archives Volume 8 Introduction by Martin Lowell & Tom Hartley

Click To Load PDF

In the world of science fiction, few things are more endearing than seeing an otherwise alien character assume a human trait or two. Spock had his own wry sense of humor, Data had his cat, Spot, and the Martian Manhunter has Oreo cookies.

The 90’s saw a divergence in interpretations of the Alien Atlas: was he to be the alien living amongst humanity with all-too-human quirks of his own, or was he to leave humanity behind and fully embrace his Martian roots? The question remains unanswered by both fans and creators alike, with the issue of “how human is J’Onn J’Onzz” still being a divisive one. Collected in this volume are stories which represent both visions of the Martian Manhunter, and when read together, throw the dichotomy of J’Onn J’Onzz into sharp focus. The Martian Manhunter has been plagued by an ill-defined character premise almost since his inception, and the revelations of the
1988 MARTIAN MANHUNTER miniseries by J. M. DeMatteis and Mark Badger, coupled with the exquisite, deeply rooted in humanity noir of MARTIAN MANHUNTER: AMERICAN SECRETS, the 1992 mini-series by Gerard Jones and Eduardo Barreto, only drove the two separate interpretations further toward the (not-Martian) poles.
Further background to these 90’s stories is the groundwork Keith Giffen and J. M. Dematteis laid down during the fan-favorite JUSTICE LEAGUE INTERNATIONAL series, which drew J’Onn J’Onzz as friendly, albeit wry, patriarch to a group of juvenile superheroes. Some stories collected
in this volume, such as “The Fire this Time” from ADVENTURES IN THE DC UNIVERSE #5, capture the playfulness with which the character can be written. While this story is a lighthearted tale written for a younger audience, many a modern DC writer would do well to attempt to recapture
the wry humor presented in this story, as this kind of humor always works well for the character.
In this story, we see him enjoying his milk and cookies and renting low budgeted sci-fi films from a Denver video store.

Whether in his “alien-only” or “alien-amongst-humans” interpretation, tragedy is a recurrent theme for the Martian Manhunter in many of his modern-era stories. From the Bronze Age onward, death, failure, and just plain bad luck follow J’Onn J’Onzz around as closely as Zook did in the Silver Age. Despite his shortcomings, the Martian Manhunter never loses his sense of compassion for the
human race, and stories such as “Deep Down” from SHOWCASE ‘95 #9 show the depth of J’Onn’s compassion as he brings peace to an elderly survivor of the Titanic, a few years before Leonardo DiCaprio assumed the same role.

While the stories in the 1996 MARTIAN MANHUNTER SPECIAL #1 and 1998’s MARTIAN MANHUNTER ANNUAL #1 insist on pulling the Sleuth from Outer Space either away from the dearly-held ties he had formed with his adopted homeworld, or from the character’s
morals, both JLA SECRET FILES AND ORIGINS #1 and JLA ANNUAL #1 plant a well-characterized J’Onzz firmly amongst Humanity, in situations both shining and corrupted.

Proving again that the most interesting stories happen when superheroes are on their day off, “A
Day in the Life: Martian Manhunter” from JLA SECRET FILES AND ORIGINS #1 shows the efforts J’Onn has taken to protect the parts of the world neglected by other heroes, using intelligence and diplomacy in addition to brawn. Silver Age fans will also rejoice to see the human guise of “John Jones” alive and still solving weird crimes, and J’Onzz’s adoption of other human guises in his
quest to further understand humanity pays homage as well as expands upon his original concept in a logical and inspired fashion. There is even a bit of Silver Age lightheartedness in the choice of “Johann Johnson” as the name of J’Onn’s cab-driving alias. Completing the story is an
interpretation of J’Onn’s Martian spirituality that nicely dovetails the groundwork laid down in the 1988 J.M. DeMatteis miniseries without jettisoning his ties to humanity for the sake of “embracing” his Martian heritage.

For those fans who regard the Martian Manhunter as a noir detective with a superhero twist,
“Hardboiled Hangover” from JLA ANNUAL #1 provides a well-written, albeit a tad over-the-top, strange mystery with a tragic turn. “Martin Smith” is a bit more hard-boiled and world-weary than “John Jones” ever was, yet still possesses enough vulnerability for the femme fatale to prey upon. Though readers may find it jarring to see J’Onzz channeling Mike Hammer more than Sam Spade,
it is worth a look if only for the untapped potential contained in this perspective on the character.
While many fans enjoy reading a Martian Manhunter who is free from all ties on Earth to explore his past on Mars, to forget that so many solid stories were penned with the Manhunter from Mars firmly planted amongst Humanity would be a disservice to the character and his original intent. In all the aforementioned stories, you will find humor, pathos, tragedy. Given the freedom to roam the Earth as one of us, J’Onn is a dichomatic mirror reflecting our own potential: he is both naive and
worldly, witty and humorless, compassionate and torn. To look away from J’Onn in his human guise is to look away from ourselves. Given his efforts to understand humanity even after so many failed
attempts, don’t we at least owe himthe honor of gazing back?

—— Martin Lowell

Martin Lowell is a part-time
haberdasher/astrophysicist living in
Sydney, Australia along with his
collection of Restoration-era salt
servers and nine Himalayan cats. His
latest book, How To Host Your Own
Apocaplypse Party With Flair And
Fabulousness will be on shelves late
December, 2012.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Superman Annual #3 (1991)

On my old Martian Manhunter: The Rock of the JLA blog, I spent a lot of time griping about how often Superman beat up J'Onn J'Onzz, especially in "Imaginary Stories." When Siskoid recently covered one such story under the heading of Superman of 2001, featuring art I could steal from a comic I no longer own, I thought I'd revisit one of those old posts with limited rewriting...

Sure, Superman was obviously being manipulated in Red Glass, but he's still treated as a power without equal. That same year, we were "treated" to an Armageddon 2001 story, featuring a possible future for Superman from Dan Jurgens and Dusty Abell. Supes writers just love to kill off Lois Lane as an excuse to have Clark act completely out of character, and this was no exception. Superman sets himself up as the global enforcer of his own laws, which doesn't sit well with the people he's supposed to be protecting. He sinks a U.S. Nuclear Submarine, killing seven crewmen, and bringing on the JLI. In his megalomania, Superman decides that their "limited mind" won't allow them to see that he's right, After slapping Booster Gold and Fire around, MM jumps in. "You know I am your physical equal. Can you not see we will eventually defeat you?" Supes shoots back,"Strength has nothing to do with it, Manhunter! It's the conviction that what you're doing is right!"

No, it isn't. The point of the story seems to be that Superman is strongest one there is. He uses Martian Manhunter as a bum shield against Fire and Booster's blasts, then drops his unconscious form into a blazing building. Using his telescopic vision, he sees J'Onn clutching his chest in pain, but ignores him. The Manhunter is claimed by his greatest weakness, and Superman tries to make excuses to relieve himself of guilt. When Superman is finally beaten, it's through the use of Kryptonite... not another hero proving his righteousness, or just plain overpowering him.

"Execution 2001" was by Dan Jurgens, because of course it was, since he's always writing stories of the type I gripe about at length. He was aided and abetted by Dusty Abell with Terry Austin, John Beatty, Dick Giordano & Dennis Janke.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

1991-92 Impel DC Cosmic Cards #96- Gorilla Grodd

Despite the trademark awkwardness of Grodd's position, there's no way I'd have recognized this as Carmine Infantino without looking at the credit on the card's back. Ray McCarthy must have inked this to within an inch of his life to manifest that level of detail. It's like one of those CGI critters where every shaft of fur is rendered, to the point where your mind perceives it as fake because nothing looks that fine in real life. Anyhow, it's a neat looking card.

More Impel DC Cosmic Cards

Thursday, November 25, 2010

2010 "Team Justice 2" by Andy Hunter

Click To Enlarge

Andy Hunter ALSO went with that same “Team-up or mash-up comic book characters with video game characters” theme with this Justice League/Team Fortress 2 mash-up.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

2007 Rittenhouse Archives DC Legacy Card #21: Martian Manhunter

I'm no fan of Rottenhouse. It's one thing to turn art scanned out of comics into trading cards. Comic Images was all over that in the '90s to feed fans junk between Marvel Universe sets. However, it's quite another to charge exorbitant prices for same because you brought up your Photoshop game and throw in "sketch cards" available at most conventions for cheaper than a pack of their cards. Still, here's their Martian Manhunter card, complete with the usual black & white Showcase Presents scan of an early Joe Certa panel, and a shot of the Al Barrionuevo "Coneheadhunter," who looks far more ridiculous in this context. It's like he's got a withered old witch's teat growing out the back of his fool head, complete with a bejeweled handkerchief so as not to expose the full saggy bosom as the Jolly Green Giant's unholy offspring suckles at N'ppl J'Onzz's lactating cranium. No wonder he's halfway giving us all the finger! Even classic J'onn is clearly perturbed, either by the vision of his dire but fleeting future self, or by the dang pointy new DC logo star jabbing him in the thigh. Regardless, it's nice to live in an age when no remotely comprehensive DC set will exclude even a rather disturbing and unpopular take on the Manhunter from Mars

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

1996 Martian Manhunter Oil Painting by David H.

A few weeks back, Shag of Once Upon A Geek fame sent out an email alerting '80s aficionados like myself that one of the DC properties of the decade with the most devoted cult fan base had finally received a blog of its own. David H. runs Subject : THE SUICIDE SQUAD ( Task Force X ), revolving around super-criminals conscripted by the government to partake in impossibly dangerous missions in exchange for potential freedom. It's an awesome premise often exceptionally handled, and several favorite DC characters of mine were part of the team, foremost being Amanda Waller. However, Detroit Leaguer Vixen was also on the team, as was Bronze Tiger and Nightshade, all of whom have been spotlighted on one of my blogs. This crossover bleeds both ways, as David H. is a fan of our own preferred Leaguer...

i have an oil painting of the Martian Manhunter i did back in the late 90s i would love to submit for consideration to be posted to your blog... that painting is 14 years old now. i've improved as an artist much since then but it's one of the few pieces i saved from those early years.

The piece measures 11" by 8.5," and the Manhunter love didn't stop there...
check out my monday posting on the Suicide Squad Blog i finally have the Martian Manhunter in the mix.

The post discusses Vixen and J'Onn's meeting during the JLI/Suicide Squad crossover during each book's first year. Check out When a Martian meets a woman...

Monday, November 22, 2010

2010 The Martian Manhunter Archives Volume 8 Table of Contents by Tom Hartley

Click To Load PDF

Another fine collection of stories, and the first I've not only mostly covered on this blog, but for which I will actually provide the links to prove it:

For individual page listings from this Table of Contents, download the PDF here.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Martian Sightings for February, 2011

1:10 Variant covers by IVAN REIS

The BRIGHTEST DAYS are numbered as this best-selling series heads toward its shocking conclusion, and fans won’t want to miss a single page of the action! “Aquawar” breaks out with Aquaman, Mera, Aqualad and a surprise guest star facing off against the terrorist forces of Black Manta and Siren to keep the vast waters of the world from sinking the United States!
Retailers please note: These issues will ship with two covers each. Please see the Previews Order Form for more information.

Issue #19 on sale FEBRUARY 2
Issue #20 on sale FEBRUARY 16
32 pg, FC, $2.99 US
Based on Martian Manhunter finishing next to last ahead of the Hawkman & Hawkgirl in a Newsarama poll of reader's reaction to this series' segment stars, I'm guessing I'm not alone in being disenchanted. Aquaman stole this show.

Issue #1 wraparound cover by ED BENES
Issue #1 1:10 Variant cover by RYAN SOOK
Issue #2 cover by ED BENES

The DC event of the year begins, coinciding with the release of the wildly anticipated DCU MMO! Get ready for the ride of a lifetime with this immense, 26-issue biweekly series!

In issue #1, Lex Luthor’s obsession with destroying Superman reaches fever pitch when he cuts the ultimate Devil’s deal with Brainiac...but with the shake of a hand, has Luthor consigned humanity to genocide?

In the startling second issue, The Lex Luthor of a post-apocalyptic future scrambles to escape Brainiac’s invasion of Earth, but he must gather an army to stop the invasion. Who will he recruit? And in the present, Brainiac’s first assault on Earth has begun, which recaps the incredibly rare DC UNIVERSE ONLINE LEGENDS #0!

Comic book legend Marv Wolfman joins fan-favorite writer Tony Bedard and artist Howard Porter to tell the ultimate DC Universe Super Hero tale of good versus evil!

Retailers please note: Issue #1 will ship with two covers. Please see the Previews Order Form for more information.
Issue #1 on sale FEBRUARY 2
Issue #2 on sale FEBRUARY 16
32 pg, FC, $2.99 US
Hey look! Another bi-weekly mini-series that will feature J'Onn J'Onzz! That's like, weekly Martian Manhunter... except considering J'Onn wasn't on that "theatrical trailer" and only very recently was even visually confirmed as being in the game (go-go Martian Man-thong) that might be an overstatement.

Art and cover by JERRY BINGHAM

Indebted to a super-powered team called The Zhuguan, Bruce Wayne repays the life-altering favor they bestowed upon him by joining their ranks against their most deadly foe! Marc Guggenheim (JUSTICE SOCIETY OF AMERICA) and classic Batman artist Jerry Bingham (BATMAN: SON OF THE DEMON) present “Super-Powers” part 4 of 5!

On sale FEBRUARY 2 • 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US
So this thing is still going on, presumably with the retro JLofA back-ups. The art inside wasn't as bad as the covers, but still a far cry from Bingham's best.

The Art of Vintage DC Comics: 100 Postcards
Celebrating the 75th anniversary of DC Comics, these 100 all-different postcards feature the incredible art of DC's comic book covers from the 1930s through the 1980s.

Miss Martian
Art and cover by MIKE NORTON

Based on the highly anticipated, all-new hit animated show from Warner Bros. debuting in January on Cartoon Network!

It’s moving-in day for Superboy and Miss Martian as they choose their rooms at their new headquarters! But the Boy of Steel is haunted by the Cave’s memories and strange visions of his past…

On sale FEBRUARY 16 • 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US
I realize this is really the second issue, but why bother with a #0 scheme if your #1 is going to carry such a weak cover?


Written by ART BALTAZAR & FRANCO Art and cover by ART BALTAZAR It’s a Shazam Family super special! Mary Batson makes her way to the tree house for a Pet Club meeting with her adorable talking tiger! That’s right! A big, talking tiger named Tawky Tawny who wears a suit and tie and a pair of glasses! Guest-starring Freddie, Hoppy and Billy, too!

On sale FEBRUARY 16 • 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US

DC’s eccentric anthology continues as Garbage Man seeks the secrets of his origin – with Batman hot on his heels! Elsewhere, Tanga tangles with some most unsavory characters in one of the galaxy’s most disreputable saloons! And how about Lobo? You’d better believe he’s doing what he does best!
On sale FEBRUARY 2 • 2 of 6 • 40 pg, FC $3.99 US
Why does a book with nothing but swell interior art have such a crap cover?

R.E.B.E.L.S #25
Written by TONY BEDARD
Starro the Conqueror returns to rebuild his empire, and his first act of revenge against super-genius Vril Dox is to turn him into a mind-slave. Meanwhile, with his rebel crew in hot pursuit, Lobo thinks he’s discovered another Czarnian! But he’s the last of his race…isn’t he?
On sale FEBRUARY 9 • 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US
With two monthly titles and no fights with Martian Manhunter in ages, I'm rethinking Lobo's inclusion here. Please comment on whether to dump the Main Man, as left up to myself alone, I probably will...

DC Comics Final Crisis [Audio CD]
The novelization of the superhero event starring Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, and the heroes and villains of the DC Comics Universe Victorious at long last against his enemies on the world of New Genesis, Darkseid has unleashed the forces of Apokolips on Earth. With the secret of the Anti- Life Equation at his command, Darkseid now possesses the ability to eradicate all free will from humanity-and usher in an end to the age of super heroes. Facing an ever growing army of mindless slaves and corrupted heroes, Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, and the remnants of the Justice League of America find themselves consumed by the ever spreading darkness. They remain humanity's only hope-the only light that will not be extinguished in the world's darkest hour. Copyright (p) & © 2010 DC Comics. All Rights Reserved. All characters, their distinctive likenesses, and related elements are trademarks of DC Comics.
MSRP: $19.99
Will they still kill Martian Manhunter in this one, or just not Batman?

Secret Origin: The Story of DC Comics
Behind the amazing tales of legendary super heroes is the equally amazing story of the company that told them. So many heroes, so many stories to tell--stories of DC Comics' 75 years of challenges, creativity and triumph. This DC Comics Original Documentary is both a compelling insider's tale and a celebration seen through the inkwell of those who created and lived it, balanced with insights from key historians and filled with interviews, archival footage and a dazzling parade of riveting and splashy DC covers. From the bans to the breakthroughs, from humble pulp beginnings to the literary rise of the graphic novel, the story holds a mirror to an ever-evolving enterprise and the society reflected in its comic book pages. It's an American story.
Any significant Martian Manhunter material in here, for those who've seen it? I need to send back these Netflix rentals I've been sitting on for two years and check this out...

Friday, November 19, 2010

Universe Retro Argentinian Detective Martiano Trading Card

I can't make out who drew this, it doesn't look very good or professional, and the stats are vague but familiar (height, weight, strength, etc.) Still, it's foreign, so it's novel. Viva Argentina!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

The Comic Reader #219 (September, 1984)

If The Comic Buyers Guide was the national weekly newspaper of the industry in the '70s & '80s, The Comic Reader was like the TV Guide. You could pick up Marvel Age for a month's worth of that publisher's solicitation copy and self-serving promotional "articles," but DC only served them up in brief a week at a time on the back page of their monthly comics, and what about everybody else? The Comic Reader. Of course, ancient retyped press releases only have so much entertainment value in the present, so I never go out of my way to buy copies when I very rarely find the little pocket guides somewhere. However, I'll have to keep my eyes out for this issue, as it celebrated the return of the Manhunter from Mars to Justice League of America (and comics in general) by giving him a back cover illustration by inker Jeff Albrecht. Aside from the fruity seashell belt buckle (raiding Aquaman's wardrobe to make up for the ravages of Mars II?) this is a spiffy piece, reminiscent of Mike Gustovich. Evangeline held the front cover (anyone remember the Matthew Sweet tune she inspired? Or Matthew Sweet, for that matter?)

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

2010 The Martian Manhunter Archives Volume 8 Fan Mock-Up Back Cover by Tom Hartley

"Sorry, no create-your-own page this time. There were only four good choices, so I made a mock-up."

How dare Tom deprive us of our chance to make our own back covers! We could have included this:

Umm... okay, that was an awkward, totally amateur hour cover that never should have gotten published in the first place. Well fine, what about this:

Alright, I guess Impulse is literally in the spotlight, and even J'Onn's profile space was halved to accommodate Green Arrow (Connor Hawke,) but there was still:

Woo-hoo! Howard Porter and the block-rockin' Jay-El-Lay! See, there's the Manhunter from Mars... in partial silhouette... in the third row...

Never mind.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

1992 Comics Buyer's Guide #975 Cover

The Comics Buyer's Guide still exists. I wasn't aware of that fact, even though I probably scan past it in Previews every month. Published in some form since 1971, CBG was the industry standard for news throughout the '80s. The Comics Journal was our New Yorker, Amazing Heroes was our People, and CBG was Newsweek. The tabloid regularly reported on which artist was switching titles, what publisher had gone down the tubes, and so on. There were columns by industry names (Peter David, Tony Isabella, Cat Yronwode,) comic strips, and an infamous letters section where creators would discuss important issues of the day, or more entertainingly, engage in bitter public disputes. Since each weekly issue cost twice as much as a standard comic, I only followed it when I could score cheap out of date leftover copies, but I always enjoyed those rare opportunities. Wizard Magazine and its many imitators severely diminished CBG's presence in the industry, and the internet rendered them both moot. Yet, somehow, I still see Wizard on the newsstand in more places than I see actual comic books, and someone somewhere keeps The Comics Buyer's Guide in print.

The July 24, 1992 edition offered a cover feature on Martian Manhunter: American Secrets, enhancing the pulpy noir vibe of the series by employing the popular European technique of black and white art with a single color for contrast. I might have suggested the virtues of this approach on the actual book, but it was gorgeously colored by Steve Oliff, so never mind that. The big news of that week was Jim Shooter's having "left" Valiant Comics, a positively genteel interpretation of events.

Monday, November 15, 2010

2010 The Martian Manhunter Archives Volume 8 Fan Mock-Up Cover by Tom Hartley

Written by Pat McGreal, Dave Rawson, Len Wein, Peter J. Tomasi, Paul Kupperberg, Steve Vance, Mark Millar, Brian Augustyn and Ty Templeton; art by Dave Cockrum, Stuart Immonen, Eduardo Barreto, Mike Collins, John Delaney, Don Hillsman, Ariel Olivetti and others; cover by Don Hillsman

The Sleuth from Outer Space returns for more cases of star-spanning mystery in THE MARTIAN MANHUNTER ARCHIVES VOL. 8! The Alien Atlas battles against the galactic zealot The Prophet, deals with prejudice in the 1960s, visits the Titanic, confronts an eye-collecting serial killer, and discovers underground aliens in a small town in the eighth volume of this comprehensive collection of Martian Manhunter stories. This 240-page volume includes MARTIAN MANHUNTER SPECIAL #1 (1996) and MARTIAN MANHUNTER ANNUAL #1 (1998), and stories from JUSTICE LEAGUE QUARTERLY #11, SHOWCASE '93 #10, SHOWCASE '95 #9, SHOWCASE '96 #9, ADVENTURES IN THE DC UNIVERSE #5 and 13, JLA SECRET FILES AND ORIGINS #1 and JLA ANNUAL #1.

  • Archive Editions
  • 240pg.
  • Color
  • Hardcover
  • $49.95 US
  • ISBN 1563897⌧✴40

Tom is still putting together professional caliber designs while I struggle to find archive editions with an equally voluminous output as this fictitious series to adapt solicitation copy from. Our donors this round were WILL EISNER'S THE SPIRIT ARCHIVES VOL. 8 and PLASTIC MAN ARCHIVES VOL. 8.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Justice League Martian Manhunter Micro Bobble Head

I remember when I got excited about an eBay search for "Martian Manhunter" yielding more than a single page. I haven't eBayed much in years, or even trolled it for blog material, so color me surprised (and exhausted) by 32 pages of Manhunter Merch at auction. What a difference a decade makes!

I don't know for sure that this is a bobble head. I don't know it's country of origin. I don't know if it is authorized or not. All I know is that somebody on the internet posted this picture, claiming it was 1.75 inches tall, and asking $4.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

2006 Justice League by Loston Wallace & Miguel Menendez

Saturday's night's alright for fighting, but don't underestimate Fridays, either. Sorry for the delayed post, but I did go back and clean up those cruddy Deviant Art embeds. So hey, here's a guy who turned another guy's art into a collage ala Colorforms. Aquaman was more of a guest-star and Supergirl wasn't a part of the team when John Stewart still had his hair. The real "wah?" inclusions are Catwoman and Harley Quinn, though. Gotham City over-represent ('tho I'd've forgiven Huntress...)

This is something I found while browsing on Internet looking up for Batman images, I found this cool website you can find all kind of sketches and drawings from different comics, so I decided to pick a couple of drawings and color them, here's the first one, in this one we can see, from left to right: Harley Queen, Supergirl, Batman, The Martian Manhunter, The Green Lantern, The Flash, Superman, Wonder Woman, Catwoman (or at least I think she is) and Aquaman. I know this has some flaws but I like the result whatsover...

Friday, November 12, 2010

2008 "50s Martian Manhunter B n W" by Marty Salsman

One of the truly unsung heroes of the DC universe, he's been around since 1955 predating the Silver-Age by just one year. I'm truly heartbroken DC has decided to kill off this character. On a brighter note the young writer and fellow deviantART member Dahila Mockery(give her a shout, she's done a great job) and myself have decided to pay tribute to this awesome DC hero! Set in the mid-1950's before he's even met any other super-heroes, he was a detective for the police and a private investigator par excellant. These are just three of the characters our versatile hero will portray in the story. Character Study-Pen & Ink only

Thursday, November 11, 2010

2010 "M. Manhunter - Minimalismo" by Rafael Lam

I really hate Deviant Art's crappy embedding with the outsized borders, but I'm too tired to download and edit any art tonight, so convenience trumps. Besides, I had that other groovy minimalist piece a week or so ago, so there's a thematic link here.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

1993 Mayfair Games DC Heroes Role-Playing Game Third Edition Martian Manhunter Entry

I bought a batch of Mayfair gaming books as reference along the lines of Who's Who on the cheap in the late '90s, and ended up GMing a DC campaign with a bunch of young regulars at my comic shop. I have some fond memories of that time, but it was also a bit of a trial, and our attempt at a second campaign fell apart in a mix of exhaustion and just plain growing apart. I never got around to using any big names in a campaign, as my group was made up of tough guy fighters who jacked up their Dexterity/Strength/Body to hit everything all the time. I could have punished them for that with some brainiac adversaries, or by playing the psychological hang-ups they'd exchanged for high power levels against them, but I wasn't that cruel. Instead, I mostly invented similar characters and let the 12d bloodbath commence.

I was surprised the Martian Manhunter made it into this primary handbook as one of twenty-nine characters who were provided playable stats. Aquaman, Batman, Captain Marvel, Guy Gardner & Hawkman all received half-page presentations, as did the late additions for "The Death of Superman:" Doomsday, The Kryptonian (pre-Eradicator,) the Man of Steel (still called Henry Johnson,) the Cyborg, Superboy and Superman himself.

J'Onn J'Onzz was relegated to the fifth page, sandwiched between Lobo and Nightwing. His Dexterity of 7 was Olympic-level, along the lines of Aquaman and Vandal Savage. His Strength of 18 was substantial, ranged at 1,600-6,400 tons in a tier with the Spectre, Wonder Woman, Solomon Grundy, Gorilla Grodd and Lobo. A Body of 15 equated to diamond hardness along the lines of Power Girl. Those were the three attributes used to determine the ability to physically hit something, the damage dealt, and the ability to sustain damage.

An Intelligence of 9 again recalled Grodd and Wonder Woman, making them among a select few world authorities on a given subject. Will of 9 allowed one to override self-preservation to enter battle, like Sgt. Rock. Mind of 8 was the fortitude of hardened soldiers. Again, these attributes dealt with psychic assaults, schemes, and stresses.

Influence of 7 meant a personality so unique as to be nationally regarded, like Queen Hippolyte and Green Arrow. Aura of 7 rocked along similar lines, but covered mystique and respect along the lines of Batman or Hal Jordan. Spirit of 6 expressed a security of belief one is willing to die for, like Huntress and Booster Gold.

How these stats related to gameplay was that J'Onn could punch humans and slower metahumans, and he had the strength and stamina to trade devastating blows with almost anyone. Most of the rest of his abilities were at higher human levels. Checking his special powers though, he could fly really fast, and was mighty hard to detect, but his telepathic abilities were middling.

I can't place the art used on this one, so it's probably from some licensing/style guide. The basic figure recalls a journeyman along the lines of Alex Saviuk or Greg LaRoque. Those inks look an awful lot like Mike DeCarlo. The art was originally off to the right, but keeping it there meant the same tiny reproduction you'll see at my other blog entries today, so I moved it.

More Mayfair 3rd Edition for Today:

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

2008 "In better times" by ~DasTenna

Click To Enlarge

J'Onn, M'yri'ah and K'Hym J'Onzz in a bittersweet piece that regardless left me wondering, "cactus on Mars?"

Monday, November 8, 2010

Does the Martian Manhunter Belong in Science Fiction?

I've had a post brewing in the back of my mind for ages, and finally decided to knock some of it out after reading Can Mars just go away now?

H.G. Wells has been called "The Father of Science Fiction." Within five years of 1900, he produced novels that popularized time travel (The Time Machine) and the concept of genetic engineering and related rights issues (The Island of Doctor Moreau,) the inherent immorality of the super powerful (The Invisible Man,) global warfare (The War of the Worlds,) and space exploration (The First Men in the Moon.) Since then, these novels have been turned into the basis for "period" episodes of sitcoms, vehicles for Marlon Brandon to look like a demented whale, direct-to-DVD voyeuristic horror series, Smashing Pumpkins music videos, and that Tom Cruise movie where Dakota Fanning screamed for like, 90 minutes straight. Point being, as soon as there was enthralling speculative fiction, there were penny novel knock-offs that married surface elements to run of the mill adventure nonsense. It's the difference between science fiction and Syfy ("Sharktopus Weekend starts now!")

John Jones was never high minded material, but it did start out as a detective strip with a twist, not so much pulp sci-fi. Even when various Martian invaders and other aliens started popping up, it still felt like a series about humans (one with a super-secret) struggling to maintain the status quo against these weird creatures. The paradigm didn't shift until John Jones "died," and the Martian Manhunter began chasing the Diabolu Idol-Head with his pal Zook through one monotonous, uninspired, illogical and clearly juvenile-targeted monster battle after another. That track failed to catch on, and a shift toward the then hot super-spy fad was insufficient to save the Alien Atlas' solo career.

The Martian Manhunter was shuffled off to obscurity in a Justice League of America story that contradicted much of the previously established history of J'onn J'onzz, and grounded him in a haphazardly written pulp sci-fi mileau. Suddenly he's a military leader in a civil/race war with an opposite number in pursuit of a power source, all of which he conveniently never mentioned in thirteen years comics of publication. For the next decade, the Martian bounced across hostile worlds, battling weird menaces (usually with Super Friends that diminished him greatly,) acted as a savior to his nomadic people, and tried not to miss any opportunities to fly spaceships/spelunk crystal mountains/other genre schlock. I've often spoken of these years because of their contribution to the Manhunter's artistic legacy (Mike Nasser, Dick Dillon, Jim Starlin) and rogues gallery (Commander Blanx, Bel Juz, Mongul,) but they remain some of the worst stories ever written about the character.

Here's the problem with the Martian Manhunter in sci-fi stories: Where's the hook? That he's a particularly silly looking alien with super-powers that generally outstrip his nobody foes? That he's bound by years of goofy Silver Age stories and a membership to the Justice League of America? It's an alien fighting aliens in outer space. Isn't having the Martian Manhunter in pulp sci-fi tales as on-the-nose as Aquaman in undersea action or Wonder Woman always defending that damned island?

Being a Martian super-hero isn't what makes J'onn J'onzz special so much as being a Martian amongst Earthlings. Looked at that way, it's no surprise the one objectively good '70s Manhunter story was the one in which he rarely appears outside human guise in a buttoned-down period setting. No DC super-hero can play in the McCarthy era like John Jones, and Commander Blanx was infinitely more interesting as the instigator who united the players of the 1950s against him than as the random jerk that destroyed Mars.

There were a lot of things that drove me nuts about the Ostrander/Mandrake series, but one was its seeming to turn the Martian Manhunter's world into Batman's by way of Superman's sci-fi metahuman trappings. Most of the stories revolved around Martians or other aliens showing up and getting pounded by the Marsman of Steel, but they would be all Gotham City creepy about it. Alternately, you had stories about people going after the Martian Manhunter because he was the Martian Manhunter, not because they had an existence or motivations of their own.

That tradition has continued through to Brightest Day, where D'kay plays Malefic with a uterus, another Martian psychopath who tussles with J'Onn J'Onzz because what else was she going to do? The Alien Atlas is once again putzing around his dead world getting into ancient arguments, and I have to wonder where one goes from here? Aquaman is out of the water, back with his wife, rebuilding his mythology and ties to the surface world-- all while showcasing how nasty his arch-foe is before a mass audience. Firestorm is becoming more powerful, resolving old issues and creating new conflicts, trying to take from the best bits of past incarnations to make something new. Deadman is alive and shifted away from '90s macabre toward his more cosmic '60s roots. Hawkman is... well, doing what Hawkman has always done, but that's his thing. Martian Manhunter is only doing that thing he's done since the '90s, that took him most of the decade to gain a series he couldn't sustain under said terms.

One of these days, I hope someone figures out that what makes the Martian Manhunter interesting is the ways in which he's not Superman or Batman, and that he's supposed to be the uniquely alien element in his stories, not just another tired pulp sci-fi hero.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

2009 "Martian Manhunter!" Sketch Card by Brendon & Brian Fraim

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These 3.5 inch by 2.5 inch cards are on bristol board and colored with Dick Blick Artists Markers (water and fade resistant).

I decided to plug in holes in my posting from last week with stuff scavenged off Comic Art Fans. I never promised rose gardens or accurate daily posting, but I do try to keep it at 365 offerings a year. Below are links to those pieces:

Saturday, November 6, 2010

2010 "Minimalist MARTIAN MANHUNTER" by Nathan Cosby

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From former Marvel Entertainment editor Nathan Cosby's blog/Tumblr feed, NateCosBOOM. Read more about it here.

Friday, November 5, 2010

2010 Great Comics That Never Happened #15: The Justice Luchadores of America

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In a recurring original art feature as Comics Alliance, writer Chris Sims and artist Rusty Shackles carry on the noble comic book tradition of the imaginary story...

Read more about Señor Marciano and his fellow super-heroes reborn as Mexican wrestlers here

Luke of El Jacone's Comic Book Bunker & Being Carter Hall said...

As a technico, La Fuerte Feminino would almost certainly not wear a mask, especially since she is so beautiful. The large majority of masked female luchadores are rudos.

Señor Marciano would, I imagine, be an old school fighter, in the tradition of El Santo or (most likely) Blue Demon. I say Blue Demon because he almost always played second fiddle to El Santo, so, there you go.

This is coming as someone who went as La Parka (AKA LA Park) for Halloween this year.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

The Ten Most Important Martian Manhunter Adversaries

In January of 2010, the Idol-Head asked its readers to vote on the Martian Manhunter villains they felt were the most interesting. For the better part of a year afterword, the site counted down from least to most popular, offering commentary on each selection. However, I found that there were gaps with regard to more in-depth coverage of some of these characters. Further, I found that there's a major difference between bad guys we like, and those that have had a meaningful impact on the publishing life of the Manhunter from Mars. Hoping to ease problems in both departments, I compiled a list of ten foes I felt had been the most significant to date, regardless of personal preferences. I wrote some fairly lengthy analysis of each subject, justifying the choices and ranks through historical and thematic impact, comparisons with other characters, plus oodles more. 

  1. Commander Blanx

    "Decades after Commander Blanx’s last appearance, no villain has yet to prove as accomplished an adversary, and those who have come the closest simply follow in Blanx’s footsteps."

  2. Ma’alefa’ak

    "Malefic satisfies the juvenile desire to “prove” that the hero is superior to everyone in his life through power, as well as a depiction of the J’Onn J’Onzz his fans fear bad writing could degenerate the character into."

  3. Bel Juz

    "Without Bel Juz, you probably wouldn’t be reading this blog right now. The Martian Manhunter would likely be a completely different character. There may have never been a Justice League International. Forget the Vile Menagerie—Bel Juz may be one of the most important and transformative villains in DC continuity."

  4. Mr. V

    "Faceless may be a mere human, but through technology and a criminal organization, he still managed to vex one of the most powerful super-heroes on Earth over a long term. "

  5. Despero

    "Despero is simply the evil version of Martian Manhunter. The characters are vastly similar in origins, powers, associates and circumstances, but polar opposites in personality and motivation."

  6. The Human Flame

    "If Batman is the hero any of us could be with enough training and discipline, the Human Flame is the super-villain waiting for any of us in the garage after a trip through Radio Shack and Home Depot."

  7. B’rett

    "Anyone who ever watched a western from the golden age of television knows B’rett’s story. His last name might as well have been B’artt. Amongst a vile menagerie of serial killers, mind rapists and genocidal maniacs, it’s almost refreshing to see a good old fashioned thug."

  8. The Diabolu Idol-Head

    "The Idol-Head of Diabolu was a cheap tool to lure the Martian Manhunter into action, but it also effected some of the first and most devastating changes ever visited upon an established DC comic strip."

  9. Professor Arnold Hugo

    "Where J'Onn J'Onzz is a selfless, dignified champion of a great society living in harmony, Hugo is an ironically small-minded egotist only interested in personal fame and fortune. Hugo demands acknowledgment for his scientific accomplishments, and would like nothing better than for the entire world to kiss his feet."

  10. Darkseid

    "Darkseid is a well-regarded villain whose impact on the Martian Manhunter’s series has been embraced by a majority segment of the Alien Atlas’ fans."

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

2010 Silver Surfer, J'onn J'onzz, Superman, Gladiator and Goku by Israel S. Algarin

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Some of my favorite aliens: Silver Surfer, J'onn J'onzz, Superman, Gladiator and Goku… Images penciled on 8½”X11” sheet.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

2008 Martian Manhunter Sketch Card by Ryan Dunlavey

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Dunlavey's Action Philosophers was essential reading, and I'm still waiting for Comic Book Comics to be collected in trade paperback.

Monday, November 1, 2010

"J'Onn J'Onzz from THE NEW FRONTIER" by Darwyn Cooke

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This one's undated, unfortunately. I kind of like how stripped down it is compared to similar Cooke sketches. It feels more like an animation piece.